BOSTON— Renowned nephrologist and medical educator and corporate executive Dr. Brian Pereira on Saturday made a powerful plea to help India that no Indian diaspora can ignore.
“Many of us here went to reputed medical and engineering colleges in India and that is what launched our careers and prosperity in the US,” Dr. Pereira told a packed audience of 443 people at the American India Foundation’s 13th Annual Bow Ties & Bangles New England Gala at Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel in Boston. “I can speak for myself that the total amount my parents spent over 6 years of medical school including tuition, board, lodging and entertainment was less than $1,000.”
Then, Dr. Pereira paused briefly and added:
“In no way, could this have covered the true cost of our education. The reality is that the nation and its 1.3 billion population paid for it,” said Dr. Pereira. “We have an obligation to “pay-it-forward” and unlock the potential of the vast reservoir of human capital in India.”
Dr. Pereira, a long-time supporter of AIF and various charitable causes in the US and India and President and CEO of Cambridge, MA-based Visterra, a developer of novel antibodies for the prevention and treatment of infectious and other major diseases, was honored at this year’s AIF gala for his contributions.
At the gala, Dr. Pereira was introduced by his mentor, Dr. Nocolaos Madias, who brought him to Tufts Medical School in Boston from a medical college in Chandigarh more than 30 years ago.
“Brian has identified a blueprint for Indian diaspora,” said Dr. Madias, adding that Dr. Pereira has brought honor to the institutions he has served and to his “motherland and adopted motherland.”
Dr. Pereira is a renowned nephrologist and a veteran biopharmaceutical and healthcare leader with hands-on experience in financing and growing companies. In 2018, the company he has headed as CEO was acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceutical for $430 million.
In his speech, Dr. Pereira thanked Madias for his mentorship over 30 years, and the non-profit organization he has been involved with. The gala, which raised over $1 million, was co-chaired by Preetha and Mammen Chally and Raj and Nalini Sharma.
“My deepest appreciation to the AIF and its leadership for the opportunity to serve, become a member of the vibrant AIF volunteer community and for the honor this evening. In particular, thank you Raj and Nalini for first inducting us into the AIF community more than a decade ago and to Preetha and Mammen Chally for Chairing this Gala.”
Dr. Pereira also acknowledge with gratitude his investors, board members and friends who made very generous contributions to AIF.
“I have been blessed by having great mentors, many of whom are here today and the opportunity to work with outstanding academic leaders, dynamic executive teams and iconic investors – they provided me the opportunities and support through my career,” Dr. Pereira said. “Our parents held us to high standards in our early years and have been our most ardent cheerleaders ever since. The greatest gift in my life however is Sunita, my wife of 34 years. Sunita expanded my universe in so many ways, particularly into the arts and philanthropy, an incredible trait that she passed on to our children, Natasha and Nikhil. To say that Sunita has brought immeasurable joy to our lives would be an understatement. Finally, we are grateful to Natasha and Nikhil for constantly guiding our ethical and social compass and keeping us grounded.”
To learn more about Dr. Pereira, click here watch a video interview on Chai With Manju.