Board Certified Family Physician Nasser Mohamed, MD, has a remarkable story to tell about how he started his successful business, Osra Medical, and about his life and work. We are proud that this caring physician is a member of the GGBA!
GGBA: What do you strive to do at Osra Medical?
Nasser Mohamed, MD: Osra Medical strives to offer personal primary care at a predictable cost in a fear-free environment to all.
GGBA: Why did you decide to create this medical practice, and particularly here in San Francisco?
Nasser Mohamed, MD: Initially on a path to be the first Qatari sports medicine physician and to be part of the medical team for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, I came out as a gay man after completing my medical training and sought asylum in the U.S. from my home country, Qatar. I am now the founder of Osra Medical, a direct primary care practice specializing in gay and bisexual men’s health and offer a multitude of services without the restrictions imposed by insurance.
My interest in medicine began as me wanting to be a resource for my birth community; yet as a gay man, I understood the need for having gay-friendly doctors available to care for individuals in the LGBTQ+ community specifically. I’ve found owning and operating a direct primary care practice allows me to create a fear-free environment for people like myself who may find themselves unseen, unheard, and uncomfortable in a traditional healthcare setting. Ultimately. I found my passion in serving my “chosen” community rather than my birth community, and that’s why I founded Osra Medical.
Oftentimes physicians in traditional settings see close to 4,000+ patients a year, which can make it difficult to develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient. As a direct primary care physician, I am considered an out-of-network physician because I am not affiliated with a hospital setting or an insurance network. As such, I maintain a much lower patient population of under 500 patients. Patients at Osra Medical pay a monthly fee (similar to the cost of a phone bill) and, in turn, receive a multitude of health services at a predictable cost from a single provider.
In essence, Osra Medical operates independently from the fee-for-service billing and the high patient turnover that accompany traditional primary care. Direct primary care physicians like myself can be seen as small business owners because we own and operate our private practice, giving us a sense of ownership over all aspects of the practice, including patient care. This autonomy allows me to develop a trusted doctor-patient rapport that is essential to addressing sensitive and complex medical concerns effectively.
I felt called to practice in the direct primary care setting not just for its independence from the traditional healthcare system, but also for its aptitude of discretion. Osra Medical doesn’t accept insurance payments; thus, patients don’t have to worry about third party interference or influence in how their care is delivered and/or paid for. Additionally, because I am not affiliated with an insurance network, I am able to obtain medications, labs, and imaging at wholesale prices. These prices are often much more affordable to patients than what would be required through insurance coverage, especially for illnesses that require long-term medication/care.
Osra Medical also helps support local queer artists and asylum seekers who may not have insurance coverage. With membership fees waived, the patients are able to benefit directly from the wholesale pricing on labs, medications, and imaging—allowing them access to essential primary care services that may not be otherwise available.
Like many Middle Eastern queers, I have been estranged from not only my family but also my country after coming out. I am well aware of the void left in one’s life from this estrangement. This is why at the heart of my practice is the importance of not just family, but also community. “Osra” translates to “family” in Arabic. My passion for medicine has evolved through my experiences in a way that allowed me to create a new type of family through my practice, becoming a resource for the community that I take pride in being a part of.
GGBA: Who are some of your role models, and especially those who helped to influence your medical practice?
Nasser Mohamed, MD: I have been lucky to meet many inspiring individuals on my journey. The ones who come to mind are the physicians who decided to break from a system, to take risk, and to create something that they felt patients did not have in their community. I was really very inspired by Thomas Lee, MD, (the founder of One Medical) when I worked at One soon after moving to San Francisco in 2015. Additionally, seeing other community physicians like Veronica Jow, MD, of Avid Sports Medicine, create something that is truly unique gave me the courage to go ahead and build a different model.
GGBA: Why did you decide to join the GGBA, and how long have you been a member?
Nasser Mohamed, MD: I have been a member of the GGBA since 2019 (the year I founded Osra Medical). I love being part of the GGBA because it is a like-minded community. We share the journey of being authentic and building local businesses. This sometimes-challenging journey has definitely been easier with them.
GGBA: How has being a member of GGBA helped your practice so far?
Nasser Mohamed, MD: The periodic check-ins with the GGBA have been really helpful. It is good to hear about how other business owners are problem solving and dealing with some of the issues I face myself as a business owner. Sometimes it is just a good laugh with colleagues that helps you go back to working hard and appreciating what you are doing.
GGBA: Do you go to the GGBA monthly Make Contact networking events, now virtual? Have they benefited you and your business, and would you recommend them to others?
Nasser Mohamed, MD: Yes, I have been attending the monthly make contact networking events and I do recommend them. I personally love hearing about what others are building and doing. Everyone I met so far has been incredibly helpful, open, and creative. I truly believe everyone I meet shapes me and my business.
GGBA: What other advice would you give to someone who is thinking of starting their own business?
Nasser Mohamed, MD: Building my business around my “why” and sense of purpose have definitely helped me stay strong through all the adversity. Building something with a sense of purpose would give some natural resilience to the owner. I would also say to work on your personal relationships and invest in them early and before opening your business. My partner, Tommy Sunderland, has been incredibly supportive and present in my journey and is definitely helping make all of it possible.
GGBA: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Nasser Mohamed, MD: I would love to hear from anyone who has unique thoughts about outpatient primary care design, patients who do not know how to access care, and/or local LGBT advocates who have thoughts on what our community is missing. I am reachable and love discussing opportunities to innovate and evolve my practice!
For more information about Osra Medical: https://www.osramedical.com/