Zeina Al-Mansour, M.D., is an associate professor in the division of hematology/oncology, section of malignant hematology, transplant & cellular therapy, in the University of Florida College of Medicine. Her primary clinical interests are myeloid malignancies and hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT), particularly in the older population.
Her research aims to optimize control and remission rates of myeloid malignancies before HCT while minimizing toxicity. Her research also focuses on improving survival and quality of life outcomes after HCT for older patients.
Dr. Al-Mansour received her medical degree from Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid, Jordan. She completed an internship in internal medicine at the University of New Mexico and her residency in internal medicine, as well as a fellowship in hematology and oncology, at the University of Massachusetts.
After her postgraduate training, she worked as an assistant professor in the department of internal medicine at Loyola University Chicago. She also served as an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts before joining UF Health. Dr. Al-Mansour is board certified with the American Board of Internal Medicine in both hematology and medical oncology, in addition to general internal medicine.
At the UF Health Cancer Center, she is a member of the Cancer Therapeutics & Host Response research program.
How did you end up going into medicine?
I have always been fascinated by human biology. I did an introductory elective in laboratory medicine when I was in high school, learning to read basic lab results like complete blood counts, looking at peripheral blood smears and learning to understand a blood chemistry panel. Being able to understand that felt very satisfying and ignited my curiosity to learn more about the range of normal to abnormal human bodily functions. In medical school, I loved physiology and I liked the rotation where you need to think of the body as a whole to understand the disease process. Internal Medicine, with all its diversity, felt like the natural path to fulfill my interests.
Why did you decide to focus on cancer?
As a high school student, I did a community service month helping pediatric cancer patients in King Hussein Cancer Center. Some of the kids moved on to be long-term survivors, while others sadly succumbed to illness. Seeing how patients and physicians constantly walk that fine line between life and death affected me. After completing medical school, I moved from my home country, Jordan, to the United States for residency training in Internal Medicine.
In the United States, I was intrigued by the depth of research dedicated to the oncology field and the encouraging outcomes with new therapeutics. I find advances in the fields of precision medicine and targeted therapies interesting, particularly as they intersect with other fields of medicine, such as using acute myeloid leukemia mutation thumbprints to choose more tolerated targeted therapy for older patients.
What does it mean to you to be a woman in medicine?
Women are healers and caregivers by nature. As we have made strides in terms of entry into the different fields of medicine, research confirms that organizational strategies, decision-making processes and outcomes are strengthened and enriched as our contribution to the field grows. While women in medicine face a lot of the same issues as men, we have a different set of challenges, such as managing work-life balance. While it is important to recognize that these challenges are real, it is also imperative to acknowledge that we are now at a much better place than we were a decade ago.
What message would you want to send to other women aspiring to careers in medicine?
For junior women in the medical field, I recommend that you always stay true to yourself. Do what you like in medicine for the right reasons, whether it is patient care, medical education, research or a combination of all of the above. Do it because this is your passion. Find mentors that you aspire to be like and can help you reach your goals. This way, medicine will be the most rewarding career, and the sacrifices that come along the way will be worthwhile.
“I recommend that you always stay true to yourself. Do what you like in medicine for the right reasons, whether it is patient care, medical education, research or a combination of all of the above. Do it because this is your passion. Find mentors that you aspire to be like and can help you reach your goals.”Zeina Al-Mansour, M.D.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I have two young children who keep me busy all the time! Whenever I have some time for myself, I like to go out with friends or do some outdoor activities. I like swimming, biking and hiking. I also like watching documentaries and reading about psychology, history and politics.