By Donna Collins – Editor, Buffalo Business First
Jun 10, 2022
Dr. Shahla Ahmad is a family and geriatric doctor with the Community Health Center of Buffalo.
Can you imagine senior people of color, many living in poverty, refugees from some of the world’s most embattled places, and none of them having seen a doctor or had access to health care for over 10 years? Add in multiple health problems and comorbidities. That was a reality in Niagara Falls and Buffalo.
Enter Ahmad and her passion to make a major difference in what she describes as “the most neglected field.” Since starting the geriatric-focused care in 2017, Ahmad has grown the practice from under 100 senior patients annually to more than 3,600 per year.
Here’s what she has to say: “I believe geriatrics is the most neglected field because patients have so many complex health issues, but it’s the field where I can make the most impact. If you start prevention and education earlier with these patients, you give them control and power over their health.”
Dr. Shahla Ahmad
Family and geriatric doctor, Community Health Center of Buffalo
Years in health care: 7
Years with your company: 4
Born in: Toronto
Lives in: Buffalo
College: Family medicine residency, Penn State College of Medicine, Penn State Hershey Medical Center; geriatric medicine fellowship, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Spouse: Naveed Khan
Proudest accomplishment in the last year: Internal medicine board certification in geriatric medicine
Awards/achievements: Erie County Medical Society Award of Excellence and Fellow of the Year Award; Chief Resident Award, Joseph P. Bering M.D. Award for Outstanding Physician, Outstanding Senior Resident Award, Research and Scholarly Activity Award, Community Engagement Award, Exceptional Teacher Award, all at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Lesson learned in Covid years: Telemedicine, disease education and prevention, mental health, end-of-life care and multi-specialty support were areas in which we had to evolve rapidly. We learned how to recognize burnout and how to support our colleagues during these difficult times.
Entered health profession because: Geriatrics is the most challenging and neglected field in medicine because patients have so many complex health issues. The smallest things can go a very long way with geriatric patients. If you start prevention and education earlier, you can create a huge impact on their livelihood, and that in my opinion is offering patients a life with dignity and respect.
When I’m not working, I’m: gardening, biking, playing piano and music composition
Favorite nonprofits: ICNA Relief, Shaukat Khanum Cancer and Research Hospital/Memorial Trust, Kamran Cares Foundation
Best advice received: The purest way of helping yourself is by helping others. All good deeds have a way of coming back to you, multiple fold.
My to-do list: Travel to space, cage diving with sharks, whale watching
My wishful super power: Power to heal and reverse illness