Child Neurologist with the UNLV School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics
By Paul Harasim
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 and then drives her little ones to preschool or 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 oldest with homework, reads a book to the youngest, engages both children in creative play, shuttles them off to baths and settles them 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 is not his own right now, because he is on call as a chief resident in adult neurology at Valley Hospital. 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,” she explains. “When everything is 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 am trying to keep my head above water. It really does take a village to raise a child.”
Yes, Rooman Ahad’s life seems fairly typical for a working mom—until she morphs into her role as Dr. Rooman Ahad. Then, she is a child neurologist with the UNLV School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, the division head of child neurology and a physician who is responsible for providing medical care for children with many conditions, including; ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome, seizures and epilepsy; and developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy, sleep problems and autism. She is 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,” Dr. Ahad says. “I love helping them. For me, it is not a job. It is a calling, something I very much want to do.”
Pediatric neurologists devote their careers to the welfare of children, advancing their knowledge of the developing nervous system, perhaps the most complex biological system in nature.
The only board-certified child neurologist in the state of Nevada with supplemental clinical fellowship training, Dr. Ahad did her residency in child neurology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Studies show that the number of pediatric neurologists is at least 20 percent below what the U.S. needs. Dr. 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,” she says, “where children with disabilities can be evaluated by multiple clinicians at one time and the clinicians can come together to create a treatment plan. I think taking a multidisciplinary approach is the gold standard for the best way to treat children.”