Dr. Stephen Farrow became a physician to help his neighbors – little did he know that his work would take him all over the world.
Farrow, an assistant professor of internal medicine and endocrinology at Wayne State University School of Medicine, was recently honored with the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE) Outstanding Service Award for her service to the promotion of endocrine service to the underserved Was. The award recognizes past achievements and encourages the continued service of the recipients.
Farrow said, “I was delighted to receive the award and, to be honest, a little surprised.” “People from India, South America and Europe as well as the US have been recognized for impressive work. It is a tremendous honor to be included in this group.
At the School of Medicine, Farrow consults on the inpatient service, provides clinical teaching and conducts research on urban populations.
“Many people in Detroit suffer from diabetes and other obesity-related disorders,” Farrow said. “According to the CDC, diabetes costs the United States $327 billion a year in care and lost productivity. As a world-class research institution, Wayne State’s medical research efforts are important at the individual and family levels, but they They also affect society as a whole. Better prevention and management help improve our quality of life and boost our economy.”
Farrow is also executive director of the National Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute in Mississippi and co-chair of the state’s obesity task force. He works with colleagues in Mississippi to prevent and reduce diabetes and obesity while researching a cure. He splits his time between Detroit and the Gulf Coast to address diabetes and obesity-related disorders.
Farrow grew up in Detroit and graduated from Cass Technical High School. He and his three brothers were raised by his mother.
“Mom would sometimes do three different things at the same time. It wasn’t easy,” Farrow said. “Mom never told us what we should do with our lives, but she emphasized that our family legacy was based on respect, service, integrity, and making a positive contribution to society.” is based.”
Farrow said, “She was not the only one to deliver this message.” “Youth organizations were an important part of our lives. Boys and Girls Clubs, Scouting and Church helped us focus on sports along with education. The Boys Club Scholarship also helped fund our education ”
Farrow was impressed by how generous the young leader was with his time.
“The mentoring and guidance of leaders were vital to achieving our chosen careers,” he added. “My endocrinology population health work and research is a small effort to take this generosity forward.”
Farrow’s mother worked several jobs, including one at a hospital, which inspired her to study medicine.
He attended Wayne State, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1981. He also participated in the Postgraduate Medical Program and the Minority Biomedical Research Support Program of the National Institutes of Health and graduated from the School of Medicine in 1985.
Farrow credits Wayne State’s then-chair of endocrinology professor James Sowers for inspiring him to go into the discipline.
“Urban areas such as Detroit, as well as many rural populations, have high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. These are difficult and expensive to manage, and their complications can be severe, interfering with success in school, making a living or raising a family,” said Farrow. “Wayne State’s endocrinology faculty demonstrated how clinical and basic research can be fun and fulfilling while contributing to a better quality of life for the community Can.”
One endocrinology faculty member was particularly influential on Farrow’s decision to combine clinical care and community research.
“I was surprised to find that my home community was reluctant to participate in clinical research studies – ‘we don’t want to be guinea pigs’ was the common refrain,” he said. “My research mentor – and current chair of endocrinology at Wayne State – Warren Lockett encouraged me to consider the issue logically, suggesting that ‘perhaps research safety rather than the idea of clinical research’ Lack of knowledge about the remedies is the issue.”
To address this, Farrow founded the Community Health and Hypertension Research, Education and Screening Team (CHHREST), whose volunteers include medical faculty, licensed and student-physicians, and volunteers from Wayne State, the University of Michigan, and other institutions. graduates were included.
Volunteers conducted education and screening and case-finding programs at churches and other community locations. In addition to learning how to reduce their health risks, participants learned how regulations protect the autonomy and safety of research volunteers.
Student-athletes played a key role in CHHREST’s success.
“Congregations expect physicians to be interested in health screenings, but having a high-achieving student-athlete check your blood pressure or blood sugar is a unique experience,” Farrow said.
CHHREST’s 200 volunteers helped reach 6,000 people in a single day through 20 locations – with minimal overhead. This caught the interest of the National Institutes of Health, which invited CHHREST to discuss large-scale, low-cost population health promotion at the Pan American Hypertension Initiative conference.
Farrow’s work with CHHREST led to a pair of Veterans Affairs (VA) Service Excellence and Diversity Awards. He also led the team that won the VA Enterprise Innovation Competition to develop novel software to accelerate physician review of VA electronic medical records.
“The software, which is in use in about 30 VAs, collates diverse health data faster than a physician can. Physicians can review an electronic chart in minutes – a fraction of the usual time – and the patient’s health spend more time with developing strategies for improvement,” Farrow said.
Farrow’s VA and CHHREST experiences eventually led to a role as the founding medical director of the VA Enterprise Locum Tenens Program.
“We started by selecting sites at the Veterans Health Administration to hire our new physicians and nurses,” he said. “Tuskegee/Montgomery, Alabama, VA was our first orientation site.”
The program provided vital services throughout the VA, including endocrinology consultations and veterans’ care in the Pacific Islands.
“The Pacific region has high diabetes and obesity rates,” Farrow said. “Veterans often have to go to Hawaii or the continental U.S. for some types of care — an inconvenient, expensive proposition.
“Our endocrinologists traveled by plane to clinics in Hawaii, American Samoa and Guam. We subsequently transferred a VA Locum Tenens endocrinologist to permanent employment with the Hawaii VA.
International work also took Farrow to South America as part of a Fogarty-sponsored team researching the genetics of hypertension in Bolivians of African descent.
“We examined blood pressure, renal and sweat gland physiology, nutrition, social determinants of health, and genetic factors in Bolivian African Americans,” Farrow said. “Despite the higher frequency of the gene subtype found in some African Americans with hypertension, we found a lower prevalence of hypertension in our study population.”
His research visits also included study at Department of Defense sites such as the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School and Naval Special Warfare in San Diego.
“Studying how highly fit individuals tolerate physically demanding training and occupations may help explain the physical challenges of diabetes and hypertension for the average person,” Farrow said.
Farrow also supports medical missions. In addition to recurring charitable missions with Kiwanis, the Philippine Medical Association and FANAA in the Philippines, he recently deployed with Wayne State Medical Aides on a medical mission to Guatemala.
Farrow has traveled around the world, but he has never seen his hometown. He previously served as a professor at Wayne State for 15 years, but left in 2005 to work on the Gulf Coast and in Washington, DC. He will return to his current role in 2022 and said he is happy to be back with his alma mater to address major urban health problems.
“Best outcomes depend on accurate diagnosis; expert management of behaviour, lifestyle, nutrition and fitness; and suitable pharmaceuticals. Wayne State has a long and distinguished history of leadership in medical care and research,” said Farrow. “Detroit Medical Center also has the foundation to help develop and support physician excellence in serving uninsured populations. I am pleased to serve in rounding and clinical teaching capacities to help develop skilled, dedicated physicians as we conduct research on cardiovascular and metabolic disease in urban Detroit. The road to optimal health is long and complicated, but it is an important, exciting journey.”