Nicolas A. Nelken, MD
I speak: English
My gender: Male
Where I practice
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, but was drawn to Northern California. At the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) I had an academic practice, followed by seven years in private practice in Los Angeles, but found private practice too insular and not systems-oriented enough. When Peter Schneider, a Hawaii Permanente Medical Group (HPMG) surgeon with whom I trained, invited me to Hawaii in 2003 I gladly accepted the opportunity. I have a wife and two children. My son is attending the University of Southern California and my daughter is at the Mid-Pacific Institute.
About my practice
I was drawn to surgery at a very young age. I enjoy my surgical practice because it provides a mix of intense focus, “right-brained” creativity, technical excellence, and patient care. Nowhere else in medicine does one solve problems so directly.My care philosophy is that prevention comes first. There are usually many things that patients can do for themselves to avoid surgery. I start with this in mind. If surgery is necessary, I perform the most up-to-date, evidence-based interventions possible. The less invasive the better, though sometimes big operations are unavoidable. The exam room is our place to communicate on a deep and profound level. This is the most important place to connect. I welcome family and other support in the room if my patients and their families so choose. Kaiser Permanente offers an amazing mix of practice and systems-oriented medicine. It is truly evidence-based. We have a very large population to draw information from when you take into consideration all nine million patients in the Kaiser Permanente system.At UCSF I used to run a molecular biology facility, and was also the chief of vascular surgery at San Francisco General Hospital. At HPMG, in addition to my role as surgeon, I am head of the vascular lab and the physician champion for smoking cessation for the region. I am on the physicians group for the Computerized Electronic Medical Record, and run a fellowship program for surgeons who wish to train in endovascular techniques.For the last seven years, I have been on the organizing committee for the Kaiser Permanente National Surgical Symposium and also help organize the Hawaii Vascular Symposium that occurs every two years on Oahu.
How I thrive
I enjoy riding my bicycle, body surfing, playing piano and doing pastel painting. I also like to spend time with family and friends where I am not "the doctor." I feel good living in Hawaii. With its multi-ethnic, gentle, amiable culture Hawaii is a wonderful place to live.