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Dr. Ashish Parikh has lived in many diverse places in his life,
including Calcutta; Mumbai, Tallahassee, Los Angeles, and New
Orleans. However, out of all of the places that he has lived, Dr.
Parikh feels the most at home in Livingston, New Jersey, where he
is the director of the internal medicine residency program at Saint
Barnabas Medical Center. The son of a scientific researcher, Dr.
Parikh and his family moved often. His father passed along his love
of science to Dr. Parikh and inspired him to pursue a career in
medicine. "My father often reminded us that we should always do
more to help people and to go beyond what is expected of us." While
in high school, Dr. Parikh was accepted into the prestigious Honors
Program in Medical Education at the University of Miami in Florida,
a dual-degree program that allowed him to receive a both a Bachelor
of Science and a Doctor of Medicine degree. After completing
medical school, Dr. Parikh did his residency and internship at
Miriam Hospital, which is associated with Brown University in
Providence, Rhode Island, where he received "The Best Teaching
Resident Award" two years in a row.
Following his residency training, Dr. Parikh accepted a position
as a member of the clinical faculty with the University of
Connecticut primary care internal medicine residency program in New
Britain, Connecticut. Dr. Parikh realized how much he enjoyed
teaching and interacting with medical students. "I realized that as
much as I enjoyed seeing patients, I really loved interacting with
medical students and teaching. That experience solidified my
decision to pursue a career in academic medicine."
Dr. Parihk with his wife, Smruti, and their two daughters on
When Dr. Parikh's wife, Smruti, finished medical school, she
matched at a residency program in Los Angeles, so the couple made
the cross-country move. Dr. Parikh accepted a position as a general
internist and hospitalist with the Southern California Permanente
Medical Group and enjoyed the warm weather of southern California
but missed the academic part of the profession. After his wife
completed her residency, they moved back to New Jersey where Dr.
Parikh was offered the position of assistant program director of
the internal medicine program at the Saint Barnabas Medical
Currently, Dr. Parikh balances his time as program director with
his role of assistant professor of medicine at The St. Georges
University School of Medicine and New Jersey Medical School. As
program director, Dr. Parikh supervises and runs the administrative
aspects of the internal medicine residency program. "What I enjoy
most about my job is the variety that I have, every day is
different." His current role keeps his schedule busy but he finds
it extremely rewarding. Dr. Parikh is responsible for interviewing
every candidate who applies to the internal medicine residency
program, creating the ranking list for the residency program as
well as ensuring that the trainees are receiving the proper
education in order to prepare them for life beyond residency. In
addition to his duties as program director, Dr. Parikh sees
patients in the internal medicine primary care clinic and gives
lectures to the residents and medical students.
Since the residency program is affiliated with New Jersey
Medical School and St. Georges University School of Medicine in
Grenada, West Indies, Dr. Parikh has the opportunity to work with
students from very geographically diverse backgrounds. The 36
residents in the Saint Barnabas Medical Center come from 18
different countries. "It is a great experience getting the chance
to work with such a diverse group. Whether it's a student bringing
in their favorite ethnic dish or learning how students would treat
a medical condition in their culture, you are always learning
What he loves most about his job is the time he spends with
medical students. He has the opportunity to mentor medical students
on career development, what fellowships and internships to choose,
or whether to pursue a subspecialty. "By the time students enter
their residency they have spent 12 years in school, 4 years in
college and another 4 years in medical school. When they reach
their residencies they are so eager to put on the white lab coat
and start seeing patients, it's really amazing to see the
culmination of all of their efforts come through."
Although Dr. Parikh has come a long way from his residency, he
can still remember many of the challenges that residents face. "I
think the hardest part for me was learning how to deal with a
difficult patient and to not take it personally. It took me a while
to understand that many patients are sick and are often really
scared. Making the patient understand that you are both on the same
team and that you are going to do everything to help that patient
get better took a lot of practice."
Dr. Parikh continues to consider his job fulfilling and
gratifying, especially getting to see students mature from medical
students to practicing physicians. "I love hearing back from
students who have finished their residency who tell me they still
remember things I said or taught them. It's an amazing
In his free time, Dr. Parikh and his wife enjoy spending time
and traveling with their two daughters, ages 8, and 11.
April 2012 Issue of IMpact
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