La Jolla physician named ‘Woman of the Year’


By Ashley Mackin

La Jolla resident and the National Association of Professional Women’s “2013 Woman of the Year,” Deena Tajran, M.D. is always looking forward.

Her philosophy is that each day offers a new target she wants to reach. The OB/GYN — with an office in La Jolla — received her award at a party in her honor on Feb. 23 in Rancho Santa Fe.

The host was patient-turned-friend, Ghada Kadri. “She makes your dreams come true,” Kadri said. “She hands you a miracle (when a baby is born). She’s helped people who couldn’t have children, have children. She’s always thinking ahead and wants to learn more. It seems that this is her year and I’m happy for her.”

In addition to the Woman of the Year award, which she also won in 2012, Dr. Tajran has been named Top Physician in California by the International Obstetrics and Gynecology Association, and will receive an award from the International Women’s Leadership Association. Escondido Mayor Sam Abed presented Dr. Tajran with a letter of recognition.

Dr. Tajran’s medical studies began in her native Iraq. She studied at the University of Bagdad’s College of Medicine, and graduated in 1985. At the time the Gulf War broke out, she was the chief resident of the hospital and remembers that day vividly.

“It was like the Fourth of July, with the sky lit up,” she said, adding that everyone had to be evacuated to the basement. She said she didn’t know how long they would be without electricity or lights, and remembers checking on patients by candle light and delivering babies in the basement.

After things became more stable, Dr. Tajran said she decided to further her education and become double boarded in OB/GYN and Internal Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency at the Kern Medical Center at UCLA in 1998 and her OB/GYN residency in 2002.

She attributes her solid foundation to her ability to stay calm and focused. She recalled a recent incident that required quick action, clear communication and medical knowledge.

A patient was suffering from extreme preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure in the later terms of pregnancy. Noting that “high” blood pressure is 140/90, Dr. Tajran said this patient’s blood pressure was 220/180.

She said she was able to lower the patient’s blood pressure with the right anesthetic as they came to a solution best for the baby and the mother.

The world of obstetrics and gynecology combines all the things Tajran loves about being a doctor, she explained. In addition to helping people, Tajran said she loves surgery, an area of medicine in which she thrives.

“And there is the love. To deliver a baby is not a joke. (You have a) lovely, intimate relationship with a patient for nine months and it’s happy ... it’s a happy, rewarding feeling at the time of delivery,” she said.

A mother herself, Dr. Tajran said she tries to instill the desire to help other people in her children, Jahan, 17, and Sarah, 15. She recently brought them with her on a medical mission to Ghana, where she was assisting patients. She has also visited other African countries and Mexico, helping others in any way she can.

Dr. Tajran said the motto in her office is also what guides her work day to day: “We do our best, we go by our conscience, God is watching and that’s it,” she said.