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Lokvani Talks To Dr. Dinesh Patel

Chitra Parayath

Dr. Dinesh Patel is no stranger to the Greater Boston community of Indians. A renowned Knee Surgeon, community leader and philosopher, talking with him one realizes why he enjoys such respect and renown in the community.

Displaying rare modesty and honesty he urges us to highlight the achievements of others involved in aiding the community. He has warm words of appreciation for those involved in humanitarian work and for those involved in educating and enlightening young Indian American children about their civic responsibilities among other matters.

He is the director and main force behind A Leg To Stand On, a non-profit organization committed to handling the organization and administration of free orthpaedic surgery, prosthetics, Orthotics and related medical care and rehabilitation to children with limb disabilities in developing countries.

Dr . Patel was chosen for the prestigious Federation of State Medical Boards' John H Clark leadership Award recently. The first Asian American to be honored thus, he will receive the Award at the FSMB meeting in Chicago next month.
He was also honored as a hero by Knee1.com, a resource for complete knee care.

"So much has been written about these things, let us talk about other important issues." He laughingly dismisses our awe at his many talents.

"Our main objective should be to guide the younger generation, give them a sense of responsibility and accountability." He cites the example of the The Indus Enterprise, that mentors new entrepreneurs. Dr. Patel himself has been a member of TIE and the Indian American Forum for Political Education.

"Current political system does not encourage original thinking, educate youth to believe their ideas are viable, that is something we have to focus on, as a growing community in this great country. By Instilling confidence and encouraging involvement in the youth will allow them to grow strong and independent. Teaching our youths the virtue of political and civil participation will strengthen their acknowledgment of the liberties we have. This, in turn will invoke patriotism and later participation."

"There is lack of participation, of initiatives in serving the adopted land. There is also a woeful lack of assertiveness by Indian Americans and those who have taken Leadership positions representing Indian American community's Interest. Those who are in position should be challenged and we should find out what are they doing, what have they done for the Indian American community." He said.

Another one of Dr. Patel's passions is talking about the issues that immigrants face in this country. He calls these issues the Ten Commandments and agrees to share a few with Lokvani.

"Glass ceilings that prevent women from advancing to their potential best, invisible quotas in College admissions, which are both unethical and unfair, have to be examined and acted upon. Immigration reforms have to be implemented to facilitate issues such as spouse reunification. Restrictions on visitor's visas should be lifted.
To promote Ethnic culture, heritage and arts, Federal and other organizations should provide grants and funding."
Observing that Indian Americans are tax paying hard working professional people, he maintains that measures be taken to ensure adequate health care to New Immigrants.
"We should all support various charitable organizations, donate our time and have a commitment to help those in need." He added.

When we ask him about A Leg to Stand On (ALTSO) he stated "One of the many casualties of the Gujarat earthquake was loss of limbs of children. ALTSO has established an Artificial Limb center in Major Hospital in Ahmedabad, India to ensure that financially challenged young children can get a prosthetic limb free of cost thus giving them a chance to access the opportunities and self-esteem earned through education, work and mobility."

Inspiring community leaders like Dr. Patel let their work speak for themselves as they instill and inspire the younger generation of the community.

Dr. Patel lives in Lexington with his wife Kokila Patel. He attributes his success and his family's success to her love and dedication. His older daughter, Neha has a Masters degree in Finance and is a CPA and the younger one, Mona has double Masters in Statistics and Economics and a graduate degree in Arts. Dr. Patel's son Paresh is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and is a Partner in a Financial Company.

Having moved to this country in 1963, Dr. Patel or Dinesh Bhai as he is known to all who love and respect him, has become an icon of sorts in the Medical Research field. He is an Assistant professor of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and is on faculty at Harvard Medical School. He is also a member of the Harvard Medical School Admission Committee. Having taught and trained Arthroscopic surgery all over the world, he has been recognized and honored by professional organizations here and abroad. He is a founding member of several national and international Arthroscopic societies. Some of the honors include an award given by former Massachusetts Governor Weld recognizing Dr. Patel as one of the best immigrants in Massachusetts. In the February 2002 issue of Boston magazine his peers voted him as one of the "Top Docs" in the field of Orthopedic Surgery.

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