Led by Dr. Ismail Mehr, a dedicated team of experienced IMANA volunteer doctors from the USA embarked on a life-changing mission to the Gaza Strip in collaboration with HEAL Palestine. Comprising Vascular Surgeon Dr. Shariq Sayeed, Pediatrician and Emergency Medicine physician Dr. Kanwal Shazia Chaudhry, and Pulmonologist Dr. Azeem Elahi, the team carried the hope of saving lives and making a profound impact on the lives of Gazans in desperate need of medical assistance.

Despite the challenging environment and scarcity of supplies, the team’s unwavering dedication and commitment to healing shone through as they provided essential medical care, performed surgeries, and delivered vital supplies to hospitals in Gaza. Each doctor, with their unique expertise, contributed to the mission’s success, embodying the spirit of compassion in action.

This collaborative effort underscores the importance of international solidarity in addressing urgent medical needs in conflict-affected regions and highlights the power of humanitarian aid to bring hope and healing to communities in crisis.

Their stories are vast, varied and seem inconceivable. Yassin is an 11-year old boy who lost both legs in a blast. The IMANA team tended to his wounds and then worked tirelessly to get permission for Yassin to be evacuated from Gaza to fly to Atlanta, Georgia, to receive prosthetics.

“The sheer volume of patients and penetrating injuries is simply indescribable. The limitations in manpower, equipment, and supplies also compound the current dire situation. The injuries being treated are both physically and emotionally taxing. From blast injuries to acute illnesses exacerbated by the acute shortage of essential medicines, each case presents a new challenge. The resilience of the local medical staff and many local volunteers is beyond description. They have been constantly working for the past 200 hundred days with no break,” said Dr. Shariq Sayeed

The Team

Dr. Ismail Mehr

Dr. Ismail Mehr, MD, is a board-certified anesthesiologist in Hornell, New York, affiliated with St. James Hospital and Bath Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Dr. Mehr served as President of the Islamic Medical Association of North America, a leading resource and network for American-Muslim physicians, dentists, and other healthcare professionals from 2013-2015. He has been the driving force and currently serves as the Chair of IMANA Medical Relief, a program that focuses on disaster medical relief and healthcare support and has provided treatment to over 2.5 million patients in 34 countries and counting.
Over the years Dr. Mehr has participated in over 25 missions to various countries.
As a strong advocate of making a difference in people’s lives across the world by providing free healthcare at their doorsteps, Dr. Mehr is often invited as a content expert by media outlets and professional associations to speak.

Dr. Shariq Sayeed

Shariq Sayeed, MD received his undergraduate degree in Biology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, graduating in 1994. He received his Doctor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in 1998. He completed his surgical residency in 2005 at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, followed by his Vascular/Endovascular Surgery Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

Dr. Sayeed is Board Certified in General and Vascular Surgery. He is also certified in Vascular Sonography by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography and has special interests in minimally invasive endovascular surgical techniques, management of carotid disease, aortic aneurysms, peripheral bypass grafting, and carotid stenting.
His hospital appointments include Wellstar Kennestone Hospital and Wellstar Cobb Hospital.

Dr. Kanwal Chaudhry

Dr. Kanwal Chaudhry is a distinguished physician with dual board certifications in emergency medicine and pediatrics, showcasing her exceptional expertise in both adult and pediatric care. With a commitment to humanitarian efforts, she has embarked on her 21st medical mission with the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA), demonstrating her unwavering dedication to providing medical assistance to underserved communities worldwide.
Dr. Chaudhry's passion for serving others extends beyond her work with IMANA, as she has also collaborated with numerous other organizations in delivering healthcare to those in need. Her profound experience and compassionate approach have made her an invaluable asset in crisis zones, including her recent return to Gaza for her second mission. Dr. Chaudhry's tireless commitment to improving healthcare access and her selfless devotion to humanitarian causes exemplify her as a beacon of hope and healing in the medical community.

Dr. Azeem Elahi

Dr. Azeem Elahi is an esteemed physician specializing in Pulmonary and Critical Care, and is known for his exceptional clinical skills and compassionate approach.
Dr. Elahi's attended University of Western Ontario for his undergrad, followed by earning his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, and pursued fellowship training in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Dr. Elahi has been recognized for his dedication, receiving honors such as the Castle Connolly Top Doctor award and the Critical Care Fellow 'Profound Dedication to Patient Care' award. Board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, and Critical Care Medicine by the ABIM, Dr. Elahi specializes in a wide range of pulmonary and critical care services, including thoracic oncology, interventional pulmonology, and advanced bronchoscopy techniques.
Beyond his clinical practice, Dr. Elahi is committed to global health initiatives, having participated in medical missions to Gaza, Syria, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Pakistan, and Puerto Rico, providing essential medical care to underserved populations.

SaveSmile

In environments that are highly susceptible to pollution, poor nutrition and prenatal care, birth defects such as physical abnormalities are an unfortunately common reality.

Such was the case for Amal, a two-year-old Sudanese infant born with a cleft palate, as well as extra digits in both hands and feet. For most children in her circumstances, these defects often guarantee one a life of ostracization and difficulty finding suitors for marriage as an adult. With IMANA’s care, however, Amal received a new smile and a renewed chance at life.

Brought to IMANA’s SaveSmile project in Sudan, Amal joined among 150 other patients who often travel from far distances just to seek the cleft procedure. Open for one week annually, the project serves to provide as many surgeries to the community as possible, with each procedure taking as little as 30 minutes to complete. In this environment, every second matters.

As a result of her treatment, little Amal is now able to live a life where she won’t have to be defined by her physical ailments when confronting the world. A life that includes being able to overcome her circumstances, free of shame and ignominy

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Dr. Ismail Mehr (Hornell, NY)

is an anesthesiologist who has participated in over 25 medical missions globally. He serves as chair of IMANA Medical Relief. The program has provided treatment to over 4.1 million patients in 40 countries.
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Dr. Kanwal Chaudhry (New York, NY)

specializes in emergency medicine and pediatrics. She has embarked on 21 missions with IMANA.
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Dr. Azeem Elahi (Concord, NC)

specializes in pulmonary and critical care. Committed to global health care for the underserved, he has been to six nations to provide care.
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Dr. Shariq Sayeed (Marietta, GA)

is board certified in vascular surgery. This is his fifth medical mission, including our first Gaza mission in 2009.

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