Tradition of Service from Karachi to Maryland: Two Generations of Doctors Serve Thousands

For over 20 years, Rashid A. Chotani, MD, MPH, DTM has made a name for himself in the field of scientific research. With experience working in government, academia, and business, Dr. Chotani is widely respected as an expert and entrepreneur in a diverse range of topics from epidemiology to biodefense.  Dr. Chotani is inspired to help others by his late father, Dr. Abdulrehman Chotani who spent more than half his life helping the disenfranchised in Karachi while encouraging his son to collect food and clothing for the poor.

In 1993 Dr. Abdulrehman Chotani asked his son, Rashid to assist in converting a 65 bed maternity hospital into a 250 bed full service hospital, a dream job for him.  Dr. Chotani continues the tradition of service in the medical field as the Executive Director of the Muslim Community Center (MCC) Medical Clinic in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he leads a team of 50 medical professionals, staff, and volunteers to provide high-quality and low-cost comprehensive health care. With around 16,000 patient encounters annually, the clinic, which serves people of all backgrounds regardless of faith or nationality, is one of the largest faith-based medical centers of its kind in the country.

Initially founded as a primary care unit in 2003, the MCC Medical Clinic has expanded its services dramatically in recent years and now offers access to specialty care in cardiology, gastroenterology, optometry, nephrology, dermatology, ophthalmology, gastroenterology, psychiatry, physical therapy, and mental health. The clinic also operates a women’s wellness program, providing pap smears, family planning, STD counselling, mammograms, and breast cancer prevention services.  The clinic also features an oral hygiene program with a dental suite. As the DC metro area is infamous for its high cost of living, receiving services like these for significantly less than the average cost is extremely valuable for the MCC clinic’s patients.

Beyond his work at the MCC Medical Clinic, Dr. Chotani’s accomplishments are numerous. Having held high profile positions such as Director of Chemical and Biological Defense Programs at TASC, Inc., Chief Scientist at the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense at the Department of Defense, and Director at the Global Infectious Disease Surveillance & Alert System (GIDSAS) at Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater.  Recently, Dr. Chotani received the 2016 NATO Scientific Achievement Award for his work on biological counterterrorism.  Dr. Chotani’s involvement with the American Immigration Council and Saint Andrews Humanitarian Forum has afforded him the opportunity help to people in vulnerable positions around the world, in addition to his work with the local community.  On service Dr. Chotani stated, “Every time I saw an opportunity to help, I decided I had to.  It is something that makes me happy and I am fortunate to have a wife and family who always encouraged me.”

Born in Karachi, Pakistan and immigrating to the U.S. in the 1980s, Dr. Chotani has maintained strong ties to his country of origin, engaging in a considerable amount of research and policy planning in Pakistan and neighboring countries. Among many other projects, he helped improve the country’s disease early-warning system, identified critical high risk districts for infectious diseases, and acted as a key advisor to the WHO and the Pakistan Ministry of Health following the 2005 earthquake in the region.

Dr. Chotani has spent his entire career intensely striving for safer, more compassionate, and healthier world.  He’s been inspired by others along the way, “Dr. D. A. Henderson at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health taught me the importance of strategic planning and intervention to save lives.  He was one of the greatest health practitioners and had led the team at the WHO that eradicated Smallpox from the world.”  For both his significant contributions to the scientific and defense communities around the world, which have undoubtedly made the world a safer place to live, and his unwavering commitment and passion for helping countless people in his own backyard, APF is delighted to honor Dr. Chotani and the MCC Medical Clinic.