Episode 63

A Transformative Shift in Medical Education: Integrating Self-Awareness and Self-Love into Our Curriculum.

by Ophthalmology Business Academy | February 7, 2024

This compelling episode of our podcast brings to light the personal story of Dr. Shehzad Batliwala, DO, MG, a dedicated Cataract and Refractive Surgeon, a passionate podcaster, and a vlogger from EyeCare Associates of South Tulsa.

Through his narrative, he shares the experiences of growing up undocumented in the US, a reality that forged his resilience and shaped his identity in profound ways. He also opens up about the challenges of his mother’s health condition and how these personal trials have influenced his motivations, his approach to medicine, and his commitment to his patients.

This conversation is an invitation to understand the crucial role of mental health, the courage it takes to be vulnerable, and the profound impact of gratitude in the lives of those who care for our health. It’s a reminder that behind every white coat is a human being striving for balance and fulfillment.


  • 00:01:09 – Importance of recognizing and capitalizing on the silver linings in life’s challenges
  • 00:05:25 – Personal reasons for becoming an ophthalmologist and burnout
  • 00:12:46 – Self-discovery, the role of gratitude for overcoming burnout, and more open conversations about emotions and feelings.
  • 00:17:50 –   Embracing vulnerability: Finding affordable mental health support
  • 00:22:59 – The power of storytelling in tackling mental health issues, overcoming addiction, and fostering community support.
  • 00:27:01 – Embracing authenticity and overcoming stigma: A personal reflection
  • 00:31:09 – Discussions on the challenges of mental illness, shame, and the journey towards improved relationships and self-acceptance.
  • 00:37:50 – Leadership, decision-making, and vulnerability in a private practice
  • 00:43:02 – Concluding thoughts on empathy, leadership in ophthalmology, and the encouragement for more open and honest conversations in the medical field.

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Shehzad Batliwala, DO, MG

Cataract and Refractive Surgeon
EyeCare Associates of South Tulsa

From an early age, my life was filled with responsibilities that fast-tracked my maturity, as I navigated through family issues involving mental health and immigration. These experiences ingrained in me a deep resilience that has allowed me to persevere in my various endeavors.

To help with the family’s financial struggles, I ventured into entrepreneurship by founding SmartPhone ER, a local cell phone sales, repair, and refurbishment company. What started as a teenager’s hobby evolved into a franchise of seven retail stores. I have learned a lot from this experience, but the biggest lesson is that when you are backed into a corner, and the only option is survive or die, it is incredible what the human mind can garner the energy to accomplish. Of course, I also learned leadership skills and the ins and outs of running a small business retail company, which are invaluable skills for life.

My next phase of life led me into the demanding field of ophthalmology, breaking barriers as the first DO accepted into an esteemed MD residency program. The same drive that led me to these accomplishments also stirred a deep fascination for space exploration. Initially, my longing for recognition and prestige shaped an ambitious goal to become a NASA flight surgeon and maybe even an astronaut. 

But I eventually realized that it isn’t about recognition or prestige; that is a pathologic ambition that only leads to burnout. For me, this pursuit became about self-acceptance and a passion to contribute to humanity’s progress. Once you realize that you are enough, that you matter, then passion and purpose become immensely clear. This is a fight I fight daily. 

Post-residency, I pursued advanced training in intraocular lenses and keratorefractive surgery. Soon after, I turned my attention to the emerging space economy, earning a specialized business degree to understand this multi-trillion dollar frontier offering opportunities for marginalized individuals.

My adventurous spirit led me to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, an experience that reinforced the power of incremental steps towards lofty goals. This same mindset helped me achieve success in various real estate investments, creating a pathway to financial freedom.

In essence, my story is a testament to resilience, introspection, and self-love. My hope is to inspire, and to show the power of curiosity, humility, and an unwavering spirit. I aspire to leverage these experiences to tackle complex challenges and help build a more inclusive world.

Inspire. Educate. Laugh

Connect with Dr. Batliwala

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/drbatliwala  Website: visionarydoc.com


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