Dr. Suzanne Barakat Confronts Grief, Hate, and Bias

Suzanne Barakat, MD, is no stranger to grief. Yet rather than succumbing to the heartbreak, she has moved forward with resiliency and courage, building bridges and fostering inclusivity and healing.

In 2015, when she was an intern at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, she received devastating news: Her brother, his wife and her sister had been murdered by an Islamophobic neighbor in Chapel Hill, NC. In 2017, she also lost an aunt and a cousin to assassination in Turkey. In recent months, she looked on in horror as the powerful earthquakes in Syria and Turkey have killed or displaced many of her family and friends and damaged communities. Barakat spoke out about the devastation at a recent UCSF town hall.

Through it all, Barakat has channeled her energies into action – raising awareness around the dangers of hate and how we, as a society, can heal our divisions.

Barakat, now an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and executive director of UCSF’s Health & Human Rights Initiative, answers some questions about her