BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
---- — NEWBURYPORT — Dr. Saira Naseer-Ghiasuddin, an internist with an office on Green Street and patient privileges at Anna Jaques Hospital, has come a long way from her home in Lahore, Pakistan.
But the energetic physician would have it known that despite the occasional harrowing headline, Pakistan is a nation where girls and women have many opportunities to pursue their dreams.
“In most (modern) cities, boys and girls are equal when it comes to education and opportunity,” said Naseer-Ghiasuddin, who came to this country in 1992.
“Maybe it’s the luck of the draw, but my parents wanted nothing less than a master’s degree (from me and my brother). I studied, traveled frequently with my father and eventually made the choice to come to the U.S.”
It appears the ambitious young students took advantage of all opportunities.
Naseer-Ghiasuddin, 49, came to this country for post-graduate medical study, and her brother is now an engineer in Texas.
She had graduated from Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore. As the daughter in a prosperous family whose father was a successful engineer, she sought challenge and a stable future.
In Pakistan she married Dr. Salman Ghiasuddin, who was also studying to be a doctor. Both did their post-graduate study in New York and Boston before settling in this community.
Today he is board certified in cardiovascular disease, nuclear medicine, endovascular medicine and interventional cardiology.
Naseer-Ghiasuddin said the specific reason for coming to the U.S. was that medical schools here were offering programs in advanced study that Lahore institutions were not.
“My husband and I were both interested in going into medical specialties,” recalled the doctor, who is affiliated with North Shore Internal Medicine.
“I wanted London; he wanted the U.S. He thought that over the years, America would offer a stable future. He’s a pretty smart guy.”
After internships and residencies at St.Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York (associated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons), they migrated north to Boston and then Newburyport.
One credo that she pursues is that hard work is crucial to achieving goals.
“If you work hard, and once people recognize you are hard-working, there will be success,” said the doctor, the mother of three.
She said she has never experienced discrimination for being a woman or a newcomer, a valued outcome she attributes to this hard work and strenuous training.
Her achievement in the local medical community is reflected in the fact that she is president of the medical-staff leadership team at Anna Jaques Hospital. And she chairs the medical-staff executive committee and the patient-care assessment committee.
The affable physician is also a trustee of the Institution for Savings.
She said that one of the most rewarding elements of her practice is individual personal care.
“I enjoy talking to my patients, hearing their concerns, and visiting them if they are in the hospital,” the doctor said. “If you do what you love, you won’t be tired at the end of the day.”
A patient who had been treated by the doctor said that she is caring and attentive.
“She’s smart, and she shows that she’s really on your side,” said the middle-aged patient, who declined to be identified. “She made it a point to visit the room and make sure everything was going as it should.
“She monitored my hospital stay, and I was able to leave in good health.”
Naseer-Ghiasuddin said that she still travels to Pakistan to see family, and she’s uplifted to return to her original culture.
But she and her husband have settled here, and she appears to be pleased with their life decision.
“I appreciate being here and it’s meant a lot to us to have the opportunities we’ve found,” Naseer-Ghiasuddin said.