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February 11, 2009 > A Commitment to the Community Reaches into the Next Generation

A Commitment to the Community Reaches into the Next Generation

Two of Washington Hospital's distinguished Medical Staff members, Dr. Benn Sah and Dr. Anmol Mahal, have passed on to their children a sense of service to the residents of Washington Township Health Care District.

Physicians, Dr. Alexander Sah and Dr. Subena Mahal Tilley, will help usher in Washington Hospital's next 50 years of service to the community.

A son

Dr. Alexander Sah, son of Dr. Benn Sah, who served on the Washington Hospital Medical Staff since 1973 and later served as a board member of the Washington Township Health Care District, has returned to practice medicine in the same town where he grew up.

Now an accomplished orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Alexander Sah recently became an associate of Dr. John Dearborn, medical director of Washington Hospital's Center for Joint Replacement.

"I was born at Washington Hospital and raised in Glenmoor, just a few blocks from the hospital," Dr. Sah says. "My parents still live in that house."

He attended Parkmont Elementary, Centerville Junior High School and attended high school in Oakland before leaving for college on the East Coast, which is where he met his wife, Emily.

"It's fantastic to return to the community where I grew up," Dr. Sah says. "I'm working with physicians who were colleagues of my dad's, and it's such a privilege to call them my colleagues now. I take my kids to the same preschools and playgrounds that I went to as a child. I'm seeing people who I haven't seen in decades."

Like his father, Dr. Alexander Sah went to Haverford College in Philadelphia, where he majored in English. It was during this time that he realized he wanted to study medicine.

"I had always played around with the idea of going into medicine, but in college, my dad was diagnosed with thymus cancer," he says. "My parents called and said they couldn't come for a visit because he was having surgery. I think that really changed my perspective on things and I decided to enter a profession where I could help people. It was this hospital that took such great care of him."

When it came time to decide a medical specialty, Dr. Sah says he always felt more of an attraction to a macroscopic scope of study.

"Orthopedics has always drawn me, because you can help someone immediately with dramatic results," he says of joint replacement.

Dr. Sah says he has enjoyed not only coming to practice in the community where he grew up, but also joining Dr. Dearborn's practice. Having completed his orthopedic residency at Harvard, Dr. Sah says his fellowship training on the East Coast complements Dr. Dearborn's, who trained at the University of California, San Francisco.

"I feel quite fortunate to have worked with the people I did while specializing in minimally invasive hip and knee replacement, since I bring a slightly different perspective to the practice than Dr. Dearborn," he says. "We complement each other well. Dr. Dearborn has obviously established a fabulous practice, and by having a partner, we can continue care seamlessly. And this way, people won't have to wait quite as long for surgery.

"My goal is to continue to provide the same kind of care that my dad did, not only to patients, but the community, which mixes well with what Dr. Dearborn is achieving already."

A daughter

Daughter of Dr. Surgit K. Mahal and Dr. Anmol Mahal, past president of the California Medical Association (CMA) and member of the Washington Hospital Medical Staff for more than two decades, Dr. Subena Mahal Tilley says she is thrilled that she and her husband have the opportunity to join her parents' practice in Fremont.

Born in New Jersey, Dr. Tilley came to California with her parents when her father accepted a fellowship at Stanford University. The family moved to Fremont when Dr. Tilley was 3, and she spent her childhood in Fremont before returning to the East Coast to attend college at Georgetown University, where she majored in English.

Originally, Dr. Tilley says, going into medicine was the last thing on her mind after growing up in a family of doctors, but during her last year of college she discovered she had a passion for it.

Dr. Tilley attended medical school at Western University in Pomona where she completed an osteopathic program. During her studies, she was quickly drawn to family medicine.

"My mom is in family medicine, so I think seeing how she was able to balance a career and her personal life, including raising a family, helped me make the decision," Dr. Tilley relates.

"During my rotations in medical school, family medicine was what made me happiest. It was a pretty easy decision on my part. I enjoy the idea of taking care of everything going on with the patient, not just one problem. As a family practitioner, you are the person that patients come see routinely, and you can really form a bond with them to provide better health care."

Dr. Tilley and her husband, also a family practitioner, moved to Fremont in October to join her parents' practice.

"It's definitely a great community in which to practice family medicine since people here have a commitment to taking care of their health," she says. "I enjoy meeting new patients and hearing their stories about the community. My husband says he feels like Fremont is its own little world in the Bay Area."

Now that she has returned to the town where she grew up, Dr. Tilley says she's excited to care for patients that she will most likely see for years to come.
"It's a big sense of accomplishment to come back where I grew up and become a medical practitioner here," according to Dr. Tilley.

This article is also featured in the current issue of Health Signs, a quarterly
magazine published by Washington Hospital Healthcare System. If you would like to be added to the Health Signs mailing list, please call Washington Hospital's Community Relations Department at (510) 791-3417.

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