Our alumni are located in all corners of the world and in many different kinds of institutions. While our alumni have different subspecialities and work in different locales, they all have the same training base. We hope their perspective will help inspire you and provide a unique perspective on residency training.
Our current profile is Dr. Nawal Nour, Chair at BWH. Dr. Nour is the first Black department chair and the first woman to lead OB/Gyn at the Brigham. We hope you enjoy reading about why she chose obstetrics/gynecology at BWH/MGH.
Nawal Nour, MD, MPH
Class of 1998
What made you decide to pursue OB/Gyn as a career?
When I was in college, I had two major interests: development studies and international relations. My senior thesis solidified my longstanding interest and passion for women’s health and human rights. I worked at the United Nations Development Program in the Division of Women and Development, and during that time, I reconsidered my career path with a focus on either medicine or law. In the end, my love for science and public health, with a lens on reproductive health and justice, led me to become an obstetrician-gynecologist.
What made you choose BWH/MGH as your residency?
I was an HMS student, and my rotations at BWH and MGH clearly demonstrated their excellence in teaching and patient care. The program was filled with faculty and residents who were smart, passionate, and dedicated to improving the lives of women. In addition, Dr. Robert Barbieri was Chair, and it was his commitment to cultivate leaders in OB/GYN that made me want to be a part of this wonderful residency.
What unique preparation did the BWH/MGH Ob/Gyn residency give you for your career?
Our residency prepared me to become a highly qualified, compassionate physician who cared for the underserved population. I had the privilege to operate amongst some of the most talented surgeons and learn from the brightest faculty.
How does your current position correspond to where you envisioned yourself as you finished residency?
I had never envisioned being Chair at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. After residency, I completed a minority health policy fellowship at HMS/HSPH. This one year helped me build the African Women’s Health Center at the Brigham where I provided culturally competent care to women who had undergone female genital cutting. I was also the Division Director of Ambulatory OB/GYN and eventually the Global OB/GYN Division Director. Next, I became the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, which led me to becoming Chair here. I believe that these various moments of transition, uncertainty and change have added layers of leadership experience that brought me to where I am today.
Do you have a favorite memory from residency?
My favorite memories were spending time in the L&D residency room where we would laugh and joke about numerous things in our lives. The friendships made then continue to be strong today.
What do you miss from residency?
I miss the easy camaraderie, friendship and learning.
If you could go back and give advice to your intern class, what advice would you give?
- Try to become the best physician you possibly can.
- Know that each attending will give you their pearls of wisdom that you can take or leave.
- Create as many friendships during your time as they will help you during your darkest of moments.
What is the most rewarding part of your current job?
There are so many parts of this job that are fantastic, and it is truly a privilege to be in this position. I love being able to see our medical students and residents grow under the tutelage of our excellent residents and faculty members. I also enjoy seeing our faculty members accomplish their goals and continue to further their own careers. It’s rewarding to see our patient care increase in quality and inclusivity and for it to be recognized outside our hospital walls. And it is an honor to learn and grow alongside peers and colleagues.