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Shazia Siddiqi

Shazia Siddiqi

Shazia Siddiqi was raised in Southern California and was diagnosed with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss when she was 3 ½ years old. Her parents got her hearing tested because she wasn’t speaking much.

“I was always fascinated with science, especially genetics in Biology which started in the 9th grade because I wanted to find out how I became deaf,” she says. She was a voracious reader, and her parents helped her after school to make sure she kept up with her hearing peers. She took honors courses and became valedictorian of her high school.

She was accepted on a full scholarship to University of California at Berkeley, but she struggled there with the higher level of terminology in science courses. She asked for a real-time captionist, but was refused that service until her senior year. She graduated with a bachelor’s in Molecular and Cell Biology.

During her senior year at college, she read an article about deaf doctors and became interested in studying medicine. “I thought it was possible when I saw the others were doing it,” she says. “I strongly believe in having positive Deaf role models in the health care fields to show students they can do it if they like the field.”

She earned a master’s in Public Health from Dartmouth College, using interpreters and remote live captioning. She worked as a community health educator for deaf and hard-of-hearing children in Los Angeles, then traveled to St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies. They declined to provide interpreters, so she copied friends’ notes from class and sometimes paid for interpreters herself when she met with patients.

“I would highly recommend Deaf children have extra tutoring if needed, and early exposure to health care careers beginning in middle school,” she says. “I didn’t realize I could pursue health care field until I was in college. Having positive Deaf role models who are already in the field to offer their insight and knowledge are extremely important to empower Deaf children.” 

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