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Dr. Pallavi Patel, Dr. Kiran Patel donate $12 million to USF

Tampa, FL: Dr. Kiran Patel and Dr. Pallavi Patel announced a $12-million donation to the University of South Florida on October 9.  The donation will be used to expand the Patel School of Global Sustainability.

Founded in 2010, the school focuses on research and community involvement aimed at helping vulnerable communities around the world.

The donation will turn the school, which currently operates as a graduate program, into the College of Global Sustainability. It will expand graduate enrollment and faculty and fund more research, school officials said.

About 50 students attend the school. As a college, enrollment could reach up to 120 students, said USF spokeswoman Vickie Chachere. The school also may expand the curriculum to include a doctoral program. With the donation, faculty also will be able to earn tenure, and the school will take on larger projects.

"The new college," Genshaft said, "will give a new generation the tools it needs to build a healthier and more sustainable future for our planet and its people."

The school, which has conferred 23 master's degrees in global sustainability, has worked with several organizations, including the United Nations, school officials said.

The contribution brings the total donations from the Patels to USF to nearly $26 million, officials said. The couple has given millions to USF, including money in 2005 to build the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions, home to the graduate program and the Office of Sustainability.

Dr. Kiran Patel and Dr. Pallavi Patel not only earned a respected reputation as physicians, but also gained a unique vision of the future of the medical care. Rather than shunning the growing trend toward managed health care, they began to develop solutions that made sense from the physician’s point of view.

In 1982, the Patels started a physicians’ practice ownership and management company, which quickly expanded to 14 practices, including family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, and cardiology, serving several thousand patients in Hillsborough County.

Rather than complaining about “HMO,” Dr. Patel, a believer of “control your own destiny,” opted to start a physician-owned, physician-run health plan —  WellCare. Under his leadership, WellCare grew to become the largest Medicaid HMO in Florida, serving more than 200,000 members.

Expanding the horizons in the managed heath care field, in 1999, Dr. Kiran Patel acquired and turned around a struggling New York/Connecticut HMO and together the companies became WellCare Management Group. By this time, WellCare had revenues of over $1 billion, served more than 400,000 members, and employed over 1,200 members.

In 2003, the Patels sold the majority of their interest in their business and turned their attention to many of the family’s philanthropic endeavors.  The Patel’s have earned a reputation for generosity for developing and funding a variety of programs in health, education, arts and culture, both locally and around the world.  Their Foundation supported the Pepin Heart Hospital Research Institute in Tampa as well as the Performing Arts Center, which was renamed the Dr. Pallavi Patel Conservatory for Performing Arts.

In 2011, the Dr. Kiran C. Patel for Global Solutions based at the University of South Florida campus with their vision to develop real on-the-ground solutions to some of the major global problems the world faces today and a driving force for the University.

Dr. Kiran Patel again got busy in Freedom/Optimum Medicare HMO, which now rank number two in the State of Florida.  He has received many prestigious honors, including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Southeast US and Jefferson Award for Public Service-National Media Award.

On New Year’s day in 2007, Dr. Patel was honored with the “Glory of Gujarat” award from the Chief Minister of his home State in India.  In May 2007, Dr. Patel received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for Exceptional Immigrant Patriots.  Both Dr. Kiran Patel and Pallavi Patel were inducted into the Tampa Bay Hall of Fame in 2010 by the business community of Tampa Bay.

Dr. Pallavi Patel was honored as the Business Woman of the Year in 2006 for her outstanding role in the community.  In 2007, she was awarded Woman of Distinction by the Girls Scouts of Florida, and in 2008 she was inducted into the prestigious Florida Women’s Hall of Fame.

Dr. Pallavi Patel has a list of philanthropic works to her name: A 50-bed charity hospital serving 100,000 villagers in India was established by her along with her family; provision of funds for annual scholarship for underprivileged children to obtain a college education; funding for the construction of the USF Charter School for Underprivileged Children in Hillsborough County; sponsoring of 25 orphans from India to visit and perform a cross-cultural program in the United States.

She serves on many boards and is a member of many organizations.

Dr. Pallavi Patel met Dr. Kiran Patel, while studying medicine in Ahmedabad. They got married after completing their degrees and started their practice in Zambia. In 2003 the two set up a nonprofit Foundation for Global Understanding.