Madrasa Teacher Inspired Pakistani-American to Transform Medical Education Online
|Professor Husain Sattar M.D.|
Currently an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Dr. Sattar credits his innovation to his madrasa teacher who had the "ability to take vast amounts of information and summarize it in the most eloquent, simple, principle-based method", according to a piece written by Nancy Averett and published on the University of Chicago website.
Born in Chicago in 1972, Dr. Husain Sattar, MD, took a leave of absence after first year of medical school in the United States to study Arabic and Islamic spirituality in Islamabad, Pakistan. It was in a spartan setting with a classroom that had clay walls that would heat up to 120 degrees in summer. In winter, the unheated classrooms were freezing — Islamabad sits at the foothills of the Himalayas — where Sattar sat on the floor with the other students shivering and dreaming of summer.
At the Islamabad madrasa, Averett writes that there was a "Pakistani teacher who made an impression on Sattar — one that planted the seed for Sattar’s wildly successful textbook and video series on pathology known as Pathoma".
“This teacher always came to class without notes,” Sattar told Averett, recalling the instructor with the gray beard who smiled often and dressed in the traditional Pakistani garb of loose pants (shalwar) and tunic-like shirt (kameez). “He would say, ‘If I can’t tell you about it from the top of my head, then I shouldn’t be telling you about it at all.’” The man lectured passionately, as if there were 3,000 people in the room instead of eight, but what the young American medical student found most impressive was his skill distilling colossal amounts of material. “He had this ability to take vast amounts of information and summarize it in the most eloquent, simple, principle-based method,” Sattar said.
Dr. Husain Sattar has written a widely used medical textbook titled "Fundamentals of Pathology" along with a series of videos called Pathoma available online.
Thousands of medical students who use Pathoma talk about the clarity with which Dr. Sattar explains difficult concepts. “He has a remarkable gift for clarity,” Averett quotes Palmer Greene, a third-year student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, as saying. “He can take the pathophysiology of any organ system and present the information in a way that makes the entire mechanism click in your head.” Lucy Rubin, a fourth-year at Tufts University School of Medicine, has similar praise: “He has this amazing way of explaining concepts,” she said. “He simplifies things to the most basic elements.”
Inspired by a madrasa teacher in Islamabad, Pakistani-American Dr. Husain Sattar is revolutionizing medical education in a similar way that Salman Khan of Khan Academy has transformed K-12 education. Dr. Sattar has written a widely used medical textbook titled "Fundamentals of Pathology" along with a series of videos called Pathoma available online. One good teacher in a spartan Islamabad seminary inspired a young Pakistani-American, Husain Sattar, to study medicine and create learning material that has revolutionized medical education for many generations of healers to serve humanity better.
Acknowledgement: I thank my Pakistani-American friend Rizwan Kadir, a University of Chicago alumnus, for bringing Dr. Sattar's work to my attention.
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