From Lebanon; seeking a Clinical Research degree in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is enrolled at University of Chicago.
"For It Is In Giving That We Receive"
I am Rula Atwani, a Palestinian graduate of the American University of Beirut, School of Medicine, class of 2019. I am currently a Research Fellow at the Hematology-Oncology Division at the American University of Beirut Medical Center. My research is mainly focused on Breast Cancer Treatment.
In my elementary, secondary and high school I worked to and I "had to" rank first in my class to get a yearly scholarship so that I can have the best education in private schools despite the financial issues most of the Palestinian refugees have in Lebanon. I always knew that my only asset to achieve my big dreams is getting a good education.
I finished High shcool with Distinction, and received a full scholarship from Unite Lebanon Youth Project to study Medicine at AUB. It was as if I owned the world. I kept pushing harder until I finished my Premedical Degree in Biology with Honors. Four years later, I got My Medical Degree.. My passport to freedom and to the achievement of my life's major goals.
Women's health, Obstetrics and Gynecology are my main interests. This is why I started my research here at AUBMC in the Breast Cancer Field. I dream to continue this research in the United States and become an prominent Obstetrician who can give back to those who supported me to achieve my goals. I also want to support those needy students who are waiting some one to send the elevator back down. I will be there. I promise.
Recently, I got an offer to be a Postdoctorcal Research Fellow at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University Of Chicago for two years. The offer regrettably comes with a 6 month non-paid probation period for International Applicants. My position will be paid thereafter.
I therefore need your financial support to cover my living expenses during the first 6 months of this new journey. I don't want to miss on this chance because I believe it will pave the road for a better future to me and to everyone who believes in me. I would be honored if you decide to be part of my Journey and help me pay it forward.
Why Should Donors Fund You?
I have been a scholarship recipient since I was a grade school. I never failed my donors and proven time and again worthy of their investment. By investing in my education, their donations will go a long way in helping others I would be in a positon to lend a hand to.
Their legacy will live in every baby I deliver, in every woman I cure from breast cancer, in every hope one has as a result of the research I will be involved in.
How Do You Plan to Payback?
My only wish is to be worthy of all the support I got and I am still getting from my people. I have met so many great legends in my journey to whom I look up to and hope to follow their steps. I am determined to become a successful physician who will be able to support her less fortunate patients endlessly and help educate refugee students, especially those who are interested in medicine.
One of my biggest goals is to build an outpatient Obstetrics clinic at my grandparents Camp- Mokhayam Al Jalil- where every woman who cannot afford private clinics charges can still visit my clinic for free and keep taking care of her pregnancy and have healthy babies.
I have heard about hundreds of cases where women terminate their preganancies, give birth to unheathy babies, or even die during delivery at home because they cannot afford the expensive clinic visits in Lebanon, especially that refugees have no health insurance or any other medical coverage. I wish one day we can together put an end to this.
Volunteer Work/Social Capital
- Oct 2019-present I am currently a Lecturer at the LEBANESE BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION (LBCF)
Supporting breast cancer patient’s treatment, including radiation therapy and surgery,
disseminating more knowledge and awareness about breast cancer, promoting systematic and
programmed early detection campaigns, and supporting breast cancer research projects and
clinical trials. We raise funds to support all the needy breast cancer patients.
- Jun-Aug 2015 Middle East Partner Initiative Leadership Program- Department of States
I was chosen by the American Embassy in Beirut among almost 600 applicants with 7 other
Lebanese applicants- I was the first Palestinian to be chosen- to be part of a leadership program held by the
Department of States, where I travelled to the states for 40 days, I received
multiple classes in Portland State University about Conflict Resolution,
Democracy, Leadership and many other topics. I attended a workshop about
leadership at Stanford University within the same program.
- 2014-2015 Volunteered at Children Cancer Center of Lebanon
The activity aims to help children with cancer to improve their health and
psychological state. I used to entertain the children and play with them
while they are waiting for their turn at the doctor's clinic
- 2014-present Volunteer at the Active Ageing House-United Lebanese Youth Program
The activity aims to provide Plaestinian elderly with care and love, offer a shelter to
them, teach them how to read and make use of the natural resources.
- 2012-present SAT TEACHING-United Lebanese Youth Program
United Lebanese Youth Project offer scholarships for underprivileged academically promising
students and help them with their SAT exam to get accepted in many universities including AUB
and LAU. I help in teaching those students the SAT material
- Feb-Sept 2014 Volunteered at the project of The Palestinian Identity in Lebanese Universities-Lund University
This activity was done by a Swedish researcher Dr. Torsten Janson at Lund
University, it aims to take part of the Palestinian students' experiences from
university studies as well as their earlier education, their reflections and
thoughts about the past, present as well as the future. I was one of the
- I worked with the Mercy Corps in Portland Oregon on a project related to the right of the Lebanese woman to pass her nationality to her kids.
What Have You Done to Improve Yourself? Awards and Achievements
I have been working on developing my personality and expanding my knowledge nonstop. In 2015, I applied to the Middle East Partner Initiative Leadership Program- US Department of State and was one of seven out of 600 hundred applicants chosen by the American Embassy in Beirut for this program. I was proudly the only Palestinian chosen to take part in the leadership program. I travelled to the United States for 40 days, where I received multiple classes at Portland State University about Conflict Resolution, Democracy, Leadership and many other topics. This experiece taught me a lot about the importance of team work, love of community, sacrifice and dedication.
I believe that improving self starts with giving to others and this is why I take every opportunity to give before I take. Few years ago, I started volunteering with the ULYP, which offers scholarships for underprivileged academically promising students and help them with their SAT exam which can help them get ccepted into prestigious universities including AUB and LAU. I also volunteer as tutor for SAT exams. Most of the students do not get adequate instruction at their schools. It is such a rewarding experience to see these students eventually score high on these tests.
In addition to that, I always make sure to keep myself involved in volunteering opportunities in the medical field because it is the field that I can give my best to. In 2019, I joined the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation and I started raising awareness through lectures about importance of screening, early detection of breast cancer, proper examination and treatment for women of different ages all over Lebanon. This Non-Profit organization raises funds annually to offer free screening and medications for needy breast cancer patients REGARDLESS of their nationality or faith.
I also worked so hard to get a hands on clinical experience in the States to understand what it means to be an Obstetrician in the States. I went to Eastern Virginia Medical School and to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where I spent one month at each hospital at the High Risk Division at the Obstetrics and Gynecology department. It was a great experience that helped me build a solid foundation of knowledge, as I had a great exposure to so many high risk pregnancies, and I am honored to have received excellent recommendation letters for my future speciality application. Fortunately, all the expenses for these two months were covered by the Unite Lebanese project.
AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS:
American University of Beirut and Medical Center- 8th Beirut Breast Cancer Conference
Best Abstract Presentation Award- Feb 2020
United Lebanese Youth Program Scholarship
Recipient of full scholarship for the undergraduate education-2012-2019
Georgetown University Center for Intercultural Education and Development
Certificate of Excellence in completion of the Applied Facilitation Training
Course given at 2016 MEPI Professional Education Conference
Portland State University
Certificate of Excellence in completion of the 2015 Middle East Partnership
Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Program
American University of Beirut
Dean’s honor list, 2013-2014-2015