Kiran C Patel’s giant gift of $ 200 million to a Florida university
Patel says, philanthropy would be part of his life even if he wasn’t rich
Philanthropy is one of the bridges between Indian Diaspora and India. Even it is the elixir of Indian Americans’ umbilical cords with their roots back in India. Bearing a testimony to the statement are great philanthropic initiatives which made headlines in the US media, Where and his gynecologist wife Dr. Pallavi Patel has pledged $200 Million to a Tampa based Nova Southeastern University to serve the humanity and help for poor students from India and Africa. He changed the hearts of many not through his speech but through medical skills, He has donated his life savings for the cause of humanity. This is the first time in the history of NSU that such large sums have been donated to it.
It’s also the first time in the history that any university has been named after an Indian in the United States. It’s a proud moment for India that any NRI has donated such a large sum of money for a Nobel cause. The campus will now be named as Dr Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine. The new campus will increase the NSU’s graduating physicians from 230 to 380 per year. Another section of NSU will be named as Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Sciences which will include endowed scholarship funds for students.
Patel, an erstwhile president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, made his fortune by growing a struggling health maintenance organization to where it became the state’s largest Medicaid provider. He ultimately sold it for $1 billion a decade later, in 2002, and now runs two other HMOs worth more than $1 billion. Patel said most medical schools’ geographic footprint is 20 miles around them. “But our geographic footprint is—starting in phase one — 200 miles away [in Clearwater, Florida], and in phase two, 10,000 miles away [in India].” The project has a vision, he said, “of global impact and global development.”
He told NRI Achievers, however, that the donation was not designed to catapult himself to be the most high-profile Indian-American philanthropist but if it raises the bar for mainstream philanthropy, he was all for it. “There is no personal gain,” he said. “I am hoping that somebody will give and so if our gift encourages somebody else to give something less or more, we’ve achieved our objective.”
Being doctors themselves, the Patel couple knows the importance of life and health care, so they decided to focus on investing in producing more doctors. In a gift donation ceremony held in the Campus auditorium last month in Tampa, Patel announced a donation of $ 200 million. Talking to us, he said, “The best way to serve the humanity and young enterprising youth is to provide them education and education alone”. Once you educate a person, you transform his life, family life, the society, the community and then the entire Nation benefits. To make medical education affordable and reachable we have set up a family trust which will provide scholarships to the young ambitious youth, Dr. Patel said, as the health and well-being is the most important thing in life.
As Confucius said, “A man of humanity is one who desiring attainment himself helps others to attain.” This is true to Dr. Patel and his wife Dr. Pallavi have dedicated their lives to this Nobel profession, saving millions of lives. A doctor has to have a holistic approach. This profession should not be taken up for money, but for service of humanity, says Pallavi Patel who is a successful gynecologist helping millions of babies come into this world. It’s the life which is most precious, and we try our best to preserve it. It’s a saying that a doctor is next to God. When a life is slipping out of hands a Doctor is the savior. What more can be of more importance than to educate youngsters to get into this profession?
The donation is made to encourage more students to join medical profession. There are many students who want to join the profession but with rising cost of education in US and elsewhere it is becoming difficult for them to venture in the medical field. The donation will be used to develop a new 27-acre campus and expand NSU’s programs in Osteopathic medicine and health care sciences. During the opening ceremony last month in Tampa, Florida, Dr. Patel announced a series of reforms and scholarships which will be provided to the students. Many prominent personalities including a team of doctors, medical practitioners, educators, students and media persons marked their presence. Many guests and media persons were flown from India to attend the function. The NSU President and CEO George Hanbury II hailed the Patel’s contribution and said, this will help International students of economically week countries to learn advance healthcare and nutrition.
He envisions an exchange program between Nova Southeastern’s medical school and the medical school he hopes to set up in India. “The Indian doctors getting an exposure to modern health care in this country is a far different vision than anybody else has had so far,” he said. “This will be groundbreaking because to do a residency program in another country is a very different concept.”
Born in Zambia to Indian Parents, Dr. Kiran Patel went study medicine at Gujarat University in India. After doing one-year internship in Africa Dr. Patel moved to United States of America. He did his residency in medicine in New Jersey in 1980 and later completed a fellowship program in Cardiology in New York in 1982. He moved to Tampa, Florida in 1982 and began his practice as a successful cardiologist. Working in America Dr. Patel found out that there is a much need to have an integrated medical system so that all medical help if found under one roof.
After moving to Tampa, The Patel couple developed a physician management company which included family medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Cardiology. They also partnered with many point-of-service locations to form a multi-specialty network to help patient’s access most medical services under one window. Till now almost 80,000 patients have been served by his company.
Dr. Patel’s vision is broader and his passion and ambition to serve the humanity is not limited to America alone. He is planning a college in India as well as his birth place in Africa.
Dr. Patel’s philanthropic pursuits have no bounds. He is always ready to donate for a cause. His love for motherland India makes him travel to India frequently. He is always enthusiastic to promote Indian culture, art and ethos. To promote Indian culture, He had sponsored IIFA awards in New York earlier.
Dr. Patel is presently serving as Chairman of Visionary Medical Systems. His aim is to reduce the paperwork for physicians and give them more time to devote to their patients. He is also a member of many organizations including Fellow of American College of Cardiology, American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, American Association of Physicians from South East Asia, and Past Chair Scholarship Committee among others. His passion to serve the humanity has made him travel across the world. He says that health issues are similar across the world and must be dealt with passion and love and Desmund Tutu said do your little Bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
Rajeev Gupta, Editor Founder of NRI achievers was a special invite of Dr. Patel to Tampa, Florida. USA who attended the Donation ceremony at the Medical campus on September 25, 2017.
Article written by Sangeeta Sharma, an Ace journalist active in journalism for more than 30 years.