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Residency Vascular Neurology, Preventing Strokes

In August of 2012, I flew home to Saudi Arabia (KSA) for an annual vacation with my family to celebrate the Eid holiday. I still remember Ms. A's voice when she called me, like she was crying, asking me to help her daughter and guide the family to get proper treatment. In my short visit to her home, I saw a young lady with a physical disability who was socially withdrawn because she had been misdiagnosed with a psychological disorder. I felt obligated as a physician to help them. I made some connections and called 999 to take her to the hospital where my friend was on call.  A CT scan showed she’d had numerous strokes. Eventually, she was found to have SLE with endocarditis. After she had valve replacement, it was difficult to find a rehab unit to provide appropriate recovery and minimize her disabilities. It put an immense burden on the family financially, physically and psychologically. That kind of scenario was not unusual to me; in fact, it was strong motivation to relocate to the United States to study neurology. After exposure to numerous cases in KSA and as the world becomes more connected, it is difficult to ignore how neurology departments, in general, and vascular neurology, in particular, are only nascent in Saudi Arabia in comparison to neighbors in wealthy countries. As a result, I have built a deeper confidence that a fellowship in vascular neurology is my first step to expand the number of stroke units in KSA.

My dedication to teaching started early, when I was in middle school. I have five siblings and helped teach them what they needed to excel in their classes. Later, I motivated them to study medicine as I continued to help them with their studies and answered their medical questions. Through this, I gained the self-confidence to handle students’ and residents’ needs. As a resident, I enjoyed the opportunity to teach a diverse student population that augmented my teaching skills. Also, in my position in KSA I've volunteered to provide lectures and educate the general population about early stroke symptoms and how to prevent strokes.

Since graduation, I have liked inpatient settings and have felt more engaged in acute setting situations because of the challenges that motivate me to answer patients’ concerns. In addition, I believe a strong relationship between the patient and physician starts early, builds inside the hospital and continues to strengthen until patient discharge. I still remember Mrs. Espy. She was a mysterious case who had a new finding in her physical exam every day. I was with her each step of any diagnostic approach, explaining what we expected from it and how it would help us treat her. Finally, she was diagnosed with Listeria rhombencephalitis. She and her family remembered how I supported them, and they thanked me every time they saw me in the clinic. Such a grateful feeling provided me tremendous confidence to pursue a career that deals with acute and inpatient settings.

I very much look forward to giving my all to your Residency Program in Vascular Neurology and I thank you for considering my application.

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