FULL NAME: Mohammed Alsaidi
ABOUT ME: I grew up in Yemen and moved to NYC, knowing very little English. After completing ESL classes, I went on to attend Brooklyn College from 2000 to 2004 majoring in computer and information science in addition to chemistry. During that time, I also volunteered at many hospitals in addition to pursing a robust research project in the laboratory of Dr. Zhen Huang. My research focused on developing micro RNA chips. Those efforts culminated in publishing two papers in addition to a few presentations. Furthermore, I was awarded two Summer Research Scholarships from the Department of Chemistry in addition to the Brooklyn College Presidential Scholarship throughout my years at BC. Prior to my admission to the Penn State College in Medicine in the summer of 2004, I was awarded the prestigious Salk Annual Award, given to few students throughout the entire CUNY system. The work ethics and analytic thinking I acquired while pursuing my degrees, especially in chemistry, and research projects coupled with the guidance offered by the Department of Chemistry, made me feel more than prepared to take on the next endeavors of my life.
While in medical school from 2004 to 2008, I participated in summer research projects at the Laboratory of Dr. James Connor focusing on studying potential links between hemochemotosis mutations and brain tumors in addition to potential chemotherapy for such diseases. After finishing medical school, I started my neurosurgery residency at the Department of Neurological Surgery in Henry Ford Hospital in the summer of 2008. During residency, I also spent three months in Boston Hospital doing pediatric rotation. I also participated in clinical research in the fields of spine, and pediatric epilepsy in addition to brain tumors. Such efforts have resulted in publication of many peer-reviewed papers in addition to oral and electronic presentation at the national level through the American Association of Neurological Surgeons as well as to the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.
ABOUT MY WORK: I am full staff neurosurgeon at Beaumont Health in Michigan. My practice involves seeing patients in clinic in addition to the hospital. I treat various neurological disorders that include spinal pathologies such as degenerative disc disease, spinal trauma and tumors. I also treat various brain disorders such as tumors, trauma, and hemorrhages.
My typical day starts at 7 AM and I finish around 6 PM. While On Call, I am expected to be available to manage neurosurgical emergencies at any time of the day. I electively operate about 2 days out of the week in addition to emergencies. I enjoy my job and it could be rather hectic on occasion. Few times in a month I find myself working and operating into the late hours of the day. During such busy clinical duties, I also try to keep up with the latest publications found in the major neurosurgical journals in order to advance my knowledge.
After the 4 grueling years of medical school, my training started as a resident for a period of seven years total. During those years, I would spend close to 90 and sometimes 110 hours a week. It could be mentally draining but I also felt it helped to build character.
The world of neurosurgery is not far from the basic science of chemistry and biochemistry. For example, for someone to truly understand the complexities of the pathogenesis of many brain tumors and the current/potential treatments, one must have a mastery of basic biochemical concepts. Many of the abstract ideas that one learns in undergraduate study become more relevant in the course of residency.
ADVICE ABOUT ENTERING THE FIELD:
1) Immense yourself in the field of your study as an undergraduate. If you are pursuing a chemistry or biology degree, then make sure you supplement that with at least a yearlong research project.
2) Pay attention to the humanities courses since they will serve you well. We do live in complex social and political times.
3) Participate in conferences if you can.
4) Do not be afraid to make a mistake.
5) Be prepared to spend many hours studying and working.
6) With such physically and mentally straining life style as student, medical student and later as a resident, one must develop hobbies to “decompress” the excessive stress.
7) Always reassess your weaknesses and strengths.
8) Be kind.
9) If you think about going to medicine for any reason other than medicine itself, you will have a hard time.