(Thursday, Oct 14, 2010)
PHR has sadly received word of the untimely death of Student Advisory Board Member Sujal Parikh. Sujal was a third year medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School and a member of PHR’s Student Advisory Board. He was born and raised in Dallas, TX and was a 2006 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Public Health and Neurobiology. His research and advocacy focused on health and human rights, access to medicines, medical education, and infectious disease issues in the US, Sub-Saharan Africa, and India.
In addition to his work with PHR, he was the Associate Editor-in-Chief of Global Pulse Journal, and served on the the Student Advisory Committee for the Global Health Education Consortium, the American Medical Student Association’s AIDS Advocacy Network Steering Committee, the Board of Trustees for Uganda Village Project, and the Internal Advisory Council of the University of Michigan Center for Global Health. He hoped to pursue a career that spanned education, research, advocacy, and clinical practice. Sujal was the 2009 recipient of PHR’s Emerging Leader Award, presented at the 2009 National Student Conference, in recognition of his dedication to human rights advocacy.
“There are many ways for us to work together and even more reasons for doing so.”
— Sujal Parikh
“PHR mourns the loss of Sujal Parikh. As a member of our Student Advisory Board, Sujal’s passion and insight helped guide our National Student Program. Sujal had recently been awarded a position in Uganda by the Fogarty International Clinical Research Program, where he was working with Dr. Peter Mugyenyi at the Joint Clinical Research Centre. His untimely death is a loss not only for those who knew and loved him but for the thousands whose lives his work would have doubtless touched as a leading human rights activist. Those who worked with Sujal can best capture the spirit of this remarkable man.”
— Frank Donaghue, CEO, Physicians for Human Rights
“Sujal was, in all arenas, the embodiment of John F. Kennedy’s words: a man whose horizons were never limited by the obvious realities, a man who dreamed of things that never were — and a man who gave his entire life to the advancement of the right to health. As we mourn a friend who personified audacity in all that he did — our generation’s Jonathan Mann — we must rededicate ourselves a hundred-fold to advancing Sujal’s dream. To do anything less would be the gravest of injustices.”
— Ali Khan, MD, MPP, PHR Board Member
“Today we honor Sujal Parikh, our friend, colleague and one of the foremost leaders of his generation with respect to health and human rights. His recent death is a tragedy for those of us who loved him deeply but also for the thousands of people who would have benefited from his creative ingenuity in tackling public health problems and the myriad social disparities that leave the poor and neglected without healthcare. Sujal was an inspiration to us all, and it was evident early on that his intelligence, compassion and refusal to accept the “impossible” would lead him to the forefront of the fight for human rights equality.”
— Katherine Ratzan Peeler, MD, former PHR Student Advisory Board while at Dartmouth Medical School
“It is heartbreaking. I worked closely with him both with the PHR medical student chapter and in our work trying to strengthen our global health curriculum and programs at the University of Michigan. Even in the midst of all of his clinical clerkships these past two years, doing the long-term research in Uganda with children with HIV he was involved in (and where he died), and all his multiple advocacy leadership efforts, he would email me long, thoughtful emails about how we could improve global health, sharing multiple resources with me. I think this Claude Bissel quote from his Facebook page profile speaks eloquently to the way he lived his life:
Risk more than others think is safe.
Care more than others think is wise.
Dream more than others think is practical.
Expect more than others think is possible.“
— Michele Heisler, MD, PHR Board Member, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan