Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Dr. Nahreen Ahmed

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This week, we are proud to highlight Dr. Nahreen Ahmed! Dr. Ahmed has volunteered on multiple missions and is the MedGlobal POCUS Program Chair. She created MedGlobal’s first Ultrasound program using state-of-the-art technology like the Butterfly portable device. Dr. Ahmed has trained other MedGlobal volunteers who have gone onto lead missions in places like Yemen, Pakistan, Greece, Gaza, and the US. 

Where are you located and what is your profession?

I’m a critical care doctor based in Philadelphia, working as an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. 

If you could witness any event of the past, present, or future, what would it be?

If I could witness any event of the past it would be to witness the Renaissance, specifically in Italy as I’m intrigued by the paradigm shift in art and science that occurred during that era. 

How would your friends describe you?

My friends would describe me as an adventure-seeker who is enamored with travel, deeply driven by the problems facing humanity with a specific soft spot for my motherland of Bangladesh. 

Who inspired/inspires you, both professionally and personally?

My grandfather was a renowned surgeon in Bangladesh, Dr. Shamsuddin Ahmed. He was killed in the Liberation War when he chose to remain with his patients, prioritizing the care of others and the greater good. Prior to that him and my grandmother spent all of their free time advocating for those less fortunate and especially ensuring that women and girls received adequate education. Though I have never met my grandfather his legacy has been the single most inspiring force in both my personal and professional life. 

What countries have you volunteered in?

I have volunteered in Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Yemen, and through other non profits in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. 

Why do you volunteer?

My parents were lucky to have had the opportunity to seek out opportunity in the US and as a result I have had the opportunity to advance my education, acquiring skills that are needed worldwide. I believe it to truly be a social responsibility to give back for those of us who have the ability and opportunity to do so. 

Whis is your most memorable moment on a MedGlobal trip?

The most memorable moment was in Sayoun [Yemen]. I went as an instructor to deliver a Point-of-Care Ultrasound course. What struck me was that I was the only woman in the entire classroom setting. When we walked through the wards the female patients and female staff mentioned how wonderful it was to see a woman on the team. What stood out to me then was that I have two responsibilities now–the responsibility as a volunteer to give my best effort but also as a woman, to represent a possibility of potential opportunity to work equally alongside the men. 

After volunteering, how has your perception of Global Health issues changed?  

Volunteering across various countries has opened by eyes to the vastness of global health issues, and at the root of them is equity–or the lack thereof. Every trip I go on pushes me further to think creatively on how we can support capacity building to empower communities so they can sustain the solutions to improve their own health. I am amazed by the intelligence and ingenuity of every person I meet in a global setting, from community members to health care workers. It gives me hope that together we can create impact and improve the equity of health care. 

Thank you for being a part of the MedGlobal community, Dr. Ahmed! 

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