SGU Grad Translates Research Evidence to Combat COVID-19
As a medical doctor, a health policy researcher, and a lecturer on health systems, Firas Khalid, MD ’09, finds himself in the perfect position to utilize the knowledge and experience he’s acquired to address the present health crisis and its urgent population health needs.
Currently a research manager at Evidence Aid, Dr. Khalid’s expertise in health policy, specifically in health and humanitarian emergencies, is put to good use, as he dedicates his time and effort into translating research evidence to inform policy and practice since the beginning of the pandemic. He spends most of his days ensuring that review summaries relevant to COVID-19 displayed on the company’s website are robust, high-quality, clearly-written and accessible to all users.
“I was always keen to pursue a career in healthcare and in health systems,” said Dr. Khalid, who’s originally from Jordan. “I was particularly drawn to learning how to better strengthen health systems’ response to emergencies. Although I no longer practice medicine as a clinician, I utilize the medical knowledge and experience I acquired from SGU daily in all the roles I play—as an educator to my diverse set of students and as a health policy researcher and advisor on key health issues.”
On a professional level, for Dr. Khalid and many others in the medical community, the pandemic has had a significant impact on his life. He finds himself on the news almost daily, answering COVID-19 pressing questions by the public and utilizing his social media platforms to help disseminate the best available evidence. Meanwhile, as an educator, he’s used this time to push himself to create a new course for his students at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada that addresses current health issues related to governance in health and humanitarian emergencies.
“However, it is on a personal level that I feel this health crisis has had an even bigger impact on my life,” shared Dr. Khalid. “It has brought me much closer to my family and friends, especially my colleagues from SGU that are currently practicing in the US in various specialties, who I turn to daily for their expert insights on major health issues.”
Today, Dr. Khalid is currently leading a monitoring and evaluation research project on COVID-19 evidence summaries to better understand how to support knowledge needs in crisis zones. While in addition to his course at McMaster, he is also teaching two other health policy and systems courses in the fall at Wilfred Laurier University, and York University located in Brantford and Toronto, Ontario respectively.
“COVID-19 has tested my medical and health policy knowledge to the maximum,” added Dr. Khalid. “Hence, I am forever grateful to SGU for the exceptional medical education and experience I received. It has served me throughout my professional and personal career, and I am especially grateful for the lifelong friendships I developed during my time there. My colleagues are my go-to source for the most up-to-date medical insights on a diverse set of critical health issues and they are also part of my extended family. We developed a strong bond because of SGU and the experiences we shared in Grenada and beyond.”
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– Ray-Donna Peters