I was a kid when my grandma got a stroke and suffered from partial paralysis. Over a period of time, she gained movement, but she was never herself again. My cousin worked as an occupational therapist, and it made me aware of the concept and how it can impact lives. After my bachelors, I moved to the US for MS in Health and Rehabilitation Science, and that’s where I met Rujuta, my wife.

While I worked as an Occupational Therapist in the US, I headed a 200-bed unit at Anchor Rehabilitation, a Maryland-based, family/therapist-owned business. I led a team of 12 clinicians and was responsible for designing and implementing physical and cognitive rehabilitation programmes.

During this time, my dad developed a heart condition, and he needed help. After several discussions, we decided to move back to India and be closer to family. My dad is still recovering. Being here, I noticed that the profession of health rehabilitation in India had made great strides in since I joined the field, but unfortunately, this progress is limited to metros and patient populations such as paediatrics, sports and patients with cognitive and psychological deficits. There are exceptional Occupational therapists and Physiotherapists, doing great work around the country, but we as a country have a long way to go in terms of awareness and accessibility of treatment options that are available which can help individuals recover from debilitating physical and cognitive disabilities.

Both Rujuta and I decided to do something to create a small wave of change. We started exploring our options; having our centre made the most sense. She decided to gain further clinical knowledge, and I decided to gain business sense. That’s when I applied for ISB’s PGP. Fortunately, I got selected.

It’s not even three months into the programme, and I have already learned so much. There is so much that I was never taught in my previous education. I want to make an impact in the healthcare space in India. I have the clinical skills and experience, and what I need is the business skills necessary to scale up and sustain my plans in India. ISB’s PGP is allowing me to learn and develop those skills. ISB has a widespread cross-functional influence on the healthcare sector in India, and I wanted to leverage that. Also, ISB’s one-year programme perfectly suited my situation after having close to eight years of experience.

This #DoctorsDay, I ask more students to pursue Occupational Therapy because every Indian deserves access to not only quality healthcare services but also the best quality rehabilitation services. Rehabilitation services go beyond just healing from impairment and help integrate the individual back into society in a productive way.

Know more about PGP, here.

– Dr Abhishek Desai
PGP – Class of 2020