State cracks down on Aspen ‘doctor’
For the second time in five months, the Colorado Medical Board has issued a cease-and-desist order against an Aspen man who has branded himself as a medical doctor although “there exists credible evidence” he lacks the proper credentials.
On Thursday, the board put Hassen Dagher, 45, who once ran a fitness studio in Aspen, on notice that he is forbidden from practicing medicine or representing himself as a physician in the state of Colorado. The board delivered its first cease-and-desist order against Dagher on Dec. 20 but said he has ignored it.
“From approximately April 1, 2019 to present, (Dagher) continues to represent himself as a physician on a LinkedIn profile, although (Dagher) is not licensed to practice medicine in the State of Colorado,” said last week’s order.
Should Dagher continue to ignore the order, the matter will be referred to the state attorney general for injunctive relief, according to Paula Martinez, program director for the Colorado Medical Board.
Dagher on Tuesday referred questions to a Denver law firm that he said is representing him in the matter. The firm could not be immediately reached for comment to confirm it has been retained.
Dagher also provided to The Aspen Times, by email, an image of a certificate he received from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates dated June 7, 2015. Certification from the ECFMG helps medical graduates from outside the U.S. obtain certifications to practice in the States.
According to the December order, however, Dagher “engaged in the unlicensed practice of medicine” starting July 5, 2016. The order cited his July 5, 2016, appearance on a Grassroots Community Network program where he said he was a physician with a medical degree from St. Matthews University School of Medicine in the Cayman Islands; his LinkedIn page describing him as a “skilled physician;” and his testifying that he was a doctor, during an October civil trial in Aspen.
“(Dagher) represented himself as a licensed physician to other members of the public, including, but not limited to, for the purpose of acquiring housing,” according to the December order. “(Dagher) represented himself as a doctor and as a medical doctor to other members of the public in a manner that could induce members of the public to believe he was a licensed physician in the State of Colorado.”
During the citizen comments portion of a March 6, 2017, Aspen City Council meeting, Dagher referred to himself as a doctor and pitched to elected officials the creation of a “fitness czar” who would help the local populace get or stay healthy through programs and other means.
“I suggest this position be treated as an elected position,” he told members of the council. “I would like to recommend myself to propose what the position entails. Of course I’d like to be the first person to hold the position.”
The proposal failed to take flight.
As of Tuesday, Dagher’s profile on LinkedIn, a social media site for professional networking, said he has a medical practice in Aspen. He previously ran Aspen fitness studios including Dagher Fitness, whose offerings included personal training, yoga and rehabilitation.
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