Olney Hamilton Hospital introduces Shivum Agarwal, M.D.
At the Open House on Saturday, Hamilton Hospital introduced new physician trained in medicine and surgery, Shivum Agarwal, MD. The 2013 recipient of the Minnie Lancaster Scholarship Award in Family Medicine chatted with attendees about his background and vision for Olney Family Clinic.
Agarwal grew up in Watauga and Richardson, Texas. His family, however, came from Kanpur, the largest city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India and boasts a population of nearly 3 million and was once known as the industrial center of North India.
Shivum is a traditional Indian name based on Indian theology, and the Agarwal family ancestry dates back hundred of years to the Agrasen dynasty in northern India.
Agarwal’s parents were the first immigrants in his family, arriving in America in their early 20s. His dad, a computer engineer, and his mom, an accountant.
“I come from a big family of engineers and business people ,” Agarwal said. “It was natural for me to work in business. I previously worked for Deloitte Consulting and later had my own practice as a strategy consultant before going to medical school. I was the first one in my family to go into medicine.”
Agarwal said his family supported his decision to pursue medicine telling him to, “Work hard and live true to your values.”
Agarwal, a J.J. Pierce High School (Richardson, TX) alum, graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in economics, certificate in Markets & Management, and a minor in biology. He was inspired to pursue medicine after he witnessed poverty while visiting family in India. He earned a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and completed his residency in family medicine at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, TX.
During his residency, Agarwal completed advanced training in rural global medicine and surgery, and was a student to Kent Brantly, the American doctor who contracted Ebola while working with Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia.
Likewise, Agarwal is passionate for the underprivileged as he traveled to rural Haiti and later to Uganda.
“When I was in medical school, I had an opportunity after the  earthquake in Haiti, do a service-learning medical outreach through UT Southwestern to help people in rural villages in Haiti,” he said. “After the trip, I realized how much I enjoyed taking care of people with diverse medical conditions. I especially enjoyed working in lower resource settings.”
Agarwal said his primary reason for coming to a rural town like Olney is to serve and integrate into a community.
“We decided to live in the community with the people we are serving,” he said. “We are very happy that we chose Olney.”
Working and residing in the community is the foundation for Agarwal’s holistic approach to medicine.
“I look at more than the body,” he said. “I observe mental and social aspects. I enjoy getting to know my patients, their interests, accomplishments, and hardships. All these things are an important part of the treatment process.”
Agarwal said working in Olney is special because it affords him a unique opportunity to connect with patients on an in-depth level.
“Being a physician in the community is more than sitting in the office,” he said. “It is important to meet people and take the time to learn about peoples’ challenges.”
One challenge that Agarwal shares with some people in the community is healthy eating and exercise.
“My goal is to lead by example,” he said. “We plan to get out and participate with our patients on morning walks to encourage and inspire them.”
In doing so, the clinic has partnered with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension on a nonprofit project called Walk with a Doc, where physicians and nurses will lead a walking group twice a week at Tom Griffin Park, starting on January 2.
“This walk is a great opportunity for people to ask questions about wellness and diet during the walk,” he said. “Our goal is to have a medical professional regularly joining on the walk.”
Agarwal, his wife Danielle, and two children, Yogi, 3, and Aria, 1, are excited to be a part of the community.
“We are fortunate to have a good school system, and we look forward to enrolling our kids when the time comes,” Agarwal said.
Danielle, an Austin College Honors Graduate with a bachelor’s degree in math, a master’s degree in teaching, and a former North Texas Tech Titan Finalist hopes to get involved in the local school system to serve. Some of her interests are educational development, community service, and political science, and has already accepted an invitation to join Keep Olney Beautiful.
Shivum shared a little-known fact that he is a long-time drummer. According to a 2013 interview with Kerry Gunnels, Agarwal opened up about merging his love for music and medicine.
“A few of my friends and I played in a medical school band called The Notochords,” he said. “How nerdy is that? We played a handful of shows a year in various small venues and packed it wall-to-wall with friends who knew all the words to all the songs we played. Most recently, The Notochords flew back from their residencies and came together to play at my wedding. It was wonderful.”
When he is not performing with the Notochords, Agarwal plans to travel internationally to serve underprivileged communities. According to Agarwal, part of his contract includes a provision to allow him to continue practicing abroad each year. Agarwal anticipates occasionally returning to Haiti where a former classmate has opened a hospital.