An extended family trusts one physician for primary care

Dr. Nathan Samras is pictured in a UCLA Health Beverly Hills exam room with the Blumstein family, from L to R: Sara, Gideon, Isaac, Tara, William and Herbert. Photo credit: Reed Hutchinson PhotoGraphics

Gideon and Tara Blumstein both work in medicine: he is a surgical resident in orthopaedics at UCLA, and she is an occupational therapist at USC. Perhaps because of their careers, they understand the importance of having a relationship with their primary care physician, who serves as the leader of their health care team.

When they started seeing Dr. Nathan Samras almost two years ago, they agreed that his evidence-based focus and friendly, approachable demeanor made him the right fit for their family.

“I like that if I have a question, Dr. Samras will take the time to pull up an interesting study on that topic and share it with me,” says Tara, 38. “He treats us as equals, and always helps us understand a diagnosis or weigh the costs and benefits of a medical decision.”

“I like that he’s very thorough,” says Gideon, also 38, “and has training in both internal medicine and pediatrics.”

At the UCLA Health Beverly Hills office on Brighton Way—conveniently only a few miles from the Blumsteins’ home—Dr. Samras says his dual board certification in internal medicine and pediatrics means that he can “take care of any person who walks through the door.” This is why it made perfect sense for the Blumsteins to choose him as their children’s physician as well.

“It’s that whole two birds, one stone mentality,” says Tara, noting that in her case, she actually handles three routine appointments in one morning, for herself and then for her sons, Isaac, 3, and William, 17 months.

When Gideon’s parents, Sara and Herbert Blumstein, moved to the area from Palo Alto a little over a year ago, they also selected the same home office, and in Sara’s case, Dr. Samras as her primary care physician.

“It’s nice to know that if we have a problem in the family, he already knows us all, and has a deeper understanding of what is going on,” Sara says.

Over time, the Blumsteins say they’ve developed a real respect and trust for their physician, which Dr. Samras says allows him to do his job well.

“Primary care is about relationships, and trust is essential,” Dr. Samras says. “Like any other consultant in someone’s life, from a mechanic to a clergy person, I want my patients to know that I’m giving them the right advice and providing care that is tailored to their needs.”

He notes that if he tells a patient to go in for a mammogram or see a specialist, he wants them to believe this is the right call, and schedule the appointment. “Without that trust,” he says, “I can’t optimize a patient’s care.”

This story ran in the Summer 2019 issue of The Checkup, a UCLA Health community newsletter on how to live your healthiest life.