Board Members

Bhavana Patel, R.Ph.
President and Chairman of the Board

Bhavana is the mother of Hina and Amie Patel. She graduated with a B.S. in pharmacy from the University of Kansas in 1987. After gaining experience at several chain pharmacies, she opened Hina’s Mercy Southwest Pharmacy in 1996. Even though she enjoys being a pharmacist, her true love has always been caring for her daughters. Watching Sickle Cell Anemia ravage Hina’s fragile body, their family planned around her health needs by protecting, caring, and nurturing. Living with Sickle Cell Disease means a lifetime of painful episodes, infections, blood transfusions, and frequent trips to the hospital. It can inhibit a person from living a normal life and takes a toll financially and emotionally on the patient and family. Bhavana has been inspired by Hina’s struggles and courageous spirit. As a result, she can empathize and has the drive to help individuals suffering with sickle cell disease and their families by raising awareness, providing support group, and raising funds for research to find a safe cure.
 

Sanjay Patel, R.Ph.
Vice President

Sanjay is the father of Hina and Amie Patel. He graduated with a B.S. in pharmacy from the University of Illinois in 1986. Not having adequate room for compounding at Hina’s Mercy SW Pharmacy, he opened Hina’s Home Care Pharmacy in 2006. His favorite component of pharmacy is compounding specialized medication, and he looks forward to challenges. Happiness and well being of his family are his main priorities. Some of Sanjay’s favorite activities include bicycling, golf, tennis, and planning vacations with his daughters. Watching Hina suffer from frequent pain crises and losing her battle because of complications from a bone marrow transplant was the most heartbreaking experience in his life. Sanjay has a great deal of compassion for individuals suffering from Sickle Cell Disease, and he fiercely supports the need to find a safer cure.

 

Traco Matthews
Secretary

Traco is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, where he received a BS in Economics. He brings a background in sales, insurance, and Human Resources.

As a State Farm Claim Representative, he has worked on numerous projects, most recently completing an executive marketing project for the Senior Vice President of State Farm in California. He has served on several boards, including The Oaks Community Children’s Center, Toastmaster’s – as the Director of Membership, and The Oaks Community Church board. Additionally, he’s been an annual participant in fundraisers and drives for the United Way, Day of Caring, and Relay for Life.

Traco’s motto for success can be summarized by the following: “There are a lot of things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few that will catch your heart – pursue those!” He met Hina during her illness through family friends, and was inspired by her courage in adversity and passion for helping others. He is excited to serve on the board, generating support and helping continue Hina’s noble mission.
 

Pritesh Patel
Treasurer

Pritesh is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Economics. His background includes community banking and commercial lending. He is currently employed by Valley Republic Bank, a state-chartered bank which opened in February 2009. In the past five years, he has established relationships with clients in all types of industries, including accounting and finance, construction, health, hospitality, and oil and gas. He is actively involved in several non-profit organizations in the community. Pritesh oversees several aspects of the Hina Patel Foundation’s accounting and finance and is pleased to be a member.

 

Dr. Komal Desai, M.D.

Dr. Komal Desai is a Board Certified Psychiatrist working at the Kern County Mental Health Outpatient Services, providing care to indigent patients in the Bakersfield community since July 2000. She earned her Medical Degree in India in 1992. After coming to USA, she finished her residency in psychiatry at Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York and then went on to do a fellowship in anxiety disorders at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

In Bakersfield, she has participated in numerous social, cultural, and humanitarian activities through her involvement in organizations such as Chinmaya Mission, India Association of San Joaquin Valley, and Hindu Temple of Kern County. She has served on various committees raising funds for charitable organizations like Ekal Vidyalaya, CORD (Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development), SEWA Rural– all working for upliftment and education in rural India. She also helps at Relay for Life Bakersfield and the Kern County Cancer Fund.

She is a close friend of the Patel family and was moved by Sanjay and Bhavana Patel’s desire to help thousands of “Hinas” all around the world struggling to fight against Sickle Cell Disease in the loving memory of their daughter. Her involvement with HPF started by helping at the annual Sickle Cell Walk. But, when she recognized the founding couple’s wish to extend help to Sickle Cell patients in India, she became integral part of that effort which resulted in two successful sickle cell camps and start of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center in India.

