Married to Medicine

At work, they’re known as Dr. Noor Bakroun and Dr. Mustafa Hussain, two highly-skilled physicians at the IU School of Medicine Arnett Family Medicine Residency program, but at home, the stethoscopes come off and they are simply husband and wife. We sat down to talk with these two about what it’s like to be married to medicine.

Q: Why did you choose to pursue Family Medicine?
A: Dr. Noor Bakroun: I chose family medicine because of the diversity this field has, we treat so many different conditions and it allows us to be well-rounded and think outside the box. As a family physician, you treat the patient who has a disease, not just the disease. Also, being the primary person patients come to with their concerns and questions and being the primary person to guide treatment and management is a great privilege. Family medicine also focuses on many different chronic conditions prevalent in our community such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and being able to manage these is important to give back to our community.
Dr. Mustafa Hussain: I had job shadowed many family physicians prior to entering medical school, and enjoyed the time spent with those doctors. I witnessed the humbleness and amount of care the family medicine doctors dedicate to patients every day as part of their career. I also come from a background of family physicians. Being a family medicine doctor is more than just being a doctor. To some patients, the doctor is the psychiatrist, the friend, the social worker. They have the honor to care for patients from a young age and watch them grow into a healthy lifestyle and guide those with difficulties to make correct decisions. Family medicine doctors play a big role in their community as well, since they have an idea of the needs and issues their community is dealing with.

Q: How/Where/When did you meet?
A: Dr. Noor Bakroun: We met on the Caribbean island, Saba, where we both did medical school at Saba University School of Medicine. Mustafa was one semester ahead of me, he would tutor many of the students’ courses such as histology, physiology and neuroscience and I was one of those students. We were also both part of a student committee. I was his treasurer and he was the president. Mustafa walked me home two weeks before writing his final exam on the island and he asked me if I would consider getting to know him more. I had to ask my father. He ended up traveling to Doha, Qatar, to ask my father for his permission. My mother and father loved him and gave me their blessing to get to know him more and here we are.
Dr. Mustafa Hussain: The interesting part is that my brother was also in her class at university… He was not too happy with me in the beginning, haha.

Q: How long have you been together/married?
A. Both: We have been together since 2015 and got married on March 31, 2018.

Q: Couple residency matching process… tell me a little bit more about that. How did you decide where to apply, what was that process?

A: Dr. Noor Bakroun: To be honest there was a lot of intense decision making during this process, it was a pretty stressful moment in our lives. I am a US/Canadian citizen and Mustafa is a Canadian citizen, so choosing programs that would fit both of our needs was where the struggle began. We both did not want to compromise each other’s chances in getting in our location of choice. We both knew we wanted family medicine, which made things easier and we had similar interests in the type of location we wanted such as a University program, unopposed, family-oriented and a safe area that was also close to our home, Canada. Fortunately, we had several interviews in the same location, which made it a little easier during the ranking process. We then ranked programs as a couple and it worked out really well for us.