Purva Merchant is a vibrant and enthusiastic pediatric dentist who not only believes in giving back to society but also embraces a constant journey of personal growth. With her boundless energy and passion for unique life experiences and connections, Purva is a true global citizen dedicated to making a positive impact.
Once a year, Purva volunteers internationally with Global Dental Relief - providing dental services to far out communities that otherwise wouldn’t have access to a dentist. She also participates annually in local health camps and events within the Seattle community, where medical and dental healthcare providers come together to treat non-insured folks. She worked tirelessly administrating vaccines at clinics when there was a need during the pandemic.
We talk with Purva about her motivation to give back, to inspire and to make a meaningful impact on the lives she touches.
What is the value of giving back to the community?
Let me present it this way, giving back is the easiest and most powerful way of actually getting! Giving is receving many many fold. Every single time I have gone out of my way to do something in service, it has come full circle back to me in many ways. It creates depth of meaning to what I do, I meet the best, like minded people and I find myself being richer in worldview and experience. One thing leads to the next and giving back creates a stream of abundance in my life.
What drives you to give back?
"To whom much is given, much is expected". I keep coming back to this quote which is version of the family values that I grew up on. My grand-mother was a freedom fighter for India, my parents have been active members of Rotary International and community service has been at the core of my growing up years. This I believe is the reason that I am called to give my time and expertise back to those who didn't have the same start in life that I did. I am incredibly blessed with more than I need, so its only fair to then ensure I do my bit to pass on some of that good fortune to those in my immediate sphere of influence.
What is the right way to live?
Leave every place better than you found it, that's the only way to move through this life. Let your time on this earth mean something more than just your own life. This to me is the only way to live right.
What is one thing that inspires you?
People that excel in their chosen hobby / profession / mission inspire me. Those that have found their 'FLOW' and lose sense of time and space 100% immersed in their craft inspire me. Those that can be completey present with the person they are with, without distractions, inspire me to do the same.
Do you have a favorite quote?
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel"
~ Maya Angelou.
This quote stays with me in my day-to-day interractions with my team, my patients and my community. It really isn't about a list of all the things you want to accomplish but to pause and reflect on what is actually sticking and if that's what you set out to do in the first place. What will people remember me for when I'm gone?
What is your proudest accomplishment?
To have had the opportunity to leave my home country at a young age and move to a foreign land and then start a healthcare practice from scratch, to then having employees whose livelihoods depend on the business, to create a brand that is well respected in the community that I serve for over a decade and has grown from one person to an independently running organization today. THIS is my proudest accomplishment.
What is the most meaningful part of your job?
Connecting with people is the most meaningful part of the job. I am a kids dentist, so after a point the skill of dentistry itself is secondary to the nuances of interracting with familes and the active dynamic of figuring out how a conversation will land and how the recepient may or may not be willing to accept the recommendations that are being made for their care. Caring for young famiiles and impressionable minds to create a lifetime of healthy smiles is the most meaningful part of my job.
What gives you fulfillment in life?
To know that I lived each day intentionally and meaningfully (now that could mean checking off every single thing on my to-do list for the day OR it could mean staying in bed all day if that is what I had decied to set out to do) is what helps me feel fulfilled at the end of the day. A series of such days creates a fulfilled life!
1000 Spotlights: Why We Give reflects our mission of giving back, to mentor and to inspire those around us. Through a series of interview questions, we explore intrinsic motivations behind why we give, and talk with those inclined to make a difference in the lives of others. If you are involved in charitable activities, volunteer and paid academic engagements or in community service, we want to talk to you.
Write to us to nominate someone exceptional who is making a difference in extraordinary ways.
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