Chances are you have seen the handsome and well-spoken Doctor Mike making the rounds on your favorite talk show or news program recently to discuss health topics ranging from nutrition to Covid-19. Doctor Mike is a practicing Doctor of Osteopathic medicine in Chatham, New Jersey and a veritable Internet celebrity. He boasts 3.7 million followers on Instagram and 5.76 million subscribers on Youtube with over 560 million views. Let’s find out how Mikhail Varshavski became Doctor Mike.
Varshavski was born November 12, 1989 in Saransk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (now Russia) to a Jewish family. His mother was a mathematics professor and father a physician. Mikhail, his parents, and older sister, Dasha, immigrated to the United States when he was only 5 years old. They settled in Brooklyn. Although his mother was a professor in her home country, in Brooklyn she had to take a job sweeping floors for minimum wage, while Varshavski’s father attended medical school for the second time. Varshavski described himself a shy kid who was awkward around girls and had a difficult time public speaking. He says people often assumed he was not intelligent because he did not speak English.
However, in high school Varshavski began helping his friends with sports related injuries and earned the nickname “Doctor Mike”. Mike spent time around his physician father, and loved the interactions he saw between his dad and his patients. Doctor Mike knew that he wanted to pursue a career in medicine just like his dad. He went to the New York Institute of Technology and was accepted into an accelerated 7 year program that lead to a combined bachelor’s degree (in life sciences) and a doctoral degree of osteopathic medicine.
In 2010, while he was in school, Doctor Mike began an Instagram account with the hopes of disproving the stereotype that medical students could not enjoy life while they pursued their studies. During this time he also committed himself to becoming a better public speaker and a more social person. Doctor Mike has credited Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People for helping him break out of his shell.
In 2015, his Instagram account began to go viral thanks to features in Buzzfeed and People Magazine primarily focusing on his good looks. After amassing a huge following on Instagram, Doctor Mike launched his Youtube channel in 2017. That same year, he gave his first TED talk on “The epidemic of the ‘I Know It All’ Expert” at TEDxMonteCarlo and introduced himself to an even wider audience. After completing his residency in 2018, Doctor Mike joined Chatham Family Medicine, a family practice with Atlantic Health System, in Chatham, New Jersey. Currently, he divides his time between practicing medicine and filming educational medical content for his increasingly popular Youtube channel.