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April 26, 2018

Meet Population Health Scholar–Tamim Rajjo, M.D.

By Advancing the Science contributor

Tamim I. Rajjo, M.D., is a family medicine physician, and a Population Health Scholar in the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

Tamim I. Rajjo, M.D., is a family physician and a preventive medicine specialist with research interests aimed at studying best approaches to managing obesity in the primary care setting.

Given the current obesity epidemic, he is particularly interested in understanding both individual and community determinants of preventing (and concurrently treating) excess body weight in different age groups. Dr. Rajjo's most recent work has been in collaboration with the Endocrine Society to update pediatric obesity treatment guidelines.

Dr. Rajjo completed his family practice residency in 2014 at Mercy St. Vincent Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, and in 2016, a preventive medicine fellowship at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Rojjo also has a Master of Public Health from the University of Minnesota with a focus on community-based obesity prevention programs.

What moment or experience in your life influenced your decision to be a clinician?

As a high school student in Syria, I volunteered with the International Red Cross, where I was able to assist clinicians on their mobile clinics. During that time, I witnessed firsthand the difference those clinicians were able to make in the lives of the thousands of Iraqi refugees, who were in dire need of medical help, from little kids with malnutrition and pregnant women with overdue prenatal care to elderly individuals with chronic diseases. I was deeply touched by the noble message of medicine, and decided to pursue medicine as a career.

What motivated you to become a Population Health Science Scholar?

My personal involvement in population health started while I was a master's student at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, focusing on the prevention and management of obesity.

I got interested in population health during my medical training after observing the overwhelming burdens that obesity has on patients' everyday lives, such as dealing with the negative stigma, medical complications and financial costs. It motivated me to pursue scholarly training in population health and study different innovative approaches in management, particularly collaborations with public health and other community resources.

What is your focus as a scholar within the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery?

My focus is aimed toward understanding and improving care delivery to patients with obesity. Although the medical society has long recognized obesity as a global epidemic, its incidence, complications and other financial burdens continue to increase. Utilizing evidence-based interventions, I'm working on interventions that help both patients and their primary care providers tackle this common, but difficult to manage, chronic disease.

How will your research improve patient care or impact public health?

My hope is that my work helps develop innovative approaches to prevention, early detection and management of patients with obesity in the primary care setting. Given the current epidemic status, disease complexity and significant financial burdens of obesity, the identification and management of high-cost patients becomes essential.

My goal is to help facilitate patient engagement to lower costs and improve self-management of obesity.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to pursue your career?

I believe that Mayo Clinic has always been the leader in superior patient care, medical education and research. It provides the perfect environment for primary care clinicians like me to align their clinical expertise with exceptional institutional research resources to promote innovation and collaboration, and develop new evidence and practice-based interventions to serve their communities.

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Dr. Rajjo's selection as a scholar, and that of his fellow cohort members, was announced in late 2017. They will begin their mentored research training program in July.

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Tags: Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, education, People, population health, Population Health Scholar, Tamim Rajjo

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