Rabab Ali, MD

Start Year


Abbottabad, Pakistan

Where did you attend medical school?
Ayub Medical College Pakistan

What are your career goals?
I envision myself having a long-term career in academic medicine. For me it's the triple threat! It combines my greatest joy and love in medicine: Patient care, teaching, and research. Ultimate dream would be one day contributing to clinical research in a way that puts a dent in the universe.

What did you do the summer before intern year?
This disclosure will most likely make me the nerd of the group, but I did spend my summer hibernating in my research lab trying to wrap up my post-doctoral project at the NIH. On a lighter note, I took one week off in Charleston with my siblings which was great (for those who haven't been, possibly the best food in the US!)

"I am constantly surprised by how incredibly intelligent but down-to-earth the faculty and leadership are. The opportunities given to interns to learn, and practice autonomy with our patients in a safe-zone are immense and endle​ss"

-Rabab Ali

Reflections on the Duke Program

What were you looking for in a residency program?
I was looking for a place known for excellence in patient care and community service. I wanted to be trained by clinicians and teachers that practice evidence and research based medicine but also provide a nurturing environment for new trainees. I wanted to be in a setting that challenges me to grow, be a better clinician, a better researcher, and a better person overall. Strongly considering a fellowship in Translational Hepatology, I was also looking at programs that offer a strong training in GI and Hepatology.

What are the strengths of the Duke Program?
The people are hands-down the greatest strength of the Duke Program and this holds true for every single individual from leadership to the house-staff. I came to Durham not knowing anyone, and in less than 2 months, I have formed friendships with my co-interns and meaningful relationships with senior residents and faculty. There isn't a single day that goes by where I don't feel inspired, touched, and amazed by the intelligence, support, and compassion that is in absolute abundance at Duke.

What are your observations about the relationships between faculty and house staff?
An illustration of the relationship between faculty and house staff is how most of my attending faculty on the very first morning would text me their phone number and ask me to call/text them with a question anytime of the day (and that there is no such thing as a silly question!). Not only am I constantly impressed by how knowledgeable they are, but am even more inspired by their clinical approach, bed-side skills, and ability to think critically. They all have different personalities, but the absolute love for teaching and supporting the house staff stands common to all of them.

Tell us about your co-interns. What has helped you connect, support each other, and form friendships?
My co-interns are one of the biggest high-lights of residency. Even before getting here I could tell how incredibly supportive our class is, and after getting here, I learnt just how friendly and fun they all are! We are always trying to get together and hang out - even after a tiring rotation (because the company is just that good!) Everyday, one of the reasons I'm excited to go to work is because I get to work with my co-interns.

What has surprised you most about Duke?
I am constantly surprised by how incredibly intelligent but down-to-earth the faculty and leadership are. The opportunities given to interns to learn, and practice autonomy with our patients in a safe-zone are immense and endless.

About Duke University and Durham

What is the best thing about living in Durham and the Triangle?
The best things about living in Durham are food, outdoors, and of course, the weather! There is no restaurant in Durham where the food isn't just straight-up delicious. The city also has a really cozy college-town vibe, but at the same time lots of up-scale community complexes and restaurants to give it the right amount of urban-touch.

How does the Triangle appeal to people of diverse backgrounds?
Durham has people from all walks of life. Duke in particular, has students from all across the world and the county, making it culturally rich and diverse. If looking at food options, there is no cuisine that you can't find in Durham, and quite possibly when you do, be ready to have something delicious and extremely authentic.

Where did you choose to live and why?
I live on Erwin Street 5 minutes walking distance from the Hospital. I chose this because I wanted to be a stone-throw away from campus. It is a great location for that reason, but also having a Dunkin' Donuts and Chipotle close by is not a bad thing either.

What advice would you give to someone looking to move to Durham?
Be ready to move to one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Duke is absolutely gorgeous, and having the Duke Gardens on the way back from work is the perfect sanctuary after a busy rotation (must try if you come here). Even though its a small-city, it is the perfect size to have really anything and everything you need, and only a few minutes away.

What are your interests outside of medicine?
I'm a big foodie and love trying out different restaurants and cuisines. Also like having a cozy indoor night hanging out with friends, playing board games. My favorite activities are hiking (which Durham has plenty of amazing options for), and reading books.