Our ​Leadership​​​​

SONAM Leadership Team​​​​​

The Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery, AKU-SONAM, has moved to a new leadership structure to drive excellence in performance in strategic areas including teaching/learning, research, clinical practice, outreach and innovation​. Our leadership team includes the Dean, two Associate Deans, ​​three Assistant Deans and six clinical stream heads, who focus on the School’s three core activities - research, education and clinical services.​​​



Dr Tazeen Saeed Ali ​​​
Interim Dean;
Associate Dean, Research & Innovation

Dr Tazeen Saeed Ali currently serves as Interim Dean, the Shakur Jamal Endowed Professor and Associate Dean of Research and Innovation at AKU-SONAM, Pakistan, with a joint appointment as faculty member at the department of Community Health Sciences, AKU Medical College. 

Dr Ali is an HEC-approved PhD supervisor, and has made extensive contributions in the areas of research and faculty development, national and international leadership, policy contribution, and public health nursing. 

​She has contributed to more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and served on the boards of various global nursing forums such as the Nursing Network of Violence Against Women (NNVAW), Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), the European Network of Violence Against Women, and served voluntarily in different NGOs such as Parwaz and Shirkat Gah.

As Associate Dean, Research and Innovation, she provides strong stewardship to strengthen and grow the School's research and innovation portfolio, while steering AKU-SONAM towards institutional excellence and advancement as its current Interim Dean.

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Dr Rafat Jan​​​​
​Associate Dean, Outreach and Policy Uni​t​​​

Dr Jan currently holds the Ali Saju Endowed Professorship at AKU-SONAM and serves as the Associate Dean of the Outreach and Policy Unit. Additionally, she is also an HEC-approved PhD supervisor.

​​Dr Jan is an al​​​umna of the founding batch of AKU-SONAM's Diploma in Nursing programme, 1983. She holds an MScN degree from the University of South Carolina, and PhD from the University of Iowa, USA. 

With a strong passion for midwifery, she became the founding Director of AKU’s undergraduate midwifery programme in 2009. She has also served as President of the Midwifery Association of Pakistan, as Chair of the South Asian Midwifery Alliance, and served for two terms as an elected board member of the International Confederation of Midwives, ICM.

She has also been a member of the Prime Minister's Task Force since 2018, and was the first nurse elected as President of the Pakistan Nursing Council, PNC in 2015.

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Dr Khairulnissa Ajani​​
Assistant Dean, Teaching, Learning
and Undergraduate Programmes

​Assistant Professor and the Assistant Dean of  Teaching, Learning and Undergraduate Programmes at SONAM. Dr Khairulnissa Ajani provides support for the delivery of academic programmes at undergraduate level. Dr Ajani has studied Masters in Nursing with a distinction in thesis, and became the first Pakistani to receive a nationally-awarded PhD degree in Nursing in 2020, from AKU-SONAM. 

he is currently enrolled in the doctoral programme in Nursing at AKU. ​​​Her areas of expertise is education and curriculum development.​ 

Ms Ajani's clinical interest is in patient education on chronic diseases and her doctoral thesis is also on self-care and hypertension.​​ She has been associated with SONAM since 1997 and has served in various administrative positions concerning all the academic programmes offered at the School. In addition, she has also served in Medical, Surgical and the Emergency Room at the Aga Khan Hospital before starting her career as an educator.

She has a number of publications in national and international journals and has been invited to speak on various subject matters at national forum​s. 

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Watch Meet our alumni series | Khairulnissa Ajani


Dr Rubina Barolia
Assistant Dean, Clinical Practice

​​​Dr Barolia is an Ahmed Shivji endowed Associate Professor at AKU-SONAM, and works on improving the quality of clinical teaching and assessment of students through better preparation of clinical educators, joint appointments, faculty practice, and strengthenin​g liaison​ with clinical colleagues.

Dr Barolia completed her basic nursing education follo​​wed by a Post-RN BScN degree and Masters in Nursing from AKU-SONAM, and obtained a PhD in Nursing from the University of Alberta, Canada.

She has been associated with AKU since 1991 and has served in various clinical and administrative positions at the Aga Khan University Hospital, AKUH, and SONAM. She has worked extensively in acute care settings in different capacities. Her work on establishing Advanced Practice Nurse Masters Programme by creating clinical tract with acute care sub-specialty is extensive. She has also worked on developing Master's Program in Pakistan, Syria and East Africa. 

Her current research focuses on the prevention of non-communicable diseases. She has extensively worked on systemic reviews and evidence-practice modules. 

She has been awarded a doctoral fellowship from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada; Betty Ford Medical Award, California, USA; and the Adult Health award from AKU. 

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Dr Laila Ladak
Assistant Dean, Graduate Programs​

Dr Ladak is a Gulshan Bhatia Endowed Associate Professor at AKU-SONAM and holds a joint appointment with the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, AKU. She also serves as honorary faculty at The University of Sydney, Australia, and as Chairperson of the Aga Khan Health Board, Council for Garden, Karachi. 

Dr Ladak also serves as Section Editor, Nursing and Midwifery, PLOS Global Public Health journal, and editorial board member, Journal of Paediatric Nursing. She is also Chair, Global Health, of the International Society of Congenital Heart Disease, ISACHD.

Her research work focuses on long term outcomes, patient-reported outcomes and health related quality of life in children, adolescents and adults with chronic diseases and their parents/families. 

She provides leadership and strategic direction for academic excellence in the curricula through high quality, innovation, and evidence-based teaching and learning practice, as lead person of the graduate programs at AKU-SONAM

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