Whether he’s talking about COVID-19, weight loss, debunking medical myths, or reacting to medical dramas on TV, Doctor Mike, whose full name is Dr. Mike Varshavski, aims to inform (and entertain) his followers to help them learn about medicine and make good health decisions.
A board-certified family medicine physician in New York, Doctor Mike was born in Russia and came to the United States when he was 6. He learned about medicine from his father, an M.D. in Russia, who studied in the United States to become a D.O.
Doctor Mike loves being a D.O. and practicing whole-person medicine.
“You look into the whole person” he said. “What’s going on in their personal life? How does their job affect their symptoms?
“The real founding principle of becoming an osteopathic physician is that everything works together,” Doctor Mike said. “The body has the ability to heal itself, and we as physicians have to assist the body in doing that, and other times, learning about risk factors, mental health, to figure out how we can optimize a person’s ability to heal.”
While many D.O.s use their OMT to specialize in orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, and osteopathic manipulative medicine, D.O.s aren’t limited to those specialties. They can specialize in any area of medicine, including cardiology, ophthalmology, dermatology, and others.
“For myself, and actually a large percentage of osteopathic physicians, we like being general physicians,” Doctor Mike said. “We enjoy learning about the entire body and seeing how we can quarterback the health of a patient and give them the optimal results.”
He says people also don’t realize how many D.O.s are working in public and private healthcare. For example, many ER doctors are D.O.s, and other D.O.s have prominent government roles, such as President Joe Biden’s personal doctor, Kevin O’Connor, D.O., and NASA’s chief health and medical officer, J.D. Polk, D.O.
Doctor Mike advises patients to look at more than medical degrees when choosing a doctor.
“I think the patients are looking to pick a physician, they should look less at their degrees, and more so at their ability to connect with patients, their bedside manner, their ability to explain complicated medical terminology and results,” he said.
He also encourages patients to work with their doctor to adopt good habits. He says getting and staying healthy takes work, including proper sleep, eating well, and staying active.
“Part of being a good doctor is not only helping a patient battle their current illness to optimize their health,” Doctor Mike said, “but to increase health literacy, so that they can feel empowered to take control of their health and make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”
Doctor Mike has a combined 15 million followers on social media and likes to teach consumers about their conditions, as well as hot topics in the medical field. His videos are saving lives, too.
For example, he often reminds viewers that when a person’s heart stops, you need to perform chest compressions.
“It’s become a mantra, but recently I’ve gotten feedback from people that they’ve seen someone collapse in front of them,” he said. “What did they do? The first thing that came to their mind from watching my videos, chest compressions, and they saved someone.”
He also hears from people who’ve been afraid to go to a doctor, but after seeing his videos, they aren’t as fearful, so they go in for cancer screenings and checkups.
Doctor Mike says it’s “truly incredible” that he’s able to have this impact on the world from his cell phone.