Souzan El-Chazli, MD
Souzan El-Chazli, MD
Graduation Date: 2019
United Arab Emirates (now Canada)
Health Quest Medical Practice (Rhinebeck, NY)
Family Medicine Resident
Born and raised in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Souzan El-Chazli, MD ‘19, was always intrigued by the “sheer complexity” of the human body and its healing processes. When her family moved to Canada in 2011, Dr. El-Chazli, then an undergraduate student at the American University of Beirut, transferred to Brock University in Ontario, Canada, to be closer to her parents and five siblings. There she earned her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. After graduating from St. George’s University in 2019, Dr. El-Chazli is currently a family medicine resident at Health Quest Medical Practice in Rhinebeck, NY.
St. George’s University: Why did you choose family medicine as your specialty?
Souzan El-Chazli: During my first two undergraduate years at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a medical center in an underprivileged area where healthcare access was challenging. During this time, I shadowed a primary care doctor who was serving there. I was impressed with how the doctor focused not only on acute care and treatment, but that he also forged strong relationships with his patients, offering suggestions on how to live healthy lifestyles for the better. We worked in clinics, hospitals, and also did home visits. I loved the versatility and diversity of family practice.
SGU: What is it about the specialty that appeals to you?
Dr. El-Chazli: There are a lot of aspects to family medicine that other specialties don’t really offer. I love that it allows me to see patients from the beginning to the end. You can see children, you can see adults, and you can see women who are pregnant and follow them throughout their pregnancy. It is impressive to have a role that can extend far beyond the practice of physical healing for patients.
SGU: What is your favorite part about being a doctor? What is the most challenging part?
Dr. El-Chazli: My most favorite part of being a physician is making a deep impactful difference in someone else’s life. I love it when I have the ability to significantly improve the quality of life of my patients, as this can be a tremendously satisfying experience. Also having a deep personal connection with patients is hard to match in any other profession. It’s truly an honor to be trusted with another human being’s health and well-being, and it requires a deep level of trust.
As a physician, I am there for my patients during their challenging times. I recall conversations with a patient when their family member was terminally ill, or when a patient needed an invasive procedure. While it was not easy for these patients, I felt honored to be able to help them in such a moment of vulnerability and to help them navigate these frightening situations. Their demonstrations of gratitude are tremendously powerful and leave an impact on me every day.
SGU: How did SGU prepare you for a career as a primary care doctor?
Dr. El-Chazli: SGU opened the road for me to become the primary care physician I really wanted to be. I like to say it was the best years of my life and making the transition to Grenada was never a problem for me. When I went to Grenada, I felt like it was where I was meant to be. Despite the different backgrounds/cultures/countries of other students and faculty, you are around people who are just as motivated as you are. I met a great group of friends who became practically my second family. We tend to easily miss how important such factors are in your medical career.
In addition, SGU guided us really well and made sure we had all the academic support along with studying strategies, time management sessions, even DES classes for lecture reviews. I had the opportunity to participate in Grenadian healthcare so that gave me the international medical experience. It is also worth mentioning the valuable experience in US clinical rotations. I rotated with many physicians and residents who were willing to share their knowledge, which helped in shaping my passion for family medicine.
I am currently in my last term of the Master of Public Health/preventative medicine track, which is helping me tremendously to learn how to address health issues that are community specific. For example, I learned about how a patient’s zip code can define the environment the patient is living in and what risks he or she gets exposed to. In Rhinebeck, NY right now, if a patient comes in with flu-like symptoms, they could have a tick-borne illness. Learning about human diseases, animal diseases, and occupational and environmental health are all areas that contribute to my treating of patients.
SGU: On a personal level, any hobbies or organizations that you are passionate about?
Dr. El-Chazli: My personal interests include tutoring, event planning, and traveling for volunteer work. During my free time, I like to be active and stay fit, so I jog and walk outside. I also enjoy hiking with my friends, watching movies in the cinema, or even simply going to a restaurant together. During the COVID pandemic, I have been learning how to play guitar during my free time, but I am still a beginner!