Fozia Akhtar Ali, MD
Department of Family and Community Medicine
I have known and worked with Dr. Ali since I joined the family medicine residency program in 2019. She is one of the core faculty in the department and my mentor. Over the years, I have worked with her in several different settings, such as the family health center, the resident didactics, Bexar County translational advisory board meetings, community health clinics, conferences, Texas Association of Family Physicians research forum, grant sessions, and health fairs. I have seen her motivation, compassion, desire to bridge gaps and barriers, solid knowledge, and innovative thinking, positively impacting residents, medical students, colleagues, and the community. In particular, Dr. Ali is very devoted to community outreach and education. She inspired many of us to engage in the community’s overall health in and outside of the clinic. More than half of us in the residency program are part of a research project or another led by Dr. Ali. For instance, a few of us were involved in the community health seminar sessions at the El Bari clinic, promoting community awareness and empowerment. Several residents along with Dr. Ali were recipients of a grant funded by the raindrop foundation to offer local elementary school students educational sessions on proper hand hygiene during the COVID pandemic. In addition, I collaborated with Dr. Ali on an IIMS funded project on advancing refugee health literacy in San Antonio. Many of these research endeavors had led to presentations and awards at local, regional, and national conferences. Because of Dr. Ali’s natural ability to facilitate engagement and impact in whatever community she is in, the interactions with Dr. Ali had left many of us interested and actively pursuing quality improvement opportunities, critically thinking creative ways to improve the health of our patients and the community. Dr. Ali is the go-to person regarding culturally sensitive questions in the clinic, any challenges in billing and coding, and an obesity medicine expert. Dr. Ali is an excellent mentor. She teaches all residents, MS2 and MS3, even learners outside of our institution. She shares her career development path with us and gives us valuable suggestions and feedback on job search and contract negotiation. Finally, she invites a lot of residents and students to her lovely home, where she would demonstrate healthy eating and her routines of self-care to minimize burnout. She models patient-centered care, professionalism, life-long learning as a family physician.
Dr. Ali’s passions and qualities make the efforts she leads meaningful and valuable. Whether those efforts are improving community health, engaging learners towards understanding, or bringing multiple health disciplines together to turn a research question into an opportunity to change lives, it does not take long to realize it is a blessing to be on her team. She continues to serve as my mentor today, and I will be looking to her example far beyond residency. Her ability to engage any community she is in speaks to her leadership, and I hope my words help to give this inspiring individual well-deserved consideration for this nomination.