APPNA MERIT Initiative: A Peek into the Future of Medical Education

Keeping up with its task of promoting medical education across Pakistan, APPNA, the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America started the APPNA MERIT Program. The program is an endeavor to reach excellence in research and medical education in Pakistan. With the world stepping in the digital age, the MERIT (Medical Education and Research, International Training and Transfer of Technology) program is an effort on behalf of physicians in the US to train doctors and students in Pakistan, a country where resources for world class training are scarce.

This blog is a brief introduction to the MERIT program and how students and doctors can benefit from it.

Brief History of the Program

In 2006 an ad-hoc education initiative was undertaken to complement and enhance Health care in Pakistan. The Medical Education and Research Investment Task force (MERIT) came into being. Dr. Naheed Usmani and Dr. Shahid Rafiq are the founding Chair and founding member respectively with support from Dr. Nadeem Kazi. Dr. Shahid Rafiq (MERIT chair 2017) is the first chair of Neurology Net. This task force became a full standing committee of APPNA as MERIT (Medical Education and Research, International Training and Transfer of Technology) in 2007.

1. What is the APPNA MERIT Program?

APPNA MERIT organizes quality lectures on various topics by Doctors abroad. These lectures are delivered online and many medical universities from Pakistan participate with full enthusiasm. The number of universities is still increasing on weekly basis. Many lectures have been delivered on topics from Dermatology, Neurology, Anesthesiology and many more.

2. How does the MERIT Program benefit students?

The MERIT program organizes lectures using a digital platform. The lectures can be viewed at any time by the viewers. The program also provides a mentor-ship service for research, through which students in Pakistan can collaborate with mentors in the US to bring out researches on various topics.

3. How do I sign up for the APPNA MERIT program?

Signing up is easy. Just go to, open the "Register" tab on top, enter your information and submit. A confirmation email will be sent to you, upon opening which you will be registered with APPNA MERIT.

4. How can I avail the program for research purposes? 

After registering with the program, you have to go on the Research tab, where you submit a request as an advisor/researcher. Once you are confirmed by email, you can submit a short proposal regarding your idea for research, The proposal will be picked up interested faculty members (both national and international), who will then serve as your mentor for your research project. This program ensures effective guidance for young researchers, as well as development of a mentor-mentee relationship that is crucial for students and doctors.

5. What is the Visiting Faculty Program?

An innovative part of the MERIT initiative is the visiting faculty program. Through this, a US based physician can easily give lectures on various subjects in Pakistan. The physician enters his availability in the website, which matches him with partner institutions in Pakistan. The institutions then correspond with the physician, and a lecture is arranged at an agreed upon time.

To sign up for the MERIT program, simply visit and follow the instructions.

You can also watch a short video on the APPNA MERIT initiative below:

To keep in touch with updates regarding the MERIT Initiative, follow them on facebook @meritappna.


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