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Refugees in PA Success Story

Dr. Nawar Al Janabi, Family Physician

Dr. Nawar Al Janabi arrived in the United States in 2013 as a refugee from Iraq. As a driven, hardworking young medical student, he dreamed of becoming a family physician. He graduated from medical school at the University of Al-Mustansiriyah College of Medicine and completed a training internship before moving to the United States. Since his arrival, Dr. Al Janabi has passed all three of the U. S. Medical Licensing Examination steps and has received licensure as an assistant physician in two states. Prior to working at Multicultural Health Evaluation Delivery System (MHEDS) in Erie, Pa, he has been employed at the Multicultural Community Resource Center in Erie as a social service case manager for resettled refugees. He has been active in the medical community doing multiple medical observation rotations at all three of the hospital systems and three separate physician practices in Erie, PA. He served as an active board member at MHEDS until he was hired by them and is involved in research projects with the California Institute of Behavioral Neuroscience. He has published twice since his arrival in the U.S.

Despite his numerous achievements and experiences, Dr. Al Janabi has been unable to successfully match with a family medicine residency program here. Seeing the unrealized potential in Dr. Al Janabi, MHEDS hired him initially as a clinical assistant to be a part of their culturally diverse practice. He has been able to get a temporary medical license due to COVID-19 emergency medical license regulation changes, so he is now working as a family medicine provider. He has agreed to take on additional responsibilities, including directing MHEDS' COVID-19 response team, where he will focus on improving health equity for COVID-19 testing and prepare MHEDS for gradual and safe reopening.

We will work with him to support the securing of a permanent medical license and successful entry into a family medicine residency program. Factoring in the ongoing shortage of culturally responsive primary care physicians and the lack of providers willing to treat the most underserved patient populations, this is a true win-win-win situation. Dr. Al Janabi gets to realize his dream of working as a family medicine physician and gains additional valuable experience, while MHEDS and its patients benefit from his expertise. His clinical skills, dedication to primary care medicine and ability to connect with patients who have also been through the refugee resettlement process makes it a win for patients. His positive attitude and agreeable nature have already endeared him to the staff at MHEDS as we are sure will be the case with our patients!