Aasim Padela MD » People

Aasim Padela MD

Associate Professor of Medicine Section(s) of Emergency Medicine and General Medicine
Work Phone: 773-702-6081 Work Fax: 773-834-2238
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Biographical Info

Dr. Padela is an emergency medicine physician, health services researcher, and bioethicist whose scholarship focuses on the intersection of minority health and bioethics through the lens of the healthcare experiences of American Muslim patients and health care providers.

Dr. Padela’s empirical research focuses on the ways in which religious beliefs, values and identity impacts American Muslim health behaviors and the healthcare inequities faced by American Muslims. He also charts out the ways in which Islam influences the practice of American Muslim physicians. He is currently a fellow at theInstitute for Social Policy & Understanding where he takes this descriptive work to the policy-level developing recommendations for healthcare institutions and state authorities that better meet the needs of American Muslim patients and a diverse healthcare workforce.

Dr. Padela’s normative bioethics work focuses on applied Islamic bioethics. He is interested in the ways in which the Islamic tradition and the standard bearers of that tradition assess modern biomedicine. His interest lies in how scientific data and ways of knowing can inform and work in concert with traditional Islamic moral and scholastic theology. Further he studies how Islamic ethico-legal verdicts respond to bioethical challenges and the gaps in the fatawa discourse. In this arena he collaborates with traditional Islamic jurisconsults at Dar-ul-Qasim Islamic institute and co-directed a landmark conference entitled Where Religion, Bioethics, and Policy Meet: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Islamic Bioethics and End-of-Life Care.

Dr. Padela completed undergraduate degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Classical Arabic & Literature at the University of Rochester. After earning his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College, he returned to the University of Rochester for a residency in emergency medicine. From 2008-2011 Dr. Padela was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan, where he led a program of community-based participatory research studying the role of religion in American Muslim health behaviors, healthcare seeking patterns, and healthcare challenges. In 2010 he was also a Visiting Fellow at the Centre of Islamic Studies at Oxford University working on projects related to Islamic theological ethics and moral obligation. From 2012-2014 Dr. Padela will be joining the first cohort of the Templeton Foundation Faculty Scholars Program.

Dr. Padela’s work has been featured by multiple media outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, and The National.


  • Scholar and Director, Initiative on Islam and Medicine, Program on Medicine & Religion
  • Faculty, Maclean Center for Clinical Ethics
  • Faculty, University of Chicago Center on Religion and Medicine

Specific EM Interests:

  • Ethics of and Practical Processes Transnational Health Collaborations (experience in Turkey & Middle East)
  • Physician Stewardship of Resources and Cultural Accommodations of Patients in Emergency Medical Care
Categories: Faculty, University of Chicago - Faculty