India Abroad October 3, 2014 Response Feature A73
Philanthropists Dr Pallavi Patel and Dr Kiran Patel are often known as the “Power Couple” of Florida. Having spent a big chunk of their lives practicing medicine and
investing in healthcare companies, one would hardly imagine
the wealthy couple to be considering social responsibility so
But it seems that the people of a remote village called Mota
Fofalia in Vadodara, Gujarat, are indebted to his kindness.
The entrepreneur has built a multi-specialty hospital in his
father’s tiny village, fulfilling a lifelong dream in the process.
Taking his commitment to humanity as taught by his father
further, Patel developed the hospital at Mota Fofalia, his
native village, as a 50-bed center in 1995. He is even flying
skilled physicians from the US to treat the hundreds of villagers living there.
Kiran Patel’s primary focus is to develop healthcare and
education in underserved regions around the world. The
Chhobtubhai A Patel Medical Centre in Mota Fofalia is part of
that larger vision. “It’s a 50-bed hospital operated through
Shaktikrupa Charitable Foundation and is a tribute to our
father. It serves more than 65,000 people in the surrounding
villages,” he says. Patel has even partnered with Moor Park
Lions Club to build the pediatric center, adding another 50
beds there. The hospital project, he says, is the first of its kind
public-private effort in Gujarat.
Patel and his family firmly believe that what is earned from
the society should be spent for the upliftment of the people
globally. In his native village in India, a majority of residents
were suffering from acute poverty and were deprived of the
basic facilities such as healthcare and sanitation. Thus, he
started his social activities with an aim to help the poor. Patel
has also built an English-medium school, along with a large
modern sports complex of international standard in his
Patel, a cardiologist, was born in Zambia, while Pallavi
Patel was born in India and is a pediatrician. The couple first
met while studying medicine together in Ahmedabad, India.
Both of them later studied their respective advanced specializations at affiliated programs with Columbia University. Dr
Kiran Patel has gained respect as a reputed physician who
believes in developing solutions that make sense from a
physician’s point of view, and has a unique vision of the
future of medical care.
The Patels established physicians’ practice ownership and
Management Company in 1982. It served thousands of
patients in Hillsborough County in Florida and expanded to
14 practices, including Family Practice, Internal Medicine,
Pediatrics, and Cardiology in a short time. Dr Kiran Patel,
cian-owned, physician-run health plan called WellCare that
became the largest Medicaid HMO in Florida, serving more
than 200,000 members.
In 2003, the Patels diverted their attention to philanthropic endeavors. They sold the majority of their interest in their
business. The family has since made significant donations
and contributions and their philanthropy has blossomed at
both the local and global levels.
In 2004, the couple founded the Drs Kiran & Pallavi Patel
Foundation for Global Understanding, a Tampa-based non-profit focused on providing programs and funding for health,
education and the arts. The foundation has since given away
millions of dollars.
In 2005, the Patel’s made the then-largest donation in the
history of Florida’s public universities: for a Center for Global
Solutions at the University of South Florida.
Their ongoing project in Africa has helped patients with
HIV/AIDS and children born with congenital heart problems.
Patel is applying his “better-cheaper” philosophy to solve
local and global problems more efficiently than governments
or other non-government organizations. His vision is to build
specialized hospitals in southeast Africa, where residents get
access to world-standard healthcare at a fraction of the usual
cost. “Instead of traveling to Europe or elsewhere for top
medical care -- or more likely not getting the care at all -- the
region’s residents will be able to find it within a couple hun-
dred miles of home,” he explains.
The Patels try to fund a spectrum of the needs in a small
community rather than target one cause in a country; for
example, they don’t build a school without also making sure
its children have enough food and proper healthcare. They
also look to fund work that creates model solutions that can
In the 800-student school that Kiran Patel built in his
native village in India, the pass rate for the national exam is
100 percent compared with the national average of less than
half. The Patels’ foundation has already used some of the
academy’s experiences to turnaround three “D” schools in
Hillsborough County, including a charter school they founded at the University of South Florida, which draws disadvantaged students.
The Patels plan to eventually give away a substantial portion of their fortune to help solve some of the planet’s most
“God wants you to acquire wealth, but what you do with it
is very, very important,” he says. “We provided our children
with great educations, character and moral and spiritual
grounding so they will generate treasure of their own.”
Champions of humanity and social responsibility
After selling their
healthcare business in 2003,
Drs Kiran and Pallavi Patel
have focused on
donations at both
local and global levels
Clockwise, from top, the Chhobtubhai Patel Medical Centre
in Mota Fofalia, Gujarat, that Dr Kiran Patel and his family
has helped build; The modular operation theater at the hospital;
Drs Kiran and Pallavi Patel.