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As a doctor, she heals wounds. As an Iranian-American, she builds bridges.
Saturday, June 07, 2014

By Nara Schoenberg, Tribune Newspapers

Dr. Farah Hashemi at the Central Du Page Hospital, where she runs the Wound Clinic.

Dr. Farah Hashemi is a wound care doctor at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield and a founder of the Chicago Persian School, where children of Iranian descent learn about their cultural heritage. She also is a resourceful volunteer who has been known to organize a 700-person holiday party for Chicago-area Iranian-Americans, able to scare up a donation of 300 oranges with a single phone call.

Last fall, she was among 40 Iranian-Americans nationwide selected by the White House to participate in a round-table discussion about strengthening ties with Iranian citizens.

And it often sounds as if Hashemi is just getting started.

"One thing I think we need is some kind of sustainable physical presence," she says of local Iranian-Americans. The Persian school is currently housed in a Lincolnwood church.

"I hope that if we can build that sustainable building, it will become much like the Harry Potter books the Room of Requirement. If it needs to be a place to do poetry readings, there it is. If it needs to be a place to do film screenings, there it is. If it's a place to run Persian classes, there you go. If it's a place to run English classes for Iranians coming to America, so they can more quickly assimilate and meet Iranians, more power to us.

"And lastly, I hope it's a beautiful building, it's an aesthetically pleasing building, I hope it's a place where people want to come and have a really good cup of Persian tea, or taste Persian sweets, or have truly traditional Persian food."

Fundraising for the building is in the very early stages, she says, with about $50,000 raised so far.

Hashemi, 46, an infectious disease specialist, attended medical school and did her internship at Northwestern. She lives in Burr Ridge with her husband, Dr. Bejan Fakouri, and their two children, ages 11 and 13. The following is an edited transcript.

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