“How CCHE Brought Me Back to Egypt and is Helping to End the Brain-Drain”, by Dr. Hoda M. Amer

Upon my completion of my fellowship in pediatric pathology from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, I was faced with a serious personal and professional dilemma: was I to return to Egypt, where I was born and raised, or should I remain in the United States, my adoptive home where I had completed many years of medical training?

The decision did not come easily to me. I reflected heavily on my time spent in the United States, not only during my fellowship, but also while completing my residency in anatomic pathology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, New Jersey, prior to my fellowship. I also ruminated over my accomplishments in Egypt, including graduating with a degree from the Kasr el Aini Medical School in Cairo.

Part of my dilemma was a lack of knowledge about what kind of opportunities existed for pediatric pathologists in Egypt. I wanted to find a way to put my hard work in the academic and medical realm to practice in a meaningful way. The majority of my friends at home did not hide their pessimism on the subject, and the chances of me returning to Egypt to give back to my country seemed slim.

Suddenly, I had a breakthrough upon hearing the suggestion of my program director, a Syrian-American doctor by the name of Dr. Samir Kahwash. He had attended a conference at particularly unique children’s cancer hospital located in downtown Cairo, Egypt known locally as “57357” or Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357 (CCHE). He spoke to me very seriously about returning to Egypt and looking into this phenomenal institution as a potential employer. I was soon being given advice by many others who had heard of the hospital and its accomplishments, all of whom believed in the potential of the combination of my academic training and CCHE as an incredible, revolutionary institution.

I am now a proud, full-time member of the CCHE staff, and under the direction of our fantastic pathology department leader, Dr. Hala Taha, we attend to over 3,000 pathology cases per year. We are the only pathology department in Egypt to provide intra-operative consultation for brain tumors and other highly technical, scientific testing procedures.

At CCHE, I was able to bring my two different backgrounds together and solve my personal dilemma. Each contributor, be them staff, advisers, patients, or donors, sustains and builds this hospital day by day. Anyone who has ever suffered the detrimental effects of cancer, either directly or indirectly, can sympathize with the difficulties associated with the disease. When dealing with cancer cases in Egypt, there are many potential additional components to the situation endured by a cancer patient, including extreme poverty and lack of access to cancer treatment and education.

CCHE is also facing a dilemma, as it needs your donations in order to survive and give the youngest of Egypt’s population with cancer a chance at life. CCHE is fully dependent on donations from the Egyptian and the global communities and can only continue to provide free care to pediatric cancer patients with your help.

Please consider donating to the sustenance of CCHE through Egypt Cancer Network (ECN), the organization responsible for raising money for CCHE and supporting cancer initiatives throughout Egypt, at the following link: www.egyptiancancernetwork.org/donate

Also recall that ECN is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization and that any donation you make will be tax-deductible within the United States.

Your donation is greatly appreciated and will to help fortify the medical infrastructure of this hospital, which in turn helps to bring intellectual capital back to Egypt from abroad, fighting the brain-drain that Egypt has witnessed over the past three decades.

With many thanks,


Dr. Hoda M. Amer, Fellow of the College of American Pathologists