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Ali Aahil Noorali

Strengthening Health Care Systems

One night in December 2020, Ali Aahil Noorali’s 88-year-old grandmother was suffering from symptoms that indicated COVID-19 and needed immediate medical attention.

After seven hospitals refused to admit her, Noorali, a medical student in Pakistan at the time, stood outside an eighth at 2 a.m., which also turned them away because it lacked the necessary equipment to care for her. Eventually, Noorali and his grandmother headed home, and she passed away from COVID a few weeks later.

I have four personal tenets to making a difference: service, data-driven science, systems, and strategy.”

“I’d always seen medicine as care that we provide to individual patients,” he said, “but this seemed like a systemic issue, and something needed to be done about it.”

In medical school, Noorali proposed and completed an elective that involved working with the chief medical officer of a hospital to better understand how a tertiary medical center operates. He and his medical school colleagues also ran virtual workshops for college and high school students on conducting scientific research, attracting more than 5,000 registrants.

Through his volunteer work in health camps to deliver care to rural communities, he learned volumes—that dard (pain) has multiple meanings, that inaccessibility to quality health care is an undefined risk factor in disease progression, and that equity is an indelible foundation to building and bolstering health systems.

Noorali plans to continue to serve larger populations through the MPH/MBA program from the Bloomberg School and the Carey Business School.

“I want to make sure that health care systems everywhere are resilient enough for the next generation to do more for their loved ones and communities,” he said.