In many ways Rooman Ahad typifies a working mother with two young children. She gets the kids dressed for school, makes breakfast, packs their lunches (her husband helps when he can), and then drives her little ones to preschool and grade school before heading off to work.
After work, she picks up the kids from after-school care and then proceeds to make dinner. (Her husband helps when he can). After dinner, she helps the older with homework, reads a book to the younger, engages both children in creative play, shuttles them off to baths, and settles the children down for bed.
“I’m a busy lady,” she says, grinning. “But I love my time with my family away from work. My husband’s time isn’t his own right now, because he’s on call as a chief resident in adult neurology at Valley Hospital. (Residents are doctors who work about 80 hours a week as they train in their specialties). If someone arrives at the hospital with a stroke or some other emergency where his specialty is needed, I have to deal with many things myself. When everything’s going right, everything works. But if one of the kids is sick or the car breaks down, then I have to try to get a babysitter and rely on friends and I’m trying to keep my head above water. It really does take a village to raise a child.”
Yes, Ahad’s life seems fairly typical for a working mom — until she morphs into her role as Dr. Rooman Ahad. Then, she’s a child neurologist with the UNLV School of Medicine’s department of pediatrics, the division head of child neurology, and a physician responsible for providing medical care for children with many issues, including disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Tourette Syndrome, seizures, and epilepsy as well as developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy, sleep problems, and autism. She’s also an assistant professor of pediatric neurology, training future physicians and working on research that appears in the world’s most distinguished medical journals.
“I also call my patients my kids,” Ahad said. “I love helping them. For me, it’s not a job, it’s a calling — something I very much want to do.”
Pediatric neurologists devote their careers to the welfare of children, advancing our knowledge of the developing nervous system, perhaps the most complex biological system in nature.
The only board-certified child neurologist in Nevada with supplemental clinical fellowship training, Ahad did her residency in child neurology at the renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Studies show that the number of pediatric neurologists is at least 20 percent below what the U.S. needs. Ahad divides her time between the UNLV Medicine Ackerman Autism Center and the UNLV Medicine Pediatrics Center.
“I would like to see more multidisciplinary clinics like that at the Ackerman Center where children with disabilities can be evaluated by multiple clinicians at one time and the clinicians can come together to create a treatment plan,” she said. “I think taking a multidisciplinary approach is the gold standard for the best way to treat children.”