Medical school alumnus a doctor for all people

Alkhaldi hugs a classmate while gripping her Match Day letter.

Celebrating success

Rana Alkhaldi, MD '18, celebrates her success at Match Day this year.

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ana Alkhaldi, MD ’18, as thoughtful and disciplined as anyone in her class, couldn’t make up her mind about her career.

Alkhaldi loved delivering babies as much as caring for them as they grew older. But she also found joy and inspiration treating teens and adults.

So after taking inventory of her conflicted heart, Alkhaldi selected family medicine, a pillar of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine and a path to treat patients of all ages and sizes.

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“The family medicine approach to treating patients is the natural way and the holistic way I see my patients,” Alkhaldi said. “A lot of physicians focus on one problem with a patient. I wanted to treat the entire patient.”

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Alkhaldi was among 80 students who graduated on May 13 from the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine with their doctor of medicine degrees. She is continuing her training with a residency in family medicine at the University of North Carolina Medical Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

“If it wasn’t for our core faculty and my classmates, I don’t know if I would’ve made it through medical school,” said Alkhaldi, who served as her class president the last three years and the recipient of the Dean’s Leadership Award at Commencement. “Medical school is juggling 10 different balls in the air. Maybe you drop one once in a while. The question is, ‘Can you pick it back up?’ And we did. I’m so proud of our class.”

The daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Alkhaldi was born and raised in North Carolina. Her residency in Chapel Hill will bring her education full circle, after earning her MD and attending the University of North Carolina as an undergraduate.  

“Once I decided to do family medicine, UNC Medical Center seemed like a perfect fit for me, personally and academically,” Alkhaldi said. “My family lives in North Carolina and my husband is from North Carolina, too. He’s an attorney who taught classes in the philosophy and political science department at Quinnipiac while we were here.”

Alkhaldi credits her time at Quinnipiac for preparing her for life as a resident.

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“Back when I was researching medical schools, I found it interesting that the focus at Quinnipiac was on primary care, so I applied,” Alkhaldi said. “It was by far the best interview experience I had. The faculty and students I met were incredibly warm and focused on medical education rather than conducting their own research. The enthusiasm was palpable.”

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Before too long, the enthusiasm had developed into activism for Alkhaldi.

She signed her name — and encouraged other medical school students across the country to sign theirs — on petitions for patient rights and other causes involving access to health care.

“I feel very strongly about those things,” Alkhaldi said. “The part of me that cares very much about the rights of patients and their access to health care is the same part of me that affects how I treat patients. There’s a responsibility we have as physicians to ensure we are doing as much as we can for our patients and their well-being. That never changes.”