HARLINGEN — He started out studying plastic surgery.
It only made sense. Several of Dr. Ameer Hassan’s relatives were plastic surgeons. But something just wasn’t right.
“ I really didn’t enjoy it in medical school, and I started doing some research in stroke and saw that it was a new frontier,” said Hassan, head of the neuroscience department at Valley Baptist Medical Center.
He was excited at the prospect of being on the cutting edge of life-saving medical breakthroughs, and the die was cast. So strong was his passion for the field that the New Jersey native was brought to the Valley in 2012 to help build an endovascular program and make the hospital a comprehensive stroke center.
“ My passion was to be part of this whole new wave of research,” said Hassan, 39. “By taking catheters in the brain, we could help patients and get them from dead or disabled to fully functional again.”
Since his arrival he’s been involved in numerous ground-breaking studies and introduced state of the art techniques in the treatment of stroke. Recently he introduced the use of a new cloud computer program to diagnose strokes. He’s also using a new device to treat aneurysms called the Comaneci adjustable remodeling mesh.
So renowned is his work he’s regularly invited to speak in different parts of the world. He tries to bring his wife and two kids along whenever possible to turn it into a vacation.
He and his wife Summer were delighted by the chance to come down here seven years ago.
“ I trained in Minnesota, and I was traumatized by the cold,” Hassan said. “My wife Summer is from Dubai so she’s used to it being very warm weather all year round.”
She told her husband to find a place in either Florida or Texas with primary stroke centers and a large body of water, and they found it in the Valley.
Their two children attend St. Alban’s Episcopal School. Hassan said he’s looking forward taking them to Egypt over Christmas break to learn more about their history. Hassan’s parents were both born there and later immigrated to the U.S.