Alexey Youssef

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Alexey Youssef
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Born4 January 1994 (age 26)
Kharkiv, Ukraine
OccupationMedical Doctor
Known forFirst Syrian awarded a Rhodes Scholarship
Board member ofMED Research Team
AwardsThe Rhodes Scholarship
Academic background
Alma mater
  • The University of Tishreen
  • The University of Oxford
Doctoral advisorProf David Clifton and Prof Peter Watkinson
Academic work
DisciplineComputer Science
Sub-disciplineClinical Artificial Intelligence
Alexey Youssef
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Alexey Youssef (born January 4, 1994) is a Syrian-Ukrainian ex-medical doctor, Oxford-trained healthcare systems Specialist, data scientist in training and the first Syrian Rhodes Scholar. Currently, Youssef is an Engineering Doctoral Student at the Computational Health Informatics Lab at the University of Oxford where he is building Artificial Intelligence algorithms to improve the operational efficiency of Data-Driven hospitals. He is supervised by Prof David Clifton and Prof Peter Watkinson. He is also a Junior Dean in Queens College Oxford, in which he works with the Decanal team to ensure that Queens College provides an inclusive and supportive environment for all students. While studying medicine in Syria during the civil war, Youssef has sought to build healthcare education and research capacity through a variety of projects. He founded MED Research Team.[1] which is a social enterprise aimed to build healthcare research capacity in Syria. Currently, he holds an advisory position with the team[2] Youssef holds an Exceptional Talent in Digital Technology visa in the UK and has worked on a variety of health innovation projects across the digital health, medical devices, healthcare delivery, and healthcare systems domains. Youssef is a published academic author and writes blog posts about health entrepreneurship, clinical AI, and international health[3]


Youssef was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine in January 1994 to a Syrian father, a doctor, and a Ukrainian mother, a computer scientist. When he was five, his family moved to Syria, where he finished secondary school at The Armenian School of Latakia in 2008. He finished high school at the Outstanding students’ school in Latakia in 2011 achieving a top-ranking result nationally in his General Certificate of Secondary Education exams.

Youssef volunteered to raise money for dialysis patients with the Massar project and The Syria Trust For Development.


Youssef started medical school at Tishreen University Faculty of Medicine in 2011. During medical school, Youssef worked as a freelance English teacher and a first-aid respondent with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. He worked on building healthcare education and research capacity. He hosted a US National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported online research course at Tishreen University to educate students on clinical research.

He also co-founded an organization that represented the Syrian medical students in the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations defying the war imposed siege by creating international exchange and training opportunities for medical students in Syria. As a member of an IFMSA-affiliated organization, Youssef advocated for mental health and clinical research through articles he published with the EU Sting journal.

Youssef also founded the MED Research Team, a social enterprise to build healthcare research capacity in Syria through improving access to research education and creating collaborative research projects[4]. As a medical student, Youssef trained in six countries including Lebanon at the American University of Beirut and USA at the Weill_Cornell_Medicine|New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medicine hospital in Manhattan.

Youssef also was the first medical student in his university to publish in a peer-reviewed academic journal. He finished medical school in late 2017 with excellent academic standing. By the end of medical school, he was selected as the first Syrian Rhodes Scholar (Syria & St Cross, 2018) and was a finalist for other scholarships like the Chevening (declined offer).

Youssef started a medical residency position at Tishreen University Hospital in Syria. He did 10 months of clinical residency in general medicine. During his time as a medical resident, he was selected as a Chief Junior Resident, a position in which he was responsible for welfare and discipline matters in a body of 90+ junior medical residents. During his medical residency, he traveled to Ukraine and worked as a healthcare specialist with Kharkiv Expert Group in Ukraine, helping healthcare organizations with change management and financial planning during the primary care reforms in Ukraine.

Youssef moved to Oxford in October 2018 to start a Master’s of Science in International Health and Tropical Medicine, a course focusing on healthcare systems, policy, financing, and technologies oriented towards the Low- and Middle-income countries. He focused on digital health innovations in resource-limited contexts. His work was presented as a PostNote to the UK Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Youssef also worked with a local organization Digital Health Oxford (DHOx) on a digital health event. In his thesis, Youssef worked under the supervision of Dr. Chris Paton and focused on the Implementation research of healthcare technologies using a proposed national Electronic Health Records system rollout in Syria as a case study.

