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By Jeff Tucker

Chasing the Dream

Ala Ebaid, MD, joins UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center’s fight against cancer

Growing up in Jordan, Ala Ebaid’s dream was always to come to America to practice medicine.

 “It is the best country to live in and practice in,” he says.

Ebaid was in his first year of medical residency in Jordan when a friend told him about The University of New Mexico.

“He spoke very highly of the university,” Ebaid says, “so I decided to send in my application, and that’s how I got here.”

He began his internal medicine residency at the UNM School of Medicine in July 2010. Now that he’s been in New Mexico for a decade, Ebaid says he doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

He says he was aware of the impact and cutting edge research happening at The UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center during his residency and wanted to be a part of the work back then.

Ebaid says he’s always been fascinated by diseases of the blood, even from his early years in medical school.

“It’s an area of medicine that’s evolving really fast,” Ebaid says. “Almost every week, there’s a new discovery in the lab to transfer to the patient.”

Ebaid completed his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UNM Cancer Center in June and begins clinical work in August.

The fellowship lasted three years. Prior to that, Ebaid was a research assistant in one of the labs at the UNM Cancer Center from June 2015 to December 2017.

Ebaid also has served as an assistant professor for the UNM School of Medicine and an adjunct professor at the UNM School of Nursing.

He also was an internist and hospitalist for Presbyterian Medical Center in downtown Albuquerque and served on the hospital’s heart failure and myocardial infarction quality improvement project. While heart failure might normally be associated with cardiology, Ebaid said his focus on blood disorders was an important component of the work.

Ebaid said there are some research ideas that he wants to eventually pursue, including why the build-up of certain proteins in tissues tends to be diagnosed more often in Hispanic populations.

But for now, Ebaid said he hopes to focus on treating cancers of the blood as well as supporting clinical trials and research conducted at the UNM Cancer Center.

“I want to be in the community and focusing on treating my patients,” he says. “I decided to stay in New Mexico because I fell in love with the people of New Mexico. And after spending the last 10 years here, this is my home.”

UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center

The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in a 500-mile radius.

Its 146 board-certified oncology specialty physicians include cancer surgeons in every specialty (abdominal, thoracic, bone and soft tissue, neurosurgery, genitourinary, gynecology, and head and neck cancers), adult and pediatric hematologists/medical oncologists, gynecologic oncologists, and radiation oncologists. They, along with more than 600 other cancer healthcare professionals (nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, navigators, psychologists and social workers), provide treatment to 65% of New Mexico’s cancer patients from all across the state and partner with community health systems statewide to provide cancer care closer to home. They treated approximately 13,000 patients in more than 100,000 ambulatory clinic visits in addition to in-patient hospitalizations at UNM Hospital.

A total of nearly 1300 patients participated in cancer clinical trials, 40% of whom participated in clinical trials testing new cancer treatments that include tests of novel cancer prevention strategies and cancer genome sequencing.

The more than 100 cancer research scientists affiliated with the UNMCCC were awarded $36.2 million in federal and private grants and contracts for cancer research projects. Since 2015, they have published nearly 1000 manuscripts, and promoting economic development, they filed 136 new patents and launched 10 new biotechnology start-up companies.

Finally, the physicians, scientists and staff have provided education and training experiences to more than 500 high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral fellowship students in cancer research and cancer health care delivery.

Categories: Comprehensive Cancer Center