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Ramin Tayani. M.D.FAAO, FAACS

Outstanding Person-?Ramin Tayani. M.D.FAAO, FAACS

Doctor Ramin Tayani, one of the most highly trained vision and facial aesthetics specialists in the world, is an ophthalmologist and orbital-facial plastic surgeon graduated from UCI, UCLA, MCW, Yale, and Harvard. He is dedicated to care for the health and esthetics of his community in Southern California.

Doctor Ramin Tayani was brought up under ambitious levels of self improvement and responsibility, values he has embraced on every one of his life?s missions. Dr. Ramin Tayani bases his practice on surgical excellence and traditional family values. His vast training and ?studies include an internship at Yale University with Dr. Ali Khodadoust, a leading Iranian ophthalmologist known throughout the world; a residency at The Eye Institute Medical College of Wisconsin, place that used to be the mecca of retinal surgery in the world and his ascending career of constant improvement is completed when he performed a fellowship at Harvard University, in Ophthalmic Plastic and reconstructive Surgery, Ocular Oncology and Ophthalmic Pathology.

In addition to his impeccable medical trajectory, he is a brilliant businessman, his company, Tayani Eye Institute Med-Aesthetics, today has seven centers with advanced technology dedicated to vision care and aesthetic surgery. An exemplary man dedicated to his family and community, transmits his admiration and gratitude to the land he adopted, remarking that California is the most beautiful place on earth.

Dr. Tayani was born in Tehran, Iran, during one of the most difficult times of its history, reason being why his family moved to Holland when he was one year old. They believed the best place in the world to raise their children was the United States. So they pack up once again and arrive in Boston, Dr. Tayani was now two. At three they moved to Los Angeles. Dr. Tayani has a brother younger only by 11 months, but their age difference is sufficient for him to become his jealous guardian when he was 13 and they were sent far from their parents to Ohio.

The family with their two children finally establish themselves in Los Angeles. His father, with seemingly inexhaustible energy, works hard to support them and begins to study engineering at night school for four years, earning his degree at USC. Ramin grows up with these ambitious levels of self improvement and responsibility, values he has kept throughout his life?s missions.

Four years passed, his mother was exclusively dedicated to the care and attention of her family and as the children grew and started to go to school, she spent long hours alone and started missing her life in Iran. She came from a large and very united family; she had six sisters and two brothers ?and yearned to return. The family returned to Iran. The family?s joy was indescribable, their mother again felt well, the children play all day with their cousins- 37 of them. This reunion and interaction among family members was what their mother had missed so much in the United States.

?I was seven when we returned to Iran, we lived there for six unforgettable years. My mother was delighted with all of her family, we went to school, I studied second through seventh grades, we knew everybody, we played all the time with friends and family,? says the doctor.

But in 1978 the revolution in Iran began and everything changed, schools started closing and insecurity was everywhere. His father was very worried about his children?s future and their education. The family had no political ties but he felt compelled to get them out immediately. He sends them with their mother to an uncle?s home who was living in the States in a small town in Ohio, for a short time, until they found a boarding school where they could live and study. Their father stayed in Iran because he had work and had to support them.

The only school relatively near to his uncle?s and which would take students in the middle of the school year was Culver Military Academy, so their mother enrolled them there and there they would live full time. Their mother returned to Iran and Ramin and his younger brother are separated from that large, united family they left in Iran. Now they were at a new place, unknown to them, in an enormous school with not too many students. The school was located on 1800 acres of land, it had its own lake, its own airport, it was unbelievable! Their father paid $15,000 for each of them that year, an enormous sacrifice for the family. Ramin was 13 and his brother 12 and he had to watch out for his brother.

Did you meet a professor or someone to lean on during those lonely times?

No, but we spoke with our parents on the phone all the time. We also visited our uncle a couple of times. His home was three and a half hours away on bus, they also visited us a couple of times. But fortunately our father got a job at Fluor in Irvine, California, and six months later he moved there. A couple of months later my mother came back from Iran to join our father.

When the school year at the Academy was over, Ramin and his brother took the bus from Culver, a small town, to arrive in Chicago and then continue by plane to Irvine. ?Our father always inculcated responsibility within us; know how to get along, be financially and emotionally responsible and many more values that we kept within us. I worked with my uncle in Ohio, during that month and a half when our mother and we stayed at their home. My uncle had a business and the instant I started to help him he said, ‘While Ramin is in charge of the business I can leave knowing everything will be fine.'” I was only 13, says the doctor. He still has that first check and tells us that when he moved to Irvine he started working at Del Taco to make money for his personal expenses.

At the Academy in Ohio they enrolled him in two higher courses because education in Iran was more advanced. The following year, when his parents were established in Irvine, he continued his studies at University High in Irvine and three years later he got his degree, at 16. During the last year he took courses at Saddleback College so when he entered UCI he already had a full year of credits.

