About 10 years ago, Stuart S. Kassan, MD, FACP, MACR, was playing in a local golf tournament at the Denver Country Club. Each player had to tee off over a water hole in front of roughly 100 club members. His ball was the only one that landed in the water—twice.
He was introduced to golf as a teenager by his mother, who was a club champion at the family’s local country club in White Plains, N.Y. He says his best score is 84, and his handicap, in the mid-teens, is respectable. A true devotee, Dr. Kassan has attended the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia for the past 18 years.
“The Masters is one of the most special places in all of golf because it capsulizes a perfect environment, both in the sport sense and in the moral sense,” says Dr. Kassan. “It replicates the simplicity of life as it was in the 1930s. There are no electronics on the course. Everything is done by hand. People are as nice as they possibly can be to each other, which in this day and age is unique.”
Medicine Top Priority
A master rheumatologist, Dr. Kassan is also a distinguished clinical professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine (CU Medicine), Denver, chief medical officer at MPP Infusion Centers, Lakewood, Colo., and the 2020 recipient of the ACR’s distinguished service award.
Dr. Kassan graduated from George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Washington, D.C., in 1972. The following year, he completed an internship in medicine and, in 1974, an assistant residency in medicine, both at Emory University, Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta. From 1974–76, he served as a clinical associate, clinical immunology section, laboratory of microbiology and immunology, at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. In 1978, he completed a fellowship in rheumatology at the Hospital for Special Surgery, Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York.
That same year, he moved to Denver to head the Rheumatology Clinic at the Veterans Administration Hospital (renamed the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, Aurora, Colo.) and also began working half time in private practice at Colorado Arthritis Associates, Lakewood. In 1980, he began working full time at the practice, where he remains today.
Among his professional interests is academic medicine. Since 1978, Dr. Kassan has climbed the ranks from assistant clinical professor of medicine at CU Medicine to his current position, which he obtained in 2013.
Medicine will always take priority for Dr. Kassan. “I love my patients and retirement is out of the question,” he says, adding that he also has fond memories from his teenage years of accompanying his father on house calls to patients. “My father was very passionate about medicine. He was my idol in medicine.”