Can we redesign healthcare to profitably serve the poor?

Physician P.J. Parmar founded Ardas Family Medicine, a private practice that serves resettled refugees, and Mango House, a home for refugees with activities and services that include dental care, food and clothing banks, churches, scout troops, and afterschool programs. Before studying medicine, P.J. was an environmental engineer, a backpacking guide with the Boy Scouts, and a world travel junkie. He is the son of Punjabi immigrants and stay-at-home dad to a four-year-old. P.J. owns just two identical pairs of pants and enjoys his oatmeal lumpy.

What sparks your curiosity?

Anytime I hear that something can not be done, I am curious as to why not. I like to learn how things work—be it a machine, a business system, or a human dynamic—and I like to find ways that I can help, whether it is by changing the system or changing myself.

What is the most uncommon experience, practice, belief, viewpoint, or habit that you have, and how has that shaped you as a person?

I often find myself having an uncommon approach, perhaps because I have been a minority in most settings, my whole life. Standing out has often been painful, and is something I would rather not focus on, but I have learned to embrace. Being uncommon is what fuels my work with resettled refugees, all of whom are uncommon. The more uncommon someone is, the more potential they have to enrich our lives.

Hobbies / Passions / Fun Facts

I’m a stay at home dad to a four-year-old, I own only two pairs of pants (they are identical), and I like my oatmeal lumpy.