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Dr. Noran Barry: “I strive to replace fear with hope.”

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Whenever you are consulting with a physician, it’s important to feel that individual has a thorough knowledge and understanding of her or his discipline, as well as vast experience within that arena. However, what is equally important is feeling a strong sense of comfort and reassurance at a time when your own personal world may seem out of balance. Doctors must not only possess good character, but also be able to prescribe the proper amount of emotional support while understanding their profession is somewhat of a mission–or perhaps even a devotion–that calls for involvement with and respect for each individual patient.

Since God cannot be everywhere, He sends dedicated individuals out into the field for Him. Dr. Noran Barry is one such person. Raised in Modesto, California, Dr. Barry has strong community roots. Her parents, Dr. Maged Barry and Samira Ezzat, of Egyptian heritage, moved to Modesto from New York in 1994 when Noran was 11 and her sister, Diane, was 9. Although she has spent the past 14 years enhancing her medical training and career in places far from home, Dr. Barry has returned to Modesto with a passion to serve and a desire to re-engage in the community. She follows in the footsteps of her late father, who was a trauma surgeon in Modesto, learning from him the purpose and meaning of leading a life of selfless service to others. From her mother, she has acquired similar passion for hard work and a commitment to giving back. Like her husband was, Samira is also a respected and integral part of the local community, as she owns two Great Clips locations.

Dr. Barry continues her parents’ legacy of service through her own career. She currently works with breast cancer patients at Sutter Gould as the medical director of the breast health program at Memorial Medical Center. Women’s health is a primary interest and passion of Dr. Barry’s, particularly breast cancer treatment. She appreciates the personal and emotional bonds forged with her patients as they navigate this often-turbulent journey together. Dr. Barry understands how a diagnosis of cancer can leave one feeling scared, alone, worried and even hopeless. However, through her personal approach to each patient, hope is given new life, and she has never digressed from the platform of optimism and faith. In fact, it seems she was born to do this work.

Healing Arts
The philosopher and healer Hippocrates said, “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” And so from a very young age, Dr. Barry knew she would pursue a career in medicine. “My sister and cousins and I would pretend we were trauma surgeons when we were little and would help injured insects, attempting to reattach wings and the like,” she laughed. “Unfortunately, we lost all of our patients!”

A graduate of Modesto High School, Dr. Barry earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Irvine, followed by her medical degree from the Saint James School of Medicine, graduating magna cum laude and first in her class. She completed her residency in general surgery at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Pennsylvania, an affiliate of Temple University. During that time, she focused on developing her surgical skills. Dr. Barry also completed two fellowships, one in trauma and surgical critical care from the University of North Carolina and the other in breast surgical oncology for patients with breast cancer. Her desire to run her own practice brought her back home to further advance her training and expertise while simultaneously offering hope as a means to help shape a brighter future for her patients.

The Therapeutic Relationship
The prevailing aura surrounding Dr. Barry is one of hope, courage and inspiration, echoing the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s words, “He is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope.” While she realizes the gravity of the diseases she treats and often sees sadness, pain and fear in the eyes of her patients, her mission rises far above the ledge of despair.

“I have made it my personal mission to install hope in the face of fear,” she emphasized. “It’s difficult to do, as breast cancer is such a dysmorphic disease. However, I tell my patients, ‘Let’s get rid of the cancer now and get beautiful later.’”

Dr. Barry emphasized how far the medical community has come in the past 50 to 60 years in the treatment of breast cancer. “As late as the 1950s and 1960s, doctors were removing all lymph nodes and the chest wall, which was rather morbid, but we’ve come a long way since then. Yet, with advanced presentation, it is challenging,” she explained.

Dr. Barry has great passion for her work and loves interacting with her patients on a personal level during such a challenging diagnosis. “They come into the office with fear, but through our discussions, they realize they don’t have to be afraid. I am here to walk this journey alongside them,” she expressed.

In addition to her medical practice, Dr. Barry is pursuing a master’s in public health. Her aspiration to continually improve herself and the value she can offer to her patients never wanes. With a thirst for learning, Dr. Barry sees education and learning as a form of self-care. “I wanted to have a broader sense of public health, not just understanding disease distribution in people. I want to understand what factors we can influence in general to improve public health and socioeconomic status. Medicine is not just about disease and pathology,” she emphasized.

The Best Journey Takes You Home
“I feel right at home with where I am and what I am doing,” smiled Dr. Barry, who enjoys a wide range of personal interests outside of work. In addition to spending time with her nearly one-year-old son, Dorian, Dr. Barry has a great passion for and connection to music of all kinds (except electronic!), attending concerts and adding to her vinyl collection. “I appreciate coming back to my roots and getting my groove on. It is nice to be home and to work in the same hospital in which my dad worked,” she reflected.

As she contemplates her future plans, Dr. Barry’s ambition is to improve herself, her work and overall patient care. “I’d like to create breast programs that give patients improved access to better breast health in smaller communities,” she reflected. “I have a strong interest in learning more about breast cancer in women 40 years old or younger and I’m working on creating a support group for them.”

In short, Dr. Barry’s philosophy and approach to patient care can easily be reflected in the understanding that the mark of a truly great physician is one touching her patients with comforting and reassuring words. “This, at times, can be even more powerful than the medicine itself.”