Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2021 - 31

M edical R ecord F eature

ESASID Scholarship: A legacy of giving
I
n 2002, Drs. Jitendra M. and Saryu J.
Desai established the Endowment for
South Asian Students of Indian Descent
(ESASID) scholarship with the Foundation of the
Pennsylvania Medical Society.
This award is available each year for a South
Asian student of Indian descent enrolled full
time in his or her second, third or fourth year
at an accredited Pennsylvania medical school.
Applicants must be residents of Pennsylvania or
New Jersey.
" We are first generation, and we are very
fortunate, " Dr. Jitendra Desai said. " We made all
of our money here in America, so I thought it was
my duty to help people in this area. "
Drs. Desai arrived in the United States
from India in 1969. After completing residency
training in Pittsburgh, they stayed there and
built their careers. They continued practicing in
Pittsburgh until they both retired in 2010.
Dr. Jitendra Desai is passionate about helping South Asian
medical students of Indian descent. He believes there is a
misconception that this demographic of students in medicine do not
need assistance.
" Most people think Indians who come here are professionals and
well-established, which is true - I believe 80 percent are like that, "
he said. " In Pennsylvania, especially in larger cities, there are Indians
who are not as fortunate as we are. As a result, they are at a lower
level of financial condition. Very often, they are single parents doing
menial work. They may have small mom and pop shops. Their kids
are very bright, but they need some sort of financial assistance. "
During his leadership positions within the Pennsylvania Medical
Society and the American Medical Association, Dr. Jitendra Desai
traveled across Pennsylvania.
" I met quite a few people, and especially when I met Indian
physicians, I asked them the same questions, " he said. " But when you
are a physician, you may not socialize with non-professionals. "
He knew of students in need, but many of his peers were
skeptical. " It gave me an idea of that, maybe there are kids who are
really bright, and they don't have the resources, " he said.
As the 2004 PAMED president, Dr. Jitendra Desai also traveled
to surrounding states - New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, and
Massachusetts. He again met with Indian physicians, and there was
recognition of medical students in need.

" This gave me incentive - there is no
particular vehicle for medical students of Indian
descent, " he said. " I wanted it to be at the local
level - Pennsylvania and New Jersey. "

Dr. Jitendra Desai has found giving to
Indian medical students from the local area to be
rewarding.
" This new generation of students who are
coming who are bright who get help for their
education, they are grateful for whatever help
you can give, " he said. " These students may stay
in their area - in New Jersey or different parts
of Pennsylvania. And they will help not only
American patients, but also Indian patients. The
good part is these people may stay here. "
He hopes that when they are established in
their careers, these future physicians will pay it
forward.
" Hopefully, they will remember who helped
them, " Dr. Jitendra Desai said. " Maybe they will continue to give
- give to this scholarship or start their own scholarship. Maybe
this new generation of young physicians will continue this type of
giving. "
Dr. Jitendra Desai encourages his fellow physicians who have
found success to help others. His advice to those considering a
donation to the next generation is to the point but sincere.
" Give generously - simple, one answer, " he said. " You are blessed.
Most of the physicians who are working here, who have studied and
practiced here, are doing well. They have enough money for their
family and the next generation. To them I say, 'you are here. You
made your fortune here. Help people here in America.' "
Are you interested in establishing a scholarship fund with the
Foundation? Contributing to an existing scholarship is another
option for philanthropy within Student Financial Services. Your
generosity can make an impact on the future of medicine. Contact
Lori Storm, manager of philanthropy and hospital relations, at (717)
558-7813 or email lstorm@pamedsoc.org.
The Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the Pennsylvania
Medical Society, sustains the future of medicine in Pennsylvania by
providing programs supporting medical education, physician health
and excellence in practice. It has been helping to finance medical
education for more than 60 years. The Foundation offers scholarships
and low-interest loans for medical students. Learn more at www.
foundationpamedsoc.org/student-financial-services/sfs-services.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. It originally
appeared in the winter 2020 issue of Connections newsletter.
WINTER 2021

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http://www.foundationpamedsoc.org/student-financial-services/sfs-services

Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2021

Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2021 - 1
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