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Just What the Doctor Ordered to Battle COVID-19: Medical Skills with a Side of Public-Health Perspective
He has strolled the resident floor for one year and spent the last few months fighting the persistent COVID-19 virus. But Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) alum Hesham Hassan, MD, MPH, MSc, isn’t wondering why new hospital policies have been implemented across the country or why certain medical strategies aren’t working to combat this relentless disease.
Thanks to his time in Chamberlain University’s Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program, the Florida internal-medicine resident has a fresh perspective on the pandemic at a global level. “We are seeing a public health crisis unfold in real time before our eyes. We’ve researched other coronavirus strains like MERS and SARS and know from experience that there are so many different permeations, so it’s not surprising that something that seems like a good idea one week may not be the next week. Public health opens our eyes to the stages of change — the ebbs and flows and understanding that this virus is dynamic. My perspective has broadened to see strategies from the bottom-up but also from the top-down and understand the meaning behind both.”
Adding public health to his repertoire has also altered his care, ridding of preconceived notions based on initial patient notes. Instead, Hesham waits to begin diagnosing until after he confirms patient history and performs a physical. “I don’t want to miss the forest for the trees. You can get so focused on one lab value or abnormality and miss the big picture and how everything fits together. I never stop questioning why.”
Supporting the Team
When Hesham isn’t caring for patients, he lends an ear to fellow nurses who have expressed fear about contracting the virus. He reiterates the importance of garbing up, staying positive and giving themselves time to learn the new process, something he’s learned firsthand. For those under COVID-19 investigation, Hesham has had to conduct patient interviews using a cell phone on the opposite side of the glass wall. “It was humbling. We take the physical exam for granted. We’re missing a little from the lack of human touch and not hearing the heartbeat and lungs. We have to rely on communication skills.”
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Hesham met his wife during undergraduate studies and they share three young children. He enjoys bowling and escape rooms, and has begun growing spices in his garden. Hesham credits his wife for learning about RUSM, thanks to her fascination with the show My Caribbean Life. A forever fan of his alma mater, Hesham applauds the University for catering to non-traditional students.
“I will be forever grateful for all of it — the advice, the wisdom and the supportive faculty. It hasn’t always been easy but Ross University set me up for success and made me one of the strongest residents in my program.” For future medical students, Hesham offers advice. “Consider pursuing public health too because it will give you the global perspective of the healthcare system and how it affects society . When you add that to a medical education, you’ve got it all.”
Appreciative and Thankful
We appreciate your commitment to the continued well-being of our RUSM and Chamberlain communities and support during this unprecedented time. Please visit RUSM and Chamberlain University websites for the latest updates regarding COVID-19.
We thank and honor all healthcare workers through our RUSM Wall of Gratitude and our Chamberlain Wall of Gratitude and thank-you message.
By Heather L Hurtado
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