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. Later my cousin went on to become an occupational therapist, and it made me aware of the field and how it could impact lives. After completing Bachelors in Occupational Therapy, I moved to the US to pursue MS in Health and Rehabilitation Science from the University of Pittsburgh, and that’s where I met my wife Rujuta, who is a physiotherapist.

While in the US, I practiced in settings such as acute hospitals, rehabilitation centres, outpatient clinics and home health. In my last stint, I led the rehab operations of a 200-bed rehabilitation centre for Anchor Rehabilitation, a Maryland-based, rehab provider. I led a team of 12 clinicians and was responsible for designing and implementing physical and cognitive rehabilitation programmes.

Even though I was working in the US, I was sure of returning and contributing to the healthcare space in India, and hence, Rujuta and I decided to move back to India and be closer to family. 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, and in that process discovered that India lacks a system in which we can increase accessibility and reach of specialised rehabilitation services by combining clinical expertise, technology and business knowledge. While she decided to gain further enhance her clinical skills, I decided to gain the business acumen. That’s when I applied for ISB’s Post Graduate Program in Management (PGP).

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