New Delhi, Aug 18: Ordinarily, medicine and politics go together as well as chocolate and sardines–in other words, they don’t mesh. However, Dr. Sudhir Parikh’s decision to go against a single career path in pursuit of multi-dimensional passions led to great strides in his endeavors. A self-made man, he has dedicated his four decades in the United States to building a stronger, wiser and healthier Indian and Indian-American community.
Apart from a career in medicine, where he specialises as an allergist, Dr. Parikh is a full-time public advocate, philanthropist and media man who exerts his efforts in each of these spaces. He is internationally recognized for his advocacy in striving to enrich and strengthen the relationship between the US and the Indian diaspora.
Perhaps it is in a doctor’s nature to advocate for the underrepresented. In any case, he took on the role of a community liaison for Indian-Americans.Elevating the concerns of any particular demographic can be daunting at the risk of facing endless red tape–immigration policies, politics, and cultural barriers often serve as obstacles. Dr. Parikh chose to rise up to the challenge instead.
He worked tirelessly to bring the Indian community’s issues to the forefront. The 90s reaped the fruit of his dedication: he helped found and build several organizations dedicated to establishing a firm voice for his countrymen in American politics, such as the Indian American Republic Council (IARC) and the Federation of Indian Associates (FIA)as well as other lobbyist organizations. In part to his efforts, a Congressional Internship Program
His work enabled him to recruit New York Democratic Congressmen Elliot Engel, Rush Holt and Anthony Weiner to the Congressional Caucus of Indians and Indian-Americans; Dr. Parikh was later appointed to the National Leadership Advisory Committee of said caucus in 1999. In 2005, he helped pass the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, which worked to remove core differences to build a unilateral relationship between the two nations.
Dr. Parikh is equally invested in healthcare. As an allergist-immunologist based in New Jersey, he works to help people fight illness and educates as a Clinical Associate Professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. More than two decades of experience has enabled the growth of his practice in the field of allergy and immunology.
In yet another non-traditional quest, Dr. Parikh tried his hand in journalism. The man of many talents led the launch of Parikh Worldwide Media–now the largest Indian-American publishing group in existence. The group publishes News India Times, Desi Talk, Gujarat Times and The Indian American.
Like many successful Indian-Americans, Dr. Parikh finds it his civic duty to give back to the less fortunate. In 2010, the Parikh Foundation was founded to provide services to “underserved children and adults living with autism spectrum disorder, Asperger syndrome, ADHD and other developmental challenges,” according to the nonprofit’s website.
Project Life, a Gujarat-based philanthropic organization, is a recipient of Dr. Parikh’s major contributions. Founded in 1978, the group is known for building schools in rural areas and extending the reach of education to more impoverished regions of India. It is well known for its Thalassemia Health and Wellness Center, where the org provides health care to over 2 million people.
Dr. Parikh’s extensive work and achievements have been highlighted with the recognition by notable awards. In 2010, he received the Padma Shri award by then-Indian President Prathiba Patil, as well as the 2005 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.