Job Title: Surgeon, Director of Sleep Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery, University of Alberta
When Graeme Mulholland was in medical school, he became fascinated by surgeries, but he was unsure what type he’d want to conduct. One of his mentors pointed to sleep surgery as a way to contribute to the well-being of a large part of the population.
Mulholland notes that up to 30 per cent of people may suffer from sleep apnea, which is one of the main disease processes he treats as director of Sleep Surgery at the University of Alberta.
He won numerous awards as a student, including a 2013 Gold Humanism Award from the U of A for exceptional commitment to patient care. That commitment continues to shape his career. He’s a scientific reviewer for multiple journals and has published articles in the field that will help advance management of sleep apnea.
Mulholland took part in a prestigious Emory University School of Medicine Sleep Fellowship and was the first Canadian surgeon to complete an ACGME accredited Sleep Medicine Fellowship. Through these experiences, he learned cutting edge treatment options, including hypoglossal nerve stimulation, which uses an implanted device to reduce the occurrence of sleep apnea. He’s working with a major developer of the technology with the goal of bringing it to Alberta.
“My training in sleep medicine allows me to consider the entire patient perspective, including any sleep disorders a patient may have in addition to sleep apnea,” says Mulholland. It’s very common, he explains, for patients to have multiple sleep-related problems.
Currently, he’s working to bring together professionals from various medical backgrounds to create an interdisciplinary environment, with new treatment options and improved access to care, with the goal to eventually open a sleep clinic in the future.