As an instructor in oral medicine diagnosis at the University of Benghazi with a passion for health promotion, Hager is dedicated to finding new opportunities to develop global competency skills while building on her medical knowledge. With a degree in dentistry and four years of experience working as a health and hygiene promoter with several NGOs, the idea of learning about how countries around the world approach the coronavirus pandemic was a great opportunity, particularly since she wasn’t aware of precautions and policies outside of her country’s context. Through Bridging Cultures to Defeat COVID-19, Hager participated in a series of seminars and workshops to share research findings and best practices in COVID-19 medicine.
As a Libyan, hearing from the experiences of her peers in the United States and the United Arab Emirates provided insight into the pandemic and the different ways of addressing it. She shares that after the program, she was able to compare the pandemic response in Libya with other countries, helping her to educate and promote healthy practices to her patients in the oral medicine department. Throughout the program, Hager evaluated her own environment where she works, and she became aware of the impact she could have on the hospital as a whole, beginning with her patients, then the department she works in, and eventually the hospital’s overall policies. Participating in this program connected her with peers who shared effective practices which she is eager to pass along to not only her colleagues but the student residents she supervises as well. “The virtual exchange experience gave me the confidence to educate [my] community [on the pandemic]… we prepared a good program to elevate awareness,” she shared.