An Al Ain physician in residence at a top US medical centre is looking forward to returning home to put her training in the treatment of genetic diseases to use helping Emiratis.
At one of the world’s foremost universities for medical research, Dr Noura Al Dhaheri is breaking ground for Emirati women and honing skills that will one day be put to use in improving health in her home country.
The 30-year-old Al Ain native is a medical genetics resident at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
She hopes upon completing her US tenure to return home and help improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of genetic diseases, especially among the young.
Having graduated from the UAE University College of Medicine and Health Science, where she was subsequently appointed a teaching assistant at the Al Ain school, her path was laid out in 2012 when she visited the Children’s National Medical Centre (CNMC) in Washington DC on a two-month clinical attachment .
“It was a truly enriching experience, and I became even more persistent in my aim of pursuing genetics as a future career,” she said.
“My ambition was to come back to CNMC to obtain my post-graduate training in paediatrics, followed by medical genetics. Shortly after, my dream came true.”
When Dr Al Dhaheri began her three-year tenure at the medical centre in the US capital in October 2012, she was the first such Emirati resident physician at the hospital.
“It was nothing but full of learning opportunities, daily challenges and memorable stories from my patients,” she said.
“I learnt how to deal with challenging situations, how to become more efficient – and, above all, I became a passionate paediatrician.
“It was a bumpy journey at some points, but the support we got from each other as colleagues, and from our great programme leadership, was tremendous and helped us all to get through.
“We not only became friends, we became like family – standing for each other and sharing happy and sad moments.”
Dr Al Dhaheri said the biggest challenge was being away from her family.
“The early phase of transitioning to a new environment was also somewhat difficult. But I consider most of the challenges that I faced along this journey to be a learning experience,” she said.
“I am proud to have been the first Emirati to be accepted for training at CNMC and consider myself lucky that I had the opportunity to train in one of the best children’s hospitals in the US.
“Being the first means being a representative or ambassador for the UAE. I hope I succeeded in achieving that.”
Two more Emiratis have since been accepted for paediatric residency training at the centre. Dr Al Dhaheri hopes others will follow.
As for herself, her goal, as she continues her training at Johns Hopkins, is clear.
“I strive to become a skilful paediatric geneticist and a committed educator, teaching and conducting research in the dynamic, ever-growing field of medical genetics,” she said.
“I dream of the day I return to the UAE to serve my nation.”
Dr Al Dhaheri believes the way is open for other Emiratis to do the same.
“Today, Emirati women hold senior political, executive and legislative positions,” she said.
“We see positive examples on a daily basis of Emirati women who have succeeded in representing the UAE strongly, both regionally and globally. The sky is not the limit in the UAE.”
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Source: uae news