Sleep medicine expert Mohsenin retires from clinical work
Vahid Mohsenin, MD, professor of (pulmonary) medicine in the section of pulmonary medicine, intensive care and sleep medicine (Yale-PCCSM) at the Yale School of Medicine (YSM), has climbed many high altitude mountains in the throughout his life – in North and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. But perhaps his most important ascent has been in the field of pulmonary and sleep medicine, where he has had a huge impact over his 40-year career.
Mohsenin, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Principal Investigator, The John B. Pierce Laboratory, retired from clinical medicine at YSM in July 2021. Mohsenin plans to continue his research studies on the pulmonary system, which he describes as ” one of the most complex organ systems after the central nervous system.
“I was very attracted to this complexity,” he said. “It is a very difficult area.”
Mohsenin received his medical degree from Pahlavi University Faculty of Medicine in 1976 in Shiraz, Iran. He worked as an intern and resident at Pahlavi University Medical Center until 1977 when he emigrated to the United States to work at Moffit Hospital in San Francisco, California. His mentor, Arthur DuBois, MD, recruited him to New Haven, for a and the intensive care fellowship. His plan was to complete his clinical rotation and then to do research with DuBois for two years through the John B. Pierce Foundation lab. He has been in New Haven since 1978.
He decided to stay at Yale, working his way up through the academic ranks.
“The uniqueness of Yale is that it is one of the first institutions, and yet very humble in terms of the people who work there,” he said. “They always have a collaborative and open mindset, different from other institutions. And it makes you feel comfortable talking to people, launching research, collaborating, choosing your brain. There is a spirit here. collegial and collaborative. “
Advancing research on sleep medicine
The Centers for Sleep Medicine is one of Yale-PCCSM’s centers of excellence and is internationally recognized for its expertise. Until his recent retirement from clinical work, Mohsenin was among the specialists at the center who treated patients with a wide range of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy and leg syndrome. without rest. The center offers comprehensive diagnostic testing and treatment services, in close collaboration with a network of providers specializing in otolaryngology, neurology, bariatric surgery, among others.
In addition to his work as a clinician, Mohsenin has trained and inspired new generations of pulmonologists. Lauren A. Tobias, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Yale-PCCSM, first met Mohsenin in 2007 when he was an attending physician in the MICU unit at Yale New Haven Hospital.
“At the time, I didn’t even know that sleep medicine was a career option, and I was impressed with his passion for the field,” said Tobias, medical director of the sleep medicine program at VA. Connecticut Health Care.
As a comrade, Tobias trained with Mohsenin. “Reading studies on sleep with Dr Mohsenin, I knew I could always count on clear and concise explanations of the phenomena we observed,” she said. “He has always been a committed teacher who challenges trainees to seek out the evidence underlying their clinical decisions. ”
Mark D. Siegel, MD, professor of (pulmonary) medicine trained with Mohsenin from 1992 to 1995 as a researcher in pulmonary and critical care, and Carolyn D’Ambrosio, MD, traces his interest in sleep medicine back to in 1999 when she was a fellow participating in a research study with Mohsenin on improving the quality of life of patients with obstructive sleep apnea. The study was among the first to report positive improvement for people being treated for obstructive sleep apnea, D’Ambrosio said.
“Dr Mohsenin was doing sleep medicine long before anyone talked about it, and he built the sleep program at Yale from scratch. Honestly, it was just a bed or two at Gaylord Hospital with a few sleep studies a week, and now it’s a very important sleep center that’s known nationally and internationally, ”D’Ambrosio said.“ He was one of the first people to do research on respiratory sleep disorders. And now, of course, we have several National Institutes of Health-funded researchers at the Yale Sleep Center. So he was truly a pioneer and his impact is enormous. “
Lift others up
Mohsenin also left an educational impact at YSM. Like Tobias, he was Siegel’s first attending physician, and Siegel was struck by his teaching methods as well as his deep understanding of pulmonary physiology and lung function.
Yale’s pulmonary and critical care section in the early 1990s was much smaller, with just over 10 faculty members, compared to the 70 professors who are members of the section today, Siegel said. “As a result, fellows would get to know the individual faculty very well, and there was a natural mentoring relationship that would ensue just by spending time together,” recalls Siegel.
“Fellows spent much of their early years on rotations at Gaylord Hospital, where the chronic lung unit and sleep operations were located,” said Siegel. Gaylord was built as a tuberculosis sanatorium, and so there was actually these beautiful grounds – a small building with the hospital, then lawns with picnic tables and areas to walk around, and that was in July. And so Vahid and I would basically go outside, and he would teach me, and it was very Socratic, ”Siegel said.
“Whether it was sitting on that picnic bench, which is my fondest memory, or seeing patients with him, I learned a lot, and he left a huge mark on me in terms of the type of doctor and the teacher I wanted to be. ”
In 2004, Siegel traveled with Mohsenin to Iran. The experience influenced Siegel’s work as Director of the Traditional Internal Medicine Residency Program. “He and others like Dr. Asghar Rastegar have helped us focus at Yale on our role as global citizens and appreciate the quality of medical care around the world,” said Siegel. “He showed us that we have a lot to learn from people who train in other countries.”
Climb with a good team
Mohsenin returns this praise to the people with whom he has worked during his career. “The most rewarding part was working with the right people… the fellows that I attracted when I was experienced enough in my research,” he said. “I don’t use the words mentee and mentor – it’s a little selfish for me to say that I’m someone’s mentor. I would say we co-learn, we co-invest together, and we learn together,” did he declare. “And then I help them move forward.
“I’m proud of this, and a lot of them are actually at Yale and other institutions: Henry Yaggi, MD, MPH, Janet Hilbert, MD, and Behrouz Jafari, MD, who practices medicine in California. ”
Mohsenin’s humility is not lost on Yale-PCCSM section chief Naftali Kaminski, MD, Boehringer-Ingelheim professor of internal medicine. “Vahid always says he loved Yale because it was a top-notch institution that was very humble, and I think that describes him in some ways as well,” Kaminski said. “He is an outstanding pulmonary and critical care clinician, a pioneer in sleep medicine and research, a frequent traveler and a tremendous mentor. But he’s also a modest, humble and friendly member of the team, always ready to help, collaborate and contribute – and to a certain extent, that’s the spirit of Yale-PCCSM.
Mohsenin is scheduled to present the Yale-PCCSM Grand Rounds on November 17, 2021. The title of his talk is “Keynote Lecture: Research Ventures at Yale”.
He also has unfinished research that he would like to “start,” he said. “I’ve already had 40 years of intensive and pulmonary care, and it’s fun. It’s a chapter that ends, and I open a new chapter and I write the new chapter in terms of what I can. do to maybe make a little more impact, “he said. Among the projects he intends to follow up on respiratory health research he has conducted with colleagues in Uganda.
But first, there are outdoor adventures to enjoy.
“This is a fantastic example of someone who has managed to balance academic medicine with other pursuits, including its climbing, which has taken him across the world,” said Tobias, his former colleague.
The Pulmonology, Intensive Care and Sleep Medicine Section is one of the eleven sections of the YSM Internal Medicine Department. To learn more about Yale-PCCSM, visit the PCCSM website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.