Friday, June 7, 2013

Celebration of a journey


It has been almost 50 years since Dinesh Patel, MD, arrived in the United States from his native India and nearly 46 years since he initially began his residency in Orthopædics at the MGH. Patel, chief of Arthroscopic Surgery and pioneer in the field, shared his insights and experience during a May 9 celebration of Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month hosted by the Association of Multicultural Members of Partners (AMMP) in the Trustees Room. During the hour-long town hall-style event, Patel spoke about his journey from India as a young physician, and shared his outlook on overcoming obstacles.

“Throughout my career, anytime I’ve come across a challenge I have always chosen to think positively,” Patel said. “If you work hard and persist, you can do anything.” As a testament to this sentiment, Patel obtained copies of the official White House proclamation declaring May as AAPI Heritage Month to distribute during the event.

In a message provided to the group, MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD, highlighted the contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to the hospital and reaffirmed its commitment to eliminating health disparities.

“The impact of this community in the success of our organization will continue to grow as the number of AAPI employees grown,” said Slavin. “As a health care institution it is our responsibility to work to eliminate health disparities that impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. So this month there is much to celebrate and much work ahead. But we go forth ready and willing, representing many different backgrounds, but united as one MGH.”

Dee Dee Chen, AAMP executive board chair, said, “Dr. Patel’s story and insights were extremely inspiring. From a personal standpoint it prompted me to reflect on my own experiences and reminded me to overcome challenges by working toward change instead of letting frustration become a distraction.”

Patel – often referred to as the grandfather of arthroscopic surgery and the namesake of the Dr. Dinesh Patel Arthroscopy Learning Laboratory in the Sports Medicine Service – reminded attendees of the importance of making the most of every opportunity.

“When presented with opportunities you must take each one positively,” he said. “MGH has given us the ladder to climb and society is giving us the opportunity to serve so we could be part of this melting pot.”

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