Palestinian Physician at the age of 20 years old
“[Palestinian people are] the main inspiration for me to be a doctor and I would like to fulfil my childhood dream to make a difference to their lives…”
Iqbal El-Assaad is a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon and has been named the youngest medical doctor in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. At age 20, she was the youngest medical graduate from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar in the college’s 10 year history. Iqbal has been bright since birth – as a toddler, she would observer her older siblings study and by age five, she was reading books and solving math problems.
Iqbal felt a responsibility and drive to help Palestinians by studying medicine after witnessing the harsh conditions of Palestinians, particularly children, in Lebanon’s refugee camps.
Iqbal’s intelligence and drive has helped her achieve her goals. After paying tuition for the first two years of school in Lebanon, her principal noticed her genius and gave her a full scholarship for the remainder of her school years. She skipped several grades and graduated high school at age 12 – the youngest student in Lebanon to ever graduate high school – and was honored with a full scholarship to study at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar.
Following graduation from medical school, Iqbal began a three-year residency at the Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. She hopes to ultimately become a pediatric cardiologist, which will take three more years following residency. Her dream is to return to the Middle East and work between Qatar and Lebanon to help the Palestinian people.