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Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

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Meet the Residents: SWCOEH welcomes new Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residents

HOUSTON (April 6, 2022) – The Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) is pleased to welcome two new residents to its Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) residency: Thomas Holcombe, MD, and Nur Zakirkhodjaev, MD.

“We are looking forward to Dr. Holcombe and Dr. Zakirkhodjaev joining us in our program,” Dr. Brett Perkison, Occupational Medicine Residency Program Director, said. “Their unique backgrounds and areas of expertise in medicine will help us to continue to find new and innovative ways to improve how we treat and manager occupational and environmental related health issues.”

“We are delighted to welcome Drs. Holcombe and Zakirkhodjaev to the OEM Residency program,” said Dr. David Gimeno, PhD, the SWCOEH Director and Occupational Epidemiology Program Director. “We look forward to have them continuing their educational journey with us so they can pursue their professional dreams and reach their highest potential.”

After studying chemistry at Covenant College (Lookout Mountain, Ga.), Dr. Holcombe earned his MD from University of South Alabama College of Medicine in 2016. He is currently completing a master’s in bioethics from Trinity International University (Deerfield, Ill.) this Spring.

“I choose the OEM Residency at UTHealth because it offered many opportunities for training and networking,” Dr. Holcombe said. “It holds a commitment to excellence that I share. I would like to gain further training and study of the worker, his exposure, and conditions of employment in order to best care for the occupational patient.”

Dr. Holcombe’s path to the SWCOEH includes service in the Navy, receiving the US Navy Commendation Medal in June 2020. His responsibilities with Carrier Air Wing EIGHT (CVW-8) included the readiness, flight physicals, and primary care for five aviation squadrons for over 1,700 personnel.

“I spent a year at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in general surgery internship before heading to Pensacola, Fla. for training to be a flight surgeon. I then served two tours as a flight surgeon, first at Carrier Air Wing EIGHT (CVW-8) out of Naval Air Station Oceana and then at Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO-EIGHT (HSC-28) out of Naval Station Norfolk.”

Dr. Holcombe completed the Colson Fellowship in 2021 and he is currently a fellow in the Paul Ramsey Institute fellowship. He is a husband and proud father to his two daughters.

Dr. Zakirkhodjaev graduated with honors in Biology and Chemistry from Brooklyn College (Brooklyn, N.Y) in 2012. He earned his MD from the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University (N.Y.) in 2018. Originally from Uzbekistan, after medical school, Dr. Zakirkhodjaev had some Anesthesiology residency training at the University of Toledo (Ohio) and General Surgery residency training at Stony Brook University Hospital (N.Y.).

“I realized that many injuries were caused or exacerbated by the working environment," Dr. Zakirkhodjaev said. "This led me to investigate ways to improve the working environment for workers. I believe many injuries can be prevented if the working environment is improved.”

“I chose the OEM Residency at the SWCOEH because it is a national leader in OEM training,” Dr. Zakirkhodjaev said. “There are numerous opportunities to rotate at various organizations and within several industries. There are opportunities for diverse clinical experience and great opportunities to learn and become a well-trained OEM physician.”

The new residents will study under the direction of OEM Faculty: Brett Perkison, MD, MPH; George Delclos, MD, MPH, PhD; and adjunct faculty Ben Hoffman, MD, MPH.

“I am looking forward to learn from nationally-renowned faculty,” Dr. Zakirkhodjaev said. “I am also interested in preventing and treating occupational injuries and creating a safe working environment. I also believe that a better working environment can help manage chronic illness. I am fascinated by the link between working environment and occupational injuries and how to prevent occupational injuries in the working environment.”

The SWCOEH provides a variety of graduate-level training opportunities for occupational and environmental health professionals through our industrial hygiene, occupational and environmental medicine, occupational epidemiology, and Total Worker Health®.