Author Archives Alex Berland

BHP activities for 2021

BHP support for the IUBAT College of Nursing continued during 2020. We still welcome volunteers to support the local faculty, especially with clinical supervision. However, our focus has been “behind the scenes” partly due to the pandemic restrictions and also to advance several exciting new developments:

  1. Working with Nurses International, we have been converting the BScN curriculum to an Open Educational Resource. You can read about this in several publications.
  2. During 2020 we worked with IUBAT faculty to develop a proposal for a Masters in Public Health Program. This will create a career pathway for nurses and other health care professionals. The national regulator is now reviewing the application, so we hope that students will be admitted later in 2021.
  3. Working with another NGO, Oasis for Posterity, we have supported development of a vocational college in a rural area of northern Bangladesh. We hope to offer a training program for community health workers and a primary care clinic that can also be used for training BScN and MPH students.


As always, we welcome volunteer contributions and involvement in these activities, whether working from home or in Bangladesh. Donations are always welcome.

Open Education Resources now available

When BHP volunteers helped IUBAT build the College of Nursing starting in 2003, we had to create all the learning resources ourselves. We wrote the course lectures and exams based on current textbooks in various subjects so that the syllabus meets the requirements of the nursing councils in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Each semester successive groups of visiting faculty volunteers updated and improved the content. Fifteen years later, that curriculum has been tested by volunteers with current clinical and teaching experience and used with many batches of students. We are now partnering with Nurses International, a US-based NGO to make these digitized materials available as Open Education Resources [OER], meaning everything can be downloaded, used and adapted without cost under the Creative Commons Licensing system. The intended audience is junior nurse educators who may need support as they begin their teaching careers. Please use the Nurses International link to access the materials or contact BHP if you would like to volunteer with further OER development.

Update July 2019


20190701_155915 In July 2019, Alex Berland visited IUBAT College of Nursing, meeting with Dr. Abdur Rab, Vice-Chancellor and Mr. Mohammad Ullah, Chair of the College of Nursing. They discussed Open Educational Resources, post-graduate nursing courses and clinical placements. Alex also presented a lecture for the general IUBAT audience on “Technology Enabled Learning”, highlighting how the BHP BSN curriculum is now being shared globally through Nurses International. He then met with College of Nursing faculty to discuss current teaching issues, particularly how to meet the challenges of increased enrolment, especially for active learning in the classroom. In addition to Dr. Karen Lund and Alex, three other volunteers will be visiting IUBAT CoN later this year. Since his last visit, Alex reports, the BSN program is experiencing strong enrollment growth, is retaining its local faculty who are working through recommendations of the largely positive accreditation report, and has recently renewed clinical placement agreements. In the near future, construction will begin for a laboratory block offering greatly enlarged lab facilities where BSN students can develop their clinical skills.

Increased enrolment in College of Nursing

Rabiul Islam, IUBAT Deputy Registrar writes, “The government has done a marvelous job for us, creating a central test for entry into all BSN programs. This required the Bangladesh Nursing Council to include IUBAT CON in the list of options, so that every candidate knows about and has confidence in the authenticity of IUBAT’s BSN program. As a result, we have 89 students enrolled in the BSN program as of January 2019. The BHP investment of energy and resources will accomplish its goal of creating a large group of health professionals in Bangladesh.  Going forward, there will be full classes for the visiting faculty volunteers. Please continue inviting anyone willing to volunteer in teaching at CON. And also, please advise us on the areas that need improvement to host more volunteers.” For more information on visiting faculty opportunities please see the volunteering information on this website or contact us at

Sister Margaret Sarkar retires

20181119_115200Many BHP volunteers will remember Sister Margaret Sarkar, who has recently retired as Nursing Superintendent at the Centre for Woman and Child Health in Ashulia. This is where IUBAT nursing students practice maternal-child nursing. We use this practicum site mostly because of the high standards for nursing practice established by Sister Margaret.

In addition to her registration with the Bangladesh Nursing Council, Sister Margaret earned a Bachelor’s degree at Dhaka University, a diploma and Bachelor’s degree in Advanced Nursing Science in UK and post-graduate training as an Oketani & Lactation Management Expert in Japan. Sister Margaret writes, “I will stay with my family in Barisal Town. Thanks again for your support to develop myself and my work in nursing at the community level, in professional development with nursing students, and in nursing care for patients.”

