Dr. Hamid Khonsari, our current Medical Director at the Rotacare Pittsburg Free Medical Clinic at St. Vincent de Paul, lives and breathes the ethos of giving back to his community – and the world. This is why Dr. Khonsari is a perfect fit at St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County, where volunteers are at the heart of our work.
“I enjoyed medicine from the start. Science was my passion in high school – I just felt a calling to do it. After that, everything fit in,” Khonsari says, “I really didn’t know of anything else that I wanted to do. I never had a second choice – this was always my first choice.”
36 years after he graduated from medical school in 1984, Khonsari has definitely made his impact on the world.
“I enjoy what I do because it makes a difference. I am not treating patients to make a living – the fulfillment comes from the difference I am able to make for them. If it puts their smile on their face or I can help people prevent certain diseases – I have succeeded that day,” Khonsari continued, “Volunteering has always been a part of what I do. I’ve volunteered in other forms of service as well. For example, my wife and I have a non-profit called Families without Borders where we put kids in college in Sierra Leone in Africa. We do that on a volunteer basis, and it’s something where I felt that if I don’t do it – I haven’t fulfilled the mission that I want to fulfill in life – which is to make a difference in humanity. My thinking is, if I don’t do it, who will? You can’t just leave things for someone else to do.”
Every choice Dr. Khonsari has made has been a part of his belief that we are all responsible for making a world a better place.
“I chose to open my private practice in Antioch because there was less access to medical care there – I wanted to be able to make the biggest impact possible,” Khonsari says, “That’s what set the clinic at St. Vincent de Paul apart from other free clinics – it is for people that have no other access. If you have access in some way, some fashion – someone will see you. If you don’t, who’s going to see you? The undocumented can’t be insured even under the Obama rules – they make up the majority of our patients.” As a volunteer physician and Medical Director of the free clinic, Dr. Khonsari oversees all medical aspects of the clinic, supervises medical volunteers, and assists in medical provider volunteer recruitment.
“I’ve been working with Dr. Khonsari for more than 5 years at RotaCare,” says colleague and fellow clinic volunteer, Pam Di Franco, Nurse Practitioner.” At first, I was very intimidated by him since he happens to be a very knowledgeable and impressive medical provider. But, after our years working together I’ve learned that he is much more than a brilliant doctor – he is a kind and compassionate humanitarian. He has a strong moral compass that places great value on others. He has devoted himself not only to his work, his family, and volunteering – but he and his wife also have a non-profit in Africa geared toward building strong communities. He is truly an impressive individual and a great mentor.”
Currently, Dr. Khonsari and the RotaCare Pittsburg Free Medical Clinic at St. Vincent de Paul are implementing an Electronic Medical Record System, (EMR). The software, by Athena Health, is free, but the implementation requires additional administrative time and support. This is a huge undertaking and will move the clinic from the inefficient paper charts that are currently used to an electronic system. An EMR system will allow the clinic to function more efficiently, identify patient health outcomes, identify community health trends, and allow the Pittsburg clinic to more efficiently refer patients to other Rotacare Clinics.
The Rotacare Pittsburg Free Medical Clinic at St. Vincent de Paul is always seeking more volunteer medical professionals, (physicians, nurse practitioners, PAs, nurses, health educators, etc.), to handle our growing patient population. If you would like to learn more, please follow this link. We’d love to have you join Dr. Khonsari and our team in this most fulfilling volunteer experience!
Do you know an all-star Volunteer here at St. Vincent de Paul? Please fill out our Downloadable Volunteer of the Month Nomination Form and send it over to firstname.lastname@example.org.