New UH Sleep Medicine Specialist Treats Patients of All Ages

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Sally Ibrahim, MD Sally Ibrahim, MD

Sally Ibrahim, MD, is triple-boarded in internal medicine, pediatrics and sleep medicine

UH Clinical Update | April 2020

The demand for experts in the field of sleep medicine has perhaps never been greater, for both children struggling with sleep issues, as well as adults.

“There’s increased national attention focus on the need for adequate sleep in children and teens,” says new UH sleep medicine specialist Sally Ibrahim, MD, who recently left Cleveland Clinic to become Medical Director of the Sleep Lab at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “Advocates are also supporting later school times for teens due their delayed biological clock and early rise time that makes it hard for them to get sufficient sleep. For adults, there has been a trend toward increased awareness of obstructive sleep apnea and getting more sleep apnea testing, especially home testing.

Dr. Ibrahim earned her medical degree at the University of Texas Medical Branch Medical School and completed residency training in internal medicine and pediatrics at MetroHealth Medical Center here in Cleveland. Following her fellowship training in sleep medicine at Cleveland Clinic, she practiced on the faculty staff there for 12 years, joining UH in September of 2019.

Triple-boarded in internal medicine, pediatrics and sleep medicine, and with a sleep medicine practice that includes both children and adults, Dr. Ibrahim is well-positioned to meet patient needs. Being able to care for the entire age spectrum gives her a valuable advantage, she says.

“Wearing both hats really helps,” Dr. Ibrahim says. “I see the full spectrum of sleep disturbances across the developmental stages and ages.”

As she’s joined the adult and pediatric sleep medicine programs here at UH, Dr. Ibrahim says she’s been impressed with their breadth and multidisciplinary nature.

“On the adult side, there is a full spectrum of sleep services including an adult sleep psychologist (Dr. Samina Ahmed), a variety of sleep physicians and nurse practitioners, and a board-certified ENT surgeon (Dr. Amy Schell), who offer the continuum of sleep surgery care for obstructive sleep apnea, including the newest Inspire therapy,” she says.

“For my UH pediatric colleagues, we want to share what our pediatric sleep program can offer to your patients,” she says. “Dr. Carol Rosen has led and developed the program for the past 20 years. Soon to retire, she is leaving a legacy of top-quality pediatric sleep services. We have a team of sleep physicians, sleep nursing educators and the only board-certified behavioral pediatric sleep psychologist in Cleveland who all complement the variety of sleep disorders. We also work closely with the respective pediatric specialists (behavioral therapists, epilepsy and neurology, nutrition, ENT surgery, and others) to help our patients in a multidisciplinary way.”

What led Dr. Ibrahim to join UH?

“One of the things that attracted me to the UH program was the value placed in a child-friendly sleep lab,” she says. “Our pediatric sleep center is uniquely positioned to accommodate all children, even those with behavioral and intellectual challenges. Our program promotes sleep technologist training of pediatric-specific needs so that the sleep study procedure is tolerated even among typically developing children.  Our program is currently the only program in Cleveland that offers child life services on the night of the sleep study procedure on a case-by-case basis. Child life services can assist more anxious and behaviorally challenged children tolerate the sleep study procedure for a successful night.”

The UH Sleep Center is growing for adult and pediatric services. The center is finding new ways to serve patients such as online scheduling and increased patient access to sleep medicine specialists and services.

“If you have access issues for pediatric patients, you can call UH Rainbow at at 216-553-1947 and ask for the Pediatric Sleep Medicine office and we’ll work aggressively to help your patient gain access to care,” Dr. Ibrahim says.

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