Guyana’s Next Gen Diaspora: Dr. Alia Abdulla

Megan Small

Guyana's Next Gen Diaspora Dr. Alia Abdulla
Dr. Alia Abdulla

The Helping Hand: Dr. Alia Abdulla

Age: 35
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale
Profession/Specialization: Surgical Oncologist/Cancer Surgeon

A cancer diagnosis can be heartbreak for a patient. But the journey may seem less daunting in the capable hands of surgical oncologist Dr. Alia Abdulla. A specialist in several areas, Dr. Abdulla most enjoys “meeting new patients and helping them deal with their personal hurdles associated with their diagnosis.”

Dr. Abdulla first became passionate about cancer treatment as a student at the University of Miami’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scholarship program, where she first began researching into cancer and its causes. “This was my first exposure to the severity of this disease,” says Dr. Abdulla. “I was intrigued to learn more.” She then went on to take a Post-Baccalaureate position at the National Institutes of Health in the National Cancer Institute in Washington DC. “There, I continued my research and was also involved with patients with cancer,” recalls Abdulla. “This is where my interest in helping cancer patients began.”

She now currently holds a practice at the Center for Advanced Surgical Oncology in Hialeah, where she continues her hands-on approach to care. Seeing the aftermath the disease can have on her patients, Dr. Abdulla is also eager “to help and educate the community in dealing with cancer, especially the Caribbean population in South Florida and the West Indies.”

Faced daily with the challenge of cancer treatment, Abdulla credits her Guyanese heritage for instilling a work ethic that “has allowed me to persist and succeed. As a child of immigrant parents, I have grown up seeing my parents work hard and sacrifice so I could be afforded the opportunities they never had.”

As for her advice to young members of the Diaspora eager to find meaningful work through medicine, Dr. Abdulla advises them to “seek out what you are most passionate about and go for it! It’s not an easy road so you must like what you do. Medicine is a very diverse field with many specialties.”

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