It’s all about taking care of one another - indoors and outdoors

NWCOHS Occupational Medicine resident, Dr. Ali Khan, shares his experience at the American Occupational Health Conference

July 1, 2024

Dr. Ali Khan is a second year MPH student in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) and a resident physician in the NWCOHS Occupational Medicine Residency Program. He grew up in the Chicago northwest suburbs, was an English and Biochemistry double major in college, and went to medical school at Northwestern University. He decided to come to the University of Washington and DEOHS because of his interest in wildfire smoke and the effects of heat exposure on the health of outdoor workers. In 2012, Ali joined the Sierra Club and participated in a service trip on the Selkirk Mountains outside of Spokane, Washington. He wanted to push himself into something new and found a great appreciation for the outdoors, climate change, and the people responding to its effects.

Ali Khan headshot
Dr. Ali Khan, NWCOHS trainee. 

Attending the American Occupational Health Conference

Dr. Khan attended the American Occupational Health Conference (AOHC) in Orlando May 19-22, 2024. He gave a presentation entitled, “Basics of Medicine in the Outdoors,” targeted to medical students and residents. His presentation included two parts; the first focused on an approach to in-flight emergencies and the second an approach to wilderness medicine, i.e., what to do when you come across an unconscious patient in the woods. “In occupational medicine, it’s all about taking care of one another,” Dr. Khan explains. “This includes the indoors and the outdoors.”

Dr. Khan notes that his experience at AOHC was wonderful. “It is one of the best conferences I’ve been involved with this year. In sharing my presentation, the audience asked great questions, and I will be incorporating the answers to those questions in future iterations of my presentation.”

Dr. Khan appreciated the diversity of perspectives at AOHC and the opportunity to attend presentations on a variety of timely topics. For example, he was able to attend a presentation on an occupational disease survey conducted in 2023 among the UN workforce to understand prevalence of work-related illnesses. Further, he networked and connected with potential job opportunities as well.

Future Directions

Dr. Khan’s research is still in the early stages. He is hoping to work on wildfire smoke and heat exposure on the health of outdoor workers. He is participating in a 2-month rotation as a physician resident with OSHA in early 2025. During the OSHA rotation, he will explore emerging issues like those related to heat.

Photo by RDNE Stock project: