Pa­tels’ con­tri­bu­tion ben­e­fits com­mu­nity

Tampa Bay Times - - Opinion -

Drs. Ki­ran and Pallavi Pa­tel have made an­other gen­er­ous con­tri­bu­tion that will fur­ther the health of this com­mu­nity and be­yond. The Tampa Bay cou­ple has com­mit­ted to open a new med­i­cal school in Clear­wa­ter, the lat­est in a string of ma­jor pub­lic and pri­vate in­vest­ments in the area’s health care in­dus­try. This is an­other sign that lo­cal lead­ers are co­a­lesc­ing around a sound vi­sion, and it’s a tes­ta­ment to the role the pri­vate sec­tor can play in grow­ing the re­gion’s for­tunes and im­age.

The Pa­tels com­mit­ted $200 mil­lion to es­tab­lish and pro­mote a Tampa Bay re­gional cam­pus for the Fort Laud­erdale-based Nova South­east­ern Univer­sity. Their do­na­tion of $50 mil­lion in cash and $150 mil­lion in real es­tate and fa­cil­i­ties will go to build a med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion com­plex for the pri­vate, non­profit Nova. The project will ex­pand ac­cess to med­i­cal train­ing and pa­tient care, es­pe­cially for poorly served com­mu­ni­ties, and strengthen the area’s po­si­tion in the health care sec­tor.

The Pa­tels have given back to this com­mu­nity for years, with mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar do­na­tions to the Univer­sity of South Florida, Florida Hos­pi­tal, Pepin Heart In­sti­tute and other cher­ished civic causes. This con­tri­bu­tion con­tin­ues their com­mit­ment to pub­lic health and ed­u­ca­tion. It will go to­ward an os­teo­pathic medicine pro­gram and in­clude schol­ar­ships in health sci­ences. The Pa­tels will re­tain own­er­ship of the land and fa­cil­i­ties, while Nova will over­see the cur­ricu­lum and aca­demics. Ki­ran Pa­tel said he wants the school to fo­cus on both in­ter­na­tional con­nec­tions and serv­ing lo­cal res­i­dents. He hopes the project will bring more pri­mary care physi­cians to Florida, which is ter­ri­bly short of the doc­tors it will need over the next decade.

The an­nounce­ment marks the lat­est ma­jor in­vest­ment in health care in the re­gion. The state and Tampa Bay Light­ning owner Jeff Vinik are build­ing a new USF med­i­cal school in down­town Tampa. Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal gi­ant John­son & John­son and biotech com­pany Am­gen have opened new of­fices in Tampa. The Hearst fam­ily an­nounced a $75 mil­lion in­vest­ment this month in the can­cer-care treat­ment pro­gram at Tampa’s Mof­fitt Can­cer Cen­ter. The Pa­tel-Nova med­i­cal school will bring new money, ex­per­tise and op­por­tu­ni­ties to the re­gion that will im­prove health care and raise the area’s global pro­file.

Gov­ern­ment and busi­ness lead­ers have rightly tar­geted health care as an im­por­tant in­dus­try for this re­gion to grow. Hav­ing the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors on the same page will help the re­gion bet­ter com­pete. The Pa­tels’ com­mit­ment to the area is a con­fi­dence­builder, and it should in­spire other donors and en­trepreneurs to take a hard look at the bay area’s am­bi­tions and see the po­ten­tial.

Drs. Ki­ran and Pallavi Pa­tel have com­mit­ted $200 mil­lion for a Tampa Bay cam­pus of Nova South­east­ern Univer­sity.

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