Dr Nohad Al-Omari has been dean of the college of pharmacy at Al-Kitab University in Iraq since 2017 – a move she made from a post at the University of Mosul after a time of political upheaval.
She was acting dean of the college of pharmacy at the University of Mosul in the dislocated campuses in Dohuk and Kirkuk provinces, after the Mosul campus was damaged by fire.
She is passionate about sharing her experiences of overcoming extremism with the power of education, empowering women and putting pharmacy at the forefront of healthcare.
With a three-decade-strong academic career fraught with challenges and a plethora of accolades from all over the world, Dr Al-Omari talks to Costanza Pearce about her successes, challenges and love for the pharmacy profession.
Q What inspired you to become a pharmacist?
A I like to present any service to humankind that I can because I’m a humanitarian by nature.
Q How would you describe the current state of community pharmacy in Iraq?
A The pharmacists themselves are good, but they have limited capacity, with continuous inconvenience because of the security situation [in the area].
Q What’s the key to your success?
A I am optimistic, professional, a leader thanks to my personality and loyal and honest in my lifestyle.
Q What are your biggest achievements?
A I have been recognised with many awards as a female leader in pharmacy, both nationally and internationally.
Q What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
A To keep going straight forward and ahead despite all obstacles and challenges.
Q Do you have any professional regrets?
A I’m in a continuous race to bridge the gap between my country, Iraq, and the rest of the world in education and healthcare.
Q What are the key qualities of a good leader?
A A good leader is patient, passionate about their career, supportive, keen, dedicated and inspiring to others. They provide hope and positivity, value teamwork and keep going against all the odds.
Q What advice would you give to women who want to be leaders?
A Keep to your vision, be loyal to your mission and believe in yourself. Then your objectives and goals will definitely be accomplished.
Q What challenges have you faced along the way as a woman?
A Gender differences and facing hardship among people who don’t believe in my cause.
Q What makes you happy at work?
A Teamwork – when mission-impossible is achieved.
Q How have you tried to inspire the female students you work with?
A By being a real and successful example of Iraqi society during both war and peace time.
Q What changes would you like to see in community pharmacy in Iraq?
A I would love for the gap to be bridged between Iraq and the developed world of community pharmacy and for the sector to be part of global achievements.
Q Are you confident about the future of pharmacy in your country?
A Iraq as a country has been sick throughout its long history but it has never died! Pharmacy in the ancient civilisation of Iraq will return.