NorthShore Health Centers works to complete a simple mission – provide comprehensive, high quality care to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. To accomplish that, they are constantly expanding their team with new providers, including their newest physician Dr. Wahid Kassar, M.D. As an expert endocrinologist, his addition to the team adds a whole new field to NorthShore’s patient care options.
Kassar, a graduate of the Damascus University School of Medicine, brings 25 years of experience with him to NorthShore. His long career started with the simple wish to help people.
“I always wanted to impact people and do a lot of positive things,” Kassar said. “That’s not just through medicine, but I wanted to help people face the challenges that they go through.”
Endocrinology is a very specialized branch of medicine, and one of his main responsibilities is helping his patients manage chronic diseases. Kassar said the work is similar to both playing on and managing a sports team throughout a long season.
“You need a great and creative team to win the game by staying healthy,” he said. “Sometimes I’m a coach, sometimes I’m a player, but I always have to function as a team member.”
The relationship he builds with his patients is almost as critical to his job as the medical expertise he offers. To help them feel comfortable following his guidance, Kassar prioritizes creating a judgment free environment.
“I want my patients to feel like they’re coming to me for help, not to be criticized or punished for whatever decisions they might’ve made in the past,” he said. “It’s not about blame, it’s about holding their hand and helping them achieve and sustain their goals. I’m not there to have them follow orders. I want them to feel engaged, inspired, and like a part of the team.”
For some physicians, understanding their patients beyond their physical health is the hardest part of the job. That is not the case for Kassar; learning about his patients is one of his favorite parts of the day.
“Meeting with patients, getting to know them and guiding them, there’s nothing difficult there,” he said. “I’m there for them.”
Most of Kassar’s career has been spent in hospitals, such as Northwestern Medicine’s Central DuPage Hospital. His new role at NorthShore is the first time he has had the opportunity to work at a federally qualified health center that is driven by a special mission.
“I want to be the one to help patients who’ve never had the chance to meet with a high-level specialist because they thought they weren’t qualified,” Kassar said. “These patients need contemporary care in the endocrine field. They can and should be utilizing these new advancements in diabetes care that are available to them.”
While he has only been at NorthShore for about one month, Kassar is already excited by the level of commitment he sees from both his fellow physicians and the executive staff.
“People here are very warm and very welcoming,” he said. “They’re allowing me to do what I like to do and what I’m good at. To have this new path working with big fish that care about a lot of small fishes is good. I can see that they value everyone and every patient, regardless of their insurance and want them to get the care they deserve.”
Outside of his work at NorthShore, Dr. Kassar has served as an advisor to Central DuPage Hospital’s Diabetes and Weight Loss Program, is the President of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologist’s Illinois Chapter, and has earned numerous awards and Five Star ratings for his patient interactions.
Dr. Kassar is accepting new patients. To learn more about NorthShore Health Centers, visit northshorehealth.org.