Riaz Rassekhs choice of family practice as a medical specialty is no surprise when you take into account his love of people and his tendency to look at the big picture.

I chose family practice mostly to feel closer to people and to be able to deal with as many aspects of their care as possible, he explains. I would rather look at people as a whole. Dr. Rassekh believes his big-picture approach to patient care enables him to serve patients needs better than if he focused on only one area.

A patients complaint or symptom may appear on the surface to be related to only one aspect of their health, he explains, even though the root of the problem may lie elsewhere. He believes that caring for the whole person gives him the ability not only to identify the medical cause of the problem more accurately but also to address the many ways it can impact the patients life. Dr. Rassekh finds this to be especially true in caring for patients with chronic diseases.

Diabetes, for example, can result in health problems such as blindness, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and nerve damage. It can also be emotionally devastating because of its effect on the patients quality of life. Family practice deals with all of these problems, Dr. Rassekh explains, which, in turn, helps him provide the best and most comprehensive care possible for his patients.

Dr. Rassekhs personal philosophy is likewise focused on wholeness and unity rather than fragmentation. Being of the Bahai faith, he views all people as one. Like other followers of his faith, he is oriented toward helping people and does not see others as different or in any way less than himself. My beliefs are very inclusive of others, he says, regardless of race, religion, or nationality.

Dr. Rassekhs philosophy of love and inclusiveness naturally extend to his family. He and his wife, Bahieh, whom he met at a Bahai meeting near Charlotte, N.C., have been married since 1998 and have two sons, Annis Alexander and Abbas Andrew.

Since family is his priority, Dr. Rassekh has little time to pursue his other interests chess, gardening, and nature but this is a circumstance of choice: he prefers spending free time with his wife and children and in the religious activities they enjoy together. Not surprisingly, he finds his childrens personalities irresistible. Just the mention of them brings a broad smile to his face.

Dr. Rassekh was born in Iran, but he is no newcomer to the United States. Educational opportunities brought him and his older sister, Roza, here in the mid-1970s. His first American home was with his uncle, a long-time resident of New Jersey. When young Riaz finished high school in 1977, he headed west to attend the University of San Francisco, where he received his undergraduate degree.

He had originally planned to return to his homeland after school, but political turmoil, revolution, and the certainty of religious persecution were enough to dissuade him. In the late 1970s, his parents and younger sister, Roya, were visiting Riaz in the United States. Just prior to their return home, a relative in Iran warned the senior Rassekh that he was being publicly sought for surrender to the Iranian government. The family decided to stay and make their home in the United States.

After finishing undergraduate school at USF, Riaz left California for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. He completed his medical education at the Technology University of Santiago, and then ventured back to the United States to be a family practice resident at the Medical College of Georgia. At MCG, Dr. Rassekh met and worked with Dr. Paul Fischer.

When Dr. Rassekh completed his residency in 1994, Dr. Fischer was in the process of moving from his teaching role at MCG into private practice. Mutual respect, a compatible working relationship, and perfect timing put Dr. Rassekh in the enviable position of becoming the first physician Dr. Fischer invited to join the new practice that is now the Center for Primary Care.

Asked about what strengths he brings to CPC, Dr. Rassekh first points out that everyone in the practice makes a valuable contribution. Among the assets he brings to CPC are his experience and skill in diagnostic and minor surgical procedures, such as colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, cryotherapy, and mole and skin tumor excision.

For the time being, his personal goals are practical. He wants to have time to enjoy his family and their new home. Professionally, Dr. Rassekh has enjoyed watching CPC grow. He is as proud of the expansions at the Evans and Central offices as he is of his own office in South Augusta, and he firmly believes that this progress has come about only through the support and unity of all 14 CPC physicians.

Continued growth is always a goal at CPC, but it is not the only one. We are already the largest family practice group in Augusta but we also want to stay the best, he explains. We all want to continue to professionally exceed ourselves and to serve the areas where we are as well as possible. Based on the continued growth of all three offices, Dr. Rassekh believes CPC is doing a good job of medically serving the community.

Dr. Rassekh derives a great deal of pleasure from the camaraderie shared by the CPC physicians. We all get along so well, despite having diverse backgrounds and religious beliefs. There is no doubt, however, about what makes him most proud: his wife, Bahieh, his children, and his parents, who helped him get where he is today. He also credits his faith for providing a framework for service to others.

Dr. Rassekh brings more than medical skills to CPC. His warmth, genuine concern, and gentle manner are surely not only assets to CPC but also qualities that inspire his patients affection and their confidence in his ability to give them the best possible medical care.

Contact Dr. Rassekh via email at rrassekh@cpcfp.com.

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