New Faculty Focus: Arij Beshish

Q&A with Arij Beshish, MBBCh, PhD, assistant professor, Division of Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine

Arij BeshishHometown: Tarhuna, Libya

Educational/professional background: I attended medical school at the University of Tripoli, Faculty of Medicine (formally known as Al-Fatah University), in Tripoli, Libya. I obtained a PhD from the Physiology Graduate Training Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I completed both my pediatric residency and a pediatric pulmonology fellowship at the University of Wisconsin.

What is your field of research or area of clinical care, and how did you get into it? Ever since rotating in the Eldridge Research Group for pulmonary medicine, I became fascinated with lung development in individuals born preterm. This led me to pursue a PhD in physiology and study the long-term effects preterm birth has on the right heart and pulmonary vasculature. During my fellowship, I got to work closely with the bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) population in the NICU and help manage their respiratory concerns, including acute and chronic ventilator management. During this time, I became interested in learning more about the effect our management has on long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes and decided to further study this.

How would you describe your work to a 5-year-old? I am a doctor who takes care of kiddos who have problems with breathing. Some of these kiddos need medications to help them breathe well, and others need some machines to help them breathe. I also make sure I can help them clean out their lungs from all the boogers that they have because they are not able to do so on their own.

What attracted you to UW–Madison? I had the privilege of doing my PhD, residency, and fellowship at UW–Madison. I was able to work with the best, both in the field of clinical medicine and research. The collaborative works the pediatrics team does is inspiring, and I wanted to be a part of this community.

What is your favorite thing to do in Madison? I have a few favorite things: going to the farmer’s market with my family on Saturdays and going for long bike rides and hiking state parks with my daughters.

What’s one thing you hope trainees will learn from you and your work? I hope trainees will learn to be good listeners when they are working with families. Taking time to hear parents’ concerns and trying to find ways to help and support them is key to developing a trusting relationship with families, which will ultimately lead to better patient care.

Do you feel your work relates to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how. My work as a pediatric pulmonologist, particularly in the field of BPD, has a life-long impact on patients’ overall clinical and neurodevelopmental outcomes.

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter during video chats and parties? More and more children are surviving being born preterm. Although there have been significant advancements in their care and better survival rates, so much more needs to be learned about how their hospital course early in life, as well as other factors (environmental, genetics), affects their overall outcomes. I want to figure out ways we can help improve these outcomes.

What are some of your hobbies and other interests? I love to cook and bake. I make 3-D cupcakes as well as multi-tier cakes. I also love interior design.