Dr. Dipen Parekh Receives Distinguished Physician Award

One the world’s most transformative robotic surgeons for urologic oncology, Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., professor and Chair of Urology and Director of Robotic Surgery, is now among an elite group to receive a distinct honor and recognition for exceptional contributions to medicine, specifically the field of urology.

At the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin’s June 28 Board of Trustees awards luncheon, Parekh received the Most Distinguished Physician Award – another strong testament to his “renaissance man” status as a physician-scientist who exceeds standards in research innovation, individualized patient care and expertise.

“This is a phenomenal and utmost deserved award,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth. “Dipen is a revolutionary scientist and clinician who is bringing our urology program to national prominence.”

“I am extremely humbled by this and thankful for all the incredible support from Dean Goldschmidt and my colleagues,” said Parekh, who holds the Dr. Victor Politano Endowed Chair in Clinical Urology and is a member of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Being recognized by peers from my country of birth is a great honor and privilege; it makes this particular award that much more significant.”

Parekh joined the Miller School in 2012 after establishing the robotic program at the University of Texas San Antonio, where he also served as Chief of Robotic Surgery.

Under his leadership at the Miller School, UHealth became the first academic medical center in the world to use the new da Vinci Xi Surgical System. At the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association, Parekh demonstrated the system’s breakthrough robotic surgical techniques for treating urological malignancies to thousands of urologists from more than 100 countries. As he performed a robotic partial nephrectomy at University of Miami Hospital, the procedure was streamed live in 3-D, with Parekh describing each step. Two other live robotic procedures by Parekh were broadcast at the subsequent “Urologic Oncology and Robotic Surgery on the Beach” conference, which Parekh organized with colleagues at the Miller School.

An active researcher and author, Parekh has had a significant impact on science and innovations in patient care. Last year, he published a pivotal study about renal ischemia that holds the promise of transforming how urologists treat kidney cancer. The study refuted a key assumption about how long a diseased kidney could survive during surgery without blood supply. Until then, most urologists believed the entire organ needed to be removed, but the study Parekh led showed that blood vessels to the kidney could safely be clamped for up to an hour, giving surgeons enough time to save a portion of the organ through nephron-sparing surgery.

Parekh served as assistant editor of the preeminent Journal of Urology, and is principal investigator of the only National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trial comparing open and robotic cystectomy for bladder cancer. Now in its fourth year, the 15-center trial is settling the debate over the safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of robotic versus open surgery with true comparative-effectiveness research.

“Dr. Dipen Parekh belongs to a distinct class of physicians,” said Ravi Jahagirdar, M.D., President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin. “He has risen through the ranks by his single-minded pursuit of academics and has done so with tenacity, grace and charm. Having trained in robotic surgeries of the prostate, bladder and kidney, he has made an indelible mark as an expert in managing complex cases in this arena. His achievements have earned him the admiration of the AAPI and recognition as a distinguished physician.”

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