>A copy of an email I sent to the Arab Federation of Evidence-Based Medicine on October 4, 2007
Dear List Members,
Assalamu Alaikum WR WB.
I would like to start a discussion thread related to research and evidence-based practice for discussion among the list members. Although some aspects of the discussion may offend some members, but I believe that the identification of obstacles and the frank open discussion of these obstacles are important steps to solve these problems. I hope that this discussion will not be viewed as pessimistic. On the contrary, I think once we identify the problem and lay down the potential solutions, we will have an optimistic picture to solve the problem.
Although what I will be discussing happened to me, but I think it is a general theme in our region. For those of us who have spent time abroad, they will recall how accessible and helpful (most of the time) their supervisors and mentors in the western countries were when they were studying abroad. Personally, I have emailed people (in western countries) who I have never met or known personally for career advice or research problems. Most of the time, I would receive a PROMPT elaborate reply with detailed suggestions and, sometime, they would volunteer a phone number to contact them for further follow-up.
On the other hand, I contacted people in our region asking for their advice. Most of the time, I would receive complete silence and ignorance. I have tired sending emails to their different email addresses or through their secretary. My attempts are usually fruitless.
My questions are:
1. Is this a personal experience?
2. Have other members in the group faced the same problem?
3. What is the reason for this phenomenon, if it does exit?
4. Can we solve this problem?
5. Can the Arab Federation of EBM start an initiative in the region to encourage collaboration, mentorship and networking?
6. Would a list for volunteer mentors with their contact information help to solve this problem?
7. Would the Arab Federation of EBM consider maintaining such a list to encourage young doctors to pursue research and ensure that they are mentored by interested researchers and scholars?
I hope that this message will trigger some calm constructive discussions leading to some solutions to encourage research in our region.