Dr Adeniyi Borire has accomplished a tremendous amount in his career, from winning many awards to finding new ways to help patients. We got to know him, learn more about his research and find out how he honoured his former medical school.
From humble beginnings to exploring the complexities of the brain
Dr Borire, please tell us about your interest in the healthcare industry and why you became a neurologist?
“I was born, raised and schooled in Lagos, Nigeria. By the age of 14, I finished Year 12. By 17 I had completed my first degree in Computer Science. While studying Computer Science, I realised I was more passionate about interacting with people and solving their problems. In response to this, I thought about medical school.
“I was always fascinated by the human body’s functions, but medical school seemed out of reach due to costs. However, I was very fortunate as a member of my church was able to support me and paid my university fees.
“At 16, I enrolled in medical school, and by 23 I qualified as a medical doctor.
“I didn’t stop with my studies there. After completing a one-year internship at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, I received a scholarship to go on an overseas exchange program at the Institute of Neurology, National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queens Square, UK. The trip was sponsored by Agip Oil (an Italian oil company).
“During my brief stay at Queens Square, my fascination with the complexities of the brain and the nervous system grew. I saw my first MRI scan there in 2007. I fell in love with neurology!”
You have won awards for your research; what awards have you won and what does your research focus on?
“During my career, I have published seven international papers. I won the Jim McLeod Young Investigator Award of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists in 2015. In 2016, I also won the Tow Coast Association Research Early Career Awards (Open Junior Division) from the Prince of Wales Hospital. Then, this year I won the Golseth Young Investigator Award, presented by the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM). As part of the Golseth Young Investigator Award, I got to present my work on kidney disease in Phoenix, Arizona.
“I am currently a doctoral candidate at UNSW, and my area of interest is the early diagnosis and prevention of peripheral nerve disorders. As part of my research, I have been examining the nerves of patients with metabolic disorders like diabetes and kidney disease.
“My research uses a new technique to study the effects of diabetes and kidney disease on nerves. This method involves the use of high-resolution ultrasound, which is painless, readily available and cheaper to set up compared to our conventional nerve conduction studies.
“The awards I have won mean so much to me. It is recognition of the hard work I have put into the research, and they spur me on to do more.
“With my research, and by utilising this method, I hope that we can detect, prevent and treat nerve damage to these patients a better quality of life.”
Paying it forward in Nigeria
You recently donated an EMG machine to your former medical school in Nigeria. How did this initiative come about?
“In April I presented a paper at the American Association of Neurology’s annual meeting in Boston, USA.
“There I spoke to a few former colleagues and was saddened to hear that my former medical school has had no EMG machine for 30 years.
“Upon returning to Australia, I heard that Southern Neurology was replacing one of our EMG machines. So I approached Southern Neurology’s Director, Dr Raymond Schwartz about donating the machine to my the medical school and he was very supportive of the idea.
“We spoke with Lifehealthcare (the distributors of the EMG machine), and they agreed to refurbish the machine.
“With everyone on board, I flew to my former medical school in Nigeria and donated the machine on behalf of Southern Neurology.
“While there, I delivered a full-day EMG course to over 100 professionals from across Nigeria. This was the first of its kind. During the day of training, we offered free diagnostic services (courtesy of Primary) to many patients with injuries and neurological disorders.”
Feeling supported and inspired
When did you join Primary and what has been the highlight so far?
“I joined the team at Southern Neurology in Kogarah, NSW almost two years ago, as a Neurologist. I also started a Neurology service at the Wentworthville practice, a few months later.
“It has been fantastic, and I really enjoy working with Primary. I work part-time at Primary while I continue my PhD research at UNSW; I would not be able to do this if my workplace was not supportive.
“The best part of my job is that I get to help and look after patients with neurological conditions. I find it rewarding to help patients understand their conditions and, if possible, help them on their journey to recovery.”
“The team is also excellent. The receptionists and practice managers (Marie, Sally, Corrina and Jo), and the neurophysiology technicians are very supportive. The mentorship I receive from Professors Schwartz and Cordato and my colleagues is inspirational and makes the workplace for me.”
What do you find challenging about your job?
“Like in many specialist practices, many patients have challenging conditions. It is difficult when there is very little we can do to help them, and we can only support them by managing their symptoms.”
What advice do you want to give young healthcare professionals?
“My motto is to be a safe doctor; be as honest as possible, know your limitations and when to ask for help.”
“I also feel it is important to keep applying yourself, be a team player, be ready to learn and to ask questions.”