Sister Margaret’s life story is one of early hardship, rare good fortune, incredible effort and professional achievement. She is a modern nursing leader in Bangladesh, someone who has been an inspiration for many individuals and a driver of change for the nursing profession in Bangladesh. BHP volunteers and IUBAT students, acknowledge the contributions of Sister Margaret and wish her well in “retirement”, probably continuing her life’s work of service to others, now in a different way.

Meet the College of Nursing Faculty

20181120_093943Alex Berland recently visited IUBAT and shared this photograph of the current College of Nursing Faculty at a meeting in the Nursing Lab. Seated clockwise from left are Emtiaz Mainul (B. Eng. – program assistant) Khadiza Akter (BSN RN) Ishraq Rahman (BSc Biotechnology) Ayesha Siddika Rimi (BSN MPH RN) Priyanka Das Sharmi (BSN MA Gerontology, RN), Mostaque Ahmed (BSN), Shuvashish Das Bala (BSN MPH). Not shown Kanika Isla (BSN RN). Alex comments, “I was impressed with this dedicated group of faculty members. They have varied educational backgrounds, bringing diversity to the College of Nursing. I had a chance to observe them working as an effective team to solve every day problems, ranging from organizing a student spelling competition to mapping course competencies onto overall program objectives. I was also happy to note their solid grip on students’ learning experiences in the classroom and a clinical setting.” We welcome visiting faculty volunteers to work with these junior educators as coaches and mentors. Please contact us

Blog editor needed

Our project needs a volunteer to edit the blog on this website. It is a perfect task for someone  to support our work in Bangladesh who is unable to travel there at this time. The task is not urgent or time-consuming and requires basic facility with WordPress and social media. We will provide training and on-going-support, plus a steady feed of news items. Our previous volunteer, Helen Trung leaves big shoes to fill, but we know someone must be out there! Please contact us

Big THANK-YOU to Helen Trung

Our long-time BHP blog editor, Helen Trung, recently resigned because she is returning to university studies in September. For the past six years, Helen has been a dedicated team-member, interviewing graduates and visiting faculty to relate their personal stories about the impact of BHP and the College of Nursing. From long-winded explanations, hazy topics and partial facts, Helen has crafted concise, well-written and fascinating accounts. Our blog is an essential tool for recruiting volunteers and communicating with supporters. Thank you, Helen, for your sharing your talents with us and good luck with your studies.

Call for visiting faculty

Recent progress at IUBAT creates fresh opportunities for volunteers to support local faculty in the classroom and in clinical supervision. We heartily welcome Professor Dr Abdur Rab as the new Vice-Chancellor at IUBAT. He has expressed strong support for the College of Nursing and encouraged on-going involvement of BHP volunteers.  Under his direction, Nursing program enrollment has increased and the nursing lab improved. Also, our BSN graduates now work in various Dhaka hospitals so there are more opportunities for practice sites. For these reasons, we need visiting faculty who can strengthen IUBAT instructors’ skills in lecturing and supervising student practice. Formal teaching qualifications are desirable but not essential; many of our previous volunteers have been bedside nurses. IUBAT has arranged new guest-house facilities for visiting faculty in a modern building close to the campus; our familiar housekeeper will continue providing support. With these developments, we are ready to welcome visiting faculty for minimum four-week assignments. Please contact us for further information.

Mourning Dr. M. Alimullah Miyan

P1010575-001The pioneer of non-government universities in Bangladesh and Founder and Vice-Chancellor of IUBAT University Prof Dr M Alimullah Miyan passed away on May 10, 2017. This is a great loss not only to his family and friends in Bangladesh, but also to many people around the world. Dr. Miyan’s passion for education and his inclusive approach inspired many international faculty to volunteer at the remarkable university that he founded.

Dr. Miyan was an eminent global academic, bringing together the best ideas from many countries to create a uniquely Bangladeshi university. He balanced religious, cultural, social and educational values to create an “environment built for learning.” His life-long commitment to social justice is being implemented through Knowledge-Based Area Development. He consistently promoted teaching excellence and encouraged academic freedom and innovation.

For the College of Nursing in particular, Dr. Miyan planted the seed that has blossomed into the only independent non-government nursing college in the country. He was a pioneering advocate for the nursing profession in Bangladesh and worked tirelessly to overcome social taboos and institutional obstacles. At every major nursing function at IUBAT, Dr. Miyan spoke movingly of his vision for nursing, his ambition to develop professional leaders and his pride in the students and graduates.

We mourn our loss of this unforgettable, larger-than-life personality; we honour a life-long example of what can be achieved through courage, hard work and idealism.