It was the fast-paced excitement of the intensive care unit that first inspired Dr. Engi Attia to pursue specialty training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, but as she dove deeper into the field, Dr. Attia found a passion for pulmonology, which encompasses a broad spectrum of pathophysiology. Now an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the University of Washington Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Dr. Attia integrates her longstanding interest in global health with pulmonary medicine. Dr. Attia first pursued her interest in international public health as an undergraduate at Rice University, and continued to explore this intersection across disciplines while, as an Internal Medicine resident at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, she cared for people living with HIV (PLWH) in the U.S. whom she observed to have a marked burden of both infectious and non-infectious pulmonary diseases. In 2011, Dr. Attia volunteered at the Coptic Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya and was again struck by the degree of pulmonary involvement suffered by PLWH.
Since that time, in collaboration with Coptic Hospital’s Hope Center for Infectious Diseases in Nairobi, she is examining chronic lung diseases and associated risk factors among PLWH. Dr. Attia spent time focused time at the Coptic Hope Center in 2014 and again in 2015 to implement two prospective cohort studies, finding that adolescents had a higher burden of respiratory symptoms, lower oxygen levels and abnormal lung function compared to adults living with HIV, which prompted her current focus on the lung health of adolescents living with HIV. Dr. Attia received a K23 (HL129888) Career Development Award in 2017 from the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to continue examining mechanisms of and risk factors for chronic lung disease in adolescents living with HIV in Nairobi. She is also currently implementing studies at the Coptic Hope Center supported by the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS) and the UW/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) to compare chronic lung disease among U.S. and Kenyan youth and to investigate the relationship of HIV, air pollution and lung function, respectively.