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Turning to volunteerism after tragedy

South Sacramento psychiatrist Bhavin Parikh, MD, raised money to supply Indian hospitals with urgently needed oxygen during the height of a COVID-19 surge. Pictured, Dr. Parikh with an oxygen plant that he had built in a hospital in India.

When people ask Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento psychiatrist Bhavin Parikh, MD, what his hobbies are, the answer always is volunteering. Personal tragedies and economic hardship growing up in India shaped his motivation to help others.

In 1994, his apartment in Chicago burned down just 21 days after his son was born. 

“The day I received a Red Cross housing voucher when my wife, baby son, and I became homeless after the fire, I decided that until the day I take my last breath I will continue to give back to the community, and that was almost 29 years ago,” said Dr. Parikh.

Tragedy struck again in 2020 when his father died. Then when his sister and 9 other close relatives died of COVID-19 in 2021, he again found himself challenged, and again he responded by helping others.

“When my sister died, I was crying and grieving for 2 weeks and finally I said to myself, ‘Let’s invest this negative energy into something positive.’”

“I decided that until the day I take my last breath I will continue to give back to the community, and that was almost 29 years ago.” — Bhavin Parikh, MD

Within a week he had raised $59,000 from friends and colleagues, which then quickly became over $100,000 to buy 50 portable oxygen concentrators for hospitals in India to treat COVID-19 patients.

A friend in India then suggested that Dr. Parikh contact an oxygen plant manufacturer who could build permanent oxygen plants inside hospitals. He followed through with fundraising and identified 2 needy Indian hospitals where the plants were eventually installed. 

Additionally, Dr. Parikh organized the manufacture of 7,000 face shields for local Indian police and shepherded a donated shipment of $250,000 worth of personal protective equipment to hospitals in India.

“I am very thankful to have these opportunities,” said Dr. Parikh. “I could not have spent so much time volunteering without the support of my wife Shipti, who is a Labor and Delivery nurse at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center, the support of Kaiser Permanente leadership, and my family and friends.”



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