NOV-DEC 2018

MedEsthetics—business education for medical practitioners—provides the latest noninvasive cosmetic procedures, treatment trends, product and equipment reviews, legal issues and medical aesthetics industry news.

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52 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 | MedEsthetics A LIFE OF SERVICE While still in high school, he took courses at MIT and then enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Rochester in New York. "By the time I got to college, I was pre-med and majoring in neuroscience because I was interested in the brain and how it functions," says Dr. Desai. After spending some time working with the Tufts University Department of Neurosurgery during medical school, he realized that the specialty didn't offer the instant gratifi cation of changing a life that he had pictured when he chose medicine. CHANGING LIVES He gained a clearer picture of his desired career path during a medical mission trip to rural China when he was a fourth-year medical student. There, he helped perform nearly 250 cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries at a surgical camp. "We met families that had been on buses for days and walked for hours just to see us," he says. "The sad part about it is there were so many kids lined up to be evalu- ated and screened to have surgery that we had to turn some people away. There was so much need because so many villages had no access to a plastic surgeon—or any kind of surgeon." Seeing how he could change a child's life with one procedure convinced him plastic surgery was the right path for him. "After the cleft lip repair, other families would begin to interact again with the parents of this child," says Dr. Desai. "The child could now go to school and have relationships. People no longer shunned and ostracized the family the way they had prior to the surgery. I felt that with one quick 45-minute procedure, I could change the life of not only this child but an entire family." The trip to China was not Dr. Desai's fi rst experience in international service. As a high school student, he helped build a schoolhouse in rural Ecuador. After college, he travelled to India to volunteer at a leprosy camp run by Mother Teresa's Missionary in Calcutta. After medical school, he traveled to Koh Phi Phi, Thailand, to volunteer after the 2005 tsunami disaster. He has also traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, more than a dozen times to perform pediatric cleft-lip and palate reconstruction as well as burn and hand reconstruction in children. EMBRACING PLASTIC SURGERY Before entering his plastic surgery training, Dr. Desai simultaneously worked toward—and obtained—a graduate degree in Health Policy from Harvard University and a medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed his surgical residency training at Brown Medical School, Children's Hospital Boston- Harvard Medical School and Tufts Medical Center. He went on to complete a second residency in plastic surgery at the University of Miami and was selected for a coveted fellowship in Advanced Aesthetic Plastic Surgery with Richard Ellenbogen, MD, at Beverly Hills Body in Beverly Hills, California. Having seen his parents' success as both healthcare providers and business owners, Dr. Desai next set his sights on private practice ownership. "I wanted to give my practice more of my personal touch as opposed to working in an "With one quick 45-minute procedure , I could change the life of not only this child but an entire family." Dr. Desai's work in reconstructive surgery helped him build a professional referral network for his Beverly Hills aesthetic practice.

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