My passions have always been varied. I have always enjoyed both the right brain and left brain subjects and activities. During undergraduate years, I struggled with consolidating my interests in visual and cinematic arts, theater, philosophy, and human studies with my curiosity for natural sciences, physics, and psychology. And although academic plans called for a rigid decision between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science, I wanted the flexibility to study both! I attended the University of Texas at Dallas where I majored in Neuroscience, the science of the human brain, cognition, and behavior and later became interested in medicine, the art, and science of maintaining and improving human well-being.
Subsequently, I took time off to study at the Université de Paris where I studied French Language and Humanities. Amazing experiences ensued which led to many months of backpacking in Europe during which time I worked as a part-time street musician (I dabble in playing flamenco guitar). Upon my return, I enrolled at the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio. Photo to left is from 2007 in Havana, Cuba where I briefly worked as an obstetrician in an underserved area.
During my first year, one evening while having dinner at a restaurant with my then-girlfriend and now my wife who at the time was a dental student, the young Syrian man who waited on us told us about his struggle with being born with a cleft lip. He said the facial anomaly was not repaired until he was 9 years old and he spent many years of his life in shame and isolation because of it. I felt that the meeting was a turning point in my life. My wife and I both moved by his compelling story immediately knew a life dedicated to improving facial anomalies was our calling. In 2006, we established a non-profit organization called Chance to Smile, a student-run organization to provide education, social support, and medical care for individuals born with cleft lip and palate. By 2007, we had over 100 members.
The course of my career had become clear. A sense of purpose overtook me. I had finally found my calling in a career that would consolidate my artistic interests and my penchant for the sciences for a higher good. I knew I wanted to become a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. My wife pursued her training in pediatric dentistry with specialized training in cleft lip and palate care.
I was all in. We organized medical mission trips to Mexico and Nicaragua to volunteer medical services where I had the privilege of working under the great late Fernando Ortiz Monasterio; created support groups and registries for affected families in South Texas and provided educational programs for local health practitioners. That year, I was humbled by being peer-nominated and inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society in part for these efforts. In 2006, I received a Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and completed a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School. I then traveled to Sevilla, Spain to complete a clinical rotation in facial cosmetic surgery.
Upon my return, I matched into the prestigious New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai to continue my training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in Manhattan.
Having worked with surgeons from varied training backgrounds prior to going to New York, I did not want to be pigeonholed into one specialty. I sought out the training and mentorship of specialists in plastic surgery, oculoplastic surgery, maxillofacial surgery, dermatologic surgery, and head and neck surgery.
I had the privileged opportunity to learn from some of the pioneers in these fields who were gracious enough to open their operating room doors to me and share their wisdom with me. In particular, I am indebted to Donald Wood-Smith, M.D., the Chairman of the Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary for his mentorship.
During my training, I used my vacation and elective times to travel the country to further my training. I had the opportunity to complete a mini-fellowship with John Mulliken, M.D. at Boston Children’s Hospital. In 2012, I was selected into the highly coveted facial plastic and reconstructive surgery advanced training program for an additional year of specialized training under the auspices of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery with amazing Yadro Ducic, MD who I am fortunate to call a mentor and a friend. During that year alone, I performed over two thousand head and neck and facial plastic and reconstructive surgeries, including microvascular head and neck reconstructive surgeries.
In complement to my interest in facial plastic surgery, during residency training, I developed a passion for head and neck cancer surgery. I sought additional specialized training in the field of head and neck oncologic surgery and currently serve as the Director of Head and Neck Oncologic and Reconstructive Surgery at Medical City Hospitals. I am proud to have initiated and directed a program that has rapidly become one of the busiest and most comprehensive head and neck cancer treatment programs in the area managing some of the most complex and advanced head and neck cancers in our community
I love to teach. Our course in Dallas by Saman Aesthetics is a hit and I love teaching the advanced techniques to other practitioners. In addition currently serve as preceptor for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for surgeons in training. In addition, I teach facial reconstructive surgery for the international foundation for craniomaxillofacial trauma surgery, AOCMF.
Having completed formal training and being board certified in both head and neck cancer surgery and facial plastic surgery have equipped me with a unique understanding of the human facial anatomy and function. I came back to DFW in 2014 and have been in practice since then and take pride in providing my patients with a higher standard and an exclusive experience for the best aesthetic and functional results possible.
My wife and I live in Dallas with our three beautiful daughters and are blessed to be a part of this lovely community.