December 1, 2022

SMR Alum Returns to Begin Medical Practice

zahir medstar st mary's hospital
Posted for St. Mary’s Ryken High School

zahir medstar st mary's hospital

Dr. Zahir

Community Builder

Dr. Usman Zahir ’98 had many interests when he was at St. Mary’s Ryken and his favorite subjects were biology with Mrs. Bauerey, art with Mrs. Hurlburt, and history with Mrs. Martinez. But, he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do for a career.

After graduating, he headed to the University of Maryland College Park and eventually chose to major in physiology and neurobiology with an eye towards medical school.

“I wanted to be in a dynamic field that I could do over the long term,” he explains. “I was a bit of a shy kid, and found that medicine forces you out of your shell in some ways. You are directly involved with the community, with different people every day, and then you are involved in very direct ways in peoples’ lives. I felt that with medicine, every day would be different for me; I meet different people every day. It’s a challenge and keeps me engaged.”

He completed medical school, his residency and a fellowship all at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. His medical training was at the University of Maryland Medical Center with rotations at the Baltimore VA Medical Center and the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.

“Once you complete a residency,” he says, “you have a choice – you can either go straight into practice and start working, or you can subspecialize and spend extra time in a fellowship. In my case, I wanted to get some more training in spine related disorders, so I spent a year in a spine fellowship.”

In December 2012, he became the new full-time orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist with MedStar Georgetown Orthopedic Institute and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown.

“When it came time looking for jobs, I wanted to stay in the Maryland-Virginia -D.C. region,” he says. “It’s nice working in a familiar place. People here are friendly and hardworking; there’s a nice community feel.”

Dr. Usman was born in New Jersey, but grew up in Southern Maryland. His siblings attended St. Mary’s Ryken as well: his brother, Amir, is a member of the Class of 2000, and his sister, Sabba, the Class of 2004.

At SMR, he “ran cross country and played a little junior varsity basketball, but I wasn’t good in either. I got cut from the basketball team one year for missing too many practices,” he sheepishly admits. These days, when he has some free time, he enjoys drawing, traveling and, even basketball.

Even though he is a full-time orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist, Dr. Usman also offers care and treatment for general orthopedics. His office is located in the new MedStar St. Mary’s Outpatient Pavilion.

For more stories on St. Mary’s Ryken, go to its LexLeader profile.

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