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Longtime WVU School of Medicine educator, leader retires

Longtime WVU School of Medicine educator, leader retires

Following more than 50 years of service in the classroom and research lab, in communities across West Virginia and to the medical field, Rashida Khakoo, M.D., retired from West Virginia University effective June 30.

“Dr. Khakoo’s commitment to the highest standards of patient care, through teaching and practice, has left an undeniable mark on students at West Virginia University and communities across our great state,” Dr. Clay Marsh, chancellor and executive dean for WVU Health Sciences, said. “Having benefitted from Dr. Khakoo’s teaching myself and working alongside her to improve health in West Virginia, I have seen firsthand the impact she had through her deep care for others. The art of medicine that she has taught to generations of healthcare providers will be her lasting legacy at WVU.”

Dr. Khakoo earned a Medical Degree from Makerere University Medical School in Uganda and completed internal medicine residency training at George Washington University and infectious diseases fellowship training at the University of Florida prior to joining the faculty in the WVU School of Medicine.

Throughout her career at WVU, Khakoo held many leadership roles, including chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and assistant vice president for faculty development, in addition to serving as a professor in the Department of Medicine and mentor for countless medical students.

“As a teacher, Dr. Khakoo embodied the principle of ‘light the flame’ and has inspired and mentored many learners, myself included,” Dr. Arif R. Sarwari, professor of infectious diseases and associate dean for clinical affairs in the School of Medicine, said. “We learned not to simply focus on being content experts but also communicate the passion and privilege of being clinician educators. She taught by modeling the attributes of a great patient- and learner-centered physician and set the standards by which many will practice and teach medicine.”

Khakoo has received many awards for her dedication to the education of medical students including the WVU Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award, WVU Health Sciences Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Mentorship and Infectious Diseases Society of America Clinical Teacher Award.

Colleagues at WVU Health Sciences have also benefited from Khakoo’s commitment to continuing education and mentorship. She has led the Faculty Development Program designed for faculty in all five health schools – Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health – and was instrumental in developing the interprofessional Teaching Scholars Program.

In recognition of demonstrated excellence in medical care, education, research and service, Khakoo received the Laureate Award from West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Physicians and was awarded Mastership from the American College of Physicians.

To honor her service to communities across West Virginia and the region, Khakoo has been awarded the Governor's Civil Rights Day Award, the “Living the Dream” Sharing of Self Award presented by the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission and the MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center’s Dedicated Service Award.

As a WVU Medicine physician, Khakoo has been recognized for leadership of the 2010 H1N1 Influenza Team and the 2015 Ebola Team and for performance improvement in reducing infection.

Her research and clinical interests include infectious diseases, focusing on influenza and healthcare epidemiology, and she has published numerous studies. In collaboration with colleagues from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, their work on distribution of airborne influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus in a medical clinic was nominated for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Charles C. Shephard Science Award, which recognizes lifetime scientific achievement contributing to public health.

In addition to supporting the local medical community as Governor of the West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Khakoo has provided leadership for health education across the globe as chair of the Aga Khan Foundation USA National Committee, an organization dedicated to improving quality of life in Asian and East African communities.

“I am truly grateful to our institution and its leadership for providing me many opportunities to contribute to our missions,” Khakoo said. “My patients, learners and colleagues have continued to teach me. It has been an honor to serve them. Collaborative relationships with colleagues not only at WVU but regionally, nationally and globally have been very inspiring, valuable and meaningful.”

The WVU community celebrated Khakoo’s career at a gathering in Erickson Alumni Center on June 28 which included words of congratulations from colleagues and University leadership. View event photos.