Omar Khan, M.D., chair of the Wayne State University Department of Neurology, died Aug. 13. He was 53.
Dr. Khan joined the Department of Neurology in 1998, and was appointed chair in 2012.
“He was a strong leader of his department,” School of Medicine Dean Jack D. Sobel, M.D., said. “This is a substantial loss to our School of Medicine and a tremendous loss for multiple sclerosis patients, for whom Dr. Khan was a staunch advocate.”
Dr. Khan also served as director of the Wayne State University Multiple Sclerosis Center and Magnetic Resonance Image Analysis Laboratory, neurologist-in-chief for the Detroit Medical Center and formerly as associate chief medical officer for the Wayne State University Physician Group.
He received his medical degree in 1987 from the Allama Iqbal Medical College, University of the Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan. Following initial residency training in Pakistan, he performed an internship in Internal Medicine at the Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati (1990-1991), followed by a Neurology residency at the Medical College of Virginia and dual fellowships in Neuroimmunology and Neuroimaging at the University of Maryland and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore. He served on the University of Maryland faculty from 1996 to 1998, when he joined Wayne State University.
Dr. Khan secured more than $8 million in research funding. He served as principal investigator in more than 55 studies and at the time of his death was the principal investigator in more than 15 clinical trials and investigator-initiated studies.
The Wayne State University Multiple Sclerosis Center, which he directed, is one of the top five MS centers in the country, with a patient population exceeding 4,000. He established the largest African-American multiple sclerosis clinic in the United States and is a founding member of the African-American Initiative in Multiple Sclerosis, a Detroit community-based endeavor. Dr. Khan’s MRI Analysis Laboratory focused on mechanisms of tissue injury and repair in neurodegenerative disorders, including multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Khan served on numerous national and international advisory and research committees, including the Translational Research Committee of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the society’s Medical Advisory Board. He was one of the few American neurologists to serve on the prestigious European Charcot Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis Research. He also was a member of study sections for the National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Health Research Institute and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. He was a member of the American Academy of Neurology, the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, the International Genetic Consortium in Multiple Sclerosis and the American Neurological Association.
Funeral services for Dr. Khan were conducted Aug. 15 at the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit mosque in Rochester Hills, Mich. Interment took place the same day at White Chapel Cemetery in Troy, Mich.
He is survived by his wife, Christina Caon, R.N., M.S.N., NP-C; and daughter, Raeesa Omar Khan.