We are celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander, or AAPI, Heritage Month, and featuring Mital Patel, acute care inpatient physical therapist at UF Health North. Patel’s heritage is Indian and American, and she has been with UF Health for one year.
Q: Tell us about what you do at UF Health.
A: I am a PRN acute care inpatient physical therapist at UF North.
Q: What is it about UF Health that keeps you engaged and excited about working here?
A: In my short time at UF Health (about one year), the camaraderie seen between various disciplines and departments in an effort to deliver the best care to patients is amazing and keeps me both excited and encouraged to work at UF. For example, during the different surges that occurred in the hospitals due to COVID-19, I saw staff members step out of their comfort zones, out of their normal roles to do whatever was necessary for the patient. Being a part of a dedicated team really motivates me and pushes me to excel as a physical therapist here at UF.
Q: What three words describe you?
A: Organized, trustworthy and reliable.
Q: What does your AAPI identity mean to you?
A: Being a first generation Indian-American came with its share of challenges and rewards. One major challenge I had to face was trying to maintain my Indian culture while also trying to learn and fit into the American culture. The blending of cultures took effort and sacrifices from my family and myself. I am grateful my parents understood the importance of both and helped me create my own unique identity as both an Indian and American.
While the challenges were tough, I believe they helped me understand the importance of everyone’s own identity, be it race, religion, or sexual orientation. I know my experiences have allowed me to stay open minded and accepting of all people and circumstances.
Q: What music do you recommend with AAPI connections?
A: I remember the first time I heard “Beware of the Boys” by Panjabi MC and Jay-Z. I was so excited to hear the success that came from the collaboration between the different music genres I grew up listening to. Ever since then, there have been many collaborations of Indian and American artists, with the most recent being Jason Derulo and Tesher’s “Jalebi Baby.”