Drs. Kiran C. and Pallavi Patel’s desire to advance health care in Florida, as well as internationally, comes from the idea of educating those who can make a difference, particularly in multicultural and underserved communities. The total commitment by the Patels (called Dr. K and Dr. P by their patients and associates) and their Patel Family Foundation to NSU includes $50 million—the largest gift in the institution’s 53-year history—and a $150-million real estate and building investment that features the more than 300,000-square-foot facility on a 27-acre campus that is now the NSU Tampa Bay Regional Campus in Clearwater, Florida.
The site is home to all NSU programs in the region and also provides an additional site for Nova Southeastern University’s college of osteopathic medicine. In appreciation of their philanthropy, the college was named the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine. The additional site is expected to increase the number of graduating Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine physicians from 230 annually to approximately 380. The gift includes an endowment to sustain the operation of the college’s Tampa Bay location in perpetuity.
NSU’s College of Health Care Sciences, now named the Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences, is also part of the medical-education complex at the Tampa Bay Regional Campus. Currently, the college graduates more than 1,200 health care professionals each year, helping to fill a critical need in local communities nationwide. The college has many different program offerings in the fields of anesthesia, audiology, health and human performance, health science, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, respiratory therapy, and speech-language pathology. The Patels’ gift includes an endowed scholarship fund for students enrolled in the college. “We believe the best gift anyone can give is an education,” Dr. Kiran C. Patel, M.D., said when referencing their gift.
The couple first met while studying medicine in Ahmedabad, India. They completed their degrees, married, and began medical practices in Zambia, where they lived with Dr. Kiran C. Patel’s family. They practiced medicine for five years before arriving in the United States on Thanksgiving Day 1976. “We always had the desire to grow,” said Dr. Pallavi Patel, M.D., about their move to the United States. They attended New York’s Columbia University, where he earned a specialization in cardiology and she earned one in pediatrics.
With Dr. K’s brother, Pradip, living in Tampa, Florida, the Patels moved to the Tampa Bay area in 1982. Dr. K became recognized as a distinguished cardiologist in the area, but there was a further mission—to make health care efficient, affordable, and accessible. He developed a physician practice management company, Visionary Medical Systems, in Tampa Bay, forming a multispecialty network that helps more than 80,000 patients access medical services conveniently each year. He serves as chairman of the company. Dr. P’s family medical practice, Bay Area Primary Care, has 10 clinics that she oversees along with her two daughters, Sheetal and Sonali, and her son-in-law, Scott Judd, who are also physicians.
Dr. K is chairman and Dr. P is president of the Patel Foundation for Global Understanding, a nonprofit organization that develops and funds a variety of programs in health, education, arts, and culture. “It is rare for someone to have the opportunity to impact the world in this way, and, as an immigrant to the United States, I am particularly honored to be able to make a difference in people’s lives around the world. I believe that NSU is the future of multidisciplinary medical education,” said Dr. Kiran C. Patel. “This partnership,” added Dr. Pallavi Patel, “will benefit thousands of patients, students, and doctors. Over the next 20 years, NSU will train thousands of new doctors and other health care professionals who will directly touch millions of lives, making a real difference.”
Dr. Kiran C. Patel is currently a member of NSU’s Board of Trustees. Both Dr. Kiran C. and Dr. Pallavi Patel are members of NSU’s Fellows Society Shark Circle.