Tunisia’s four faculties of medicine sign agreement with Harvard Medical School to offer their students access to Harvard’s online learning platform

  • 200 of Tunisia’s elite medical students will have access to Harvard Medical School’s HMX online learning platform in the next five years.
  • The funding will enable medical faculties at the Universities of Tunis El Manar, Sfax, Sousse and Monastir, to offer Harvard Medical School fundamental courses and lectures in biochemistry, genetics, immunology, physiology and pharmacology.
  • Successful students will obtain an HMX certificate, alongside their local university degree.
  • Agreement made possible thanks to a US$1 million scholarship gift by Hazem Ben-Gacem that will fully finance this initiative.

Enabling Tunisian students to attend Harvard Medical School online courses (HMX), builds on the already excellent medical education system in Tunisia. The opportunity will enable Tunisia’s next generation of doctors and medical staff to benefit from the expertise of Harvard Medical School. The goal being to help students acquire more in-depth knowledge of the basic sciences and then tie those concepts to clinical practice.

Access to the HMX courses is being made possible by the generous support from Hazem Ben-Gacem, a Harvard alumnus, who has funded other key University initiatives, including the opening of the Harvard Office in Tunisia. In October 2019, Mr. Ben-Gacem provided funding for the deans of the Tunisian medical schools to attend Harvard Medical School’s IMPACT Symposium, providing important connections and conversations that led to this being able to happen.

“We are very grateful to Mr. Ben-Gacem for his generous commitment that continues to inform and inspire medical students who will make a lasting impact on patient care in Tunisia,” said David H. Roberts, dean for external education and the Steven P. Simcox, Patrick A. Clifford and James H. Higby Associate Professors of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The four main medical universities in Tunisia are situated in the major cities of Tunis, Sfax, Sousse and Monastir. The ability for students from these universities to now attend HMX courses during their studies will build on the learning already being provided. The combination of current teaching alongside HMX courses will enhance students’ knowledge and inspire them to make a lasting impact on healthcare in Tunisia.

“HMX offers truly a unique learning experience, linking students’ foundational science knowledge to their future care of patients,” said Michael Parker, Associate Dean for online learning and faculty director of HMX. “The addition of these courses to the medical school curriculum in Tunisia will help prepare students for careers as health care providers.”

Dr Mohamed Jouini, Dean of University of Tunis said, “Implementing HMX online courses will offer an excellent opportunity to Tunisia’s medical students. We hope this first initiative will establish a fruitful and long-lasting relationship between the Faculty of Medicine of Tunis and the Harvard Medical School. For our school, this project comes as a great addition to a wider strategy of international cooperation. We are putting every effort to make this experience a success; and we hope to see the opportunity extended to a larger number of students in the future.”

A first cohort of 40 undergraduate students will undertake the course in the coming academic year, with 200 students in total undertaking the course in the next five years.

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