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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Dr Omar Atiq: First Pakistani in US to head the prestigious ACP

Dr. Omar Atiq is the first US doctor from Pakistan to be nominated as the next president of the American College of Physicians (ACP). It is a historic moment for Pakistan as ACP is the largest medical specialty organization in the US with members in more than 145 countries.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) recently nominated Dr Omar Atiq as the next president. Dr. Atiq is the first physician of Pakistani descent and only the second international medical graduate to be selected for this position.

The election, though single-slate, will take place in January 2022.

“A proud and historic moment for the Pakistani American community,” Pakistan’s US envoy Asad Majeed Khan said in a tweet. “We acknowledge and appreciate this outstanding professional achievement.”

It is indeed a historic moment for Pakistan as ACP is the largest medical specialty organization in the US with members in more than 145 countries worldwide.

ACP membership also includes 154,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students.

Dr Omar Atiq, a professor of medicine and otolaryngology lives in Arkansas. As a fellow of ACP since 1993, the organization named him chair of the Board of Governors in April 2019.

He earned his medical degree from the Khyber Medical College, University of Peshawar, Pakistan.

Read more: Biden to nominate first Pakistani-American, Zahid Quraishi for federal judge

A charitable act that left the world speechless

Dr. Atiq rose to popularity due to a charitable act that gained him global appreciation.

In December 2019, he wiped away $650,000 in debt for nearly 200 of his patients with cancer.

He worked with a debt collection firm to gather outstanding payments. As a result, he realized many families struggled to pay the bills, especially after the pandemic.

“Over time I realized that there are people who just are unable to pay,” Dr Atiq told ABC’s Good Morning America.

Read more: Pakistani-American doctor erases bills worth $650,000 for cancer patients

As a Christmas gift, he then sent out holiday cards to his patients, telling them any debts would be erased.

In his Christmas greeting card to patients, he wrote: “The Arkansas Cancer Clinic was proud to serve you as a patient. Although various health insurances pay most of the bills for the majority of patients, even the deductibles and co-pays can be burdensome. Unfortunately, that is the way our health care system currently works. The clinic has decided to forego all balances owed to the clinic by its patients. Happy Holidays.”