A passion for helping patients receive the most personalized health care possible is just one of the qualities Akaber Halawi, MD, brings to UF Health. Halawi is the newest member of UF Health Otolaryngology – Jacksonville and specializes in rhinology.
“Rhinology is the study of the spectrum of diseases within the nose and sinonasal cavities, and treats conditions from inflammatory disorders to malignancies,” Halawi explained. “I treat breathing disorders, problems with sense of smell and taste, as well as inflammatory and malignant lesions of the sinonasal cavities.”
Halawi works with a variety of departments at UF Health to provide the best medical care possible. As a rhinologist, she will work with pulmonologists to assist with sleep apnea surgeries as well as neurosurgeons to assist with removal of tumors near the base of the skull.
“What’s important about the UF Health Skull Base Center is that there is an established team of neurosurgeons, endocrinologists, radiation oncologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, head and neck surgeons, neuro-otologists and rhinologists that meet and discuss cases,” Halawi said. “When indicated, minimally invasive endoscopic approaches to the anterior skull base will yield a shorter stay and less surgical risk for the patient.”
Halawi is excited to be part of an organization where multidisciplinary teamwork is encouraged. With the state-of-the-art equipment and the dedication to patient care, she is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the UF Health team. Halawi completed her ear, nose and throat training at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. Then she enrolled at the University of Iowa and completed a fellowship in rhinology. Halawi went on to complete a second fellowship in advanced academic rhinology at Northwestern University in Chicago while working as a clinical instructor.
Following these programs, she moved to Ohio where she taught as an adjunct assistant professor at Ohio State University while working in private practice. “It was a 400-bed hospital and for almost two years, I was the only standing ENT,” Halawi said. “There were a lot of pathologies there, but I wanted to focus on rhinology, which is why I came to UF Health.”
Halawi is looking forward to working with patients to address their symptoms, some of which are often long-term. In the Southeast, allergic fungal rhinosinusitis is extremely common and often presents at early ages as children become accustomed to symptoms of nasal obstruction and smell loss.
“The humid environment is a good area for the non-invasive allergic fungal sinus,” Halawi explained. “Even though there are no symptoms, if left untreated, they do cause bone resorption and may lead to subsequent infections of the surrounding structures.”
UF Health Otolaryngology – Jacksonville provides treatment for a variety of conditions related to the ears, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck now with three highly specialized physicians.
“We are very fortunate here that we have subspecialized otolaryngologists,” said Karen Frank, administrative director for UF Health Surgery. “We now have additional expertise we can offer our patients.”
Since her first day in May, Halawi has been integrating with members of other departments and meeting staff that she will work with. “A multidisciplinary approach is something I believe in and I’m privileged that I will be working with a lot of well-known physicians that specialize in different aspects of medicine,” Halawi said.
For more information about UF Health Otolaryngology – Jacksonville, call 904-244-0411 or visit UFHealthJax.org/otolaryngology.