Dr. Tavakkoli brings a unique perspective and professional background that includes years of work in public health and leadership roles. The road that led him to work as an inpatient psychiatrist at Rockland Psychiatric Center in New York started in the Middle East in pre-revolutionary Iran. In Tehran, Dr. Tavokkoli worked as a general practitioner after earning his MD and Master of Public Health from Tehran University. He intended to continue working in the public health system, but years of political instability prompted him to pursue his studies in the United States.
While earning his Master’s in Global Health and Population at Harvard, he realized he missed working with patients, particularly those facing mental health issues stemming from living with HIV/AIDS. “I worked with one of the first HIV clinics in Iran,” where he recalls, “a lot of patients had mental health issues.” Working with the United Nations AIDS Programme in Iran, Dr. Tavakkoli established the first nationwide network of people living with HIV providing psychosocial support for each other. In 2020, he launched and supervised the first COVID-19 inpatient psychiatric unit in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Patient convenience makes telepsychiatry appealing to Dr. Tavokkoli. “It can be hard for people coping with mental illnesses to get themselves together and go to the doctor,” he says, adding that he believes both talk therapy and medication management are essential to effective treatment.
A resident of Westchester, he enjoys running, cooking Persian food, photography, and studying world cinema.