Indian doctor inducted into Hall of Fame

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New York, Jan 20: An Indian-American doctor has been chosen to be a member of the Women"s Hall of Fame by Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

According to a statement issued by the governor"s office in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, Dr Pallavi Patel and two other women will be honoured by the governor on March 11 at a ceremony to be held in the Capitol Courtyard. The governor selected the women from among 10 finalists whose list had been submitted to him by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.

2008 is the silver jubilee year for the honor, which is bestowed upon people who have made significant contributions to the progress of the state in any field.

''These women represent the very best of Florida,'' Governor Crist said.

''Their accomplishments are not only impressive, but have impacted their communities in a powerful and meaningful way. It gives me great pleasure to honor their contributions to our state through the Florda Women"s Hall of Fame.'' This is the first time that an Indian-American woman has been honoured by Florida in this fashion. This also is probably the first time that an Indian-American lady doctor has been given such an honor by any state in the US.

Dr Patel, who is a certified pediatrician, was born in Ahmedabad, into a Gandhian family. His father was an attorney and a businessman who took an active part in Mahatma Gandhi"s Satyagraha and Nonviolent moments. Her father"s philosophy apparently had a great effect on her upbringing and her later achievements.

After earning her bachelor"s degree from M G Science College, Gujarat University, in 1968, she attended Municipal Medical College, also affiliated to Gujarat University. She completed her internships at St Barnabas School of Medicine Dentistry and Overlook Hospital in New Jersey. Dr Patel practiced medicine in Zambia from 1974 through 1978 and was a part-time consultant physician in that African nation for some time.

Dr Patel and her family established a modern 50-bed charity hospital serving 100,000 villagers in India as well as a recurring annual scholarship fund that allows underprivileged children to get college education.

She financed the construction of the University of South Florida Charter School for Underprivileged Children in Hillsborough County and has sponsored 25 orphans from India to visit the US through a cross-cultural program. Dr Patel is a member of numerous associations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Florida Medical Association and the American Association of Physicians of India Origin (which is considered the largest and most influential organisation of its kind in the US).

Ms Pallavi is the wife of Dr Kiran C Patel. The couple announced in 2003 a donation worth 5 million dollars to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center to establish a school in Pallavi"s name.

The two other women who will receive the honour along with Pallavi are Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Justice Barbara Pariente. Past recipients of the honour included Gloria Estefan (singing sensation), Chris Evert (tennis player) and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (environment writer).


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