The doctor liked working at elegant restaurants, so at 16 and with a high school degree, he manages to pass as someone older, he was very self-assured, and continued in that work until he turned 18. He shares that where the Holiday Inn is located in Laguna Beach today, there used to be a very special hotel, furnished with antiques, each room was decorated according to the art of a particular painter and its very sophisticated restaurant was called Gauguin. He worked there. At 16 after having saved $5,000, ?I called my father and told him I was going to buy a house but when I told him how much money I had he said it wasn?t enough, so I proposed he add another $5,000 and we bought a condo together. We bought a condo in Irvine at $110,000,? he says proudly.

?My father had taught me to be financially independent so I took care of all of my personal expenses, tuition, insurance, clothes. But he wanted to pay my university tuition so I had to make a deal: he would only pay for the subjects on which I made a 3.5, those below I would pay for,? he says proudly. And when he is asked which parent he resembles the most, he answers, ?I got the best of both.?

Why did you choose ophthalmology?

In the sixth grade at my school in Iran they taught us about the senses in our biology class: hearing, vision, touch, taste, and smell. I was very curious about the eyes and ears, I drew them all the time, I decided to study more about them.

While I was in high school, I worked as a volunteer at a clinic in the afternoons because I wanted to be a doctor. ?I loved to help people and saw that doctors have a good life and helped their community,? says the doctor.

So he decided to study medicine and enrolled at UCI, during his first year he volunteered at the clinic. ?At first they gave me office work but I told them I preferred working with the doctors and their patients. I had a very good relationship with them and they appreciated my help so they put me to work as a technical assistant. I saw how the patients arrived with deplorable vision, they couldn?t read, they couldn?t drive, they were operated on and, boom! The following day they could see perfectly. I saw how the patients hugged the doctor, so appreciative, I loved their gratitude. I was convinced I too wanted to be a doctor.

What did you do then?

I worked hard to get into med school; it wasn?t easy. There were no doctors in the family to guide me, I had to work three or four jobs and go to school at the same time. I always expected the best of myself. I wanted to go to the best medical school but the one in Chicago, number eight in the nation, was $18,000 a year so room, board and books would cost me about $30,000 a year. UCI was the third most accessible school; it cost $1,347 a year, so I compared $18.000 a year to $1,347 and decided on UCI. It was really hard to get in for the same reason, because it was so convenient. But I did it, and lived with my parents for a year and a half while I paid this small amount for my studies. Besides I met Kathy there who would become my wife.

Was she in school also?

She was finishing her studies as a physical therapist at UCI, I was new there.

With mischievous eyes the doctor says, ?We actually met when we were 16, when I finished high school. Kathy has an older brother and a cousin. One day I was visiting one of my best friends at her apartment, her roommate was Kathy?s cousin, and she was also visiting. I noticed that beautiful young girl at once, we spoke and I asked her for her phone number. But I soon got the message that I could no longer call her, her father had just arrived from Iran and did not permit her to get calls, so our conversations ended there?but being connected with the Persian community we saw each other occasionally at get-togethers, there was no relationship between us, only a ‘hi and bye’. Eight years later, at a Persian function we talked for a long while, she asked me for my phone and she called me the following day saying now I could call her if I wished. We dated for a year and a half and married. This December we will celebrate 20 years of marriage,? says the doctor proudly.

Soon after their marriage the doctor decided to take a year off in medical school to do research and spend more time with Kathy. Medical school was very stressful and he knew he was very young and could take a year off, and do better in the future in addition to getting to know his wife better. So they moved to lovely San Francisco, she worked and he did research, harmony reigned. He still had three months to go. They didn?t have children yet, no great responsibility and Kathy could get work in a minute because her profession was in great demand, so they chose New Orleans. They had a great time together; they ate at good restaurants, walked and played together and even took a vacation and spent five weeks in Europe. They loved exploring, finding new places and meeting new people. The doctor felt fulfilled for having chosen a career which permitted them such freedom and to practice as a medical internist wherever he desired. He enrolled in six programs in Boston, Rhode Island and Connecticut, at Yale University.

?I wanted to start my practice with two doctors: a specialist in infectious diseases living in New York and Dr. Ali Khodadoust, a world-wide recognized ophthalmologist at Yale. I got to know them well and had a wonderful relationship with both. So I spent three more months on the ICU, this is a lot more difficult than a regular medical practice, I had to negotiate this with my program doctor who accepted my proposal and I was able to work with those specialists for a longer time. It was a fantastic medical experience and also personal. I had to travel five hours a day by train, two and a half hours each section, form Connecticut to New York. I thought it would be a marvelous opportunity and that I would read the paper, complete work, sleep, but as it turned out I always slept the five hours! After a couple of weeks I considered that all of this was really crazy, I couldn?t understand how people spent so much of their time coming and going from work. Fortunately mine wouldn?t last that long and was a great professional opportunity. After that Kathy and I went to Wisconsin, I performed my medical residency; I discovered that Wisconsin?s medical school tended to be the Mecca of retina surgery and also where the best ophthalmology plastic surgeons operated. Kathy and I were very happy there. I built our home; we had Arya, our first son, and I decided to become an ophthalmology plastic surgeon so I applied at Harvard,? says the doctor.

