U-M medical students host Fast-a-thon 2011 for Ramadan

Students, faculty and leaders will fast during daylight hours

In observance of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, University of Michigan Medical School students, faculty and leaders will participate in Fast-a-thon 2011 by not eating or drinking for an entire day during daylight hours on Aug. 22.

U-M’s Muslim Medical Students' Association organized the event in observance of Ramadan, an annual observance in which more than one billion Muslims fast daily for 29-30 days worldwide. It is considered a month of blessing that includes prayer, fasting and charity.

Participating in the Fast-a-thon gives medical students and faculty a better understanding of how religious practices can affect the daily lives of patients and what special accommodations need to be made for patients observing the holy month.

“It also creates a good learning opportunity for all of the staff and students to learn about their fellow students and co-workers and the diverse culture they bring to the workplace,” says Shaza Al-Holou, president of the Muslim Medical Students' Association at U-M Medical School.

During Ramadan, followers of the faith do not eat or drink during daylight hours. To prepare for fasting, followers wake up before dawn to eat breakfast and then break their fast at sunset. Ramadan is based on the lunar calendar and moves 10-11 days back each year.

“This event brings together faculty, staff and students from across campus including many of our deans as well,” says Al-Holou, a second year medical student from Troy. “We are always excited to see the large turnout.”

Deans expected to attend the event include Joseph C. Kolars, M.D., senior associate dean of education and global initiatives, James F. Peggs, M.D., assistant dean of student programs and Rajesh S. Mangrulkar, M.D., associate dean of medical student education who will also be the introductory speaker and will talk about his experiences during fasting. The keynote speaker will be Ramzi Mohammad, Ph.D., professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine and director of gastroenterology research at Karmanos Institute.

Guests will begin arriving at 8 p.m. and breaking of the fast will be at 8:30 p.m., followed by a dinner reception that will include Mediterranean cuisine. The event will take place in the west lecture hall in the Medical Sciences Building II located on the U-M Medical School campus. Last year more than 100 people attended the Fast-a-thon. This event is free and open to the public. More information is available by e-mailing Shaza Al-Holou at shazaalh@umich.edu


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