With the support of Daughters for Life (DFL), Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist Dr. Saja Anabusi recently completed a highly competitive fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) offered by the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Mount Sinai Hospital. This exclusive program is accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). Once selected for this Fellowship, she had to find a way to fund her participation in it. One of her colleagues, Dr.Hiba Zaroura, a previous fellow at DFL in Advanced Dermatology, encouraged her to apply to DFL and put her in touch with DFL’s founder, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish and the foundation.
Dr. Abuelaish was pivotal in supporting Dr. Anabusi to secure this incredible opportunity. His positivity and tenacity left an indelible mark on Dr. Anabusi. Even when she was convinced that they had gone as far as they could with the process and had explored all the possibilities, Dr. Abuelaish would smile and tell her everything would work out. He was right!
Support came from various branches of the DFL family. Meetings with DFL scholars were hosted, connecting them with a mentor. This is how Dr. Anabusi met Darina Landa, Executive Director of Advancement, Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a previous DFL board member. Darina was instrumental in helping her navigate the extensive final approvals necessary to enrol in the Fellowship and to ensure that she would meet all the requirements required to be able to write the RCPSC exams at the end of the program. They would also meet throughout the year for support and advice, which Dr. Anabusi found extremely helpful.
Jacklin Ibrahim, DFL’s Director of Operations and Programs, was another key member of the DFL team, providing Dr. Anabusi with prompt and considerate guidance and information. DFL also provided insightful and inspiring webinars, which transformed her expectations. “When you grow up in a place where all your thinking is directed towards a specific goal or path, it can be challenging to switch or change this. But the webinars showed us what others are doing and allowed us to see that there are other options.”
The future is not set in stone for Dr. Anabusi, who is originally from Baqa il Gharbieah, a small Palestinian Arab town in Israel. After completing her undergraduate and medical degrees at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, she completed with excellence her six-year residency program in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. In addition, she worked for a couple of years as a staff physician in maternal and fetal medicine. Then, she came to Canada to complete a Fellowship at Sunnybrook and North York General Hospitals.
Working at Mount Sinai over the past year was an incredible experience for several reasons. The sheer volume and variety of cases, including very rare and complicated ones, provided many opportunities for studying different approaches, which is extremely edifying. In the fetal division, she learned to conduct amniocentesis and CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling) procedures, honing her skills in performing ultrasounds. In addition to working long hours for months on end, Dr. Anabusi was required to research, prepare, and deliver at least 20 presentations, all of which will add significantly to her curriculum vitae. The University of Toronto-Mount Sinai program also revealed the value of a team approach to medicine, especially in the maternal unit, as the obstetricians worked in tandem with cardiologists, endocrinologists, internal medicine physicians, etc. This multidisciplinary approach demonstrated how a clinic should operate to provide the best, most holistic patient care.
Dr. Anabusi and her husband have four children, the youngest of whom was born in Canada. They mostly speak English and are very ensconced in the Canadian lifestyle. She credits her family as her biggest supporters, without whom she could not have done any of this.
Dr. Anabusi is very interested in working in an academic setting, perhaps teaching future generations in her field. In the meantime, Dr. Anabusi has started a Master of Science in Healthcare Quality at Queen’s University.