Sujal Parikh Memorial Symposium

Dr. Mukherjee leads participants in an interactive discussion on  "guaranteed" civil rights, such as public education and the right to vote; and "necessary but not guaranteed" rights, such as access to clean water, food supply, and health coverage.
Sujal M. Parikh Memorial Symposium for Health and Social Justice
Global Reach through Local Communities: Continuing the Flint Water Crisis Conversation
November 18, 2016; 4:30-7:30 pm

4th Floor, Horace Rackham School of Graduate Studies


The 2016 Sujal Symposium for Health and Social Justice, along with a follow-up Soup Lunch fundraiser, will highlight the ongoing water contamination issues in Flint, where residents have been faced with unsafe lead levels in the municipal water supply for two years. The crisis in Flint touches on all of the issues that Sujal Parikh, the event’s namesake, so deeply cared about.

2016 Symposium Schedule

4:30pm    Keynote: Dr. Joia Mukherjee, Harvard Medical School
5:30pm     Networking/Poster session
6:00pm     Dinner (continues during panel)
6:15pm     Panel Discussion: Continuing the Flint Water Crisis Conversation

Panelists included (left to right) Moderator Vicky Kosky-Karell, Val Washington, Curt Guyette, and Jennifer Carrera

* Vicky Kosky-Karell (Moderator), U-M MD/PhD (anthropology) student
* Val Washington, JD, Flint attorney who successfully sued the city to reduce water rates following the crisis, and who now represents Flint residents in a class-action lawsuit against the city and the state
* Curt Guyette, Michigan ACLU investigative journalist who has worked extensively to cover the Flint story
* Jennifer Carrera, MS, PhD, Michigan State University sociologist who is part of that school’s Global Water Initiative

View full program here.

Health Equity SOUP Lunch
November 20, 2016; noon-2:30pm

4th Floor, Horace Rackham School of Graduate Studies


Each year a SOUP meal is held in conjunction with the Sujal Symposium. Several outstanding local organizations give brief presentations about their work related to health equity and social justice while community members share a meal of soup and trimmings together. At the end of the meal, attendees vote for one of the spotlight organizations and the organizations with the most votes receive proportional grants to aid in their goals.

Many thanks to Taqueria La Marqueza in Ypsilanti for donating the wonderful Soup and accompaniments for this event.

Sujal's Story

Sujal at the Sipi Falls in Eastern Uganda, September 2010

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. 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.
An article in the Ann Arbor News following his death can be found here.

View more articles about Sujal

Previous Symposia

Nov 18 (SOUP) and 21 (Symposium), 2015: Mind the Gap, Build the Movement

Health Equity SOUP Dinner Program (PDF)
Symposium Final Program (PDF)

October 18, 2014: Passion, Partner, M-Power

As captured in the Global REACH Activities Report (PDF). 

March 23, 2013: Examining the Why; Discovering the How

As captured in the Global REACH Activities Report (PDF). 

March 24-25, 2012: Sustainable Connections & Collaborations for Health & Human Rights
As captured in the Global REACH Activities Report (PDF). 

March 26, 2011: The Social (Justice) Network

As captured in the Center for Global Health's Annual Report (PDF). 

Support the Sujal Campaign

In addition to the annual symposium, proceeds from the Sujal Campaign for Social Justice and Global Health Equity are also used to support:

  • Scholarships for students to pursue learning and service opportunities to prepare them for careers in social justice and health equity, such as SocMed in Uganda.
  • Funds for travel scholarships to attend meetings or participate in initiatives that support global health and human rights, such as those offered by Physicians for Human Rights and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

To make a gift to the Sujal Campaign for Social Justice and Global Health Equity, please click on the image at right.