English department head helps Syrian doctor tell his story

English Department Head Dr. W.D. Blackmon and co-author Dr. Tarif Bakdash will join the reading series this semester on Feb. 26 to read from their recently released book, “Inside Syria—A Physician’s Memoir: My Life as a Child, a Student, and an MD in a Time of War.”

blackmon book inside syria
Dr. Tarif Bakdash frequently returns to Syria to treat refugees in camps.

More about the book

Dr. W.D. Blackmon, English department head, co-wrote “Inside Syria” with Bakdash.

The book follows Bakdash’s life in Syria and emigration to the U.S. He tells of a nurturing childhood in a warm family — against fear of war, the maiming of his mother, jailing of a schoolmate for no reason, the blood-soaked ground of Hama in 1982 and more.

More about Bakdash

Bakdash is now a pediatric neurologist at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he received the Standing Ovation Award last year. He specializes in movement disorders like Tourette’s Syndrome and tremors.

Born in Damascus, Syria in 1965, Bakdash graduated from the University of Damascus medical school in 1988 before emigrated to the U.S.

In 2002, Bakdash returned to Syria at the invitation of President Bashar al-Assad to teach at the University of Damascus. While there he opened a private pediatric neurology clinic, served with the World Health Organization, became services director and, later, national plan director for the Syrian Organization for the Disabled. He was also Syria’s first secretary general for the disabled.

In 2010, he came back to the U.S., but remains involved in Syrian issues. He collaborates with the Syrian American Medical Society on health issues facing refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, and he recently visited the al-Za’atari camp in Jordan to treat Syrian refugees.

Event details

Date: Feb. 26
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Location: PSU Theatre
Admission: Free and open to the public

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