Shah Family Scholarship: The gift of giving back
In 2017, Jitendra N. Shah, MD and Lina J. Shah, MD established the Shah Family Scholarship for medical students who are residents of Philadelphia County or the municipalities of Bristol Borough, Bristol Township, or Bensalem Township in lower Bucks County.
Drs. Shah arrived in the United States in the 1970s. They had completed medical school in India and settled in Philadelphia.
After completing the necessary exams and residency in the United States, Dr. Jitendra Shah had a successful career as a pediatrician and Dr. Lina Shah had a successful career as an anesthesiologist. Both are now retired.
After benefiting from scholarship programs in India, Drs. Shah knew they wanted to give back in this way.
“We both received scholarships when we were in school,” Dr. Jitendra Shah said. “I am a teacher’s son, so when I was in school, I qualified for a teacher’s son scholarship. It continued until I graduated from medical school.”
Dr. Lina Shah also received scholarships during her advanced education in India.
“After medical school, we said, ‘let’s explore the world,’ and that’s how we ended up in the United States,” Dr. Jitendra Shah said. “We cleared whatever hurdles we had to go through, we made our practice, and always tried to put money aside. When we realized we had enough money to support ourselves, whatever money we had leftover, we knew we wanted to find a way to give back to our community.”
When deciding who would benefit from their philanthropic endeavors, the choice was easy.
“We love the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania,” Dr. Jitendra Shah said. “Whatever we established, we knew we wanted to keep it here.”
Dr. Jitendra Shah knew of the Foundation through his membership in the Philadelphia County Medical Society. Establishing a scholarship fund through the Foundation was his first thought when he knew he wanted to give back to the next generation of physicians, as he had been offered the same opportunity.
“Our understandings are, if someone is debt free after school, they are better off. Everyone is taking a lot of loans, by the time they are finished, they have a big burden of giving back,” Dr. Jitendra Shah said.
“We thought this is the best way to give what we received from somebody else. Because somebody trusted us, we will trust the next generation and try to help them out too.”
Establishing the Shah Family Scholarship was a learning experience for Drs. Shah, but it has been a rewarding one.
“Giving is such a pleasure and very gratifying,” he said. “When we initiated the scholarship, we had some idea, but not a great idea. After initiating and having the scholarship be awarded, we feel so good that the money is well spent, and it is going for a good cause.”
The process of establishing a scholarship can be complicated, but the Foundation can help.
“One of the best things about the Foundation is we have a very positive experience,” Dr. Jitendra Shah said. “You give the money, but there are many federal laws – it is a lot to learn. I’m glad we got involved with the Foundation.”
Are you interested in establishing a scholarship fund with the Foundation or contributing to an existing scholarship? 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 email@example.com.