In November, Dr. Mohamud Karim returned to his position as medical director for renal services at Fraser Health after an 18-month leave of absence.
The position involves responsibility for two in-centre renal programs, three community dialysis units, the largest peritoneal dialysis program in BC, and a very large chronic kidney disease program.
The Surrey-based nephrologist says he enjoys the variety that his administrative responsibilities add to his ongoing daily clinical work.
“Clinical medicine allows you to have an impact working with patients one at a time,” says Karim, “but when you have a chance to build and grow a program, you can improve things at a much larger level for many patients. It can be very exciting.”
During his recent absence, Karim, who is a devoted member of Canada’s Ismaili community, worked on activities related to celebration of the Aga Khan’s golden jubilee, and the Ismaili leader's visit to Canada in December. Karim says the Aga Khan has a special fondness for Canada.
Born in Kenya, Karim first moved to Canada as a teenager with his parents in 1972. He attended medical school at UBC and chose nephrology because it offered more variety and scope for clinical practice than other areas of medical specialization.
“At that time nephrologists were still very good general internists,” says Karim, “and I really enjoyed the breadth of medicine that nephrology allowed.”
In the early 1990s, Karim was director of the dialysis unit at Vancouver General Hospital. Then in 1996, along with his wife and two young sons, he moved back to East Africa, returning to his roots and family. In Africa he worked with the Aga Khan Health Services, managing a hospital emergency room and providing renal care. In 2000 he returned to Canada and his nephrology practice at Fraser Health.
Today, end-of-life care is an area of particular interest for Karim, who believes that renal care providers have much to offer other areas of medicine on this subject. As chair of the BC Renal Agency’s End-of-Life Planning Group, Karim is actively involved in helping to develop end-oflife practice guidelines for BC’s renal community.
Meanwhile, in his leadership role at Fraser Health, Karim takes satisfaction from the administrative challenges of running a large and growing renal program. “It’s fun to work with different people in different roles and disciplines,” says Karim. “There’s certainly never a dull moment.”