Indian-American doctor Zachariah P Zachariah, one of the top cardiologists in the United States, has been elected as the chairman of the Florida Board of Medicine.
“This is a great honor for me, my family and the South Asian community,” Dr Zachariah told Vancouver Desi, after he was unanimously elected by board members.
Dr Zachariah aka Zach is a well-known philanthropist and a longtime Republican Party stalwart, who was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honour in 1998 and Ellis lsland Legends award in 2000.
He has served on the Florida State Board of Governors, the President’s White House Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and as a US Representative to the World Health Organisation in Geneva.
Dr Zachariah, who is the first Indian-American chairman of any American State Medical Board, has also been President of the Florida Heart Association since 1986 and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Miami since 1985.
For his volunteer and humanitarian efforts, three different Florida governors have designated five days as "Dr Zachariah P Zachariah Day".
A close friend of former US president George Bush and his family for decades, Dr Zachariah was offered the Surgeon General’s post in the mid-90’s, but declined the position.
Thiruvananthapuram-born Dr Zachariah, 61, is also the co-founder of Universal Health Care Group, a health insurance provider that serves 1,16,000 members in 19 American states, with annual revenue of about $1.1 billion. It employs about 1,000 employees who work out of the company’s St Petersburg headquarters.
Dr Zachariah received his medical training at the Armed Forces Medical College in Poona, India, did his medical residency at St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey and a cardiology fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland Ohio, after which he personally performed over 10,000 cardiac catheterizations.
He has two sons, one of whom, Reggie Zachariah, was recently appointed to Seventeenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission.
The son of a Christian pastor from India, Dr Zachariah helped found the Indian American Policy Institute, a think tank to promote Indian-American interests, and chaired the Florida Council on Economic Education, which seeks to instill school kids with free-market values. Dr Zachariah is also a member of The Florida Council of 100, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides advice to the Governor of Florida on key issues from a business perspective.