’03 Grad is Doctor On Frontlines Fighting Covid

From Tanzania to Banner Health – Passion Drives Dr. Adulaimi


Father Paul Sho

Dr. Sommer checking a baby’s heart beat in the Tanzanian hospital.

Nousha Aldhefery, Editor

Sommer Aldulaimi in quarantine can best be describe as PJ’s off of Amazon and coffee- but behind that caffeine and comfort, there is an amazing doctor, who graduated right here at Sahuaro in 2003. I had the great privilege of interviewing her this week. I’ve known Sommer for a while (she’s my cousin!), and throughout my life she has been one of the biggest inspirations to me. Her courage, empathy for others, and passion makes her a wonderful woman to interview and look up to. So without further due, this is not only my compassionate cousin, but an amazing medical professional, Dr. Sommer Aldulaimi.

Dr. Sommer Adulaimi is a board-certified family physician, who practices full-spectrum academic family medicine. She is an associate professor and teaches medical students and residents. She works in a clinic and Banner Health hospital to take care of sick adults, deliver babies, take care of newborns, and sick children. She is also the associate program director of a residency program. Her mission is to take care of under-served patients both locally and internationally. She states that she is “really passionate about global health, the care of refugee patients, and taking care of an entire family.” 

She had gotten off her night shift in the COVID-19 unit at Banner Health, which seems to be difficult during this time on the front-lines. “In the beginning, it was really scary, it felt like gearing up every day was gearing up to go to war against an enemy I couldn’t see, but once I got onto the Covid unit I realized we had enough PPE [Personal Protective Equipment]. I started learning how to best take care of patients, and it became less scary.” Working during this pandemic has not only worried her, but it’s also taken up all of her time. “My schedule has been pretty crazy [because of Covid].” She says, “I’ve been working like crazy in the hospital to take care of patients. I’ve been pulled away from my normal clinic, hopefully in the next couple months, I will be back into my clinic.” 

Through all of this, college, medical school, residency, it must have been stressful. Dr. Aldulaimi says that her motivation was the end goal of it all. “It was definitely a long journey with a lot of sacrifice, what motivated me was the end goal of actually being a doctor. Realizing that I could take care of patients and make a difference to their lives.” It’s safe to say she’s done more than the average person to save the world. Not only does she help patients in Arizona, she recently just took a trip to Tanzania.

During her trip to Tanzania she did many important things. “I went to this rural village in Tanzania where I was invited,” she said reminiscing that moment. “They have a very high neonatal mortality, a lot of babies die compared to other parts of the world. One of the things I do in my global health work is to teach a course called “Helping Babies Breath”. This course teaches different people how to resuscitate newborns when they’re delivered. I taught three courses, two were for doctors and clinical officers, and one course was for community health workers. In between the courses, I was working in that hospital taking care of patients, and assessing what other projects needed to be done.” According to Statista,  the infant mortality rate in Tanzania was at about 37.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

While her trip to Tanzania was an amazing cause, she thinks it’s not really about the medals. “My biggest accomplishment was not only becoming board certified, but my global health and academic work as well.” During the interview, I wondered what struck her to want to save lives. She told me the story of her past, which pushed her into becoming a doctor. “I’ve always known I wanted to be a doctor since I was a kid, but the situation that solidified the decision was in high school. My best friend’s brother died of leukemia. During his illness, I spent a lot of time at the hospital, I learned a lot about medicine, which made me more passionate and committed to the journey of medicine.”

One thing she would really apreciate everyone to know is that “If you have a dream of something you wanna do when you’re young, even if you feel like that dream is a long shot, go for it. I wasn’t around a lot of doctors when I was young, and neither of my parents went to college, but I worked hard, and because of this I’m living my dreams. Even if you are not sure how to get there, take it one step at a time, keep working hard and you can accomplish your goals. Just remember, the reward of getting to live your dreams is worth the hard work.” 

Dr. Aldulaimi has lived through a journey and is very proud of her work. I’m glad I was able to interview her today, because it was such a pleasure! Right now, she is nominated for best primary care physician in Tucson!

Click here to vote.