Release Date: 
Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Hawk Pride: the sky is the limit for Early College alumnus

Photograph of HFEC alumnus standing before the Wall of Fame at HFEC.

Al Maatouk (“Ma-tuke”), an alumnus of Henry Ford Early College (HFEC), recently earned a spot on the Early College Wall of Fame at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS).

HFEC is a program that allows students to complete all four years of high school and their first two years of college at HFC in five years to prepare them for a career in health care. Students who enroll at HFEC as high school freshmen may be eligible for full-time employment at HFHS upon graduation. In Maatouk’s case, he has worked at HFHS in downtown Detroit for three years, where he is the Medical Education Program Coordinator for the Urology Department.

Maatouk, of Dearborn Heights, graduated from HFEC in 2015 and earned a degree in general studies. He transferred to the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in health policy studies with a minor in human resources. Currently, Maatouk is working on his master’s degree in healthcare administration with a focus in IT at UM-Dearborn. He is scheduled to graduate at the end of 2021.

“I ended up on the Wall of Fame because HFEC/HFHS program coordinator Dr. Marva Brooks reached out to any HFEC alumni working at HFHS who were successful after finishing the program. She wanted to know what inspired us, and why we stayed in the field,” said Maatouk, a Lebanon native who has lived in the United States since he was 1.

Maatouk was excited to learn he is now part of the Wall of Fame.

“It’s a great feeling,” he said.

Having a positive impact on patients

Maatouk’s interest in the healthcare field came about when he was in his early teens.

“Every time I walked in the office of my primary care physician or my dentist, there was just something about the atmosphere – the way they provided care – that made me want to work in that environment. It became something I had a passion for,” he recalled.

Then-HFEC principal Heyam Alcodray (now the principal of Fordson High School) told him about the Early College and encouraged him to apply.

“I strived for high achievement and to be part of something greater than myself,” he said. “Being one of 50 students throughout Wayne County selected to attend the Early College was an accomplishment. It was very exciting.”

At first, Maatouk thought about becoming a doctor. He knew it would take many years and a lot of money. He wanted to make an immediate impact, so he decided on medical administration. Being a medical administrator allows Maatouk to make sure everything runs smoothly for the doctors to do what they do best.

“My work is administrative, and it still impacts patients in a positive way,” he said.

Seeing healthcare from a global perspective

Prior to joining HFHS full-time, Maatouk interned at Merciful Heart Home Health Care in Dearborn, where he was later hired as the office manager, a position he remained in for a year. For one week, he shadowed at Clémenceau Medical Center (CMC) in Beirut, Lebanon, which is affiliated with the renowned John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. There, he observed firsthand how healthcare and hospital administration are conducted, giving him a global perspective.

“The sky’s the limit. The medical field’s growing, so there’s many opportunities. Once I finish my master’s degree, that will open up many more doors, and I’ll see where life takes me,” said Maatouk.

His ultimate career goal is to become a vice president of a hospital. He also wants to work for an international hospital and serve as a representative traveling to and from the U.S. to improve the quality of healthcare on a global scale. Maatouk is clear that he wouldn’t be able to achieve any of this had he not attended HFEC.

“I owe all my success to Henry Ford Early College. My teachers, counselor, and principal believed in me and provided me with the quality education I needed to succeed,” he said. “There’s a favorite quote of mine by (Lebanese-American writer/poet) Gibran Khalil Gibran, ‘To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but what he aspires to.’”