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Health Equity SIG: Spring Forum: Improving Healthcare Services in MN: Perspectives from our Middle Eastern Community
Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM CDT
Category: SIGS


5:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. Video presentations, final registrations and submission of audience questions for panel

5:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Introductions of panelists and explanation of goals of panel

6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Pre-planned questions and answers for panelists on improving healthcare services

6:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Questions from audience members and closing remarks

Course Description: 

Cultural Effectiveness is key to delivering quality health care services within our diverse community in Minnesota. This panel will offer the chance for OT (or other healthcare) practitioners to dialogue with members of the Middle Eastern Community of Minnesota with the goal of reducing bias and improving quality of services for our clients who identify with this community. 

Speaker Bio: The panel will include several members of the Middle Eastern community in Minnesota who will be speaking from both their roles as healthcare professionals and patients. Panelists will include:

Dr. Azar Maluki, MD, was born in Najaf, Iraq.  He is a board-certified dermatologist, and was a consultant physician and professor at the University of Kufa, Iraq before moving to Minnesota.  He is married to Shaymaa Jakjook (M.Sc., Geography) and has two sons and one daughter. Azar first visited Minneapolis in 2011 and 2013 with a delegation of Iraqi health professionals as part of the exchange visits between Najaf and Minneapolis organized by the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project. He arrived in Minneapolis with his family in 2015 and joined the Dermatology Imaging Center in the Department of Dermatology at the UMN-Twin Cities Campus as a Research Fellow. He also spends time as a medical interpreter in the Twin Cities. Dr. Maluki joined the board of the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project in 2018 and has directed one film as part of the Iraqi Voices project.

Amel Ameen Al Sammarraie was born in Baghdad, Iraq.  She graduated from the College of Medicine in 1983 and earned her Master’s in Hematology.  She is married and has three children; one daughter and two sons.  Amel worked in the medical field in Iraq for 33 years before moving with her husband to the United States in 2013. Amel worked in Minnesota as a Medical Interpreter for many years before recently retiring. Amel has directed two short documentary films as part of the Iraqi Voices project and is the narrator of the 2016 Our Iraq film.

Amina Baha is joining us from the Afghan Cultural Society of Minnesota. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Informational Technology and attended graduate school for Healthcare Administration. She is an information technology professional who has worked with various healthcare organizations. She is also a curator and member of the Northeast Art Association, and has served on the board of directors at Alexandra House in Blaine (a domestic and sexual violence center). 


1)    Identify and discuss common contributors to healthcare disparities among Middle Eastern community members in Minnesota, and how they might affect quality of care in occupational therapy.

2)    Describe patterns of health care disparities that can result from occupational therapist or other healthcare practitioner bias about the Middle Eastern community.

3)   Develop an action plan for oneself that includes at least one strategy to improve cultural effectiveness when working with members of the Middle Eastern Community in Minnesota in current role as an OT (or other healthcare practitioner).

Target Audience: OTs/OTAs/Students/Healthcare Practitioners

Practice Area: All

Course level: Introductory

Distance learning option:  MOTA will provide distance learning for this event.  You will be asked during registration if you would like to attend the event remotely. Registrants attending distance will receive Zoom link prior to the course from the MOTA email.  Please note:  Distance learning is NOT AOTA APP eligible and a post-test (80% accuracy) is required  prior to receiving course certificate with contact hours.

Event location: Center for Equity and Culture, Washington Technology Magnet School, 1495 Rice St N, St Paul, MN 55117

Organizer Contact Information: :   Erin Salinas, 612-248-0839, [email protected]

Fee: MOTA members Free          Non-members $30.00 

Continuing Education Credits:  1.5 CEU

Register Here


This course fulfills the AOTA Classification Code for Continuing Education Activities: Category 3: Professional Issues





Contact: Steven Cope [email protected] ; phone 218-723-5915