Meet Israa Najeeb, MD

Most expect the path to becoming a doctor to be long and challenging, but for Dr. Najeeb the road has been rockier and more winding than most – interrupted by war, first in her home country of Iraq and then in the border region between Libya and Tunisia to which she fled seeking refuge. She is a proud graduate of the Tripoli Faculty of Medicine in Libya where she also completed a cardiology fellowship, but the traditional career trajectory that should have followed – of residency and practice – was disrupted by 18 months spent living in a refugee camp before her immigration to the US was finally approved.   

Once here, she began the years’ long process of preparing for and taking the USMLE (the three-step test you must pass before you can apply for a medical license) and completing clinical rotations at US institutions to make her residency application competitive.  

As she was busy completing her final rotation, she was selected to join the first cohort of AFC’s new scribe program. Of her experience she shared that “sometimes life takes you on a different path from where you thought you wanted to be – in my case, away from cardiology and toward becoming a primary care provider delivering free healthcare to immigrants and refugees. As a refugee, I experienced what it was like trying to access medical care without resources or language skills. Then at AFC, I was able to witness the impact of quality care on patients facing similar challenges – now this is my new goal.”  

March 18th was “2022 Match Day,” the day that aspiring physicians who survived medical school, completed clinical rotations, passed their board exams – and in Dr. Najeeb’s case, persevered through war, refugee camps, and cross-continental immigration – learned if they had been offered a coveted spot in a residency program. We couldn’t be happier to be losing Dr. Najeeb to UM Capital Region Medical Center come July. We’re very happy that she’s staying in the area to serve the patients of the DMV and look forward to welcoming her back as a volunteer physician someday!