Dr. Gandhi’s American Story
Get to know Dr. Peahen Gandhi, a board-certified OB/GYN physician here at Cherokee Women’s Health, on a more personal level. Read below to learn what inspired her to become a doctor and what she believes is important in life.
What inspired you to become a doctor?
“Of course there’s those heroic stories about Dr. Barnard performing the first successful heart transplant…but the source of my inspiration was more special. I had the example of ambition personified – my late Grandfather. Orphaned when he was just a young boy, he worked without pity on himself. He was engaged always in achievement, not fear of failure. I loved this about him. And I knew I was his favorite. I listened to his stories and he believed in my dreams. It was a symbiotic relationship. No doubts, no uncertainty ever entered our minds when we conversed. I learned from his experience and he inspired me to create my own. His sacrifice, allowing my parents and me to leave him in India and emigrate to the United States, was immense. Every summer when we went back to India after moving to Amanda, Ohio, he would have a “medical gift” for me. One summer it was a stethoscope, another it was a tuning fork. I still have the old copy of Gray’s Anatomy he found for me. I knew he cared. I knew he wanted to keep up the consistent encouragement. For that, I am indebted to him.
Who were your mentors along your medical journey?
“Well, having the calling to become a doctor is just the first step. Getting into the field is another story. You need an advocate who know the ins and outs. You need someone who will encourage you, when you think you can’t possibly make it. Chances seemed slim for a girl from the small town of Amanda, Ohio. Dr. Keith Krantz, the Director of the Hosier Scholarship Program, never saw me that way. To him, I was a real contender. I still remember when I got my first medical school acceptance letter and Dr. Krantz said to me “you got one in the bag, kiddo!” Dr. Krantz then awarded me the Dr. R. S. Hosler Memorial Educational Fund Scholarship. At the time, I think I was the only person from my high school who was awarded the honor. It not only gave me a sense of accomplishment, but the financial support of the scholarship allowed me to realize my dream of becoming a doctor. It has been four years since he passed, and even though I can no longer walk into his office and get my weekly pep-talk, I know he is giving me the “’ol kiddo” smile as I put on my white coat.
Do you have a philosophy about life or medicine?
Mahatma Gandhi said “Simple living, high thinking.” I think it’s important to spend time every day with the people you love. I keep my life simple, in that I focus on family when I’m home. My parents live with my husband and me, and we are surrounded with aunts, uncles, cousins, multiple generations, almost 30 people. We usually just get together at my house a few times a month and play cards and eat great Indian food! I think most people think I am an extrovert, but really I am kind of shy, unless I really know a person.
~ Dr. Gandhi had a traditional Indian marriage in her father’s home village of Umreth in India. It lasted 10 days!
~ Dr. Gandhi believes in the strength of family: “Surrounding yourself with the people you love makes you a loving person.”
~ A family project – the restaurant Bello Italian in Cumming is owned by Dr. Gandhi’s brother, Paril.
Dr. Gandhi quips, “Most people think my brother has an Indian restaurant but I just laugh and say…actually it’s great rustic Italian food! I feel so fortunate to live in America, where anything is possible.”
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“Dr. Litrel was a fantastic doctor. I had my first exam with him, although at first I was skeptical about a male doctor for my GYN. But after I met him I’m glad I kept an open mind, and I couldn’t have dreamed up a better doctor. He cares about you as a person and not just a patient. The front desk ladies and nurses were very friendly and it’s a great office, very clean and not intimidating. I highly recommend Cherokee Women’s Health.”