FORT SMITH (KFSM)- Sparks Medical Center's newest surgeon has an interesting background. While his patients know him as a hardworking doctor, many don't know about his background. For Dr. Daniel Mwanza, the journey to becoming a surgeon started with music.
"I'm originally from Zambia, which is in the southern central part of Africa," Mwanza said. "When I was a kid growing up in a baptist church there, we started a singing group just to contribute to the service. As young children, we just loved to sing and sing together as a group."
In 1993, Mwanza's acapella group traveled around the United States performing for churches and schools. He ended up in Fort Smith to perform at First United Methodist Church. At the church is where he met the Vernon family, who would help change his life.
"On and on we went and as time progressed, I expressed to them that I was interested in becoming a physician," Mwanza said. "That's how I ended up coming back to Fort Smith and going to West Ark College, where I did some of my college work."
Mwanza would then spend several years in school, living in different states during his internship and residency. Nearly 25 years later, Mwanza has returned to the city where it all started.
"I see Fort Smith as my home away from home," Mwanza said. "This community contributed a lot to my development and to becoming a surgeon. I felt like coming back, living among the people and serve here would be the best way to say thank you."
He said he's learned to serve from his music career and credits Dr. and Mrs. Vernon and their family for helping pave the way for him to make his dreams come true.
"I go in the hospital now to see a patient and I look at them and say, 'How can I help?' Mwanza said. "I'm here to help. I'm here to serve you."
While he does continue to write music, the surgeon has even bigger dreams in the works.
"I'll continue to work as a surgeon, but on the other hand, I'm reaching back to the community that raised me in Africa," Mwanza said. "[I'm] trying to put together a clinic or hospital that I'll go back and visit and help put together some kind of healthcare system that will help people there, also."
Mwanza said he is also helping his brother on an album. He said he continues to write music for groups back home in Zambia.
Mwanza will be doing procedures at both Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith and Sparks Medical Center in Van Buren.