Before COVID-19 hit, Dr. Aiman Hamdan was a dedicated heartcare and cardiology services professional who had long specialized in complex cardiovascular conditions such as aortic aneurysms, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart failure, heart tumors, hypertension, and pulmonary valve disease.
When the pandemic began, Dr. Hamdan immediately went into action to help. His expertise in the field of cardiology services would become invaluable during the crisis that was to come.
In the months since the COVID-19 pandemic began, medical experts have learned just how high the threat is for patients suffering from heart diseases. With this knowledge, and his lifelong experience as a heartcare and cardiology specialist, Hamdan has worked diligently during the crisis to educate people and organizations around the world on the particular dangers COVID-19 poses to heart patients.
“Having heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, pulmonary hypertension or another cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease has the possibility of increasing your risk of severe illness from COVID-19,” according to the CDC.
Though these dangers weren’t known immediately, much of the essential advice around COVID-19 has remained the same, especially precautionary measures. At the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Hamdan immediately developed a series of talks and lectures. These lectures, delivered in multiple languages, were made available to people on four continents: Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.
These conversations and lectures focused mainly on prevention and safety precautions. They were designed by Dr. Hamdan to educate the public on three important points: One, the virus and its effects; two, the warning signs and symptoms; and three, precautions to avoid infection.
At the beginning of the pandemic, knowledge about the specific dangers of COVID-19 was very limited. Dr. Hamdan, however, was well educated on and experienced with the many precautions vulnerable people can take to prevent becoming infected with any type of virus.
With no cure or vaccine available, Dr. Hamdan felt it was necessary to do his part to educate the public on viruses and the best safety precautions for prevention. Over the past nine months, he has delivered his series of talks and lectures in more than one language to educate the public on viruses and how to spot effects, signs and symptoms of infection and most importantly, ways to avoid being infected.
He has appeared on BBC Arabic, BBC London, Jordan TV, Jordan Radio, Palestinian TV and has shared his lectures through local media outlets, Facebook live, and other forms of social media.
In New Jersey, he delivered a lecture on prevention at the Islamic Center of Passaic County and in the Teaneck district to a group of school superintendents. Along with his lectures, Dr. Hamdan has offered his assistance to local schools in their attempts to implement precautions and safety protocol measures before school reopenings.
“My kids went back to school this August, and I wanted to ensure all kids going back to school would be as safe as mine,” Dr. Hamdan said.
In addition to his work educating people on COVID-19 and helping ensure local reopenings are done as safely as possible, Dr. Hamdan has also helped support his community during the financial crisis which has accompanied the pandemic.
With the help of a small group of volunteers, Dr. Hamdan has formed a community support group for individuals and families suffering from an extended period of job loss and loss of income. His group has since assisted over 600 families by providing food for over 12 weeks. His group further assisted struggling New Jersey families by taking extra steps to support those most vulnerable during the pandemic; providing aid to shelters and organizations that aid people struggling with homelessness.
When masks were at a shortage, Dr. Hamdan’s group provided local hospitals with thousands of masks.
“My team and I felt it was our duty to help those who were in dire need and were not in the positions to help themselves,” Dr. Hamdan said. “We are all in this together and we shall beat this evil together.”
Like many health experts, Dr. Hamdan doesn’t expect COVID-19 to go away soon. With the virus likely to stick around for years to come, Dr. Hamdan wants to do all he can to ensure others are coping with the pandemic, and are prepared to adapt to what life will be like once it’s over.
As cases continue to climb again, Dr. Hamdan hopes his efforts, and the efforts of other dedicated medical professionals like him, can help avert another spike. He also hopes his efforts will encourage people to assist others who are not in the position to support themselves and their families during this difficult time.
Dr. Hamdan, former President of the New Jersey Chapter of Arab American physicians, is a dedicated cardiologist with nearly three decades of experience in the medical field.
He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in interventional cardiology and the American Board of Vascular Medicine in vascular and endovascular medicine. He has been a member of various professional organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA), whose foundation recently issued plans to address disparities in medical treatment provided to the LGBTQ community.
(Contributing journalist, Allegra Nokaj) (Contributing writer, Brooke Bell)