2016-2017 Surgical Outcomes Research Fellow, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona

What moment or experience in your life influenced your decision to be a clinician?

Mariam N. Ali-Mucheru, M.D.
  • Surgical Outcomes Research Fellow, 2016-2017
  • General Surgery Resident

A series of unfortunate events, including being asthmatic, losing several family members to illnesses — including appendicitis — and growing up in a place severely affected by the HIV epidemic. I looked up to the doctors who took care of me when I was a kid, and the despair and hopelessness of experiences with illness and death fueled my passion to become a physician.

What motivated you to become a Surgical Outcomes Research Fellow?

It is an opportunity to gain a specific set of skills necessary to contribute to patient care and surgical research for the rest of my career. I am particularly interested in learning how to use big data to answer pertinent questions in outcomes research, which ultimately inform clinical care. I'm also able to take classes to increase my statistical knowledge and to apply what I learn while working on various projects.

What is your focus as a scholar within the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery?

My research focus is related to surgical outcomes and disparity in cancer care. In particular, my projects have utilized data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, the National Healthcare Safety Network, the National Cancer Database and Mayo Clinic institutional data for analysis. I hope to find answers that allow for improvement in quality of care and surgical outcomes by informing clinical care.

How will your research improve patient care or impact public health?

One of my projects is looking at rates of surgical site infections as recorded and reported by various databases. The goal is to determine discordance and to make recommendations to improve accuracy of the data, which ultimately affects patient care and outcomes and allows for greater transparency to the public, as some of these databases make public reports.

My projects looking at disparities in cancer care will allow us to highlight what the specific issues are and formulate a plan to address them.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to pursue your career?

I truly believe in the core values of patient care, research and education that Mayo Clinic embodies. It is a tremendous opportunity to have access to some of the best minds in medicine and to work in an institution that values nurturing and educating the future of medicine. The exposure to complex cases and learning to operate with some of the best surgeons in the country is unparalleled.