Dr. Aasim Padela – On the Frontier where faith, ethics and medicine meet | Wisconsin Muslim Journal

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Islamic and Medical Initiative

Professor Aasim Padela, MD, the new research and scholarship vice chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, has a history of hiking in uncharted territory. He is the scholar Daniel Boone (Daniel Boone), he explored areas of research that did not yet exist.

Dr. Padela's interdisciplinary research has opened up new areas that combine ethics, medicine, and religious studies. He is a skilled researcher who uses a variety of tools, from community surveys to assessing healthcare gaps, to narrative discourse analysis to consider how to portray Muslims.

Padella explained in his "Elevator Speech": "I took Muslim Americans and Islam as an example to study how religious identity affects health behaviors and healthcare experience, as well as the professional identity and practice of doctors. I will also explore the bioethical guidance of Islam to patients, providers, policy makers and religious leaders."

Padela is now 40 years old, with a hint of gray on his beard, and now it is time to lead others into the clearing where he is setting out in the wilderness. He joined MCW in September, marking this shift in his career.

Padela was the son of an immigrant who came to the United States from Pakistan in the 1970s to study for graduate school. He was born in New York, the second of four siblings. In May 2001, at the age of 20, Padela graduated from the University of Rochester with a double degree in biomedical engineering and classical Arabic language and literature.

He recalled: "Our family is very religious." As a young man, "I am very satisfied with my Muslim status. I got a degree in classical Arabic literature. I did some seminary studies and studied in Egypt. I I lived in Pakistan for a while. I have a long beard and always wear kufi."

Padela called 9/11 the "turning point" of his life. "Let me tell you this story," Padra said. "I am a first-year medical student at Weill Cornell Medical College and I am looking forward to becoming a doctor. I have been trained as an EMT nurse. I am at Cornell University on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

"After the first class, we rested. So, I went outside and someone said that a plane hit the World Trade Center. We started class after nine o'clock. The deans of the medical school walked into the auditorium. We didn’t know. Why. We didn't have cell phones at that time. Some people said that the second plane just hit the second tower and the first building collapsed. The dean said to go home and call his family. The class was cancelled.

"I immediately went to my friend’s dormitory to watch TV, and we saw the second tower collapsed. What I thought I should do? I could pray and serve. I went to the emergency room and asked, can I help? They queued us up. Good team and put us in different teams. But in four hours, only two people came in.

"I chatted with my friend and said,'Let's go to the Chelsea Piers to sort.' I tried to get on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus, but the door did not open. When I tried another MTA bus, the door did not Open. Then it clicked. I realized that everyone was worried because I was obviously a Muslim. Only then did I know that the identity of Muslims in this society will change forever.

"The next morning, the dean of the medical school called a town hall meeting just to hear people say that they were traumatized. I remember sitting in that class with about 110 medical students and someone commented:" Americans now know how Israelis feel about Muslim terrorists trying to destroy peace every day. "

"I am one of two Muslim students in the class. I got up and left the room in front of the auditorium. Later that day, the dean said to me: "Asim, you need to know that the doctor-patient relationship is something you can understand. A good doctor needs to understand his patients, and a good patient needs to understand their doctors. There are two worldviews. You can decide whether to use it to build a bridge of understanding between who you are and what your faith means. "

"This directly leads to what I want to do now. My entire academic career started that day."

He said that the medical school is the first stop of Padela's difficult journey, "it is a log for everyone." A highlight is his one-month course in the fourth grade.

Cornell founded a medical school in Qatar. I want to go there to do research on Islamic medical ethics. I will be in a Gulf Muslim country and they are considering how to adopt medical vows that respect Muslim culture and religious traditions. But going there to study elective courses is another matter. Both sides are sensitive.

Padra said: "After a hard fight, I was able to move forward."

As part of his research elective, Padela wrote a thesis on Islamic medical ethics. "I read all the English content about Islamic medical ethics, almost everything.

"My idea is that I want to help medical students there feel that what they traditionally say is safe. I strive to become a cultural liaison in the context of traditional Islamic culture."

Padela graduated in 2005 and obtained a residency in emergency medicine at the University of Rochester.

"Fast forward to my second year of residence, when you started thinking about whether you wanted to be a fellowship or to specialize in a certain profession. That year, I did a research project and interviewed Muslim doctors to understand their beliefs. How identities intersect with medical practice. I want to see the conflict points."

The two research teachers let Padela know that he wrote "a very good paper." They suggested that he consider doing a degree program with his scholarship, which would enable him to conduct his own research.

Later, another professor introduced him to the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Program. "He said that if you want to acquire research skills, which is the most important program in the world, they will fund your research. I haven't sold the research results completely, but I don't think the application will be hurt." "I recommend research. Health differences between Muslim patients and Muslim providers."

"In an interview, someone asked me what I think is the biggest obstacle to entering the program. Everyone has good grades, letters and project ideas. I said the biggest obstacle will be whether they want to fund a Muslim American, Especially because I want to conduct research on Muslim Americans, and no one can do it. Padela was admitted at the University of Michigan where I was interviewed.

