Following graduation from medical school Dr Sharief was privileged to work as a medical director of a primary health programme in Saudi Arabia, supervised by the World Health Organisation. This work gave him the understanding that health is “state of physical, mental and social wellbeing and not just absence of disease”. This ‘holistic’ view of health led to him pursuing a career in general medicine in the United Kingdom. Gaining the membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) he resisted the temptation to take on a medical super speciality and was accepted for higher medical training in general and geriatric medicine in South East London. This took him through an enjoyable training rotation working at Guy’s and St Thomas and King’s College Hospital before he achieved my consultant status (CCST) with a dual accreditation in general and geriatric medicine. Reaching this stage, Dr Sharief was thrilled to practise within this wider-scope medicine, now at a consultant level. He progressed comfortably within my beloved speciality, making some achievements, which were recognised and hence awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP).
Dr Sharief's work allowed him to see general medical problems, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, with the wider view of a Geriatric Consultant. This view has enabled him to offer effective non-drug treatments to control these long-term conditions. Other invaluable skills have been gained from his geriatric practice because elderly people usually come to hospitals with multiple medical, functional and social problems. Dealing with such complexity, the physician should come to understand the origin and interaction of these problems in order to set up priority and pull all threads together to set an action plan that would restore some balance, making the elderly feels better. From the onset he came to understand that every individual is unique. They have a unique set of genes and are exposed to unique environmental factors, including and beyond their lifestyles. They need personalised medical care.
This type of thinking has come as result of some serious personal experience of transforming his own illness first into health and now into vitality and fitness. A combination of medical conditions and lack of general fitness earlier in his medical career left him unable to walk half a mile from the train station to the house, compelling him to take taxis on regular basis. Things got worse and Dr Sharief had two surgical operations. After the second he was unconscious for 5 days. Waking up in intensive care unit with tube still in his windpipe, From that moment he changed course and started to learn about health and fitness for the first time. This has equipped him with different set of skills compared to his earlier medical career.