From an early age, Matthew Abdel knew he wanted to pursue a career in medicine. “It combined my love of science, patient care, and teamwork,” he says today. “Those three things together really intrigued me.”
While caring for patients was always Abdel’s passion, that wasn’t all he intended to do. “I wanted to have my own lab, do a large amount of research, and be a leader in medicine on an international platform,” he says.
In pursuit of his goal, Abdel attended the University of Minnesota, where the TYLENOL® Future Care Scholarship helped him earn a degree in biochemistry with a minor in business management. He went on to earn medical degrees at the University of Wisconsin and the Mayo Graduate School, and completed his internship and residency at the Mayo Clinic. Today Abdel practices orthopedic surgery at the Mayo Clinic, where he also teaches residents and fellows, and conducts clinical and basic science research.
Abdel still draws on the business management education he received as an undergrad. “You can’t function in this healthcare system without also contributing to the management of it,” he explains. “I knew early on that to practice the type of medicine I felt was best for my patients, I had to be involved on the management side. I wanted to contribute to the decision-making processes happening inside and outside my hospital.”
Abdel finds enormous satisfaction in performing surgery that can restore his patients’ quality of life; someday, he’d like to exercise that passion on a larger scale. “Ultimately, I see myself transitioning into national leadership outside of medicine,” he says. “I can help each and every patient I see, but when you change healthcare policy, you can help millions of people. We don’t have a lot of physicians contributing to political decision making in the US right now. I look forward to doing that in the future.”