Upon entering the offices of Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS, located in the heart of Chicago on Michigan Avenue, you are greeted by an urban setting, comfortable yet modern, with no Norman Rockwell pictures of kind doctors and trusting patients in sight. And yet, after taking the long walk down the bustling corridor leading to the physician’s office boasting a panoramic view of the city, there behind the desk you will find a doctor with a Norman Rockwell soul. Hardly old-timey and simple, Dayan is complex and fast-paced, but his motivation lies in the ideals portrayed in those famous illustrations: the notion that a doctor is invested in the well-being of his patient and the patient trusts that doctor implicitly.
Dayan insists aesthetic medicine is the last great frontier in medicine where the Norman Rockwell experience can take place. “We watched our forbearers practice medicine, and they got to be creative and got to be very one-on-one with patients. They were invested; they weren’t just some name on a list. It was a whole different world,” Dayan says of the lifestyle he aspired to when he decided he wanted to become a physician. “Doctors weren’t dictated to about how to practice medicine. They weren’t double- and triple-checked and asked to fill out forms. They weren’t being investigated by every organization and body possible, they weren’t doubted. Aesthetic medicine is the last bastion where you get to be a doctor. You get to talk with your patients and invest in them.”
A focus on education
Dayan has built a career—some would say an empire—on just that kind of patient investment. This 42-year-old facial plastic surgeon has known since he was young that he wanted to practice medicine. At the age of nine, Dayan’s mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. That, coupled with a heart attack experienced by his father, resulted in an early introduction to the field, although he narrowly avoided missing his calling by being a middle-of-the-road student in high school.