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Basem M. Dajani


Basem M. Dajani

70R – Internal Medicine

Jordan’s medical professionals are among the very best in the Middle East because of Basem M. Dajani. For decades, he has worked to improve medical education and quality of care in his country. In 1977, Dajani revolutionized the internal medicine residency program and the hospital at the University of Jordan by introducing rounds, morning report, peer review, grand rounds, mortality-morbidity rounds, and quality control, among other improvements. He also created the intensive care unit at the hospital. By founding the Jordan Medical Board, Dajani and his team implemented standards to ensure high-quality medical care where none existed before. Dajani firmly believes the underserved deserve the same quality of care as the most affluent patients.

Dajani was a resident, and ultimately chief resident, in the UI Department of Internal Medicine in the early 1970s. He recalls the warm welcome he received from department chairman, William Bean, MD. He also credits UI Department of Internal Medicine faculty John Thompson, MD, allergy and immunology division, and Jim Clifton, MD, gastroenterology division, for their influence.

Until 1977, Dajani had a practice in allergy, immunology, and internal medicine in Des Moines. He then returned to Jordan, where he identified areas in the practice of medicine that needed significant improvement. In addition to structural and procedural changes, Dajani fundamentally improved knowledge and access, for physicians and students, at the University of Jordan medical college.

One of his early students, Nidal Younes, MBBSc, MA, TSRF, says, “Most physicians at that time did not know how to do research. Dr. Dajani taught his colleagues to write proposal and papers. His interdisciplinary approach was ahead of its time. He set up a medical library in the hospital for residents to read while on call rather than walking to the main library on the other side of campus.”

By establishing the Jordan Medical Board, Dajani sought to ensure high-quality, accountable medical services in Jordan, regardless of where a person received his or her degree. As a result, Jordan is a beacon for medical training and delivery in the Middle East and North Africa.

As president of the Jordanian Medical Association, he introduced reforms that stressed physicians’ relationships with each other, with patients, and the wider community.

Serving the underserved has long been at the center of Dajani’s mission.

A former colleague, Omar M Lattouf, MD, PhD, says, “One of his greatest achievements is his selfless dedication to treat, heal, and help needy patients while showing them the utmost respect and care.”

Dajani’s compassion extends to students as well. A current objective is to help medical students from underprivileged countries find opportunities to achieve their goals and dreams.

When asked for his advice to today’s medical students, Dajani says, “What should drive you to achieve and persevere in following your dream should not only be financial. The driving force should be the love of this profession and to serve the sick and needy in the community. In our culture, the leader is the one who serves.”

Dajani attributes his success to the unwavering support and perseverance of his wife and partner, Raghda, who has been with him for 50 years. Beginning with their first born, Rana, they created a family of nine children and 22 grandchildren.