A graduate of King Edward Medical College, Dr Naheed G Usmani is an Associate Professor of pediatrics and a pediatric hematology oncologist treating children with cancer and blood diseases at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, United States. The Pakistani-born doctor is also the President of the Association of Pakistani Physicians of New England (APPNE).
Dr Usmani believes APPNE serves a larger function in her life than simply offering a conduit for good works and a way to stay in touch with her colleagues. She says that the organization was a support network for her and her fellow Pakistanis following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, when many Muslim in the United States felt isolated.
After the September 11 attacks, most of the times when the media wanted Muslim voices, they would go to the Muslim centers. According to Dr Usmani, only then we realized we wanted to come together and form an association that would do a number of different things, not just professional and social networking but also provide an identity for our community with an arm of philanthropy to give back to our home community. Those are the motivations, but what we really wanted was a home.
As the first president of APPNE, whose term ran from 2003 to 2006, Dr Usmani says she's not particularly interested in the social networking aspects of the national APCNA convention each year. I am a very busy physician, and I'm not into the coffee parties and talking nonsense.
Under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Naheed Usmani, APPNE started a campaign and managed to collect One Million Rupees for the Scholarships awarded to earthquake affected medical students mainly from Muzaffarabad, Balakot & Kohistan.
Dr Usmani wished the United States media would accord a level of intimacy with Pakistani earthquake victims as it did with Katrina and tsunami victims. The news about the earthquake seems to have disappeared already. She speaks of having been deeply touched by the generosity of so many but also left feeling that her fellow Americans do not yet comprehend the extent of this tragedy. American private donations for earthquake victims have totalled $13.1 million vs. $1.3 billion for tsunami victims, a 100 times difference for two not dissimilar disasters.