Dr. Aitezaz Ahmed, a rheumatologist at Harbor View Medical services, knew the transition from solo practitioner in Rochester, NY to employee at a medical group would be challenging. But when he interviewed last year for a position here, he had no way of knowing the additional challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic would present. When he began at Mather Primary Care in May, he and all health care providers had to deal with safety protocols including telemedicine visits with patients.

“It was a challenging transition overall,” said Dr. Ahmed, noting that even his move from Rochester where he had a solo practice for 15 years brought unexpected hurdles when the mover canceled last minute over travel concerns. Upon arriving at Harbor View, however, “I was pleasantly surprised by the safety precautions taken and the availability of PPE (personal protective equipment) and the attention being paid both at Mather and Harbor View at preventing infections. There were some scary stories in the media about how people didn’t have masks or other PPE at some facilities.”

The move to Long island is a homecoming of sorts since he and his wife, Mara, a documentary film maker, and their two children had lived in North Woodmere when earlier in his career he was working at hospitals in Brooklyn.

Dr. Ahmed’s practice includes osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other kinds of inflammation disorders, as well as osteoporosis. He is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology.

Since setting up his practice Dr. Ahmed said he has seen a gradual transition from mostly telemedicine visits with patients to more in office appointments. Telemedicine visits are still available to patients.

“My experience here is very positive. Some forethought and planning went into dealing with the pandemic on the part of leadership at Mather and Harbor View so from that point of view the transition was very easy. I’m getting to know colleagues and the interactions have been very good. That compensates for the uncertainty and the challenges from the pandemic,  for which I am grateful.”

A native of Pakistan, Dr. Ahmed received his medical degree from King Edward Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan. He completed his internship, a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Connecticut Health Center. He previously was an attending physician at Rochester General Hospital, Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn and Hartford Hospital in Connecticut. He was an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington.

He and his family live in Ronkonkoma.