Madison writer and cardiologist celebrates the Good Samaritans in his life

By Arif Ahmad | April 13, 2023

  • Kathy Gregersen, who works with Dr. Arif Ahmad, cuts a cake to mark the end of Ramadan. (Courtesy of Arif Ahmad)

Kathy Gregersen, who works with Dr. Arif Ahmad, cuts a cake to mark the end of Ramadan. (Courtesy of Arif Ahmad)

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We’re living in a time when things feel so … polarized. Us vs. them. I’m right, you’re wrong. 

But writer and cardiologist Dr. Arif Ahmad of Madison wants to remind people that there’s so much good in the world and that we have to take care of one another.

He shares a few writings from his book, “A Piece of Me,” about Good Samaritans in Wisconsin



(May 2020)

A routine plays out at my place of work year after year. I call it my Jesus moment.

Every year I fast during Ramadan. For those not sure, this is a Muslim tradition of no eating or drinking from pre-dawn to sunset for a month straight. It is a spiritual and physical cleansing and reckoning of sorts.

Kathy, a colleague of mine, is an excellent pastry chef, a bakester par excellence. That she is Christian and married to a pastor adds a little more oomph to this storyline.

For years now, I would do the fasting, and Kathy would bake a cake and other confectionery for the department to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

I bear the brunt for the good of many-my Jesus moment. We get a laugh out of it.

Even more, in the World of today, I derive hope out of this.


A gift, early in the pandemic, for Dr. Arif Ahmad was a handmade mask sewn by his neighbor, Boni Kuenzi. (Courtesy of Arif Ahmad)

A gift, early in the pandemic, for Dr. Arif Ahmad was a handmade mask sewn by his neighbor, Boni Kuenzi. (Courtesy of Arif Ahmad)


(April 2020)

A world in lockdown, I step out every day to fight an enemy I cannot see. I arm myself by giving to those worse hit than me.

I wear my destiny and well wishes and acts of kindness such as these.

A gift of hand-sewn caps and masks from my neighbor, thank you Boni Kuenzi.



(August 24, 2021)

On this day was the second book signing for, A Piece of Me, by Arif Ahmad. The first event occurred courtesy of Angie, Sam, Kathy, Mary, and others in the department of cardiology where the author works. This second event was requested by the hospital President, Jane, who got 20 copies for her team members. The book shall also be made available at the hospital gift shop. The place is Monroe Clinic Hospital, a Member of Sisters of Saint Mary, SSM Health. Photo credit is Marilyn. Thank you so much, everyone.

Arif Ahmad, Sisters of Saint Mary, Angie, Sam, Monroe Wisconsin USA, Jane.

What is in a name!


Dr. Arif Ahmad reflected on these writing about Good Samaritans with WPR’s “Wisconsin Life” host Maureen McCollum. (This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity)

Maureen McCollum: Why did you want to pair these three stories together and share them with the world?

Arif Ahmad: It is my observation that places where people treat each other well — those nations, communities and places generally are doing well. And vice versa. Places, nations, communities where people mistreat each other, abuse each other, are not doing so well.

So I can extend this a little further. All religions talk about being a Good Samaritan and being rewarded for that. And for abusers, there’s punishment. Then when I look around, I see this happening in real time, where places with more Good Samaritans are getting rewarded and places with more abusers are getting punished. This to me, is a sign that God is.

MM: Why do you think it’s important to emphasize stories about kindness? 

AA: I believe this because kindness plays into our happiness. Optimism plays into our mental and physical well-being. I think it is critical to bring about more of those subjects.

One of my writings in the book is actually a critique on the news, which I sometimes feel takes the negative perspective and puts it above the positive take. So I think the positive take is that this is the best of America in these readings. I wanted to lay it out.

MM: This may seem like a simple question, but why is it good to remind one another about how we should treat one another?

AA: I think that’s dependent on being the best country on the planet. I think we are not the best country because we have the best Army or the best presidents of the best politicians or the best businessmen.

We have the best people. That’s what I believe. That’s why we are being rewarded by the divine. And we are.

MM: How do you like to be a Good Samaritan to your friends and neighbors?

AA: That’s a great question. I think writing this book was part of that journey. Doing my job the best I can is also part of that journey. I believe all religions say the same thing and the number one point of all religions is being a Good Samaritan and just being you’re the best you can be for anyone out there and have a broad perspective.

Arif Ahmad

Arif Ahmad

Arif Ahmad is a cardiologist, writer, and outdoorsman from Madison, Wisconsin. His award-winning book, “A Piece of Me,” is favorably reviewed by Kirkus, Booklife, and Foreword Reviews. In addition, it has been included in the Library of Congress, the Yale University Library, the University of Wisconsin/Wisconsin Historical Society Library, and...

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