Two years later, the chairman of the committee who chose Padela pulled him aside at a meeting and told him: "'I have to insist that you accept it because you are doing original work. No one else in this country is like this. do.'"

Padela studied at the University of Michigan for three years and received a master's degree in health and wellness studies. "I did all these projects for Muslim Americans. It was a great knowledge environment, and my emergency medicine chairperson got along well with me." Padela was offered a faculty position but was offered a position by the University of Chicago (University of Chicago) hired, "I am fascinated by the idea that I have a place in seminary, ethics center and medical school, and have the ability to create a program."

Along the way, Padela married and had four children. He met his future wife when he was in college in Rochester. They got married when he was in medical school and gave birth to his first child when he lived in the second year. A teacher and his wife decided to continue studying for a doctorate. "So when we moved, she was continuing to study. In Michigan, we had another child. She completed her degree. It took her 10 years, but she can do it no matter where we are. "He said. Now their children are 13, 11, 7 and 5 years old, and his wife is engaged in education consulting.

During his nine years as an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Chicago

Padela has joined a research group in the fields of medicine and religious studies, and they are deeply exploring the intersection of religion, ethics and medicine. As the director of the Medicine and Religious Program, he enjoyed the multidisciplinary opportunities that he could create, and he established an interdisciplinary platform for research, dialogue and education, Islamic and Medical Initiatives.

"The most important thing is that my interest is the intersection of the two fields of Islam and traditional medicine. That is the scholarship I have pursued for about 15 years."

Photo © Medical College of Wisconsin

In more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters, Padela has studied organ donation, healing, genetic engineering, and the withdrawal of life support through an Islamic perspective. At the same time, he has been evaluating health disparities in Muslim communities by considering topics such as the impact of Muslim executive orders or the use of humble beliefs on healthcare. Or based on the effectiveness of medical education in mosques. His works have been published in the "New York Times", "USA Today", "Chicago Tribune", "Washington Post", National Public Radio, BBC and CNN. He even attended a lecture with Dr. Oz, a celebrity doctor.

The challenge has always been funding. Padra said: "If you don't have money, you have no mission." "The current reality is that if you are an academician in the medical field, you can get funding in two ways: you can engage in clinical work, or you can make grants and Donate to pay for your research and education business."

"If you are doing research on Muslim health in this field, you have almost no money. My attention is focused on two areas: I study the differences in Muslim health and healthcare, and I study Islamic bioethics. No institution wants to pay attention. Differences in Muslim healthcare itself. No foundation has made Muslims a strategically focused group.

"The way the U.S. looks at gaps is race, race, and sexual orientation. We don’t look at gaps between religious groups. This is what I have been trying to make people understand. There are differences, and we have to study them. But they are not funded. First, second, third, fourth or fifth priority.

"Islamic bioethics does not exist in the academic field. When you think of the bioethics centers in the Western world and even the Muslim world, they all focus on secular bioethics. Religious bioethics is sometimes allowed, but When religion enters the dialogue, it is mainly the way of thinking of Christians and Catholics. There is no center of Muslim bioethics in the world.

"So even in my current academic career, I must prove why I write information about the Muslim population or why I use Islamic teachings."

"Our Muslim community has not yet realized that we must build an academic foundation to meet our own healthcare needs, or let academic companies analyze problems from a Muslim perspective, such as the problems we just saw from the COVID vaccine. We need Let those scholars who can do this speak up. We need to merge centers and institutions, funders and research centers around this."

Padela has been responsible for this work and is the co-editor of two upcoming books on the subject. He said, but there is a problem. "Every few years, the challenge will be to get the next grant, and then get the next. As gray-haired as I am now, I can't live like that forever."

Since moving to the Medical College of Wisconsin in September, Padela's focus has shifted from burning roads to building roads.

He said: "Research is part of my life, but it is not the only thing I have to do." "I have crossed that bridge and achieved success. I will continue my research, but I also want to do other things in the college. jobs."

In order to train the next generation of researchers who can study American Muslim communities or Islamic bioethics, he is committed to creating opportunities for academic enterprises through emergency medicine research and the MCW Bioethics and Medical Humanities Center. Becoming an administrator brings "new challenges and use of new skills. That's also part of the attraction."

At MCW, Padela is mentoring five medical students to "raise their awareness of doing this work." I have deployed some models in Chicago and other places, hoping to help junior researchers implement these models.

"I think I am more in the role of thought leader and mentor. When we open up, I will conduct my own research in the community and will provide opportunities for others to collaborate with. They will learn skills and be able to be themselves Project. I look forward to becoming a coach, mentor and consultant.

"In the field of Islamic bioethics, I will publish two books in the next two months. I am writing another one. I hope to complete these projects to serve the academic community and the next generation of people in this field. That is The job I want to pursue."

Ultimately, these efforts will serve the larger community. "It helps raise awareness of the healthcare gap and consider how we can help the healthcare system be more culturally sensitive, and how to better accommodate and accommodate religious identities.

"I am in school because I want to accumulate new knowledge. Hope it will be beneficial."

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