One of our town’s most beloved doctors retired on February 19.
Dr. Nasreen Babu-Kahn, who has been a fixture in Pacific Palisades since 1998, when she founded her dermatology practice, said that it was a combination of factors, including celebrating her 62 birthday last week.
Babu-Kahn told Circling the News that during the pandemic, her practice had been closed for several weeks and that her youngest son, Michael, graduated from Harvard-Westlake high school last year.
“It was the first time in a very long time that I had some time to myself and to reflect,” Babu-Khan said. “I have been going nonstop for years. . . it was time to think about the next chapter.”
She was born in Santa Monica to mother Calliope, who had come to this country from Greece on a scholarship to study art, and her late dad, Shafi, who had come here from India to study business. The two met as foreign students.
Nasreen’s childhood was spent in the family home at the top of Chautauqua Boulevard that her parents purchased in 1958.
She received her bachelor’s degree in linguistics and psychology, and her master’s degree in public health from UCLA. Her medical degree is from USC’s School of Medicine, which she received in 1990. She served an internship at the VA Medical Center in internal medicine from 1991 to 1992. Her residency was spent at the County-USC Medical Center. She is still a member of the voluntary faculty and supervises and teaches residents in the general dermatology clinic one day a week during the fall.
Babu-Kahn is fluent in Greek and French, which she learned while attending the Lycee Francais, where she graduated from high school. “I learned Spanish out of necessity because of working at the County Hospital all these years.”
Nasreen and her husband, Dr. Howard Lehrhoff, have five sons: Alexander, Nicholas, Gregory, Andrew and Michael. She was pregnant with her fourth when she opened her clinic on Monument Avenue.
In addition to having a busy practice, Nasreen was a hands-on mom. CTN asked how she juggled it.
“I worked around the kids’ schedules,” she said. “As they entered school, I added time at the practice.
“When I built out my current space on Monument, I had a kids’ room for the younger ones to nap and a kitchen with a fridge that was well-stocked. My kids felt they were a part of the practice and my staff treated them as such.”
Babu-Kahn said when the kids were young, she did the morning drop-off at school, “and I had a whole village picking them up and taking them to activities.” Her mom and dad and a babysitter all pitched in and “NO, we never lost them!”
Her kids attended Carlthorpe and “I could always zip there to attend a performance, deliver cupcakes or be a guest reader.”
When her kids went to private middle and high schools, they were able to take the bus, which dropped them off in front of the office, “so it was easy to take a few minutes to greet them.
“Here in town, they were regulars at Baskin-Robbins, Village Books, Mort’s, and were staples at the Chamber of Commerce Mixers. They also took part in other community events with me.”
Gregory was even named Mr. Palisades one year. “Arnie [Wishnick, the late Chamber of Commerce executive director] used to call him ‘Mr. P.’”
The Babu-Kahns live in the Marquez Knolls area, and with “give or take one to five kids at a time [at the house].”
Alex, 29, graduated from USC’s Marshall business school and is working in interior design and landscape architecture. Nick, 27, is completing a master’s program at Tufts University, with plans to apply to medical school. Greg graduated from Tufts with a degree in cognitive science; Andrew, 21, is finishing his last semester at George Washington University and Michael, 19, is completing his first year at McGill University in Montreal (via Zoom in the Palisades).
In 2018, Babu-Kahn established the Zoe Caloyera Distinguished Lecture fund in honor of her grandmother. The series brings outstanding individuals in the fields of art, culture and science to the work of Basil P. Caloyeras at the Center for Modern Greek Studies at Loyola Marymount University.
“My uncle founded the Center in the name of my grandfather ,” Babu-Khan said. “I am currently taking Zoom classes through the Center and as of last semester, I can finally read and write Greek.”
As she begins to adjust to retirement, Babu-Khan said, “I will miss seeing my long-time families. Some I have seen three, even four generations.”
For the time being, Dr. Dana Grenier will be seeing Babu-Khan’s patients. “She’s an excellent clinician,” said Nasreen, noting that Grenier previously had a practice in the 910 Via de la Paz building.
Most immediately, Babu-Khan plans to savor some time off and maybe garden or try new recipes and, “just take some time before I dive into something. When I do, I’d like to help people in some fashion, be it directly as a physician or maybe through a nonprofit.”