“One of the elements of medicine I’m most enthusiastic about is taking care of patients, making sure they feel better, and get the care they need,” she shared. “I’m a fierce advocate for my patients.”
Today, Dr. Charaf is the Program Director for Morehouse School of Medicine’s Internal Medicine Residency Program, the same program in which she matched to after she graduated from Ross University School of Medicine (Ross Med) in 2010. The full-circle moment of leading the program that once guided her through her own residency is goosebump-inducing to think about as Dr. Charaf reflected on her journey from her first days at Ross Med to now.
“As a Program Director, I get excited about seeing the residents all the way through this journey and getting to serve them in this capacity,” said Dr. Charaf. “I also get to be their cheerleader, see them grow and become successful over the three years before they continue following their own career paths. Knowing I get to play a role in helping them along their way, no matter how big or small it is, is extremely exciting and a special part of my job.”
Prior to her residency at Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Charaf was first a medical student that enrolled at Ross Med in 2006. She was initially encouraged to apply to Ross Med after attending an alumni event in Atlanta, Georgia near where she grew up in Peachtree City. The stories she heard from alumni that piqued her interest later came to be part of her own story. From the lifelong friends made in and out of the classroom, to craving another smoothie from the juice man in the campus shacks, life as a student quickly became one Dr. Charaf remembers fondly.
The Ross Med Community
The Ross Med community will always be one of the most critical components of her journey, and her position at Morehouse provides her a unique opportunity to continue working with Ross Med students who match into her Internal Medicine program. Just last year, one of her 3rd year residents was a Ross Med graduate under Dr. Charaf’s tutelage with other Ross Med alums currently training in the program.
Through her leadership combined with Morehouse’s mission, Dr. Charaf is an advocate for increasing diversity in medicine. “Part of our mission is increasing the diversity in medicine and making sure there is a wider range of representation in the medical field. Morehouse does an amazing job of increasing representation.”
She continued: “There's a lot being done now in increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in medicine. Increasing the number of women in medicine and increasing diversity in medicine, in general, allows our patients to feel more represented, see themselves, and feel understood by the physicians caring for them.”
Even though her own inspirations to become a doctor came at an early age, she acknowledges it took the unwavering support of her parents and loved ones and the efforts of many women and men before her breaking through glass ceilings to help women advance in the medical field.
Today, Dr. Charaf stands, as she says, on the shoulders of giants that provided her the opportunities to be a successful woman in medicine.
“Those who came before me did not just help themselves advance, they worked for all those who came after them like me,” she said. “Although my career has not taken a traditional path, I am honored and humbled to carry the baton and pass it on to others that will come after me.”