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Dr. Chimata finds his calling in American medicine through grit, determination and drive

Yogi Chimata MD

More than 25 percent of physicians and surgeons in the U.S. are foreign-born, helping to ease the impending physician shortage, estimated to be between 46,000 - 90,400 physicians by the year 2025. (Forbes, July 12, 2016)

Dr. Chimata is one of those foreign-born physicians. He’s not only practicing medicine in the U.S., but his practice is innovating and evolving the way we treat a wide range of kidney diseases, from early Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) to End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). He established The Dallas Renal Group, a 30-physician practice in Texas that delivers care in many underserved areas like Waxahachie, Ennis, Granbury and Lancaster in addition to several areas in the DFW Metroplex. Dr. Chimata saw a need to establish his practice in these types of locations so that patients wouldn’t have to travel far distances to receive quality, routinely required care. Recently, his practice has started offering staff assisted home hemodialysis to dialysis patients so that they will be able to receive quality treatments in the comfort of their homes.

Dr. Chimata’s path to practicing medicine in America didn’t happen in a straight line. He was born in India where he attended military school and then earned his degree in HR management from the Tata Institute of Social Science. After graduating, he was an HR executive for one of India’s largest companies – Asian Paints. There, he learned his first lesson in standing up for civil rights. At the time, in the late 1970’s, the company didn’t hire women in the organization. As a member of the HR team, Dr. Chimata convinced the leaders of the company to begin hiring women after they experienced protests outside of the company headquarters. Even though he was new to the organization and just starting his HR career, he spoke up for what he thought was right when the chairman of the company asked for his perspective.

In the 70’s and 80’s India was a closed economy so there were limited opportunities to progress in one’s career, so he sought out greater opportunities here in America. The United States was the great land of opportunity that he learned so much about from his first girlfriend, an American woman studying psychology and languages in Bombay. From her he learned about American culture and that is was a country of opportunity where anyone who worked hard could reach their full potential.

So, in 1985 he made his journey to America. Unfortunately, his HR degree wasn’t accepted in the U.S., so he took a position with a relative managing the operations of his family medicine practice in Los Angeles, CA. He helped the practice grow by leaps and bounds by looking for opportunities in every corner.

In 1986 president Ronald Reagan passed The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which gave amnesty to approximately 2.7 million illegal aliens already here in the U.S. A provision of the IRCA was that each person applying for amnesty had to undergo a physical exam. Reading this in the newspaper, Dr. Chimata came up with the idea that the family practice he was running should be a preferred provider for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The practice set-up clinics within the immigration offices to perform the exams and saw more than 500,000 patients in a span of three years. They learned that the process also required ID photos and birth certificate translation services, so they offered those services at the clinics, too. And in the evenings, the clinics were converted to classrooms where people could learn English, another requirement of the IRCA for those seeking amnesty.

Where many saw a threat from new legislation, Dr. Chimata saw great opportunity to help people and also grow his relative’s medical practice. Even though he was integral in growing the practice, he himself felt stuck and wanted to explore other ways to utilize his talent and realize his true potential. He returned to India in 1991 to attend medical school and came back to the U.S. for a nephrology fellowship at St. Louis University Hospital. He moved to Texas where he thought he could be most helpful because of its high prevalence of kidney disease, given the state’s high rates of obesity and physical inactivity. He started The Dallas Renal Group in 2005 and nearly 12 years later, his practice has 30 physicians, several outpatient offices in the Metroplex and 14 dialysis centers caring for about 600 dialysis patients. They also care for 6,000 patients with kidney disease and hypertension enabling them to lead healthier and longer lives.

Dr. Chimata became a U.S. citizen in 1992 and wanted to give back to his new country, so not only did he build a meaningful medical practice here, he also became a United States Air Force Reserve physician at Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, TX. He believes that no other country in the world is as great as America and that if you want to live in the U.S. it’s essential to become a citizen so that you can fully participate in American life and contribute to the country in the best ways possible.

Naidoo Law commends Dr. Chimata for his service in the US Air Force Reserve, the medical care he provides thousands of Americans with chronic diseases and the role model he is to so many around him. He’s an inspirational example of the way immigrants contribute to our great nation and we’re proud to share his story with you.

Jacqueline Chen Valencia