Stepping up to help others back home and in Canada

- May 12, 2023

Ali Hammoud. (Provided photo)
Ali Hammoud. (Provided photo)

Born and raised in Lebanon, Ali Hammoud returned to the country last summer to work at the Children’s Cancer Centre of Lebanon, a non-profit medical institution that offers no-cost treatment to children from adolescence to age 18.

The third-year microbiology and immunology student, who is minoring in health studies and psychology, is passionate about using what he learns in the classroom to help others.

Ali’s job was to research and implement a data registry system to make access to healthcare and medication easier.

“There’s a major economic crisis in Lebanon,” he says. “It affects every sector of the country, including the health sector. With cancer patients, many don’t have access to medications. Without a proper registry system, we don’t know how many people have been diagnosed with different types of cancer; we don’t know what medications we need.”

While the work provided Ali with invaluable real-world experience, he says there were personal motivations for him to spend the summer doing that type of work.

“I endured many things throughout my childhood,” he says. “There was a war in 2006 and another in 2008. So, living among the people there during these tough, challenging times, I’ve always felt that I should give back to my home country, especially now. At the same time, I’m in Canada now — my professional goal is to give back to Lebanon as well as Canada.”

Enhancing the patient exprience

Here in Halifax, Ali works on the youth research consultant team at the PROSIT research laboratory at the IWK, a study that aims to improve the mental well-being of youth.

“We work on making posters based on research done by the doctor,” he says. “These posters are meant for the patients — they’re posted all over the place. We also enhance therapy areas for the patients. Finding ways to improve, maybe adding plants to a room for example, and just enhancing the overall environment, making it easier for the patient to feel comfortable.”

Once he completes his degree, Ali plans on remaining in Canada and hopes to go on to medical school and eventually become a neurosurgeon. It will undoubtedly be the satisfaction of helping others that will guide his journey.

“No matter what I do, even if it’s the smallest thing, helping people just gives me the best feeling in the world,” he says. “It gives me the sense that I’m doing something that’s going to benefit the patient or someone in need."


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