Please tell us about your background and areas of speciality.
I am an American-board-certified in neurology, clinical neurophysiology and movement disorders. I did eight years training in this speciality in the US.
What made you decide to pursue neurology – I understand you were among the first (if not the first) female neurologists in the Kingdom – it must have been quite a challenge to enter such a male-dominated field?
I pursued neurology because I developed an interest in this field since I was a medical student. I found the science of brain fascinating and challenging, and saw that we have a great shortage of neurologists in Bahrain and in the area in general.
Since neurological disorders are complex and require patience and focus, it was dominated by male physicians. I felt that I should take the challenge and be the first female neurologist in Bahrain.
I found all the support from my family; however my colleagues felt that it might be a difficult and challenging field for a female.
In the years since you returned to Bahrain after your training, are you finding patients and families are accepting of a woman in this position, and are more female students choosing to follow this speciality?
Since my return from the US, I started teaching medical students at both medical universities in the Kingdom – Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) and Arabian Gulf University (AGU). I would like to emphasise the role of a teaching doctor to influence students. Through proper training and teaching and making neurology exciting and challenging for the students, I would say the idea has completely changed, and I have a lot of my students pursuing the field of neurology – females and males. I’m excited that a number of my students are already completing their training in neurology in different countries and will be back soon to serve our beloved country.
You are now involved with the recently announced Delmon Rehab centre and have said there is a great need for this type of facility in the Kingdom. Why do you feel it is so important?
As part of my speciality in neurology, I deal with a lot of neurological conditions requiring rehabilitation afterwards, such as strokes, multiple sclerosis and patients after traumatic brain injury. I found this field to be lacking, unfortunately, in our country and even in the Gulf area. We are in desperate need for a specialised rehabilitation centre, where the patients are attended after their discharge from hospital. This is a vital step for recovery and it’s financially costly to our country to have such a prolonged stay for patients in the hospital, where you require beds for patients with more urgent causes.
What will your role be and what categories of injuries/conditions do you expect to be treating?
I will be helping with my professional colleagues in running this state-of-the-art centre and making sure the best care is provided to our patients until they are discharged back to their homes as a functional part of the society.
Is this the first facility of its kind and, if yes, what research has been carried out to assess the need?
We have gone through a feasibility study addressing the need of such services in Bahrain and in the region, and had excessive meetings with pioneers in the field of health and business, which all proved that such a service is a definite requirement.
Do you expect it to become a regional centre or will it be purely for Bahrain residents?
I expect this to be state-of-the-art centre providing comprehensive rehabilitation services that I dreamt about in our region.
Anything else you would like to add?
I have to say, I’m very excited to pursue this vital project with all my highly professional colleagues, and have great hopes that it will attract patients who are in need for such services from Bahrain and the Gulf region.