Upon completion of his MSc in September 2019, Youssef started an Engineering Sciences Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Machine Learning at the University of Oxford. He works in the Computational Health Informatics lab under the supervision of Prof David Clifton and Prof Peter Watkinson. His work is focused on using Electronic Health Records data from Oxford University Hospitals to develop AI algorithms for Data-Driven Hospitals focusing on improving the efficiency of hospital operations and patient management (Patient Flow).

Syrian conflict Youssef’s family lost their house and properties when his town, Kessab, was attacked by the Islamic extremists when those invaded parts of Northwestern Syria in the 2014 Latakia offensive#The battle for Observatory 45.

The Rhodes Scholarship In 2018, Youssef became the first Syrian and one of the first Middle Easterners to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. He was awarded the scholarship as the Syrian Scholar for the Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine constituency.

Within the Rhodes Community, Youssef co-founded the Rhodes Arab Scholars Society to promote understanding of the Arab culture within the Rhodes and wider Oxford community.

In 2020, Youssef co-chaired the Inaugural Said-Rhodes Forum on Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, a collaborative effort between the Rhodes Trust and the Said Foundation. The event was an international Rhodes House-hosted forum that brought together leaders from the SJLP region to discuss the current challenges and future opportunities[5].

Social impact When he was a medical student in Syria, Youssef co-founded the Syrian Medical Students Association, an organization that represented the Syrian students in the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations, enabling Syrian medical students to travel abroad for training opportunities and exposing and linking the Syrian medical students’ community with their international peers after they have been isolated due to the conflict.

Youssef also founded a social enterprise (MED Research Team) in his Alma Mater, Tishreen University. MED is a social enterprise focused on building research capacity in Syria by connecting Syrian researchers with international specialists through collaborative research projects and by facilitating access to research education through research workshops and online educational materials. The team has collaborated with researchers from international centers-of-excellence like Oxford, Stanford, Imperial College, American University of Beirut and others. Their work has been published in journals like The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and has been presented to top-level stakeholders at prestigious institutions and events[6]. Currently, Youssef holds a non-executive advisory position with the team. The team has earned many awards including an award from Clinton_Foundation#Clinton_Global_Initiative_(CGI)_and_CGI_U.


During medical school, Youssef tried out ventures like a book trade business between Syria and Lebanon (Books in Syria were 10x cheaper than in Lebanon). In 2018, Youssef started a medical devices import and distribution business in Ukraine (OxHearing) LLC focused on hearing aids. He acquired the exclusive distributorship rights for Puretone® hearing aids and equipment. He sold off the business in January 2020.

In 2019, Youssef was selected to join Entrepreneur First (EF). He moved to London to join the program. With EF, he worked on a medical travel venture. He founded Keea Inc. (Keea meaning care in Japanese, the nationality of his co-founder), a platform to facilitate medical travel and tourism globally. In his work, he was inspired by the medical and dental tourism sector in Syria before the war. He wrote about his experience in the International Medical Travel Journal and the Rhodes Incubator[7].

Youssef was awarded a TechNation Exceptional Talent in Digital Technology visa from the UK. Youssef also worked with Oxford University Innovation and Oxford Sciences Innovations to commercialize the university's technological Innovations.

Awards Year
Frontier's of Development grant funding, The Royal Academy of Engineering, UK[8][9] 2020
Clinton Global Initiative social entrepreneurship fellow, The Clinton Foundation 2019 2020
Exceptional Talent in Digital Technology Endorsement for Tier 1 visa, Technation 2019
The Rhodes Scholarship, The Rhodes House, University of Oxford 2018
Excellence award, Tishreen University Faculty of Medicine 2017
Finalist for the Chevening Scholarship, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK.(declined interview offer) 2017
Al-Basel Honorary Awards, Tishreen University Faculty of Medicine 2014 & 2016
Student excellence award and grant, Tishreen University 2011
Outstanding volunteer award, Massar project, Latakia, Syria 2009


  1. "Computational Health Informatics".
  2. "MED Research Team | Alexey Youssef".
  3. "Alexey Youssef (0000-0003-0621-1522)".
  4. "MED Research Team | Supporting medical research, education, and healthcare in Syria".
  5. "Rhodes Saïd Forum - Syria Jordan Lebanon and Palestine". Rhodes House - Home of The Rhodes Scholarships.
  6. Youssef, Alexey; Harfouch, Rim; Zein, Said El; Alshehabi, Zuheir; Shaaban, Rafea; Kanj, Souha S. (July 3, 2019). "Visceral and Cutaneous Leishmaniases in a City in Syria and the Effects of the Syrian Conflict". The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 101 (1): 108–112. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.18-0778. PMC 6609183. PMID 31162008.
  7. "Lessons from the front line | IMTJ".

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