For Dr. Rania Elkhatib, the first Israeli Arab woman to become a plastic surgeon in Israel, the job at Rambam Medical Center is a chance to be an emissary for her community.
The first Israeli Arab woman to become a plastic surgeon, Dr Rania Elkhatib works at the Rambam Medical Center, the largest hospital in northern Israel.
After studying medicine at the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and then specializing in general surgery, the 28-year-old doctor decided to focus on plastic surgery: “… It was important to me because in our community plastic surgery isn’t very advanced and it’s not well accepted so I feel a bit like an emissary for my community, to go into this field and take it forward,” she says.
Situated in Haifa, Rambam is the referral center for 11 district hospitals. Its plastic surgeons treat a number of conditions, ranging from burns, war injuries and cleft palates to breast and facial reconstruction for cancer patients.
Thirty percent of doctors at Rambam are women, and the representation of Arab physicians is proportionate to the numbers in the population.
While the hospital is committed to providing equal opportunities, Prof. Yehuda Ullmann, head of the plastic surgery department, stresses that doctors are chosen purely on merit: “Plastic surgery residency is the most wanted residency in medicine not just in Israel but all over the world, and she was elected not because she’s Arab, not because she’s a woman, because she is Dr. Elkhatib and she is good and she is a very good doctor over here so we are lucky to have her here.”