Mohammed Arsiwala, MD, is a lot of things.
He’s a father, physician, philanthropist, owner of multiple businesses, and president of the Michigan State Medical Society—and that just scratches the surface.
Now, he adds lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy to the list.
The questions “why?” and “how?” immediately come to mind, and both are easy for Doctor Arsiwala to answer.
“I’m an immigrant, but I’ve been in the United States for 26 years—this is my home now,” Doctor Arsiwala says. “And in those 26 years, I’ve managed to build a very successful, wonderful life. I feel like this country has given me a lot and now I want to do my part to give back, and in my opinion there’s no better way to do that than by serving my country.”
That service is set to begin any day now.
Just recently given his commission, Doctor Arsiwala will soon head off to officer’s boot camp in Rhode Island. Upon completion, he will begin his service, spending one weekend a month helping to care for marines stationed here in Michigan and two to three weeks a year stationed wherever in the world the Navy needs him.
“I’m really excited to begin,” Doctor Arsiwala says. “There is a desperate need for physicians to serve in the Navy right now, and I think my skill set is particularly well suited for this kind of work.”
It’s a skill set he’s honed over 20 years of practicing medicine. Doctor Arsiwala is board certified in internal medicine and spends most days caring for patients who walk through the door at any one of the nine Michigan Urgent Care and Occupational Health clinics he owns in Southeast Michigan. Most days, Doctor Arsiwala devotes his mornings to patient care and his afternoons to administrative duties, which is no small feat considering the size of the business.
“It’s grown tremendously in the past 20 years. We now have over 200 employees and serve over 100,000 patients a year in five counties throughout Southeast Michigan, and we’re still growing. It’s very exciting,” he says.
When he’s not busy with that, there’s a good chance Doctor Arsiwala is working to serve those in need. Over the years, he’s partnered with several organizations and initiatives throughout southeast Michigan that provide critical support for vulnerable populations in the community, including helping to start the Shepherd Hall Transition Living Program offered through Vista Maria.
Serving young women between the ages of 18 and 24 who are homeless or have recently aged out of the foster care system, Shepherd Hall provides crucial support and resources during a critical transitionary phase in a young woman’s life. Women in the program are provided with an affordable apartment and are given all the help and counseling they need to enroll in college, obtain jobs and ultimately find paths to success and happiness.
“Before Shepherd Hall, these young women would just be let out into the world when they turned 18 without any support system or guidance on how to navigate adulthood, and as a result, many would fall into things like drugs and human trafficking. There was no stability. Shepherd Hall has changed that and I’m immensely proud of the success we’ve had with it,” Doctor Arsiwala says.
And Doctor Arsiwala’s service work extends well beyond metro Detroit. In 2005, he established the Help Global Foundation with the aim of working to eliminate poverty, improve health outcomes and create educational opportunity in communities in need throughout the world. Since then, Doctor Arsiwala and his team have established projects and operated medical camps in Afghanistan, India, Uganda and Haiti.
“The work we do through the HELP foundation is so gratifying and important,” Doctor Arsiwala says. “We’re just now finishing up building a 100-bed hospital in a very remote and dangerous part of Afghanistan. There are anywhere between 1.2 and 1.6 million people living in this region that have had no reliable access to medical care, and now that’s changing. This hospital is going to make life markedly better for these people and I’m so excited for it to get up and running.”
Considering all of that, the “how?” question is much more curious when considering Doctor Arsiwala’s impending naval service, but the freshly commissioned lieutenant commander has a simple answer for that as well.
“When you’re passionate about something, it isn’t difficult to find the time and a way to do the things you love,” he says.
For Doctor Arsiwala, that now includes serving his country.
“I’ll do it for as long as my body allows me to do it. And I think that’s going to be for a long time—I’m fit, healthy, ready and happy to serve.”