Driscoll is pleased to welcome Dr. Abdallah Dalabih as the new chief medical officer of Driscoll Health System. Dr. Dalabih is a pediatric critical care physician with two decades of experience. He joins Driscoll after serving as a medical director and vice chair of quality and innovation at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
The CMO role will see Dr. Dalabih oversee operations at Driscoll Children’s Hospital and other medical facilities. He will also be responsible for building out medical programs, developing hospital capacity, and improving clinical care quality.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity, it’s a new chapter in my life and I hope I will be able to make a difference,” said Dr. Dalabih.
Dr. Dalabih will also be involved in the opening of Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley, set to open in summer 2024 and become the region’s first and only designed freestanding children’s hospital.
Dr. Dalabih grew up in Jordan and studied medicine in Turkey, where he met Sevilay, his wife of 20 years and a pediatrician at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
In 2006, Dr. Dalabih moved to West Virginia to work as a pediatric resident in Charleston Area Medical Center Health, and then as pediatric critical care fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Afterwards, he would begin teaching pediatric medicine as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri — the start of a career in teaching that would last more than a decade and see Dr. Dalabih tenured as a professor of pediatric medicine at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
“When you want to learn something well, you teach it,” Dr. Dalabih said of both teaching and practicing medicine throughout his career. Even after so many years on the job he said medical students continued to ask good questions that left him humbled.
“They challenge you; they force you to keep up to date and keep reading and be on your toes all the time,” Dr. Dalabih said. As a professor, he would always tell his students one thing to excel at medicine: be curious.
“I like to say the job of a medical student is to be a 3-year-old,” Dr. Dalabih said. “A 3-year-old child keeps asking: What, what, what, and why, why, why?”
In his free time, Dr. Dalabih enjoys reading, traveling, and watchmaking (a hobby he devoted himself to learning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic). He says hearing a delicate watch begin to tick again after hours of back-breaking tinkering is like experiencing success on the job.
“It’s amazing, as a pediatric intensivist that’s what I do in the ICUs,” Dr. Dalabih said. “Those children that are really, really sick. When they feel well and go home, it’s a great feeling.”