The nurses and assistants with whom he works often complain that to work with him is too stressful; that nothing they do is perfect; that he is very demanding. The doctor assures them he isn?t only that demanding with them, that he is even more so with himself and explains it is the only way to excel in what they do- to reach higher levels of perfection. When he was in high school he wanted to go to UCI and he had to study a lot to do so; at UCI he decided to become a doctor and he found it pretty hard to get into med school, he then wanted to become an ophthalmologist then an ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeon. The year he was at Harvard he performed 879 surgeries, in other words, three a day, but since weekends were off he calculates he performed 10 to 15 surgeries a day.

His wife always asks him, ?How can you do so much? What are you doing at 3 in the morning? The previous night he had only slept a couple of hours. His routine includes a complete day of work, he gets home at 9 PM, they eat dinner together, he talks with his children and puts them to bed; he talks with his wife, they watch TV a while; he rests on the couch a while. He awakens at 11:30 or midnight, she goes to bed and he goes to his office to work on his computer a while. ?I love what I do, that makes me work more, I know I have a lot of energy but I really love what I am doing so the time I spend with patients or on my computer are very gratifying and I love doing it.? says the doctor.

Do you have hobbies?

Work and more work! I like tennis, but right now I don?t have time for it. I like my friends? company, I like people and I don?t like being alone and I love to go to restaurants. I really enjoy Persian, Mexican and Italian food. I like sushi too. My wife and I love to travel; we like Mexico a lot! We visited Acapulco, Cancun and other places. Four years ago we were in Marbella in Spain. The place fascinated me, but we here also live in the most beautiful place in the world. We spent our tenth anniversary in Manzanillo and when one of the surgeons found out he said, ?Oh my God, you?re traveling to the most beautiful place in the world, where the movie ?10? was filmed.? We had a great time there, it was unique, the landscape a dream. How different is that from this?

Do you find time to play with your children?

In high school I played volleyball, now I only do it with them. We take walks together and time in the open air especially when we travel. Besides, my office in Big Bear came from my desire to be with them and also have patients.

Dr. Tayani inaugurated Tayani Eye Institute in a small office in San Clemente ten years ago, three years later he doubled the space and soon employed a second surgeon, Peter Joson, a specialist in glaucoma and cataracts. In a short while his company added his practice and he opened another office in Mission Viejo, very ample- 5,000 square feet. Seven years later he opened a satellite office in Irvine and another in Big Bear and Arrowhead. ?We go there twice a month. At first I did it with the idea that the whole family would accompany me and we would have a great time together while I worked a few hours. When I get to Big Bear I see 10 to 15 patients a day, and in spite of having a lot of work here, my heart is there; if it weren?t for my practice there are those who would not leave the mountains in order to take care of their eyes. I have seen the worst cataract cases there in Arrowhead and that?s only a couple of hours away. I establish a good relationship with people and then I feel obligated to treat them, I can?t abandon them. I already told my wife that this February we have to go as a family, because we haven?t done so the last few months,? he says with determination.

?Our objective is to help people. Persian people can be difficult but when they like a doctor they are very loyal. I believe the same happens with Latinos, although they are not difficult. Latinos? loyalty is well known. For the time being Fabiola, our office administrator, as well as Alexandra are from Mexico and are ready to wait on Latino patients. I also speak a little Spanish; I took a semester in college and working at restaurants and during med school one meets a lot of Latinos.? He says happily. The doctor speaks three languages: Farsi, English and Spanish.

Today Tayani Eye Institute Med-Aesthetics has seven centers: San Clemente, Mission Viejo and satellites in Irvine, Costa Mesa, Big Bear and Arrowhead. Last year he inaugurated DermaBare, a cosmetic center for facial hair removal also in Mission Viejo.

The doctor lives with his family In Aliso Viejo. He has one son, Arya who is 12, and two daughters, Nadia 11 and Sara 9, and with his inseparable Kathy, they are the doctor?s most valuable treasure.

Dr. Ramin Tayani completed his medical degree at UCI and did two years of eye research at UC San Francisco; he got his Masters? degree in health policy and management from the school of Public Health from UCLA and chose to pursue an Internship at Yale University with Dr. Ali Khodadoust; he continued on to Milwaukee, Medical College of Wisconsin to pursue his ophthalmology training. He completed his last year in Milwaukee as the Chief resident. Dr.Tayani?s almost 18 year post high school educational path was completed with fellowship training at the Harvard University, in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Dr. Ramin Tayani is the Chief of Opthamology at the San Clemente Hospital and part of the personnel at Mission Memorial, South Coast Medical Center, Saddleback Memorial, UCI Medical Center, and St. Jude Medical Center; he practices surgery in all these locations and in others besides.

Dr. Ramin Tayani is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, of the American Medical Association, of the California Medical Association, and of the Orange County Medical Association. Some of his honors include Chief Resident, Dept of Ophthalomolgy at The Eye Institute, Medical College of Wisconsin and President, Alpha Epsilon Delta National Premed Honor Society, Irvine chapter.

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