There is something special about people who work in the medical field. They have a way of connecting with people and a deep desire to heal. Mariham Elias, a Medical Assistant at our Tempe Clinic, has wanted to work in medicine for as long as she can remember.
“I always wanted to go to medical school. It has been a dream of mine but it never seemed like it was going to happen,” she shared. “The situation in my country didn’t help me at all. And when I moved to Jordan I put it on hold again because I knew that those credits wouldn’t transfer to the U.S. and I would have to start over.”
Raised in Baghdad, Mariham and her family lived in a war-zone for four years. When Mariham was 17, her brother was kidnapped.
“We had to pay a ransom to get him back. Luckily he was safe,” she recalled. “That moment my family knew that we couldn’t stay so we moved to the northern region of Iraq where my father and grandfather were from.”
From 2007 to 2009, she lived there with her family until she met and married her husband Zaid.
“I moved with my husband to Jordan in hopes of finding safety and a new beginning,” she said. “Living in my country during the war was hard because we didn’t know who the enemy was. We were scared of everything and everyone. After the war, people changed. Their ideas and beliefs became scary. Friends became enemies and families were destroyed.”
Mariham and Zaid have been married for seven years. They escaped the war in Iraq to give their daughter a better life.
Mariham and her husband Zaid wanted a place to call home, somewhere where they could raise their now 4-year old daughter Adline. After living in Jordan for four years, the family of three got the opportunity to relocate to Arizona where Zaid’s sister was living.
“We came to Tucson and felt welcomed and comfortable from the beginning,” Mariham said. “It’s a blessing that I am in the United States living a normal life.”
While in Tucson, Mariham and her husband worked hard to learn a new culture. Although they both finished school in Iraq, they enrolled in a GED program at Pima Community College to improve their English. During this time Mariham found out that she was one of a few lucky students to receive a scholarship to pursue a Medical Assistant certification.
“I wanted to go back to school so much so it was exciting for me to be able to take a step toward pursuing some form of medicine,” she said. “I finished the MA program and knew that the door had opened for me.”
Time in Tucson eventually came to an end and the family moved to Phoenix. Zaid got a better job and Mariham began her job search.
“I found out about Mountain Park and fell in love with the organization because of its mission,” she said. “I wanted to help and give back to a community that helped and welcomed me. Now I see patients that speak my language and I am able to educate them about all that Mountain Park has to offer.”
For the last year, Mariham has not lost sight of her ultimate goal, to continue advancing in the medical field. Being an MA has been a great start and working at Mountain Park is preparing her to be an Ultrasound Technologist. She is taking her prerequisites, while still working full-time, and has recently transitioned into the Women’s Health department to gain a better understanding of how we care for our female pregnant patients. She personalizes care to each individual patient and gets to know them on a deeper level.
“Mariham is always willing to help,” Dr. Edward Taxin told us. “She always comes in with a proposed solution and is the go to when we are faced with difficult problems needing accurate solutions. She is always friendly and eager to help and learn new medical information. And she makes a great chocolate cake!”
When the time comes to graduate, Mariham hopes to continue working for Mountain Park as an Ultrasound Tech to help our patients understand the process and make them feel at ease.
“I feel like doors are always opening for me,” she said. “I’m so happy to be on a team where I can pursue my degree and help our patients.”