The Tampa-based philanthropist Dr. Kiran Patel is expected to commit the largest donation to the University.
Nova Southeastern University, a private nonprofit research university based in Davie, FL, has named its College of Osteopathic Medicine after prominent Indian American cardiologist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Dr. Kiran C. Patel.
The rechristening of the school, which produces more medical graduates than any other school in the state of Florida, was announced Saturday at a “white coat ceremony” in Davie on Saturday, where the university welcomed its first-year medical students.
There are more than a 50,000 physicians of Indian origin in the United State—or more than 5 percent of all doctors in the United States. The Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine is the first medical school to be named after a physician of Indian origin.
Speaking at the white coat ceremony—a tradition where first year students are initiated into the profession—Patel called on the students to embrace “the virtues of altruism, responsibility, duty, honor, respect, and compassion.”
He added: “[always] keep in mind that becoming and being a physician is a Journey, not just a destination. Like all good journeys the scenery is going to changefrom time to time and sometimes rapidly. This change certainly applies to your medical education, practice of medicine as well as the way you do things, the tools you use, and where you use them as all these are constantly evolving.”
The Tampa-based philanthropist urged the new students to, “Chart your own course, create your own destiny and be a leader in charting the course of future physicians as well.”
He also called on the students to put the health of patients as their priority. “The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business,” he said. “You have answered that call. This reminds me of a story.”
Patel’s wife, Dr. Pallavi Patel, a pediatrician, as also present at the ceremony.
The two are expected to announce a significant amount as a gift to NSU at an event on campus on Monday morning, the university said. It would be the “largest commitment in NSU’s history; among seventh-largest to a college or university in Florida’s history.”
NSU President Dr. George Hanbury said the donation will enhance the capabilities of the school. “This gift and additional investment will enrich NSU’s ability to educate highly qualified physicians and health care professionals who understand how the medical disciplines can and must work together,” he said. “These future leaders will represent the cultural diversity of our region, our nation and our world so that they can better serve their patients and communities.”
A press statement said, “The Patels hope to help advance human health care in Florida, across the country and in multicultural communities here and abroad.
Born in Zambia to Indian parents, Patel attended medical school in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He and his wife came to the United States in 1976. They established themselves as physicians and entrepreneurs in the 1980s when they set up a flourishing network of physicians.
In the early 1990s, they bought a small health maintenance organization and turned it into a billion-dollar business. The business was sold in 2002.
At the moment, Dr. Kiran Patel runs two managed care providers, Freedom Health and Optimum HealthCare. Besides healthcare, he also runs hospitality and real estate companies that own properties nationwide.