Neurologist Mustafa Ansari specializes in treating patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), the neuroimmune disorder that interrupts communication between the brain and body. He also provides “bread and butter neurology,” as he calls it, at the County of Sacramento Primary Care Center.
“It allows me to provide a wider breadth of care to a broader group of patients,” he said. “For most, seeing a neurologist is a luxury. We want to change that.”
The clinic, located next to UC Davis’ Sacramento campus at Broadway and Stockton Blvd., provides care regardless of ability to pay. A growing partnership with UC Davis Health allowed the county to add specialty services this year. Ansari is part of that team, which also includes specialists in cardiology, infectious diseases, nephrology, psychiatry, women’s health and sports medicine.
“It’s part of our plan to make the clinic a convenient place for all health care,” said Peter Beilenson, director of Sacramento County Health Services. “Our shared vision with UC Davis for top-quality, convenient care makes that possible.”
A passion for community-based care
The clinic is a perfect fit for Ansari, who has always had a passion for community-based care. As an undergrad at UC Davis, he was clinic manager of the Shifa Clinic, a student-run clinic that provides care free-of-charge. The clinic primarily serves patients from Sacramento’s South Asian and Muslim communities.
After medical school in Texas, Ansari returned to UC Davis for his neurology residency and practiced at another student-run clinic ― Clinica Tepatí, focused on care for the Latino community.
As part of his MS fellowship at the University of Southern California (USC), he worked at LA + USC Medical Center public and teaching hospital.
Now, as part of the county clinic physician team, he diagnoses and treats conditions ranging from spinal stenosis to epilepsy. Sometimes, the conditions are rare. He recently diagnosed someone with dopa-responsive dystonia, which causes tremors and involuntary muscle contractions. It is treatable, with an accurate diagnosis.
“Patients who don’t see a doctor on a regular basis can go for years with untreated symptoms,” Ansari said. “Given that this is a hereditary condition, the patient’s diagnosis could be a pathway to answers and treatment for family members as well.”
A broader perspective on neurological conditions
The clinic also gives Ansari the chance to teach internal medicine residents about neurological conditions and exams in an outpatient setting. Most internal medicine residency programs focus on hospitalized patients.
“Our program is unique in offering a neurology rotation in a clinic setting too,” Ansari said. “It provides a more complete perspective on the conditions they are likely to see in their practices.”
In addition to expanded training opportunities, Ansari appreciates the patients and staff who have welcomed him at the clinic.
“The patients are so grateful and the clinic team is so supportive,” Ansari said. “It makes working there an energizing experience.”
In addition to the county clinic, UC Davis Health has partnerships with four other Sacramento region FQHCs to broaden access to high-quality health services. The focus is on providing continuity-of-care for Medi-Cal or uninsured patients. More information is at health.ucdavis.edu.
UC Davis medical students and physicians make significant contributions to the health of underserved populations in the Sacramento area through volunteer efforts at several community clinics, also known as student-run clinics. Locations and hours are available online.
UC Davis Health neurologists provide clinical care and conduct research on dementia, epilepsy, movement disorders, tremor, dystonia, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular conditions, headache and sleep disorders. For more information, visit the Department of Neurology website.