Zeshaun Khawaja MD MBA photo

Zeshaun Khawaja MD MBA

Vascular Neurologist

Patients & Process at Cleveland Clinic

Today more than ever, physicians are being asked to balance their clinical insights with practical considerations—not just diagnosing the care that patients need, but also how best to deliver that care. As it happens, this focus on patient needs and process is what first drew Zeshaun Khawaja to medicine, and has now led him to a career in vascular neurology at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

When Zeshaun entered Saba, he was initially focused on radiology, seeing that as the way to marry his twin passions of technology and medicine. But while completing his rotations in Saba’s clinical program he discovered not only the incalculable value of patient interaction but also that he thrived on the face-to-face time he had with his patients. This led him to seek out areas of medicine where successful outcomes depend on significant patient engagement. A mentor suggested stroke neurology and that’s where he headed for his residency at the University of Florida.

“I became completely fascinated by the clinical and technological aspects of stroke. The phrase ‘time is brain’ is a common theme in stroke and that has driven me towards finding novel and efficient means of delivering life-saving treatment to stroke patients,” said Khawaja, who became Chief Resident before leaving to pursue a stroke fellowship at Cleveland Clinic. But technology and the study of effective processes were never far from his mind, and when he wasn’t in the hospital, he was completing the coursework for an Executive MBA at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.

“The U.S excels in a lot of areas, but we don't do well compared to many other countries in how we care for patients,” notes Khawaja. “The purpose of pursuing an MBA was so I could learn the best practices from a wide array of industries and apply them to improve the care I provide."

Armed with his Executive MBA, Khawaja has joined the staff of the Cleveland Clinic as a vascular neurologist. “I found a home here at Cleveland Clinic where research, education and innovation are encouraged. It is an ideal fit.”

Looking back at the role that Saba played in his success, Khawaja focused on the quality of teaching, the atmosphere and the clinical program: “I had terrific professors at Saba who were knowledgeable and experienced. They were excellent educators. I developed deep friendships there and it was a very collegial atmosphere. We all worked together and collaborated with each other. And it was a powerful mentor that I met during my Saba clinicals that set me on the course of stroke neurology.”

And Saba itself?: “A beautiful place. Very relaxed. A perfect environment to focus on learning medicine.”