medical student helps people with language and other difficulties | Information Center
Just over two months ago, Dr Laura Culley, Associate Dean for Community Engagement at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV, received a phone call from Tami Bruno, Refugee Health Coordinator of UNLV. the state of Nevada. Bruno needed help with a refugee family arriving from Syria, especially the family’s son with chronic kidney disease who missed his dialysis treatment during the transfer to Las Vegas.
When Bruno mentioned that the family spoke only Arabic, Culley, who made a point of keeping up to date with what was going on in vocational schools for nursing, integrated health, community health care, Dentistry and Allopathic Medicine at UNLV, remembered that several students in the university’s health programs spoke the language, and she asked for help. Three medical school students, Fadi Azar, Elena Salmon and Aziza Dhalai, were part of a six-member group who volunteered to help the young man known as “Baz” navigate medical interactions. in Las Vegas.
Dhalai, a third-year medical student who began life in Yemen, a country in the Middle East, sat with Baz for several hours at the university medical center while waiting to receive dialysis. She said the shy young man revealed during their conversations that his family initially fled to Iraq five years ago from Syria, which was in the midst of a civil war.
âHe was exhausted and once he asked to leave,â Dhalai recalls. âI’m glad I was there to talk to him. If he had left, his condition could have worsened.
Culley said Dhalai’s quick response to his request was indicative of the six students who worked with Baz. âThey are very busy and very caring,â she said. âThey held a group discussion and worked as a team over the following weeks to ensure that Baz would always be accompanied by a student for any medical interactions. We were able to immediately get her Medicaid for Baz and take her to an outpatient dialysis center within days of her arrival, which is virtually unheard of.
It wasn’t the first time Dhalai has played a role in helping people settle in the United States and she says it won’t be the last. âI was not a refugee. I was an immigrant. But I know what it’s like to be new. It can be scary. It is not easy. Our family received help that I will never forget. This is the kind of thing you want to convey. In the past, she has also volunteered to work with the homeless through the CARE and HOPE CLINIC in downtown Las Vegas.
âNo one is safe from being on the street when things go wrong,â she said. âYou meet someone who has worked in a restaurant for five years and now lives in a shelter. Most of the people I met were just grateful for the sandwiches we provided, but most of all for recognizing and listening to them. I asked a gentleman what was the most difficult on the street and he said he had no one to talk to. It had been months since he had spoken to another person since most people avoid making eye contact with him.
That Dhalai is now poised to enter one of the most respected professions in the world seems all the more astonishing when you think about it.
She was born 39 years ago in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East. Lacking basic resources, such as education and health care, it had been divided into North and South Yemen after gaining independence from Britain. In her rural village in South Yemen, which was a communist state, most of the women were illiterate.
âI’m sure I would be exactly like these women today if my father hadn’t been able to go to the United States and work hard and take advantage of the opportunities,â Dhalai said.
Dhalai said his father came to the United States in the 1970s accepting to be a farm laborer in California. âIt was what he knew,â she said. âWe had a cow, goats, chickens and sheep where we lived in Yemen. I would help keep the goats and the sheep.
By the 1980s, his father had saved up enough money to help an uncle open a small grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and then bring his family to the United States. Dhalai was then 5 years old. first time I saw snow. I’m not a big fan of the cold, but there is nothing more beautiful than everything covered in fresh snow.
Dhalai learned English quickly. âThe teachers were amazing. They gave us some extra help that they didn’t have to do. I will never be able to forget it.
At the age of 10, Dhalai, who has two older brothers and two younger sisters, accompanied his parents to their medical appointments, often translating for them, especially for his mother. âSo I thought about becoming a doctor because they seemed to know everything, how to treat people. But I really thought it was impossible, that I wasn’t smart enough, that I didn’t have the money.
Before his final year of high school, Dhalai’s father had the opportunity to open a convenience store in Las Vegas, and the family moved to the city in the late 1990s. Dhalai, who at the time described himself as a average student, graduated from Eldorado High School in 2000.
A variety of jobs
Over the next 13 years, she held more than half a dozen jobs, including as a teaching assistant and in an airline call center. The time spent at each job made her think that she should do something more intellectually stimulating, maybe become a doctor. But becoming a single mother of two after a deteriorating marriage felt like a dream that would never come true.
However, a funny thing happened on his way to an unsatisfied life. She received A’s in classes she took part-time at the College of Southern Nevada while she was working. The family, seeing her wanting to make a better future for their children, helped with the children while she was in school. She received grants and scholarships and tutored other students so that she could attend UNLV, where she was almost an A-level student. After graduating in ’18 BS Biology, and to have done well in the medical school entrance exam, even medical school, through loans, seemed doable.
Scheduled to graduate in 2023, Dhalai plans to become an ophthalmologist. She remembers how her grandmother lost her sight in Yemen because there was no medical care to cure cataracts. “She just saw it as a normal part of aging.” And Dhalai also remembers how his own mother was able to maintain her eyesight after cataract surgery in the United States which only took a few minutes.
“I want to help people all over the world like this someday,” said Dhalai, who points out that her age – she was 36 when she started medical school – didn’t hurt her feelings. friends at school. âI couldn’t have asked for a better group of classmates. Some of them are amazingly young, but they are amazing people.
Today, Dhalai says his future has never been brighter.
âI consider immigrating to the United States to be equivalent to winning the lottery, and the prize came in the form of education and the opportunity to pursue my ultimate passion, a career in medicine. “