For Dr. Swapnil Patel, Inspiration is Found in Many Places, Including Basketball and His Indian Heritage

September 8, 2021

Before the Los Angeles native relocated to the Northeast in his 20s, Swapnil Patel, M.D., an internal medicine doctor at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, had never downloaded a weather app onto his smartphone.

“I didn’t need one, because it was always 70 degrees and sunny where I was,” says Dr. Patel, who went coast to coast—earning his bachelor’s degree at University of Miami and joining Jersey Shore after graduating from medical school in 2017.

Acclimating to New Jersey weather has certainly been an adjustment, but many parts of Dr. Patel’s LA life have endured, especially his obsession with the city’s sports teams and famed athletes. It’s a passion he’s passing down to his toddler, who already owns a mini basketball jersey.

When he’s not focusing on his wife and son, the Long Branch, New Jersey, resident spends time on several quirky hobbies. A former DJ during his college years, he plays classical Indian drums called tabla and hopes to learn piano in the future.

Q: If you could have dinner with a celebrity, past or present, who would it be?

A: Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, my idols. Michael Jordan had the story where he didn’t make the varsity basketball team when he was young, but he outworked everybody. It was the same for Kobe Bryant. They seemed like invincible figures when I was growing up. I would love to pick their brains about their work ethic and drive.

Q: One of your hobbies is building things. Why?

A: My parents got into the hotel business when I was very young. Since I grew up in the hospitality field, I helped fix things around the hotel with my dad. I also took woodshop class in seventh grade. Now I build small things out of wood, like small furniture pieces and shelves. It’s therapeutic.

Q: Why did you become a doctor?

A: I got inspired to go into medicine during a trip to my motherland, India, when I was 17. I went to a charity hospital and saw how doctors dedicated their time to nurse others to good health. The amount of poverty and lack of resources there really struck me. I was able to see how much people appreciated getting health care they otherwise might not have. I felt it would be something very fulfilling for my life.

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