After reviewing more than 500 nominations, the St. Louis Business Journal unveiled its list of 40 Under 40 honorees for 2018. Rupa Patel, MD, MPH, DTM&H, assistant professor of medicine, is among the class of young professionals acknowledged to be vital to our region and for making great strides in shaping our community’s future.
A panel of previous 40 Under 40 winners helped the Business Journal select the latest class. Some of the area’s biggest companies are represented on the list — such as Monsanto, Express Scripts, Centene and Mastercard — along with a wide range of entrepreneurs and small business owners from a variety of industries in the area, including healthcare.
The class was honored at an awards banquet Feb 22 at America’s Center.
written by Jacob Kirn, Digital Editor
St. Louis Business Journal
Dr. Rupa Patel grew up in Detroit. On annual trips to visit family back in India, she saw a different way of life.
“It was very striking that my cousins were at least two to three years younger than me, and I don’t think they were finishing school, and they were kind of destined to run through the family tradition of getting married, maybe not have a career,” Patel said. “I thought about how different our lives were for being in the same family.”
Those experiences, and encouragement from her grandmother, pushed Patel to excel in school.
It’s been an impressive path: University of Michigan (bachelor’s), Wayne State University (doctor of medicine), a fellowship at Mount Sinai and master of public health at Johns Hopkins, to name a few.
While Patel was working on HIV health, a new technology emerged: pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. It’s a medicine that’s highly effective for preventing HIV in high-risk populations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. William Powderly, director of the Institute for Public Health at Washington University, recruited Patel to start a PrEP clinic. Launched in June 2014, the clinic often provides free care, and has seen about 320 patients. Patel, 39, has published research papers on her work there, and lectures regularly, including on a CDC national webinar. It also landed her on a World Health Organization Technical Advisory Group.
“Rupa successfully established relationships of trust and links into the community that have meant that not only is the quality of the program superb, but it’s also accessible and available to everybody,” Powderly said. “She’s exceeded our expectations, and has great drive and determination.”
A Central West End resident, Patel can be found hiking and trying new restaurants- when she’s in town. She did a telephone interview while working from Namibia, on the southwest African coast.
College? Bachelor’s in economics, University of Michigan -Ann Arbor; M.D., Wayne State University School of Medicine; masters of public health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Best leadership advice? Listen to others. If need be, step back and let others lead if that will be better for the collective good and move the agenda forward.
What are you currently reading? “The Last Captive” by Nadia Murad
What’s the best part about your job? That I can choose how I want to spend my time and I can have a different day every day. And that my employer supports the multi-continent, multi-disciplinary work that I choose to engage in.
What would you go back and tell your 20-year-old self? Less is more. Listen more.
Who would be your dream mentor? Sir Fazle Abed
What’s one thing that everyone needs to do or try in St. Louis? See the migration of the bald eagles.
Favorite restaurant? Grbic
Favorite app? New York Times