Q&A with Gigi Dawood, DO, FACE
Gigi is the first I.AIM Clinical Informatics Fellow. Her passions are wide-ranging, from caring for diabetic patients and innovating in informatics, to exploring and taking selfies with dogs. Read on for the full story.
How did you get started in medicine?
I was born into a “medical family” in Chicago, before ultimately moving to the suburbs of Chicago. My mother retired as a surgical nurse, my dad retired as a Director of IT for a small Chicago hospital, and my younger sister is an ER nurse practitioner. So you can only imagine the dinner conversations.
Where did you receive your medical education?
I initially went to Wheaton College for two years, and then transferred to Elmhurst University (when I went there, it was still known as a college), to finish out a BSN - nursing degree. I worked for about 3 years as a CCU critical care nurse at the Hines VA, in Maywood. During that time, the desire to be a doctor grew, and I ultimately got the chance to go to Midwestern University - Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. My internship, residency, and fellowship were all done at UW-Madison.
Can you tell us a little about your experiences practicing endocrinology?
Since 2004, I’ve been a clinical endocrinologist in all sorts of delivery models – private practice, multi-specialty, hospital-own, and some very rural practices. I’ve been so lucky and incredibly blessed to have practiced in some beautiful places: Portland, OR, Colorado Springs, CO, Durango, Colorado, Boise, ID, Traverse City, MI, and more recently, Vail, CO (No, I wish I could ski, but don’t and no, I am not running from the law). I have a heart for overseas endocrinology/diabetes work in Egypt and in March of 2021, I got a chance to work at a rural Egyptian hospital, working with diabetic patients, for two months.
What features of the I.AIM fellowship appealed to you?
There were and are so many things about the clinical informatics fellowship that drew me in. In a time when everyone was interviewing through Zoom, there was a warm and personal quality to all those I met virtually. The instructors and mentors are at the top of their professional careers nationally and locally, so the chance to learn from them was incredibly appealing. I grew up “hearing” and “knowing” that Northwestern was a great hospital system; the fact that it still remains that way since my childhood is a testament to their pursuit of excellence and quality in patient care. So, the missional quality of a system like this was again another big draw. The bonus was that my family was still living in the suburbs (great to come back “home” after 20 years away). It was a pretty easy decision to say yes to this fellowship. The even bigger is that I’ve been able to interact with some great CHiP folks and become acquainted with I.AIM.
What are your plans after completing the fellowship?
The possibilities are endless, which makes it incredibly hard to focus on just one aspect of clinical informatics. I’m hoping to blend my love of diabetes and endocrine care, remote patient technologies with concentrations of workflows and quality improvement, physician efficiencies/burnout, and patient interactions with the EHR. I also have an interest in global health, and am finding that global informatics is a “real thing” with enormous potential, especially in the field of diabetes!
Could you tell us a bit about your current projects?
Much like that last question, it seems that weekly I run into something interesting I’d like to dive into. Endocrinology in the time of COVID shifted radically to telehealth, remote diabetes care, and a new model for the patient-doctor relationship. I’d love to find robust solutions where the secondary “pandemic” of diabetes and chronic care is better served and supported through clinical informatics.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I’m a HUGE dog-lover and if I see one, 9 times out of 10, I’ll have my camera out and will be “baby-talking” to those poor things, much to the chagrin of their owners. Hiking and camping in the Pacific NW is my happy place, but so too is any beach with just enough sand to get into my toes. I’m completely and totally addicted to my Peloton which might actually be the one thing I’d have if I were to be stuck on a deserted island, besides a chef. I have a love of office supplies, so I’m giving you fair warning to hold your pens close, as I may want to “borrow them” if you set it down; I still haven’t found my holy grail pen.