Spotlight on Dr. Shakira Yoosuf


Dr. Shakira Yoosef

In October 2018, Dr. Shakira Yoosuf joined the Celiac Center as a clinical research fellow, working alongside Dr. Ciaran Kelly, Dr. Daniel Leffler and Dr. Jocelyn Silvester. Patients in our Celiac Center may recognize her, having seen her during a visit to our clinic. Dr. Yoosuf is a dedicated researcher and clinician and recently shared a bit about her background and passions in the field of celiac disease.

How did you become interested in celiac disease as a specialty?

During my Internal Medicine training at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, I became particularly interested in celiac disease and the countless ways it can present itself. A child of one of our long-term patients with liver disease of uncertain cause was detected with celiac disease. The mother was then tested and also diagnosed with celiac disease, with her liver disease showing resolution on a gluten-free diet. Seeing first-hand how celiac disease remains an “iceberg disease” (meaning a significant percentage of the cases are under-detected) left a lasting impression on me.

I’ve also been motivated to study celiac disease by watching the problems associated with managing patients on a gluten-free diet in countries like such as India, where celiac disease is not a common diagnosis. My leading research interest is in the factors that affect the diagnosis and response of celiac disease to the gluten-free diet, which is currently the only available treatment.

What is the focus of your current research?

I’m very interested in the healthcare-associated incremental costs of non-responsive celiac disease, as well as the factors that affect response of celiac disease. Extraintestinal manifestations (conditions or problems outside of the GI tract) of celiac disease, such as dermatitis herpetiformis, and liver disease also fascinate me.

What's your favorite part of being a doctor?

I love the challenge of putting together a puzzle to make a diagnosis. Even if some of the conditions do not have a cure, symptom relief and reassurance can bring comfort to patients and help them attain their best possible quality of life.

What are the top health tips that you share with your patients with celiac disease?

Please follow up regularly with your celiac healthcare providers to ensure that your body heals adequately after your diagnosis. This includes:

  • Blood work
  • Timely bone density scans
  • Nutrition visits to stay up to date on your nutritional needs and healthy dietary recommendations, such as using whole gluten-free grains instead of processed foods whenever possible

 

Read more about Dr. Yoosuf’s research here.

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