Dr. Hanid Audish is graduate of La Sierra University in Riverside, California. He studied biology and pre-med and achieved his undergraduate degree before moving on to 4 years of medical school at the Western University of Health Sciences College in Pomona, California. Following medical school, Dr. Audish completed a one-year residency in family medicine at the Doctor’s Hospital in Montclair, California. He continued with a three-year residency at Downey Regional Medical Center in Downey, California. Dr. Audish completed his medical training as a board certified family medicine doctor and joined a small family practice where he served the community for over ten years.
While working at the family practice, Dr. Audish began working with a San Diego clinical research organization a few days a week. As time went on, he found that he enjoyed working on research trials. He made the decision to transition to a full-time position with the clinical research organization.
Dr. Hanid Audish has been working at the research clinic for the past three years. The clinic works directly with the pharmaceutical industry to research new medical solutions that can improve patient care. The research studies serve many different conditions such as diabetes, weight loss, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, pain management, migraine headaches, high blood pressure and many others.
Dr. and Mrs. Audish are proud parents of four school age children – three sons and one daughter. In his free time, Dr. Audish volunteers as a sports coach at the children’s school.
Can you tell us about the clinical research that you do?
The clinic that I am currently working with deals directly with pharmaceutical companies to recruit qualified study patients. We often invite former participants to join new trials. All trials that we facilitate are strictly voluntary. Patients do not require insurance, and they are compensated for their time. Throughout the project, patients are monitored very closely. We advertise new trials through social media and local TV stations. We are given specific patient requirements to match up with a patient who is willing to try a new medication that may improve their condition. For example, we are currently testing a new injectable medication in diabetics who don’t have good control of their blood sugars with their current medication. The pharmaceutical company has designed a new drug that is to be taken as a weekly injection. It is designed to enhance and control blood sugar in a more effective way with possible other benefits such as weight loss. We have a control group that is on the test medicine and a non-control group that is taking their own medicine. We are testing to see if this injectable medication will be a better more effective treatment to control blood sugar, promote weight loss and prevent the complications associated with diabetes. The trials that I research are primarily in family medicine, which is my specialty.
What parts of your research and work do you find most challenging?
In the research field, the thing that is most challenging is finding the right patients. Often, during the recruiting process, there are many people who are interested in participating in the trials. However, patients will often become scared or reluctant to participate. This is because of the negative stigma associated with trials; it is difficult to change the perception that patients are “guinea pigs” in a lab. The trials that we initiate are always pretested in smaller studies and are considered to be safe. Our research is being tested in a more extensive study across the country. Safety for all patients is the most important thing to us. We try to convey all aspects of the trial study, including the ethical principle that goes along with the medical care we provide if the patient does not respond to the medication. It is a challenge to convey this information at times.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Typically, my work day begins at 8am. Usually, I am seeing a patient that has already been screened by a nurse. I visit them to perform a physical or to ask question about their experience on the product. It is vital that I am aware of any side effects that they may be experiencing. In between seeing patients, I check lab reports and contact patients to monitor the safety of the trial. I also meet with recruiters to discuss new means of engaging potential patients and reviewing with them the biology and pharmacology of the trial.
What do you find most enjoyable about your work?
The thing that I find most enjoyable is when the patients are experiencing good results during their trial, they express their appreciation and say “Thank you”. The fact that this treatment is working while other treatments have failed demonstrates the value of participating in a trial and the benefit it has for patients. Doctors do not always get that satisfaction in everyday practice. I feel good about what we are doing.
As a doctor what is your greatest strength?
I would have to say that my greatest strength in this field is listening to the patient. Often, patients have been waiting to see me. I want to always make sure that they are given my full attention to discuss anything they need to address without feeling rushed. It is important for them to know that I respect their time.
What would you advise medical students pursuing a degree?
My advice for medical students pursuing a degree would be to find a specialty where you will enjoy what you are doing. There are many years of training and a lot of debt that comes along with a medical degree. Do not pursue a career in medicine just because it may make financial sense. It is important to participate in a field that brings you passion. If you like to help people and want to make a difference then you will succeed in this field. It is a lifestyle choice.
Do you find it difficult to separate your personal and professional life? Is there something specific that you do?
As I went through my residency, I found it very difficult to separate my personal from professional life. As the years have gone by it has become easier. Family is the most important thing in my life, and dedicating time to them is just as important as the time that you dedicate to work. Separating both is a skill that you learn over time.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell a younger you?
If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to balance out your time rather than burn yourself out. I would tell myself to not allow my passion to ignore my downtime. It is important to relax.
Do you have any volunteer activities that you do that you would like to share?
In the beginning of my career, I volunteered at hospitals. Now I volunteer with our church and with my children’s school. I like coaching my kid’s sports teams and enjoy fundraising for their school. It continues to be an aspiration of mine to one day join an organization like Doctors Without Borders to volunteer in other countries.