- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 4, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dr. Alex Garza, an Army Reserve captain and emergency room doctor from Missouri, saw firsthand how hopelessly outdated Iraq’s medical libraries were. Back in the United States, Dr. David Gifford, a retired Army colonel, learned of the problem from a physician friend stationed in Iraq.

Unbeknown to each other, the two men thought of a plan: to modernize Iraq’s health care system by getting up-to-date medical textbooks and journals into the hands of Iraqi professors and students.

Dr. Garza and Dr. Gifford eventually joined forces, and soon medical schools, publishing houses and other donors around the globe donated boxes of medical literature to the war-scarred country. More than 100,000 items have been collected so far.

“This is really a big change,” said Dr. Thamer Al Hilfi, professor at the University of Tikrit College of Medicine. “Everyone here — doctors and students — feel like they are born again.”

WebMd Corp. donated 3,000 copies of its 2003 surgery and internal medicine textbooks, valued at about $500,000. The University of Tennessee and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York sent more than 2,000 textbooks and journals each.

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