Spotlight

Salahadin Abdi, MD, PhD

Professor [Tenured] and Chair

Department of Pain Medicine

Helen Buchanan & Stanley Joseph Seeger Endowed Research Professor

University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Houston, TX 77030

Salahadin Abdi, MD, PhD, is a tenured Professor of Anesthesiology/Pain Medicine and Chair, Department of Pain Medicine at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.  Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Abdi was Chief of Division of Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard in Boston and Professor and Chief of Pain Medicine at the University of Miami, LM Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL. 

Dr. Abdi is a nationally and internationally recognized clinician scientist who is board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. He is an active member in various national and international medical societies and serves on Board of Directors of American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians as Academic Director. Dr. Abdi is editor, section editor and/or associate editor of 15 national and international journals and a reviewer for over 40 peer reviewed scientific journals. Dr. Abdi has attended many National and International meetings as an invited Speaker, and also served as a Visiting Professor in national and international institutes worldwide. He has received several Awards/Honors and Recognitions. Dr. Abdi edited and/or co-edited four books and currently working on two additional books.  Furthermore, he has authored and/or co-authored more than 250 manuscripts and abstracts, book chapters and review articles. His current laboratory and clinical research areas include: novel non-pharmacologic treatments for cancer pain, chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome and phantom limb pain. Last but not least, he is proud of starting the first “Pain Medicine” fellowship program in Ethiopia which is the first of its kind in Africa.

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Here are some Q&A’s

P2P e-Health Newsletter (p2p e-HN): Where did you go for your early medical education, residency and fellowship?

Dr. S. Abdi (SA): Early medical education: I went to medical school at Westfaelische Wilhelms University in Muenster, Germany.

Residency: I did my residency training in Anesthesiology/Cirtical Care/Pain Medicine at Westfaelische Wilhelms University Medical Center, in Muenster, Germany and later at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard, Boston. As for fellowship: I did my fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch and Shriners Burns Institute, Galveston, TX.

 

p2p e-HN: We notice you are very productive and prolific in research output. How do you juggle between routine clinical practice and research? 

SA: I have always been interested in Research and have been doing research in parallel to my medical school and later clinical responsibilities since the early 80’s. Initially I worked in the area of “central stimulants” and later “cardiopulmonary physiology” and finally focused on the area of “pain”. I have had my own laboratory since 2002.

I generally divide my time between clinical responsibilities taking care of patients (40% effort), research (20% effort) and as a chairman of pain department (40% effort). Honestly, the % effort are not clear-cut fixed numbers, it is not unusual to spend sometimes the whole weekend finishing up experiments or doing experiments in the middle of the night. I am also proud of my research fellows and assistants in my lab who are smart, hard workers who really deserve all the credits for the success of my lab. Last but not least, I am blessed to have a family (my wife, Jutta Abdi and son, Dominique Abdi) to whom I am grateful for their unlimited support. Without their support, I could not have been able to juggle between all the activities I do. In summary, I am fortunate to be able to combine research with patient care. Consequently, I am able to do a translational medicine, namely taking the knowledge we gain from “bench to bed-side and vice-versa”. 

 

p2p e-HN: Who funds/has funded your research projects, if we may ask?

SA: I have had funds from internal and external sources as primary investigator and co-investigator (i.e. Institution, Industries and Government)

 

p2p e-HN: What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

SA: Traveling, reading, tennis, chess

 

p2p e-HN: Any advice you want to offer to upcoming clinicians and other healthcare professionals?

SA: Be honest to yourself and others, be respectful and love what you do. If you work hard you can achieve anything.

 

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