Alumnus’s Care of COVID Patients Extends to Their Families
During the weeks he spent treating coronavirus patients as the pandemic surged at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT, Adeel S. Zubair, M.D. ’12C understood that his duties as Chief Resident in the Department of Neurology were not limited to caring for the sick.
He was also inspired to devote time, albeit virtually, to caring for the needs of the patients’ family members, who were unable to be at their loved one’s bedside because of the fast-spreading virus.
“The shifts were long and arduous, and it was difficult watching these patients suffer through this process alone,” said Dr. Zubair, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History at St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I tried to be there as best as I could to help alleviate the loneliness and fear for these patients—but also serve as a bridge to the families.”
“COVID-19 is shaking up the world, and the pandemic is changing how we deliver care in many ways,” added the physician, who earned his medical degree at Mayo Medical School, now known as the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, in Minnesota. “One significant change is that when family members were limited in their visits with sick relatives, health professionals were dedicating more time, both at work and after shifts, to virtually updating the families and ensuring they knew about what was happening to their loved ones.”
Before the virus, Dr. Zubair and his fellow health-care workers would routinely conduct in-person consultations with family members.
“Since the pandemic, we have transitioned to using other forms of technology to try to augment our ability to keep families informed and updated on the patients’ conditions,” said Dr. Zubair. Those modalities include cell phones, telemedicine, Face Time, and Yale New Haven Hospital’s electronic medical record, which offers an option to conduct virtual visits with patients and families.
His undergraduate experiences at St. John’s prepared Dr. Zubair well for a career in medicine and the self-sacrifice the field often demands. “The thing I like best about St. John’s is its sense of community and the desire to give back,” said Dr. Zubair.
As an undergraduate, Dr. Zubair’s service efforts included the Midnight Run, where members of the St. John’s community travel in vans to distribute supplies to homeless people throughout Manhattan, as well as clean-up projects in local communities that surround the University.
“While many colleges provide you with a strong education to help you become a part of the workforce and the global community, St. John’s is one of the few schools I know of that focuses heavily on service and giving back to those most in need,” he said. “This ties back to the Vincentian tradition at St. John’s, which is very much an integral part of the University community.”
Dr. Zubair’s accomplishments are rooted in his devotion to service, according to Konrad Tuchscherer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, History; Founding Director, Africana Studies Program; and the University’s advisor for the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship.
“Adeel’s success isn’t just about smarts; it’s about his positive energy and kindness. He is always ready to offer a helping hand or a kind word,” said Dr. Tuchscherer, one of Dr. Zubair’s mentors during his undergraduate years.
Dr. Zubair also took on leadership opportunities at St. John’s that prepared him for assuming his role as Chief Resident. In 2012, he established the St. John’s University Bone Marrow Registry Drive, created to alleviate the shortage of bone marrow donors in the country and aimed at recruiting underrepresented minorities to enroll.
A member of the President’s Society, the highest honor society of St. John’s University, he also received a scholarship through the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. The intensely competitive scholarship was established by the US Congress to provide a continuous source of qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.
Proximity to his hometown of East Meadow, NY, was a major factor in Dr. Zubair’s decision to attend St. John’s. “Family has always been a huge part of my life, and the ability to stay close to home while getting an excellent college education really drew me to St. John’s,” he said. His younger brother, Aarij Zubair, is a member of St. John’s Class of 2020, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.
“Each time I return for a visit to St. John’s, I continue to be impressed by how much the University feels like home,” he said. “It is a great place to learn how to see the world, but, most importantly, it is a great place to grow as a person. The St. John’s community nurtures and helps you become the best person that you can be.”