Episode 89: Noor Ali

An Immigrant Doctor Forced to Pivot

noor ali health insurance advisor

Imagine what it’s like for any immigrant to embrace the culture and norms of a new nation. Then think about being a highly respected doctor, practicing for years in your native country. When you arrive in the United States, you learn that if you want to practice medicine, you’ll have to dust off your organic chemistry and anatomy books and pass a rigorous exam.  

That’s what happened to Noor Ali who skipped undergrad, going straight from the renowned Bronx High School of Science into six years of medical school in Bangladesh, only to barely miss the cutoff when she sat for the U.S. exam to practice medicine. How did she cope?

Ali always knew she wanted to follow in her anaesthesiologist grandfather’s footsteps and become a doctor, but she never envisioned being denied the ability to do so — especially after “paying her dues” and finishing med school. With a successful career in her home country of Bangladesh, Ali was recognized by the United Nations as a volunteer — bringing healthcare to pregnant women and children. Ali felt lost and downtrodden.

Ali’s pivot? She founded a business, Dr. Noor Health, where she marries medical knowledge with health insurance in an advisory role, helping the “healthy and wealthy” find more fitting health insurance policies in the private market based on their health status.

Listen as Ali describes being an immigrant in New York City, volunteering in the slums of Bangladesh, and the price of reinvention on this episode of SheVentures.