Doctor’s first-person account makes a strong case for immigrants

Her connection to New York-Presbyterian made a statement about the hospital’s values.

“I'm an immigrant and a Muslim. And I'm here to cure cancer”- Logo


New York-Presbyterian Hospital wanted to make a statement about the importance of diversity, focusing on the contributions immigrants have made to medicine. The powerful piece it produced has won the hospital first place in the “Article” category of Ragan’s 2017 Health Care PR & Marketing Awards.

Diversity wasn’t a challenging issue for the hospital to address, given that one of its most accomplished cancer researchers is a Muslim immigrant from Pakistan. Getting Dr. Azra Raza to write the article from a first-person perspective, however, lent even more credibility to the effort. 

The resulting story, “I’m an immigrant and a Muslim. And I’m here to cure cancer,” describes Dr. Raza’s independent work maintaining the largest MDS-AML tissue repository, which is made up of 60,000 blood and tissue samples from patients. Dr. Raza’s efforts may help stop the progression of leukemia and potentially other cancers. 

In the article, Dr. Raza points out that her Pakistani upbringing gave her a different perspective than she would have had growing up in the United States. She also notes that her siblings—a pediatric oncologist, a radiologist and breast imaging expert, an international relations scholar and an electrical engineer—are immigrants too. 

“We are Muslims,” she writes, “we are immigrants, and we are enriching, prolonging and saving American lives. We are just seven of the many immigrants, from many lands, of many faiths, who are—and have always been—an essential part of America’s strength.” 

The article was published in the team’s first placement choice, STAT News, a leading voice in health care. The article was shared by multiple media outlets, including The Guardian. 

Congratulations to the team of Dominique Grignetti, Dan Weiman, Takla Boujaoude and Karen Sodomick.

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