Dr. Bhavin Parikh, a 16-year resident of Elk Grove, on Nov. 5 received special recognition from the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.

In celebration of Parikh’s charitable works during the past 15 years, District 5 Supervisor Don Nottoli presented him with a “Hero of Human Services” award.

In addition to his 16 years of working as a psychiatrist with the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center, he also volunteers his time, resources and energy in assisting many organizations.

Parikh has aided thousands of people in various capacities, including accessing and receiving mental health and culturally competent services.

With his desire to help build a healthier community, Parikh has also offered free psychiatric services to families experiencing financial difficulties.

Among Parikh’s humanitarian efforts in Elk Grove is his volunteer service as chair of the Elk Grove Diversity and Inclusion Commission, which was formed last July. In 2017, he became a member of the commission’s predecessor, the Elk Grove Multicultural Committee.

The commission serves as a resource for the community and city government, with its aim of improving understanding and celebrating the city’s diversity.

In his role with the commission, Parikh was recently involved in the organization and presentation of Elk Grove’s third annual Festival of Lights, a cultural celebration that is traditionally known as Diwali and is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Newar Buddhists.

The event, which drew about 400 people to the Laguna Town Hall last month, celebrates each faith’s recognition of the same symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil. In presenting the event, Parikh and other commissioners worked to create an atmosphere of inclusiveness that people of any culture can enjoy.

The commission also continues the former Multicultural Committee’s role of presenting the annual Elk Grove Multicultural Festival.

In his leadership role, Parikh continuously works to promote diversity, with an aim toward eliminating bias, hate and discrimination.

After learning about suicide deaths of Asian Pacific Islanders, Parikh conducted and organized forums related to suicide prevention. He also provides support to domestic violence victims in Asian-Pacific islander communities.

Parikh’s many other services include helping to raise $50,000 in donations in response to the 2015 Nepal earthquake, which killed and injured thousands of people.

Additionally benefiting from Parikh’s humanitarianism are youth who he sponsored through educational programs in underserved areas in India.

Parikh has also contributed his time to fundraising efforts for the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento, My Sister’s House, and WeEMBRACE.

He was also involved in fundraising for victims of last year’s devastating Camp Fire wildfire in Butte County. The fire was the most deadliest and destructive wildfire in the state’s history.

Another one of Parikh’s roles was helping to coordinate two forums to promote women’s empowerment to motivate women to take on leadership roles in the community.

Parikh told the Citizen that his efforts to help others began following his own difficulties, in which he experienced homelessness in Chicago.

“I feel like you can’t forget your past,” he said. “You have to help out your community; you have to do whatever you can do to give back to the community. It’s important.”