A lifelong learner and infectious disease specialist, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) alum Nikhil Bhayani, MD ’03, remembers being lured into medicine in the 1990s when he learned about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) research. He was so intrigued that two years after graduating medical school, Bhayani successfully introduced an HIV prevention program at a nonprofit organization in Chicago.
“HIV research caught my attention because of all the cell biology and immunology. I remember thinking if we only understood HIV a little more, we could help those patients and anyone else with that type of healthcare-related matter.” That same drive and curiosity led Bhayani to achieve several medical accolades over his career including his most recent accomplishment — being selected for the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. “I didn’t expect it because I’ve only been in practice for 12 years. It’s a humbling moment to be recognized with such an esteemed group of physicians.”
Bhayani, who founded a private practice in 2016, now works for a large health system designing policies and guidelines to provide better patient care while also caring for patients who have HIV or need long-term intravenous (IV) antibiotic therapy. He also serves as an assistant and adjunct professor at different Texas colleges, and gives back to underserved children through a large non-governmental organization in India. “I try to provide exemplary clinical care to my patients and others through education and research.”
In early 2020, Bhayani and his team began designing COVID-19 policies, infection prevention and treatment guidelines for healthcare providers. “We helped colleagues at various hospitals to ensure no one was left in the dark.” His team reviewed literature surrounding the drug hydroxychloroquine and different steroids to see if there were benefits for infected patients. “I succeed in areas that require critically thinking.”
The Utah native is an avid professional football and basketball fan. He and his wife of 19 years share two children, and they enjoy traveling together. Reflecting on his journey, Bhayani credits RUSM for his success and is appreciative of his time in Dominica, where RUSM was located before moving to Barbados in 2018. “Students should embrace all the tools Ross University offers to become a good clinician because it will make them more effective and well-rounded in practice,” he said. “Spending 14 months in Dominica gave me a different perspective on life and medicine, and an appreciation for humanity. I learned to adapt and to be content with as little as possible. It made me realize that there’s more to life than material things to make you happy, which has helped me further progress in my career.”