Rani Hanna, PA-C, and Sara Jamil, PA-C, met during community college and have been together every step of the way to becoming physician assistants.
As children living in a war-torn Iraq, they had heavy responsibilities to care for their families and help them navigate the escape to the U.S. Neither Rani nor Sara spoke English when they moved to Michigan as teenagers, but they were determined to help their families and communities make better lives. Sara shared that despite her parents coming here and starting with nothing, “They provided my siblings and me the opportunities we have today.” They taught her to stay motivated, to give back and to always speak the truth. “I am so grateful for these skills. I use them in my life and career every day,” she added.
After receiving their associate degrees, they studied biology, knowing they wanted careers in healthcare. “I worked as a certified nursing assistant—that's how I met other PAs and learned about PA school,” Sara explained. Rani first thought about dentistry, but he didn’t want to limit himself to just one specialty. “PA school would give me the opportunity to practice different kinds of medicine. I have the flexibility to change specialties and career paths,” Rani stated. Their dedication paid off. They excelled academically and rose to the top of their physician assistant class.
A big part of the decision in choosing Drexel’s Physician Assistant Program was the mission to care for the underserved. Growing up amidst armed conflict, healthcare was very difficult to come by. In fact, Rani lost his mother because she could not get the proper medical care. He has worn the shoes of the marginalized, so he’s especially in tune with the people he treats. The urgent care where he works is 40 minutes away, but he’s excited to go to work every day. Rani pointed out that there are not many clinics around his area. He stated, “I see patients for primary care, OB/Gyn and pediatrics. People shouldn’t have to wait months, especially during COVID, to see a doctor for blood pressure medication.”
This husband-and-wife team seems to be motivated by the same thing despite working in different areas of Detroit: Listen to every patient, give them the time to talk and treat them as a human being, not just like another chart. This compassion is something they learned through lived experiences and cemented in place by CNHP’s PA program. “When you see people living with no power, no electricity, no nothing, the smallest things mean the world to them. We bring this into our profession because we are grateful for what we have and where we are,” they concluded.