Head, Division of Pediatric Surgery; Orvar Swenson Founders’ Board Chair in Pediatric Surgery; Associate Program Director, Fellowship in Pediatric Surgery Professor of Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; Member, Lurie Children's Surgical Foundation
Professor of Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Dr. Abdullah is a recognized leader in the field of pediatric surgery, a world renowned authority on minimally invasive surgery and chest wall deformities and a pioneer and thought leader in the arena of health services research and surgical quality improvement.
He joined Lurie Children’s after spending a decade at Johns Hopkins Medicine as a pediatric surgeon, a physician-scientist and an educator.
Dr. Abdullah’s clinical areas of expertise include neonatal surgery, pulmonary and upper airway malformations, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, abdominal wall defects, esophageal and gastrointestinal anomalies, among others.
As an academician, Dr. Abdullah has devoted much of his research to studying systemic predictors that influence the quality and safety of surgical care, affect patient outcomes and have the potential to reduce complications, length of stay and cost of care. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles.
Dr. Abdullah has an interest in global health and disparities stemming from access to surgical care. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the G4 Alliance, an advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing systemic changes on a global scale to improve the availability of surgical, obstetric, trauma and anesthesia care in underserved and impoverished areas of the world, as part of universal health coverage.
Recently, Dr. Abdullah led the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) national working group charged with developing evidence-based standards and practice guidelines. He was appointed to the combined Task Force for Children’s Surgical Care, a multi-organizational effort charged with defining and setting system requirements needed for the delivery of safe, reliable and quality surgical care to children across the United States.
Dr. Abdullah is also one of 38 representatives from the broader field of general surgery elected to serve as directors of the American Board of Surgery (ABS), an organization designed to improve the safety of surgical care by assessing the technical qualifications of individual providers and granting board certifications to surgeons. Dr. Abdullah serves in the same capacity on ABS’ Board of Pediatric Surgery, which grants certifications to U.S. pediatric surgeons.
Philosophy: Surgical Care Doesn’t Begin Nor End in the Operating Room
Dr. Abdullah believes that delivering the safest, most appropriate and timeliest surgical care is predicated on a variety of factors outside of the operating room. Surgical care should begin long before patients enter the OR, and last well after they leave it.
This is why, as a surgical leader and a scientist, Dr. Abdullah is focused on fostering a culture of innovation and discovery that occur at the intersection of clinic, lab, bedside and public health. He is dedicated to ensuring that pediatric surgeons are not merely treating the diseases they encounter in the operating room, but also working actively to unravel the basic mechanisms that cause them, as well as identify the systemic factors that influence the quality of care patients receive and how well they fare thereafter.
Hernia (umbilical, inguinal)
Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
Abdominal wall defects—gastroschisis and omphalocele