Taha GhannoumGrowing up in Lebanon, Taha Ghannoum has lived through several wars and saw his country being torn from it. He saw the affect it had on people and knew he wanted to make a difference.

“My major goal had always been to work and live helping people and making sure I provide the best health services available,” said Ghannoum. “I grew up wanting to be in the health field, following in my father footsteps, and wanting to help people the best way I can.”

Eleven years ago, he left his family and friends to go to college in the United States to achieve that goal. He graduated with a pharmacy degree from Auburn University in May 2006 and began working as a full-time pharmacist two months later. At the same time, he entered into the UAB Clinical Laboratory Sciences graduate program.

“I found the best way to achieve my goals is to enter the pharmacy field and receive a Clinical Laboratory Sciences degree which will allow me to work as a director of a medical lab,” said Ghannoum.

Working a demanding full-time pharmacy job and studying, it took Ghannoum six years to earn his CLS degree in the summer of 2012.

“This was a very defining moment in my life,” said Ghannoum. “I have endured the agony of living away from my family, my friends and my country in order to get to that point.”

Fortunately, Ghannoum has had 16-month-old daughter and his wife Reina by his side who understands what he’s been going through. She’s following in his footsteps by earning her CLS degree at UAB, too.

While Ghannoum is studying for his national CLS board exam, he hopes to find a part-time job in a prominent clinical laboratory.

“I hope to gain further knowledge and expertise,” said Ghannoum.

And then he plans to add more letters after his name with graduate degrees in hematology and microbiology. The husband and wife duo hope to one day open their own clinical laboratory site in their home in Lebanon.