Couple Celebrates Earning Public Health Graduate Degrees

April 30, 2021 | Graduate News, News, UToday, Alumni, Health and Human Services, Medicine and Life Sciences
By Meghan Cunningham

Dr. Ahmad Ramahi and Dr. Kanaana Aburayyan have much to celebrate.

The husband and wife plan to participate in the upcoming commencement ceremonies to celebrate their master’s degrees in public health epidemiology, which they earned while also completing their medical residencies. They also are expecting the birth of their first child anytime now.

Dr. Kanaana Aburayyan is a spring 2021 graduate and Dr. Ahmad Ramahi, a spring 2020 graduate, is participating in the May 8 in-person ceremony, as extended to last year’s graduates.

Aburayyan is a spring 2021 graduate. Ramahi received his degree in spring 2020 and is taking advantage of the opportunity extended to last year’s graduates to participate in this year’s in-person ceremony on May 8.

“Having an in-person commencement ceremony next week filled us with joy and excitement,” Ramahi said. “It is the best gift any student can have to celebrate the end of this challenging journey, especially in these unprecedented times.”

The couple from Palestine met in medical school and came to The University of Toledo for their internal medicine residencies after earning their medical degrees in East Jerusalem.

With Ramahi’s interest in rheumatic and autoimmune diseases and Aburayyan’s interest in gastrointestinal diseases, they wanted to pursue additional education in public health to increase their ability to help their patients and communities.

“After finishing medical school, we realized that a good doctor can help and treat a few people, but this is not enough to help the community,” Ramahi said. “Genetics alone could explain some of the diseases but won’t be enough to explain others. Here comes the role of the environment and its effect on human health, the role of social determinants of health, and how that affects the health outcome significantly.”

Ramahi is currently a rheumatology fellow at the University of Michigan. Aburayyan’s is joining the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston as a gastroenterology fellow in July.

“Being a resident and a student at the same time wasn’t easy for either of us, but having each other helped us the most,” Ramahi said. “We could understand our different schedules and we supported each other at all times, especially during this pandemic. As we were approaching the end of our internal medicine training and the end of the MPH program, we felt it is a good time now to establish a family.”

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