About Dr. Mason Harrell
Amiable, accomplished, and passionate are just a few words to describe Dr. Mason Harrell, a Harvard-trained physician triple board-certified in Occupational Medicine, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, and Aerospace Medicine. He is also a former flight surgeon and a devoted family man and father of two.
Dr. Mason, or “Mase-dogg,” as his friends like to call him, decided to become a doctor because he longed to make a real difference in the world. With his strong wit and undeniably honest concern for others around him, it is no wonder why many prestigious organizations such as Harvard University, the World Health Organization (WHO), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) have taken him under their wing.
And if that wasn’t impressive enough, Dr. Mason is also a co-founder of several organizations such as IDefine, Sequoia Port, American Analytical Medical Services (AAMS) and Gledson. He provides consultation services that deal with health and wellness for employees, medical-legal work, and improving medical record systems. But the organization closest to his heart is IDefine, which we will delve into a little more below.
What is Kleefstra Syndrome?
On the first birthday of his daughter, Eleanor, Dr. Mason received the most devastating news of his life. Eleanor was diagnosed with Kleefstra Syndrome (KS), a rare genetic disorder from a single gene mutation causing autism and intellectual challenges. EHMT1 is an epigenetic gene that influences many other genes. In children, KS can also cause hypotonia or ‘floppy baby syndrome’ and seizures. When these kids reach puberty, they can become catatonic and exhibit psychotic episodes, making this disorder even more terrifying.
But why does Kleefstra Syndrome occur in the first place? “Well, it’s kind of like reverse evolution,” as Dr. Mason describes it. Genetic mutations ubiquitously occur; these mutations can either be beneficial or detrimental for an organism. When humans are in their gestation period, and they have a gigantic genetic mutation, this would result in the mother having a miscarriage. When the mutation is not significant enough to cause a miscarriage and is undetectable by tests, a baby is born with adverse health conditions.
IDefine’s Soul Mission
“Even being a doctor, when I found out about Eleanor’s diagnosis, it just knocked the wind right out of me,” Dr. Mason somberly remembers. Gutted by the grave news, he couldn’t even bring himself to research the syndrome, which is why his friends had to do the digging for him. However, he realized that sulking wasn’t going to make things any better, so he flew to the Netherlands and sought out Dr. Kleefstra herself to figure out a solution. They collaborated with other fathers of children with KS, children’s physicians from Harvard Boston Children’s Hospital, and KIDS IQ Project to establish the non-profit organization, IDefine.
IDefine focuses on the discovery of treatments for genetic causes of autism and intellectual disability. We are first focused on genetically correcting the EHMT1 mutation, which will cure autism and intellectual disabilities in cases of EHMT1 defects. This will give hope to the communities who face these disorders and usher in the light at the end of the tunnel!
Spreading Awareness and Creating Change
The first step towards change is awareness, and a great way to heighten that is to increase genetic testing in patients, as Dr. Mason advocates. However, spreading awareness and fundraisers are a massive help to IDefine’s quest. Dr. Mason is optimistic that they will find a cure as it is just a matter of time. “We’re going to die trying. And we’re going to do it. It’s just a matter of time and money – millions of dollars more,” he added.
As we discovered Dr. Mason’s tenacity and relentlessness to find a cure, we at Top Doctor Magazine can’t help but feel inspired and confident that IDefine will fulfill their mission of restoring intellectual intellectuality back to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
IDefine’s Soul Mission
Dr. Mason’s work doesn’t just stop at IDefine. When the COVID-19 outbreak surfaced last year, it was like life slapped him with the truth – that we are all just living through a series of never-ending obstacles we need to surmount. However, as a seasoned veteran who has been on numerous medical missions worldwide and has published dozens of articles about Ebola and its effect on health workers, Dr. Mason got the upper hand this time. He was ready to tackle this new challenge head-on.
Suddenly, CEOs saw themselves forced to put employee health and safety at the top of their priority list, which caused businesses to scramble looking for the few occupational medicine doctors available. And Dr. Mason, being the helpful person he is, jumped right into the action and offered his services where the need was urgent.
Dr. Mason provides his knowledge and expertise by teaching companies how to implement proper safety procedures (i.e., following the hierarchy of hazard controls) and how to keep their employees safe and healthy, even when they are out of the workplace.
On March 1st, 2021, Dr. Mason joined WorkCare as their Chief Medical Officer. Established in 1984, WorkCare delivers seamless, cost-effective occupational health services to employers of all sizes and types. Its mission is Protecting and Promoting Employee Health and well-being. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Top Doctor Magazine thinks that great people are only ordinary people who deal with life’s challenges, and that is precisely what makes Dr. Mason one of the greatest ones out there.
If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Mason Harrell, you can visit his site: https://www.masonharrellmd.com/ for more info. Furthermore, if you want to be a part of creating history or want to help out a good cause, check out https://www.idefine.org/ for donation details.
Top Doctor Magazine is a magazine from doctors for doctors and patients. We cover everything from cutting-edge medical techniques and procedures to enterprising doctors, dentists, surgeons, naturopaths, chiropaths, orthodontists, and more who are thought leaders within their own medical practice and changing the way we all experience medicine for the better.
We wish to be your one-stop digest for inspiration by other professionals in your field who are making waves and setting trends. If you, too, are a trend-setter, reach out to us so we can interview you for your own spotlight within an upcoming Top Doctor Magazine issue!
Brianna Connors & Derek Archer Co-Editors