Helping people is a way of life for new PA Studies professor
By Kate Hunger
Growing up in Khartoum, Sudan, Assistant Professor/Clinical Micheal Habeab, MBBS, MS, witnessed the effects of widespread poverty. He decided to dedicate his life to helping others.
“My aim was to help poor people as much as I can,” said Dr. Habeab, who joined the School of Health Professions on June 1 as faculty for the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program at the Laredo campus, where he will begin working in July.
Dr. Habeab attended medical school, graduating in 2008 with his MBBS from the University of Khartoum. He then interned in different hospitals in Sudan and worked for four years at a charity clinic, where he saw between 20 and 30 patients a day. The clinic served people who had to travel a considerable distance to seek medical care. To save patients the extra transportation cost, Dr. Habeab opened his own practice in the neighborhood where many of those patients lived.
He still remembers the visit of a young boy who had received surgery for a cleft palate after Dr. Habeab helped his parents connect with an organization providing the life-changing procedure. Such memories remind Dr. Habeab of his personal mission to help patients.
“That smile — I will never forget it,” he said. “He was so happy.”
Dr. Habeab strived to educate patients on a range of issues, including the need for clean water and sanitary food preparation. As a result, he said, he saw the rate of diarrheal illness among children decrease from 12–30 cases per week to 5–7 per week in just six months. The response to the clinic was overwhelmingly positive.
“They were so happy about being helped in their location,” he said.
After coming to the United States in 2012, Dr. Habeab served three years in the United States Army Reserve. He then worked as a medical assistant in Dallas before enrolling in the Anatomical Sciences track of the Master of Science in Cell Systems & Anatomy at UT Health San Antonio, which he completed in 2021.
Dr. Habeab had the opportunity to serve as an adjunct anatomy instructor last year to PA students at The UT Education and Research Center at Laredo.
“I loved the area and the students,” he said.
Dr. Habeab’s clinical experience and advanced degree in anatomy are a great fit for the MPAS program, said Paul B. Allen, Sr., DSc, MPAS, PA-C, FAAPA, FSAPA, associate professor, chair and program director of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Habeab to our faculty,” Dr. Allen said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a physician in the Sudan, working in austere environments with underserved communities.
Dr. Habeab said he recognizes the need for health providers in the Webb County area and welcomes the opportunity to train students to meet that need. And in that way, he believes he will be able to achieve an even greater impact.
“My aim now is to practice medicine through my students, to send them out into the world to help more patients,” he said.