Faculty Focus

 Abusin, Ghada

Ghada Abusin, MBBS, MS

What is your hometown?

My home town is Rufaa at the bank of the White Nile in Sudan. I was born in Khartoum (Sudan) and grew up in the United Arab Emirates.

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?

August 2011

How/when did you become interested in science and medicine?

I always excelled in math and science. My original plan was to be a mathematician; however I received a scholarship to study medicine in a prestigious school so I changed my plans.

What interested you to pursue a career in Pediatrics?

Pediatrics is a challenging field. I am always amazed at the inner strength of kids, their spirit, resilience and sense of humor.

It is so rewarding to be part of their lives and help them through a really difficult time. To see a child pull through and come out the other side and thrive is a wonderful feeling.

Is there a teacher or mentor who helped shape your career?

During my fellowship, Dr Raymond Tannous was my clinical mentor. He had a great impact on me: how to think about difficult and easy situations, and how to counsel families even in their darkest moments.

Dr Rolla Abu-Arja is my career mentor and friend. She has invested time and effort so that I may be successful.

How or why did you choose the University of Iowa?

I did my pediatric residency in New Jersey. When I started applying for my Pediatric Hem/Onc fellowship I wanted to move to the Midwest. Iowa was one of the programs that I applied to.

I ranked Iowa first because of the great hospitality I felt during my interview.

The University of Iowa’s faculty members are united to provide exceptional patient care while advancing innovations in research and medical education. How does your work help translate new discoveries into patient centered care and education?

Our center is a member of Children Oncology Group (COG). We enroll most of our patients in the different clinical trials that we have open.

What kinds of professional opportunities or advantages does being a faculty member at an academic medical center provide?

I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to teach and work with such a great team. Working with highly esteemed colleagues, scientists and trainees across all specialties is very productive.

Interesting pathology that comes to a tertiary care center is also a great benefit.

Please describe your professional interests.

I am interested in pediatric bone marrow transplant, pediatric oncology and histiocytic disorders.

What led to your interest in pediatric oncology?

The patients and families are really what motivated me to keep striving to do better. I was especially interested in bone marrow transplant because it deals with disease status that is life-threatening, complicated and intense, yet potentially curable with transplant.

How does working in a collaborative and comprehensive academic medical center benefit your work?

Collaboration creates a positive environment for teaching and learning. Collaboration creates synergy for the best patient care.

What are some of your outside interests?

Arabic calligraphy. I enjoy reading Arabic literature and poetry. I also like swimming.

Do you have an insight or philosophy that guides you in your professional work?

“One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself”

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong.”

If you could change one thing about the world (or the world of medicine/science), what would it be?

Educate all children around the world.

What is the biggest change you've experienced in your field since you were a student?

The Internet, and the power of communication and social media

What one piece of advice would you give to today's students?

Focus on concepts and don’t be distracted with the details. Learn how to get the information you need and how to apply it. Sometimes when learning comes before experience it doesn't make sense right away.

What do you see as "the future" of medicine/science?

Personalized medicine.

In what ways are you engaged with the greater Iowa public (i.e. population based research, mentoring high school students, sharing your leadership/expertise with organizations or causes, speaking engagements off campus, etc.)?

I spoke with undergraduates at the Dance Marathon. I have given talks about childhood cancer to the Sudanese Community in Iowa City/ Coralville area.