It was an interest in science and mathematics that convinced Dr. Hanid Audish to pursue an undergrad in science and pre-med at La Sierra University in Riverside, California before he went on to medical school at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California. For his residency, he chose to pursue family medicine at Downey Regional Medical Center in Downey, California.
After completing his residency, he and his family moved to San Diego, California where he took a job as a family practice doctor at a small, primary care medical group where he worked for 11 years. During his time there he began looking into clinical trials as alternative care for some of his patients.
Dr. Hanid Audish began working part-time with Encompass Clinical Research as a sub-investigator around 10 years ago, and he transitioned full-time into the field of clinical research as a principal investigator approximately five years ago. He focuses a large portion of his studies and research in the primary care arena and mainly in diabetes and osteoarthritis clinical trials.
When Dr. Hanid Audish isn’t focused on work or his CMEs, he’s spending all of his free time with his wife, three sons, and daughter. Dr. Hanid Audish and his wife enjoy attending their sons’ year-round basketball games and taking family vacations.
Why did you choose to become a doctor?
There were many reasons over the years that influenced my decision to go into medicine, but looking back to early schooling, the entire field of science and mathematics was something I was always drawn to. As I continued through schooling I found myself becoming more and more drawn to and excited to learn about biology, anatomy, and physiology. Medicine became the obvious career choice with these interests. I was also inspired to the field of medicine when I saw how family members became sick and was amazed to see how medical treatment helped them get better. My desire to learn about these treatments further fueled the obvious choice to go into medicine.
What area do you specialize in?
My specialty in medicine is family medicine. It’s an all-encompassing specialty that focuses on treating diseases across the age spectrum as well as providing preventative care.
What inspired you to specialize in this field?
At first, I considered specialties like cardiology and ophthalmology, but it wasn’t until after going through the clinical rotations in family medicine that I began to seriously consider that field as an option. It was challenging to learn about all the different diseases and the effects those illnesses had on the human body. Eventually family medicine became the obvious choice.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a Clinical Researcher?
One of the most challenging aspects in research is when patients are in involved in a trial and they’re not seeing a benefit because they may have been assigned to a placebo. These patients become discouraged and consider dropping out of the trial. Encouraging these patients to continue in the trial is vital for the success of the trial. It can be a huge challenge trying to keep them in the trial. Their data and information is very important for the study. If they are assigned to the placebo that data is very important and is used to compare to the data of a patient who is taking the study medication. If the patient on placebo sees no improvement but the patient taking the study medication improves, the FDA can look at this information and determine that the study medication is efficacious. Without the data from patients taking the placebo, we wouldn’t be able to determine this.
What do you love about your job?
There are so many things that I enjoy about research. One of the rewards is being able to work in an industry where you are part of the process of new drug development. Being able to see the process of how a medication comes to market from beginning to end and to learn that the medication you were involved in has been approved is very rewarding. Also being able to offer these novel treatment options to patients that could benefit is satisfying.
Many times patients without access to medical care or without medical insurance sign up for these trials and their condition improves. Offering this medical option to these patients and seeing the satisfaction they get is extremely rewarding.
What would you consider the greatest accomplishment in your career?
I’m not sure if I have a greatest accomplishment, but I have achieved many little ones over the years. Finishing med school and residency was definitely one. Getting into clinical practice, treating patients, and then witnessing the improvement in their condition is another. Then finally the opportunity to transition into clinical research full-time. Looking back it’s all of these little accomplishments that add up for me.
Tell us about an interesting project you are working on right now.
The big areas we are focusing on right now in research are diabetes and osteoarthritis, especially arthritis of the knee. We have some very interesting trials going on for these conditions.
One trial involves an injection in the knee for people with arthritis. The medication is capsaicin which is the ingredient found in chili pepper. Capsaicin has been used for many years to treat arthritis as an over-the-counter cream. It functions as an anti-inflammatory. This anti-inflammatory effect can decrease the breakdown of cartilage in the knee which reduces damage to the joint. This study involves using a formula of capsaicin that can be injected into the knee where it coats the inside of the knee, targeting the exposed nerve fibers which leads to a decrease in inflammation of the knee.
There’s another arthritis study that we’re doing, but this study involves taking a pill. This medication is intended to block the breakdown of your cartilage in your knee, specifically the meniscus of your knee. The meniscus is like the cushion between the bones in your knee, and in arthritis, there’s an enzyme that is activated that starts to break down that cushion. This study medication is blocking the breakdown of this cartilage and preserving what you have left. It’s a really interesting, novel study.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Definitely growing within the company and directing this growth for Encompass Research. We would like to expand to other therapeutic areas outside of primary care. Perhaps expanding more into the cardiology arena with more heart disease trials or doing more cardiovascular outcome trials.
Outside of research I think possibly getting into some teaching. I’d like to maybe one day go back to my medical school alma mater and possibly teach. I think that would be interesting and fun.
I would also like to one day travel to some of the less fortunate countries and offer some basic medical treatment. That would be extremely rewarding.
If you could discover a cure for anything, what would you choose?
There are so many conditions and diseases that need better treatment options and possible cures. If I had to choose it would probably have to be diabetes because of the vast number of people that are affected by it. Roughly one-third of the U.S. population has diabetes or prediabetes. I’m not even sure if a cure is possible given the complexity of the disease, but I think we’ll be able to manage it, control it better with continued research. Regenerating or replacing diseased tissue or organs is definitely an area in research, specifically stem cell research, that may offer a viable treatment option.
There are so many other conditions that we need better treatment options for such as cancer, mental disease, mental illness, etc. The area of mental illness which includes illnesses like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder is in desperate need of ongoing research. Speaking with research sites that are involved in mental illness trials they agree that more needs to be done in terms of research. Treatment options today for mental illness still don’t target the mechanisms responsible for the condition. Most of the treatments are geared towards symptom control. Clinical research needs to continue to pave the way for better treatment