Dr Heval Kelli will never forget when during his third year as a medical student, a man kept coming to the clinic complaining about being hungry. The team was checking for underlying health issues, when one of Dr Kelli’s attendings took his history and realised that this patient was not able to get access to food. Dr Kelli came away from this episode with a lesson that still shapes him as a doctor: “If you treat everyone as you want your family to be treated, you will do well.”
Ankur Kalra’s guest is Dr Heval Mohammed Kelli, cardiologist at Northside Hospital Cardiovascular Institute, and a member of the ACC Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. In this inspirational and emotional interview, Dr Kelli talks about his journey, facing and overcoming obstacles, and the power of compassion.
Just after 9/11, Heval, the 18-year-old Syrian Kurdish refugee found a job as a dishwasher. At this point, he was the sole provider of his family. The pressure that comes from being poor did not leave him for many years. Today, he is firm believer in giving back to underserved communities by spreading awareness within the medical community. As he says, well-meaning people of privilege are sometimes afraid to act. What we need is more people to bridge the gap and find ways to help each other.
How can we use our power and privilege to serve? How did his experiences shape Dr Kelli to become an ambassador for his community? What is his message to our listeners?
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