By Alexandra Cooper, AASLD Intern
If you take one look at Yanik J. Bababekov’s, MD, MPH, CV, you’ll understand just how ambitious and driven he is to learn, serve and conduct research with his peers. As a surgical resident at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Dr. Bababekov works as “part of a team that seeks to improve healthcare delivery and policy through innovation.” After earning his medical and public health degrees from Tufts University’s School of Medicine, Dr. Bababekov’ s research and leadership were quickly recognized by his peers as he was named a Marshall K. Bartlett Surgical Research Fellow; the Camer/Rand Foundation Fellow in Quality and Leadership at the Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery; and an Aetna Foundation Fellow in Healthcare Innovation at the Healthcare Transformation Lab.
While in medical school, Dr. Bababekov said he was drawn to the fields of gastroenterology and hepatology because “I was inspired by the restorative transformations that patients underwent after liver transplantation. Transplant surgery is more than an operation – effective care includes ensuring equal access, developing data-driven policy, and improving healthcare quality. A career in the study of liver disease appealed to me because the multi-disciplinary collaboration between medicine and surgery epitomizes team work.”
AASLD has played a leading role in connecting Dr. Bababekov with the hepatology community since he joined the association almost three years ago. In 2015, he was selected as an Emerging Liver Scholar; in 2016, he received the 2017 Resident/Fellow Ambassador Travel Grant and joined the Young Investigators Task Force. This year, he was again awarded the Resident/Fellow Ambassador Travel Grant for 2018. The relationships Dr. Bababekov has forged with fellow AASLD members have helped him to recognize clinical innovation “as a necessary vehicle for meaningful, patient-centered quality improvement to transform healthcare delivery- especially in the complex patient with liver disease.”
As a Resident/Fellow Ambassador, Dr. Bababekov will develop programs and events at Massachusetts General Hospital that will spread the word about a career in liver disease to medical students and other residents. He is also in the process of organizing a mentoring series for medical students at Harvard Medical School that will include workshops on research vision development; how to advocate for innovative ideas; and how to manage a team of mentors. His aim with the program is to help trainees to “see a problem and be the solution.”
In the future, Dr. Bababekov plans to pursue clinical fellowship training in hepatobiliary and abdominal organ transplant surgery. He believes that “as scientific discovery in transplantation broadens to include patient-centeredness, the most important challenge facing the next generation of healthcare leaders is to optimize quality and safety. I aspire to lead collaborations that bridge health services research with clinical innovation to improve health system quality.” He is excited to train as an academic-surgeon and aims to investigate factors that impact patient outcomes beyond biology and treatments.