WD Spotlight: Lela Lankerani, D.O.
Dr. Lela Lankerani is a board certified dermatologist who joined our WD team in 2014. She has led the growth of our Marble Falls clinic where she fits right into the community with her relaxed, friendly style. She recently shared with us why she decided to become a dermatologist and about her passion for traveling and exploring other cultures.
WD: What led you to a career as a doctor, and why dermatology?
LL: I had decided to become a physician after being diagnosed with Kawasaki’s disease. At a very young age I was greatly impressed by the medical staff who cared for me and all I wanted to do was impact others’ lives in the same fashion. Even though I was a child, the doctors spoke to me as a person rather than a case, and explained everything they were doing to me as they were doing it, which lessened the fear and anxiety all patients go through no matter what their age or procedure. That respect and compassion stayed with me throughout the years.
My father also happened to be a pathologist and I always found his histology slides to be not just cells on a microscopic level but rather these beautiful patterns and “works of art”. There needs to be this attention to detail, color and distribution or pattern that lead towards the right diagnosis in dermatology. Having a strong art background from my undergraduate studies combined with my medical degree led to a natural inclination towards an aesthetic and visual field that is dermatology.
WD: What is your favorite part about being a dermatologist?
LL: I love that I don’t know what will be waiting for me on the other side of those patient room doors. It could be anything from a rash, to a skin cancer screening to a cosmetic request or all of the above! It never gets boring to me. I enjoy the varied patient population as well as the fact that not many medical fields allow you to visually see the improvement you have just made for that patient. It is rewarding to know you have helped improve the self-esteem of that person who was embarrassed by their acne or psoriasis. It is also a very procedural specialty and removing skin cancers is the most rewarding aspect for me.
WD: What are you typically doing when you are not at work?
LL: I stay busy keeping up with two spunky active kids, Isaak and Naseem. My husband Ben and I like to be outdoors and stay active, so you will find us paddle boarding on Lake Travis on most weekends or hiking the many beautiful trails that Austin and Hill Country has to offer. Outside of family and work life, my other passions include cooking and painting and of course eating at as many Austin restaurants as humanly possible with friends and family.
WD: Where is your favorite place to travel?
LL: Ben and I used to be world travelers prior to having children having been to Europe, Mexico, Thailand, Greece, Bahamas, Jamaica and Brazil. We hope to pick that up again once the kids get a bit older so they not only remember the trips but also appreciate the varied cultures, people and amazing foods. I would say Thailand is special to me because not only is that where we honeymooned, but my husband’s mother is Thai and the people there have what they call “sanuk”, which translates to mean “striving to achieve satisfaction and pleasure from whatever you do!” And, really, that is what life should be about…
WD: How long have you lived in the Austin area?
LL: We moved to Lakeway in the summer of 2014. We are from the Midwest originally and had been living in Madison, Wisconsin for four years when finally the snow and cold had gotten the best of us. I have a brother who went to graduate school at UT and never left Austin. Every time we visited him, we really dug the vibe of the city. We knew that we wanted to move to Austin in 2009, but had to wait until Ben finished not only his Air Force commitments but his residency training in rehab medicine/pain management. It was a long road to get here but we are so glad to finally be here and call it home. I was able to convince my mother and father to move from Cleveland, Ohio to Austin after living there for 45 years. Thankfully, they don’t regret that decision.
WD: What do you like the most about the Texas Hill Country?
LL: First we love the terrain and rolling hills…. reminds us a lot of the California topography. We are especially loving that Lake Travis is full again. We chose this area to live not only for our work commute (me working in Marble Falls and Ben at Four Points), but for the stellar school system for our kids. I especially like working in Marble Falls because my patients are some of the sweetest people who appreciate the time and efforts you take with them. Over the couple of years I have been with WD, I already feel the connection I have made with them.
WD: You mentioned that you enjoy eating out. What are your favorite foods?
LL: I love just about anything, but I am partial to sushi and Thai. Of course, Texas BBQ is up there too, but my guilty pleasure would be Torchy’s Tacos queso. Thankfully I can stay active year around in Austin to burn it off!