Where did you grow up?
I was born in Damascus, Syria, and moved to the U.S. at the age of 2, with my parents and older sister. I grew up in Ohio up until high school, at which point we moved to Fishers, Indiana. I have lived in Indianapolis since.
What is your medical school/undergraduate background?
I went to IU School of Medicine for medical school and completed my undergraduate degree at IUPUI.
Why are you pursuing a career in ENT?
I was inspired to pursue a career in otolaryngology for multiple reasons. As a first year medical student, I attended a presentation about facial reanimation, and I was fascinated by the intricacy, critical thinking and creativity that goes into helping patients regain the confidence to smile. Our head and neck anatomy module further intensified my interest in the field; I was captivated by the sheer beauty of how muscles, nerves and vessels come together to produce every facial expression and allow us to perceive and interact with the wondrous sounds, tastes and sights of the world around us. In addition, the pathologies of the head and neck are intriguing and have a drastic impact on patients’ quality of life; these patients face multi-faceted problems that present in a wide-variety of age groups, cultural backgrounds and clinical settings. As a result, the diversity of available surgical options is awe-inspiring for motivated learners, something I appreciated while shadowing as a second-year medical student. A few hours after a neurotologist restored hearing to a 7-year-old girl by removing her cholesteatoma, I found myself back in the OR working alongside a head and neck cancer specialist, recreating a patient’s pharynx using an anterolateral thigh free flap. My clinical rotations further solidified my interest in the field.
What intrigued you about IU School of Medicine?
The program at IU is completely in line with my personal and professional goals. IU School of Medicine has a strong breadth of training in all otolaryngology—head and neck subspecialties, and on multiple occasions, I have witnessed an atmosphere of camaraderie and excellence among residents and faculty across the board. This institution fosters a culture of embracing all learners and encouraging them to thrive. In addition, I have been fortunate to be involved in the strong research-focused plan of the department as a resident, as research inspires me and allows me to think critically about unsolved scientific questions. In addition, the tradition of service evident at IU School of Medicine—medical mission trips to South America led by Dr. Shipchandler and trips to Africa that our residents have recently taken part in—is a very exciting and appealing opportunity that resonates with my interests. Finally, IU will allow me to strengthen my roots in Indianapolis, the city I’ve grown to love over the years and the place my family and I are happy to call home.
What have you learned most from faculty in the department?
We’ve got a phenomenal department with wonderful teachers. Each faculty member takes the time to develop us into confident and skilled surgeons, through graduated responsibility, high expectations, and modeling kindness, compassion and excellence. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from our faculty, from how to perform the physical steps of surgeries, to how to have a difficult conversation with a patient.
What are some of your hobbies?
Running and biking; spending time outdoors with my two year old son and my wife; spending time with my six siblings and my parents, most of whom live locally.