BCIRPU’s Dr. Shelina Babul says that her recent sabbatical allowed her to catch-up on the projects that were on hold due to COVID-19, review the current literature, further some of the work that she is most passionate about, and just decompress from Zoom fatigue.
Dr. Babul took a six-month sabbatical, returning to her work as Associate Director of the BCIRPU and Clinical Professor of UBC’s Department of Pediatrics, in August 2022.
During this time, she was able to finish the work she started on educating teachers, coaches, sports managers, and medical professionals in East Africa on concussion recognition, diagnosis, and management. Dr. Babul travelled to Uganda in 2019, but plans to return were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A building in Tanga, Tanzania, where Dr. Babul’s grandparents had a family business.
Dr. Babul visited an elephant orphanage in Nairobi.
During her sabbatical, Dr. Babul travelled to Nairobi and Tanzania, presenting to medical residents and emergency physicians. She also educated teachers at the Aga Khan Academy in Tanzania about concussion recognition and how best to support and manage students with concussion.
“It was extremely rewarding to be able to finally complete my educational work in East Africa,” said Dr. Babul. “Through this work, there has also been interest in concussion education among colleagues in South Africa and Lebanon.”
Locally, Dr. Babul introduced concussion education into the UBC Faculty of Medicine Medical curriculum. In March 2022, the CATT for Medical Professionals course was taught for the first time to fourth-year medical students.
She is also involved in the working group to create a BC Clinical Practice Guideline on concussion. These guidelines will help BC health care practitioners diagnose and help their patients manage their concussion. The working group plans to submit the guideline to the Guidelines and Protocols Advisory Committee for review in Spring 2023.
Dr. Babul and her colleague at UBC Okanagan, Dr. Paul van Donkelaar, received a UBC HIFI grant in early January to pilot a virtual reality training tool to help police recognize signs and symptoms of brain injury from concussion and strangulation in intimate partner violence.
I am pleased with the work I was able to accomplish while on sabbatical. I’m excited to continue the projects that I started and am grateful for the connections I made while away, and the time I was able to spend with my family.”
Dr. Babul playing ball hockey for the first time with her daughter
Between all of this work, Dr. Babul made significant progress on manuscripts—with three published and two currently under review. She spoke to the media about concussions, and was featured in an episode of the Concussion Central podcast. She also discovered a new activity: pickleball, and completed renovations on her home.
“Overall, I am pleased with the work I was able to accomplish while on sabbatical,” said Dr. Babul. “I’m excited to continue the projects that I started and am grateful for the connections I made while away, and the time I was able to spend with my family.”