Top Doctors 2013

A physician-led research team identifies the desert’s 90 top doctors in 36 specialties

Photography by Ethan Kaminsky

If you’re looking for the right doctor, you want a recommendation from a trusted friend. To that end, Palm Springs Life partners with New York-based Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. to independently survey the Greater Palm Springs area and reveal the crème de la crème.

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. is a healthcare research and information company founded in 1991 by a former medical college board chairman and president to help guide consumers to America’s top doctors and top hospitals. Castle Connolly’s established survey and research process, under the direction of a medical doctor, involves tens of thousands of top doctors and the medical leadership of leading hospitals.

Castle Connolly’s nomination process invites all licensed physicians to help to identify regionally and nationally outstanding top doctors. Doctors can access the nominations online at

The firm’s physician-led team of researchers follows a rigorous screening process of nominated physicians to select top doctors at national and regional levels. Castle Connolly carefully screens doctors’ educational and professional experience before making the final selection. In this feature — as well as in paperback and online guides — Castle Connolly identifies the top doctors in America and provides detailed information about their education, training, and special expertise.

Physicians selected for this feature may also appear as regional top doctors at or in one of Castle Connolly’s guidebooks, such as America’s Top Doctors or America’s Top Doctors for Cancer.

Doctors do not and cannot pay to be selected and profiled as Castle Connolly Top Doctors.

See the Entire List of the 2013 Top Doctor Picks

2013 Top Doctor Featured Profiles:

Diagnostic Radiologist, Desert Comprehensive Breast Center, Desert Regional Medical Center

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Dr. Marla Lander chose a career in medicine because the body has always intrigued her. “I wanted to know how it worked and how to cure it when it was sick,” she says. “It was natural for me to go into radiology, and then into breast radiology specifically. I have a very strong family history of breast cancer on both sides of the family, so it was an issue that I’ve been dealing with since I was very young.”

Director of Neurosurgery, Eisenhower Neurosciences Institute Chair, Brain Tumor Board, Eisenhower Medical Center

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Dr. Farhad Limonadi’s tenet in life is to “follow the code of good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. Think positively, talk positively, and do positively.”

Medical Director, Hope Neurologic Center

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“Ever since I was 4 years old, I wanted to be a doctor,” says Dr. Bhagwan Moorjani, the Coachella Valley’s only board-certified pediatric neurologist. “The brain always fascinated me, and I love children. I figured the best thing would be to combine both — children and the brain — and that would be a great specialty.”

Chief of Pulmonology and Director of Intensive Care, Eisenhower Medical Center

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“When you come to Eisenhower, especially the intensive care unit, we are going to treat you as family,” says Dr. Shahriyar Tavakoli. “The nature of my job is mostly hospital-based, taking care of critically ill patients in the intensive care unit and patients with chronic lung disease. To be a good critical care physician, you have to be calm and observant and have open communication with patients and their families.”

Orthopedic Surgeon, Desert Orthopedic Center

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Orthopedics, says Dr. James Bell, “really intrigued me in medical school. It was enjoyable, putting things back together. I was injured when I was a small kid and was hospitalized, and ever since then, I always kind of had it in the back of my head that it was something I was going to do.”

Director, Pain Management Track, Betty Ford Center; Faculty Member, Loma Linda University Medical School  

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Dr. Peter Przekop is a trailblazer in the field of pain management. Invited to join the Betty Ford Center in 2008, he launched a groundbreaking, 45-day, medication-free program to help patients overcome chronic pain using his integrative neurocognitive enhancement program.

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