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Striving To Be the Best

JPS Health Network, Dr. Alawi, Doctors Week

When you're young, you often dream of what you want to be when you grow up. You might imagine yourself as a police officer, firefighter, ballerina, or even a princess. For Nadia Alawi-Kakomanolis, MD, MBA, Vice President of Clinical Operations, Acclaim Multi-Specialty Group, her childhood dream was to become a doctor. And that's exactly what she did.

"I knew I wanted to become a doctor when I was four years old. It's been my whole life," Dr. Alawi said. "I believe it was PBS, and they featured a neurosurgeon. It was a female, and she was the first female neurosurgeon in the world. I remember turning and looking at my mother and saying, 'I'm going to be the second one.' That didn't happen because I didn't want to be a neurosurgeon anymore when I grew up, but I decided to be a doctor."

Dr. Alawi was determined to become a doctor, so she embarked on her mission to achieve her goal. This involved taking the science track in high school and getting a job at the age of 13 to save up for college.

"I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and at 13 years old, you could get your working papers, but you had to get a doctor's note," Dr. Alawi said. "I went to see my family doctor, and I asked him for a doctor's note, and he asked, 'for what?' I said, 'I want to save up money for college.' He asked me what I wanted to be, and I told him I wanted to be a doctor, so he gave me a job. I worked as a receptionist after school and on weekends, then slowly became a medical biller at his office. I worked there through high school and college, and I did a little work for him during winter break of my first year in medical school."

Dr. Alawi attended St. John's University, where she double majored in biology and philosophy and minored in english and chemistry. She later attended the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University for her medical degree. During her residency, she discovered her passion for internal medicine and shifted her focus.

"I love the primary care of internal medicine because I liked learning and knowing so much about the human body," Dr. Alawi said. "I liked having that relationship with my patients where I know about their families, vacation plans, and every little aspect that impacts their health and wellbeing."

Never take 'no' for an answer. Just because somebody said no doesn't mean they will say no in the future," Dr. Alawi said. "Always try to drive your own path.

Dr. Alawi joined JPS Health Network as a primary care physician after working at an urgent care facility that didn't allow her enough time to spend with her family. She explored other options and found a perfect fit at JPS, working as a primary care physician. Dr. Alawi is multilingual and fluent in English, Arabic, and Spanish, making her a valuable asset to serve diverse patients within the JPS community. She began her JPS journey at Diamond Hill Health Center, and after leaving her position as the Associate Medical Director, she was not initially interested in anything beyond clinical work. However, Dr. Alawi's path at JPS led her back into leadership when the Interim Medical Director of Diamond Hill Health Center went on maternity leave.

"When the Interim Medical Director went on maternity leave, she asked if I'd take the position," Dr. Alawi said. "So, I went home and talked about it with my husband, and I asked, 'Why would I be interim? Why wouldn't I just apply for the job?' And he says, 'So, apply for the job.' I applied, and I got it."

Dr. Alawi took on the responsibility of being the blood pressure champion in her new role. She successfully guided these efforts, which led to her being asked to be the diabetes champion. Her ability to bring about positive change in the patient population prompted her to apply for the Executive Medical Director of Population Health position. Eventually, she became the Vice Chief of Primary Care role, which would enable her to make a significant impact on the JPS patient population. However, she wasn’t allowed to do both.

"The president of Acclaim at the time came to her and said, 'What if we have a hospitalist be the Executive Medical Director of Population Health and as Vice Chief of Primary Care, you'd be a dyad partner to have inpatient and outpatient covered,’” Dr. Alawi said. "I enjoyed the population health work part of it. It's not just looking at the narrow vision of the patients I care for daily. It's trying to improve the health of the entire population of Tarrant County. My patients are definitely a driving force."

Dr. Alawi was most recently appointed Vice President of Clinical Operations and has successfully provided exceptional care to the patient population. She is still passionate about value-based care work and is excited about the opportunity to touch a bit of the population health sector while being able to drive change and quality through the network. Her inspiring journey, starting with a dream at the age of four, has led to a successful and enriching career, which inspires many. Dr. Alawi wants those entering their careers to never feel like they can't do it and always strive to be the best.

"Never take 'no' for an answer. Just because somebody said no doesn't mean they will say no in the future," Dr. Alawi said. "Always try to drive your own path. Your path doesn't necessarily need to be the one that anyone has devised for you, and it might not be the one you devised for yourself. But realize that your path can always veer to the right, and suddenly, you're exactly where you were always meant to be. Most importantly, always believe in yourself. You have the power to be anything you want to be if you believe."