#Trailblazer: Dr Aisha Yousuf
Dr Aisha Yousuf, Director of Reproductive Surgery at Sidra Medicine, talks about the growing role of technology and robotics in medicine
The economic transformation of Qatar in recent years is predominantly seen through an infrastructure-focused lens. While cranes and newly-built skyscrapers dot the landscape of Doha and dominate media conversation, the day-to-day, human impact of such transformation is equally important. Diversification of opportunities has empowered men and women to pursue emerging and rigorous career paths in finance, healthcare and sciences.
A female doctor in Qatar, an exemplar of the nation’s investment in human capital, now finds herself at the forefront of the latest revolution in medicine: robotic healthcare.
Dr Aisha Yousuf works at Sidra Medicine, a private hospital for public benefit that provides specialised healthcare for women, children and young people. It delivers comprehensive specialist healthcare services such as cardiology, neurology, urology, and plastic and craniofacial reconstruction for children. Additionally, it offers maternity, gynecology, and feto-maternal services for women.
Chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and established by Qatar Foundation (QF), Sidra Medicine embraces best practice medical education, innovative biomedical and clinical research, and patient and family-focused care.
As Director of Reproductive Surgery at Sidra Medicine, Dr Yousuf specialises in robotic and minimally invasive gynecologic surgery. She says: ‘Family is at the core of Qatari culture and the very heart of this is women. It is therefore vital that women can have access to groundbreaking and innovative healthcare services.
‘Robotic Gynecological Surgery at Sidra Medicine is performed through Da Vinci Robot machines, which gives us doctors better visualisation, through 3D cameras and surgical ergonomics.’
The advantages of using robotic techniques mean that operations have become minimally invasive – with smaller incisions that lead to less post-operative pain and faster recovery. It also means that patients can be discharged sooner due to shorter hospital stays.
The addition of Robotic Gynecology Surgery is part of Sidra Medicine’s ambitious plans to set new standards for healthcare in Qatar and the region by leveraging the latest technology, techniques, teaching methods, and attracting leading medical talent, both locally and internationally.
“I consider myself as an example of the education vision for Qatar, particularly as part of QF. I see my journey from student to an employee as one that came full circle, as I graduated from an QF partner university, and then after completion of my training abroad, I went back to work at Sidra Medicine.”
Women are increasingly leading the way in medicine in Qatar, according to Dr Yousuf. She says: ‘We are very lucky to have visionaries like Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who have set things in motion for a whole generation of women.’ Dr Yousuf was inspired to become a doctor by Her Highness. She explains: ‘I had the privilege of meeting Her Highness at my high school for a special event that was hosted for high achievers. I was inspired by Her Highness’s vision for QF and Education City, and that led me on the path to consider medicine as a career choice. I was one of the first students to graduate from Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar and went on to the University of Michigan Hospital, where I completed my specialization in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
‘Following that I went to the University of Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada, and completed a subspecialty fellowship programme in minimally invasive and robotic surgery, under the sponsorship of Sidra Medicine.
‘I consider myself as an example of the education vision for Qatar, particularly as part of QF. I see my journey from student to an employee as one that came full circle, as I graduated from an QF partner university, and then after completion of my training abroad, I went back to work at Sidra Medicine.’
Now, she is glad to see others following in her footsteps. She says: ‘It is very encouraging to see more women entering the field of medicine and research in Qatar.
‘With a female Public Health Minister, Her Excellency Dr Hanan Mohamed Al-Kuwari, at the helm of advancing healthcare, there is no better time for us to be in healthcare.
‘I find it motivating when I see more Qatari female colleagues joining our diverse teams and me in the operating rooms, as we continue to save and change lives.’