Sujal Parikh: A Champion for Health Equity

The Sujal M. Parikh Memorial Symposium for Health and Social Justice honors a former University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS) student who passed away in October 2010 after a road accident in Uganda where he was conducting AIDS research as an NIH-Fogarty Clinical Research Scholar.
 
In his short life, Sujal held leadership positions in several U-M, national, and international organizations, earning the respect and admiration of colleagues around the world. A passionate believer in the collective power of committed individuals to advance health and social justice, Sujal leveraged his networks within these organizations to make each of them stronger. 
 
Shortly after Sujal’s death, his parents, friends, classmates, and representatives of the numerous global health organizations to which Sujal contributed, established a fund in his memory, with the hope that funds collected would be used to provide support for the kinds of issues and causes about which he was so passionate. The annual Sujal M. Parikh Memorial Symposium for Health and Social Justice began as a collaborative effort among friends and colleagues and is the major initiative supported by the memorial fund.
 
This year marks the 7th annual Sujal Symposium, to be hosted October 4, 2017 at the Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Sujal’s unique gift for bringing people together in pursuit of common goals inspired the goals of the symposium, which include raising awareness of the role that health professionals play in the broader community to improve health equity and social justice, as well as serving as a “call to action” to get others involved in learning and service opportunities.
 
Each year, the symposium brings together more than 200 students and professionals from academia, health professions, non-profit organizations, and the general public. Participants learn from one another, create lasting connections, and generate new ideas for the advancement of health and social justice. This ever-growing community remains committed to carrying on Sujal’s work and ensuring that his spirit of compassion continues to inspire a better world.
 
To those who knew Sujal Parikh, he was a cherished son, beloved friend, admired colleague, and galvanizing leader. Full of charisma and compassion, Sujal forged communities of friends and colleagues around the world. He fought always for his vision of a different world – one in which everyone has a voice and everyone is loved.
 
Sujal was an inspiring global health and social justice advocate. As a University of Michigan Medical School student, he held leadership positions in:
 
  • American Medical Student Association (AMSA) as Associate Editor-in-Chief for AMSA’s Global Pulse Journal
  • Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), where he was an active member of the U-M chapter
  • Physicians for Human Rights, where he led as a Student Advisory Board member (View his speech at the 2010 PHR National Conference)
  • University of Michigan Center for Global Health, where he served on the Internal Advisory Council
  • Uganda Village Project, where he served on the Board of Trustees
Read his blog from his time in Uganda here and an article in the Ann Arbor News following his death can be found here.