Arrival in the U.S.: 2001
Dr. Heval Kelli is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Georgia.
A Syrian Kurdish-born physician, Kelli moved to the United States as refugee two weeks after 9/11 and enrolled at Georgia State 10 months later as a freshman. He graduated Summa Cum Laude while working as a dishwasher and was later accepted to Morehouse School of Medicine, where he graduated Cum Laude.
Kelli finished his internal medicine residency with honorable distinction and then completed a cardiology fellowship at Emory University in 2020.
He has co-founded and operated several nonprofit organizations focused on medical education (Young Physician Initiative and You4Education), mentorship (U-Beyond, Mentorship Initiative for New Americans) and healthcare outreach (You4Prevent).
Kelli was awarded the 2017 Friend of Freedom award. He received the 40 Under 40 awards at all of the institutes where he completed his education, including the 2018 inaugural Georgia State University 40 under 40 award, the 2019 Morehouse School of Medicine 10 under 40 and the 2019 Emory University 40 under 40 alumni award. He also received the first Points of Light award after the passing of President George H.W. Bush.
His remarkable journey and work have been featured on national and international news, including the Emory University magazine, Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times, Huffington Post, NPR and more.
“I came here as a teenage refugee two weeks after 9/11, and Americans welcomed me because they believed in my family and the American Dream for everyone,” says Kelli. “I am a cardiologist serving the community that welcomed my family, and my goal is recreating the American Dream for everyone else.”