For many people, living with back pain is a persistent struggle, but the message Wednesday at San Joaquin Community Hospital is that improved treatments for ailing backs offer hope.
Dr. Sassan Keshavarzi, one of the newest members of Bakersfield’s medical community, presented an hour-long lecture to a standing-room only crowd in the hospital’s community room about back pain and some of the advancements in surgery and treatment.
Dr. Keshavarzi was recently lured to Bakersfield after a stay as the medical director of University of Florida at Jacksonville’s neurosurgery department, and it’s a change he sought.
“I think San Joaquin Community Hospital has a great attitude,” Dr. Keshavarzi said prior to his lecture. “They have to keep pushing to up the quality. ... My goal is that you can stay here in Bakersfield because there’s no need to go to Los Angeles.”
That one-time norm of leaving the area for treatment is starting to break down, and Keshavarzi’s hiring is the latest indication of that trend. Local hospitals have been stepping up to bring in strong outside talent.
“As a hospital, it is our mission to expand access to health care to the communities of Kern County we serve,” said Mark Newmyer, Vice President of Business Development as San Joaquin Community Hospital. “One of the most important ways we can do that is by recruiting new physicians and specialists to Bakersfield that will help us expand and enhance our already strong programs and service lines. In particular, we’re thrilled that Dr. Keshavarzi has chosen to move to Bakersfield. In addition to being board certified and fellowship trained, his experience leading a level 1 Trauma Center will bring incredible value to our hospital and community.”
Dr. Keshavarzi’s conversation was part of a monthly lecture series presented by San Joaquin Community Hospital and TBC Media. The seminars have covered everything from mental health to cardiac care. It’s also an opportunity for the hospital to connect new doctors to patients.
Dr. Keshavarzi received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, then graduated from University of Rochester’s medical school before taking on internship and residency programs at UC San Diego and a fellowship at UC San Francisco. After three years in Florida, Keshavarzi felt it was time to return to California.
“I call California home,” said Keshavarzi, adding he nows live in Bakersfield with his mother, with other family members close by. “I really wanted to be the family guy.”
During his presentation, which included graphic pictures of outdated methods of surgery, Keshavarzi was peppered with questions from the audience of more than 100.
“There’s a lot of misinformation. There’s a lot of bad information,” he said. “It’s really hard to be a patient because every doctor tells you something a little bit different. You hear horror stories.
“This is hopefully going to be a way for you to navigate your healthcare,” Keshavarzi said.
In his free time, Dr. Keshavarzi serves on mission trips to Latin America. He has worked in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Colombia treating spinal disorders, spin bifida and other neurological disorders. He is planning future trips to Asia and Africa.
To see the entirety of Dr. Keshavarzi’s lecture, visit bakersfield.com