20th Nov, 2019
Just what the non-medical doctor ordered
“Are you sure you don’t have a background in medicine?”
Manaf Zargoush gets that a lot.
Zargoush — who does have two doctorates — is working on many things: a solution to part of Canada’s pressing hallway medicine problem, and a tool to predict how and when older adults will experience disability. He’s tracking how seniors’ mobility changes with age, developing a model for tailor-made hypertension treatment and creating a model to predict how physicians think, so they can take their individual behaviour into account when prescribing treatment.
And he’s doing it all with math.
Zargoush works with experts from a broad range of disciplines, using complex data analysis to find the answer to a question humans have asked since the dawn of time: What does my future hold?
"I'm asking if, when, how, and why things are happening to human health," he says.
"And I’m finding the answers.”
And once you know the answer, you can make better decisions. Given enough warning, it should also be possible to change health outcomes. “The data is there, but are we analyzing it properly? Are we learning enough lessons from it? Usually, there are hidden patterns in those data, and if we can get to them, they’re very insightful and sometimes life-changing.”
Data analysis and optimization for health-care management are two of the three things Zargoush says are pivotal to his research. The third is interdisciplinary work. In his current projects — and he has at least half a dozen on the go — he is working with physicians, gerontologists, nurses, scientists, engineers, rehabilitation experts and social scientists.