Editor’s note: This story is part of series on the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
Dr. Adam Elhaddi works in the white-collar world but, if you look closely, his collar has a definite bluish tint to it.
“We learn that from where we come from,” he said. “Our region has always been blue collar and tough. Even though I’m a white-collar guy, it all starts from the blue-collar world.”
Elhaddi is the son of Yemeni immigrants, and his father, Mohsin, was a steelworker. He grew up on First Street in Masury.
“We didn’t have much,” said the 1994 graduate of Brookfield High. “We had enough. We were cared for and loved. Knew that to succeed really hammering your education was vital. That was instilled very early. Here we are because of that and my time here in Brookfield.”
Elhaddi said he knew as a young child that he wanted to be a doctor, and said his pediatrician, Dr. Richard Stypula, was his idol.
“Knowing that it’s the academic world that’s gonna get you there (career in medicine), I did my best to excel and to take all that Brookfield (High School) had to offer,” he said. “In fact, in my senior year, I took double sciences in calculus and human physiology.”
Although Brookfield is a “smaller community” and “the resources aren’t as big as bigger communities,” the high school still had “very impressive” academic offerings, “and it prepared me very beautifully for college and then medical school. We had everything that we needed to be successful.”
He initially wanted to be a pediatrician, but, “When I got to dealing with patients and doing pediatrics, I hated it,” he said. “It was my worst clerkship. I wasn’t in it.”
Cardiology brought together his fascination with the workings of the human body and his spiritual beliefs. He thought back to the days when he was a boy and his family would slaughter a sheep as part of their Muslim religion.
“I would literally steal the heart and take it downstairs and start looking at it,” Elhaddi said. “It’s that scientific curiosity. ‘Wow, this is how we’re built. This is how the almighty built us.’ As special as it is, it’s still science and mechanics. Things have to pump and squeeze to make things go, just like your car.”
Elhaddi, who lives in Salt Lake City, has a private practice and also works in a hospital. He is not a surgeon but enters the body to implant stents and pacemakers, and performs non-invasive procedures such as shocking the heart back into normal rhythm.
While in town for the induction, he spoke to Brookfield High students in the upper science classes, showing them photos and videos of various medical cases he has worked on.
A student asked Elhaddi if it is scary performing procedures that require such precision.
“Yes and no,” Elhaddi said. “Yes, because you remember why you’re there and one wrong move and it can be disastrous. That’s really scary. But, a lot of training, a lot of exposure. You get good at it, and you know how to stave off any bad things from happening, and you can fix any complications that happen along the way.”
He said he is not timid about performing the procedures, “but it’s due respect to the situation at hand. You call upon yourself in the right moment. If it’s an outpatient procedure, you know the patient well, a great relationship, you’re more at ease and relaxed and do the work. But, if it’s through the ER, you don’t know this patient and they’re dying, then the sphincter tone is much higher, if you will, and everybody’s on guard.”
“It’s been an amazing journey in life to be able to serve humanity and take care of folks, and it really does literally and figuratively come from the heart,” he said.
The Brookfield Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame committee has opened ticket sales for the Class of 2022’s induction brunch at 10 a.m. Sept. 10 at Tiffany’s Event Center, 601 Bedford Road SE, Brookfield.
Adult tickets are $25 and tickets for children ages 5-12 are $12. Children under age 5 are admitted for free. Tickets may be purchased at the Brookfield Board of Education Office, 579 Bedford Road, or from committee chairperson Diane Riefstahl. Checks should be made out to the Brookfield Dist. Alumni HOF and mailed to 740 Tamplin St., Sharon, PA 16146. Venmo and Zelle payments are also accepted and should be directed to 724-456-2081. Please be sure to indicate the number and type of tickets being purchased. The last day to purchase tickets is Aug. 26.
The Class of 2022 is William Toby Gibson, Brookfield High School Class of 1991; Dr. Marquita L. Hubbard Kemp, DNP, MBA, RN, VHA-CM, Class of 1980; Kaitlyn Nasci-Lang, Class of 2004; Jason Straka, Class of 1990; and Dr. Joe Zuhosky, Class of 1985.
Inductees will be returning to their alma mater Sept. 9 for a student assembly, and will meet with groups of students throughout the day.
Nominations are being accepted for the Brookfield Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2023. If you would like to nominate a Brookfield alum who graduated at least 10 years ago, has reached a high level of success in his/her chosen field, and who has made a significant contribution to society, contact Diane Riefstahl at the above address or phone number. Nominations close Jan. 7.