Dr. Ramesh Purohit establishes endowment at Northwest in honor of wife

  • NW Foundation

Drs. Ramesh and Purnima Purohit


By Natalie Ehrhardt, Communications Specialist

The Dr. Purnima R. Purohit Endowed Scholarship has been established at Northwest Mississippi Community College by her husband, Dr. Ramesh Purohit, as a surprise gift in honor of her 80th birthday.

The Purohits, both retired doctors, served north Mississippi for many years. The scholarship will be awarded to students hailing from counties in which the couple practiced medicine, including DeSoto, Panola, Tate, and Yalobusha counties, who are entering the Associate Degree Nursing program. Students receiving the scholarship must maintain a 2.5 GPA while enrolled as a full-time student.

Ramesh Purohit said he elected to establish the scholarship as not only a way to give back to the communities in which he and his wife long served and earned their living, but also as a way to help those pursuing nursing specifically.

“All these years, these nurses helped us a lot,” he said. “Doctors can’t practice unless the nurses are there. Hospitals cannot run without them. The nursing profession is more important for physicians than even the doctor’s profession.”

The Purohits have spent more than half of their lives in Mississippi, serving north Mississippi communities since 1976. Purnima Purohit was born in Mumbai, the southwestern Indian city formerly known as Bombay. When she was young, her physician father moved the family to Kenya, where Purohit grew up. As a child, she recalls her father often reading to her from medical journals, and her interest in medicine took root.

When it was time to attend college, there was only one school for pre-medical studies in Kenya. So, her father took his first leave from work in 18 years and accompanied his daughter and two of her medical-minded high school classmates back to India, where their college options were plentiful. Purohit enrolled at Elphinstone College, a top school in Mumbai, and went on to attend medical school in central India. There, she met her husband when they both took part in one of the school’s drama productions.

When the couple had both completed their studies, they married and moved to London to further their education in their respective fields – he in surgery and she in obstetrics and gynecology. They took their studies at separate schools seriously and met on weekends every few weeks to spend time together. When the time came to graduate, they were unable to see a future in England due to a lack of available medical posts. Ramesh Purohit took the American surgical exam, and the couple made the move from England to the States.

In their new home in Worcester, Massachusetts, the couple welcomed their two sons, Manish and Amish, three years apart. They were a busy family. Ramesh Purohit was on call 24/7 as a resident at a local hospital, and also took part in a two-year vascular fellowship. Purnima Purohit performed research in reproductive endocrinology for infertility and other gynecological issues, and also took part in a two-year fellowship program.

“I really enjoyed that fellowship because to help somebody who’s not getting pregnant is a big achievement,” she said.

In 1976, following the completion of Ramesh Purohit’s residency, the couple followed friends to Mississippi, settling in Grenada. They remained there for a year and a half before packing up and moving to Batesville, where they opened their medical practice, Purohit and Purohit. From that time until their retirement, they served the areas of Panola, Tate, Yalobusha, Grenada and DeSoto counties.

“There was a time when the police would not stop my car when I was going 90 miles per hour because they knew I was covering north Mississippi and had an emergency,” Purnima Purohit said.

With packed schedules and the kids enrolled at Memphis University School (MUS), the family heavily relied on their housekeeper, Elizabeth Blackburn, to transport the children and keep the household running smoothly. Though the boys are now all grown up, Blackburn remains with the Purohits 42 years after first being hired. The couple is emphatic that they could not have accomplished all they have accomplished without her, noting that she also cared for their nieces and nephews over the years and cared for Purnima Purohit’s mother in the years prior to her death.

Married for 56 years, the loving couple is devoted to their immediate and extended family, spending time together as often as possible. Their sons followed in their parents’ medical-minded footsteps. Manish Purohit is now a pediatric anesthesiologist who is triple boarded, with training in pediatrics, general anesthesiology and pediatric anesthesiology. Amish Purohit is a UCLA-trained retina surgeon.

The Purohits have four grandchildren. They enjoy traveling and have visited most of the seven continents. They also maintain an active social life. Purnima Purohit has enjoyed embroidery and making handicrafts since the age of eight, and also enjoys knitting, decorating, reading, gardening and music whenever time permits. The couple resides in Hernando.