 

Dr. Alan Ikeda, M.D.

Dr. Alan Ikeda M.D. graduated from University of Hawaii at Manoa, with a BA in Liberal Studies with a focus in the Health Sciences, and John A. Burns, School of Medicine. After completing a Pediatric residency, he finished his Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Alan was employed as Associate Director of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. He currently serves as a physician at Children’s Specialty of Nevada, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide treatment for all children with blood and cancer disorders.

Even though Hina’s case was extremely complicated in her last 4 months of transplant, Dr. Alan graciously accepted her as a patient. He loves patient care and spent countless hours with Hina and our family. He is compassionate, caring, and a talented physician that can relate to all patients and families at a professional level. We are forever grateful for his devotion and for guiding us through the most difficult time in our lives. As part of the UCLA team, he had a focus in clinical research, especially in stem cell gene therapy for Sickle Cell Disease and is honored to serve as a scientific advisor. We are delighted to have him as our board member for Hina Patel Foundation to assist and award grants to the most innovative research for Sickle Cell Disease.

 

Neetu Jhaj

Neetu Jhaj serves as the Chief Human Resources and Compliance Officer at Countryside Market and Restaurants, a Kern County based chain of businesses employing over 300 employees. Born and raised in California, Neetu attended Cal Poly Pomona for her undergraduate education and California Western School of Law for her legal studies. Prior to moving to Bakersfield in 2012, Neetu worked for Sempra Energy in San Diego and for a software startup in the Bay Area.

Neetu’s current community involvement includes the Sikh Women’s Association of Bakersfield and serving as an Ambassador and committee member at Seven Oaks Country Club. Based on the principle of selfless service through community action for the goodwill and benefit of others, the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association provides scholarships to underprivileged youth preparing for college and organizes community-giving programs.

Neetu’s prior community involvement has included serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to foster children in need of permanent, stable homes.

Neetu feels honored to serve on the Board of the Hina Patel Foundation to help further a notable cause and to help carry on the legacy of an incredibly inspirational and courageous young woman.

 

Shailesh Patel

Shailesh received B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Kansas State University and Masters in Aeronautical Engineering from Wichita State University. Currently, he is employed at Northrop Grumman as an Engineer to ensure structure integrity of air frame. As her uncle, seeing HIna struggle with Sickle Cell Disease was difficult for him, and he moved to Bakersfield in 2002 to help our family. When Hina was in the hospital for months at a time, he taught her AP Calculus and AP Statistics over the phone and as a result he has been inspired by her drive and strength. He strongly supports in the mission of Hina Patel Foundation.
 

Dr. Sudhir Patel, M.D. FAAP

Dr. Sudhir Patel received his undergraduate at Southampton University School of Medicine, Hampshire, England. He completed his Internship at University of Leicester Hospitals, Leicester, England. After completing residency in Pediatrics at Primary Children’s Hospital at University of Utah, he finished his postgraduate training fellowship in Neonatology at the University of Davis, California. A Board Certified Neonatologist and Pediatrician. Currently, he is a Chief of Neonatology at Kern Medical Center and Director of Newborn Intensive Unit at San Joaquin Community Hospital. His practice has expanded to providing newborn intensive care at every delivery unit in Kern county.

Dr. Patel’s current community involvement includes chairman of the “Kern County Leadership Institute”. This institute is a collaboration of directors of various departments of the county and interested organizations in the community. They have developed and supervise a screening program to prevent intra-partum exposure of alcohol and drugs. They are also developing a better mechanism for coordinating post-discharge follow-up for premature infants in the county and are hoping soon to start the county’s first developmental and behavioral assessment and treatment center. With his vast experience and expertise, we are pleased to have him serve as a board member to help facilitate programs in emergency room for patients with Sickle Cell Disease.
 

Sejal Simson

Sejal holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from California State University, Bakersfield. She brings a strong, diversified background in banking, insurance and accounting. She has been actively involved in numerous community efforts. As a lifelong friend of the family, Sejal watched Hina struggle with Sickle Cell Disease for many years and has been inspired by Hina’s passion and drive to help others and her unwavering courage. She has been involved with the foundation since it’s inception in 2008 and remains deeply committed to helping individuals suffering from Sickle Cell disease and supporting the enduring pursuit for a safe and effective cure.

 


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