Alaa Youssef

Alaa Youssef

200 202 Office of Research Trainees
Alaa Youssef

Alaa Youssef, BSc (Hons.), PhD (candidate)

Graduate (PhD) Student, Toronto Western Hospital
Supervisor: Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam

Research Highlights
My research focuses on understanding the biological and psychosocial factors influencing long-term outcomes after bariatric surgery. With the rising prevalence of obesity, bariatric surgery is a minimally invasive metabolic surgery that leads to sustained weight loss and improved quality of life. What excites me is that despite comparable improvements in surgery outcomes in the short term, the long-term outcomes are more heterogenous and complex. Using population-based analysis, the aim of my research is to identify bariatric candidates who may be at risk of sub-optimal long-term health outcomes after bariatric surgery to personalize follow-up care to their unique care needs. The impact of this work is to improve obesity long-term outcomes and reduce the economic burden of obesity care on the Canadian healthcare system.

Keywords: Obesity, Bariatric Surgery, Mental Health, Quality of Life, Patient-Centered Care

Why did you choose to explore research at UHN and/or in your specific lab?
UHN is one of the unique large institutions that provides opportunities to pursue cutting-edge research across all specialists in medicine. My deep curiosity to understand the complex nature of obesity management attracted me to pursue my doctoral studies under the supervision of Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam, Lead and Director of the Toronto Western Hospital Bariatric Surgery Psychosocial Research Lab. I have had the opportunity to work with large population-based datasets, interview bariatric patients and work with a multidisciplinary research team to learn, explore complex research questions and contribute to improving obesity care at UHN.

What experiences or advice would you like to share with prospective UHN trainees?
As a senior UHN trainee, I reflect on the challenges, learning and networking opportunities I’ve been exposed to through my research journey. My advice to current and prospective UHN trainees is be open to learning, engaging, and problem-solving. Graduate training is a unique journey that allows you to explore who you are, what your interests are, and what career paths you can pursue. I’m truly grateful for the enriching learning experiences and training environment UHN fosters.

Selected Scholarships:

  1. Institute of Medical Science (IMS) Open Fellowship Award (2019–2020)
  2. Institute of Medical Science (IMS) Open Fellowship Award (2018–2019)

Selected Publications:

Youssef, A., Keown-Stoneman, C., Maunder, R., Wnuk, S., Wiljer, D., Mylopoulos, M., Sockalingam, S. (2020). Differences in physical and mental health-related quality of life outcomes 3 years after bariatric surgery: A group-based trajectory analysis.Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases.

Youssef, A., Wiljer, D., Maunder, R., Mylopoulos, M., Sockalingam, S. (2020). “Caring about me”: A pilot framework to understand patient-centered care in integrated care – a qualitative study. BMJ Open. (in press)

Youssef, A., Chaudhary, Z. K., Wiljer, D., Mylopoulos, M., & Sockalingam, S. (2019). Mapping evidence of patients’ experiences in integrated care: A scoping Review.General Hospital Psychiatry61, 1-9.