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  • Iulian Cioanta, PhD

After Six Months with SANUWAVE Health, Inc.

Updated: Feb 27

Shri Parikh, the President of Healthcare Division, Offers His Personal Perspective on the Business and His New Role with SANUWAVE

Shri Parikh - President, SANUWAVE

Shri joined SANUWAVE Health, Inc. on May 31, 2018, as the President of the Healthcare division. Shri Parikh was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Medical Ethics and Economics from Davison College, a Master of Business Administration, Health Economics, Finance, and Business Law from Jacksonville University, and an Advanced Management Program degree from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.

Before SANUWAVE, Shri was the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Molnlycke Health Care. Prior to Molnlycke, he was the Director of National Accounts at Stryker, a leading medical technology company with products and services in Medical and Surgical Equipment, Orthopedics, Neurotechnology, and Spine. Shri also had 10 years with St. Jude Medical in a variety of roles, serving most recently as the Vice President for Strategic Sales and National Accounts. Prior to St. Jude, he was the Senior Director for Corporate Accounts/National Accounts and earlier was the Regional Sales Director for Cardiac Rhythm Management and Electrophysiology. At the beginning of his career, Shri was Senior Regional Sales Consultant with Guidant Corporation for cardiac rhythm products and also served as the Hospital Institutional Sales Group Director for Cardiovascular and Metabolics Division of Bristol-Myers Squibb.

As a healthcare industry leader and professional, Shri brings a fresh view deeply rooted in healthcare practice efficiencies which combined with his business ethics, communication and high-level of customer-engaging relationships is positioned to lead the company in developing strategic partnerships, increasing revenue and generating support through innovative and collaborative programs. Shri’s involvement in the wound care space combined with his 20+ years’ experience in the medical devices industry, pharmaceuticals, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, metabolics, clinical studies, and business implementation, provides creative and resourceful solutions, in order to enhance the culture, mission, vision, and operational objectives.

Shri Parikh, the President of Healthcare Division for SANUWAVE, was interviewed by Iulian Cioanta, Ph.D., the Chief Science and Technology Officer for SANUWAVE. During their amicable conversation, Shri expressed his fresh perspective about SANUWAVE Health, Inc., shockwave technology, business opportunities, and personal experiences that influenced his life and career, as presented in the following interview:

Shri Parikh: Hi Iulian.

Iulian Cioanta: Hi Shri.

Shri Parikh: How are you?

Iulian Cioanta: Perfect.

Shri Parikh: You look extra sharp today.

Iulian Cioanta: You too. I have to match that. Thank you very much for taking this interview. It is a pleasure for me and it will give our customers the opportunity to understand your personality, and I hope that it will be fantastic.

Shri Parikh: Well, we hope it's an asset.

Iulian Cioanta: Yes, exactly. So I'll just go read my questions. The first one, what guided you towards a career in the medical field?

Shri Parikh: I have a history of physicians in my family, generations, parents, siblings, etc. And I was told ever since I was two years old that I was going to be a physician. I grew up in healthcare following patient journeys with mentors, friends and family members, and lo and behold, even pursued that route. So, I got into medical school, and after undergrad, I went to India to work with an uncle of mine. It was at that time that I chose, I wanted to remain in the healthcare field but perhaps not as a physician.

Iulian Cioanta: Yeah. It happened kind of the same thing with me. I wanted to be a physician, but I was afraid about the dual life where you just go and treat patients, see a lot of problems and then go back home smiling. I didn't know if I could do that, but I learned very quickly in the army that I could do it, but it was too late. So who's the most influential person from your life?

Shri Parikh: That's a really good question. In my active life, I would have to say my father because he sacrificed a lot. He gave up his medicine dream to have a better life for, at the time, my three older sisters. So he and my mother both emigrated from India really for no other reason, but to pursue an opportunity to have greater education for their children. My twin brother and I were born later, unplanned, here in the US, so we didn't know any different, but it really came to me later in life as maturity in age and experience and reflection settle in many trips back to India, as a teenager and even a young adolescent up to my elder years. I realized that degree of sacrifice is something significant and likely something I probably would be reluctant in being able to do today.

Iulian Cioanta: On a similar note, is your cultural heritage a big influence on your professional approach?

Shri Parikh: Yes. Similar to many cultures, such as yours, education is strict, so there is a big influence by parents onto their children to ensure that they achieve their potential. They sort of place their children on a path of what's best starting at a very early age and you follow that path in somewhat of an adherent and draconian manner. So, that was introduced to me very early on as I was lead to be a doctor. And I think that the cultural heritage speaks to that. And so, once you understand that everyone with a similar type of cultural background is following that path, it makes it easier for you to follow that path as well. That being said, being American born and going through the adjustments of trying to retain that cultural background, while finding your own personality and the new environment in America, you learn to branch out in different ways. And some of those things created heartburn for my parents. But it also made me who I am today.

Iulian Cioanta: Well, it's a nice mixture of things that kind of makes your life more structured and organized, but also with the open mind of a child born in the United States. How did your family values impact your career? I know you have very strict family values based on your Indian culture and being a second generation immigrant. It's interesting how you've combined those two identities and the role they have played in your life.

Shri Parikh: I've learned the value of people, understanding, having good instincts, judging people and character, and building almost an alliance or an affinity with many you want to work together, all coming from my cultural heritage. I didn't really understand that as well until I worked with a company that was based in Europe. It wasn’t until I was going back and forth and engaging at a professional level with that group that I realized it was a true asset for me. I began at some point in my career to depend on it and almost utilize it and leverage it as a true asset. And that's not to say that the European culture has anything wrong with it, but it is certainly much more distant. Visiting parts of Asia frequently as a child and growing up in America, I’ve observed a greater dependence on the instincts of the people dynamic, reading, understanding, and working with people while understanding the merits of collaboration. I think that American society is a good blend of both, but I believe that having great self-awareness and being able to understand the value of people has certainly been an attribute I’ve found to be successful.

Iulian Cioanta: Because the people are the greatest asset.

Shri Parikh: Absolutely.

Iulian Cioanta: What were some of the setbacks you had that ultimately got you to where you are today – something that kind of changed your course?

Shri Parikh: Yeah, I think there were probably a few seminal moments, but one specifically was, as I mentioned earlier, when I went to India before I was to start med school in the fall semester or late summer. I came back and shared with my family, and specifically my mom, that I wasn't thinking of pursuing medicine. So, I deferred a year and that bothered her to such a great level that she was angry and refused to speak to me for a good part of a year. The disappointment that I witnessed and observed in her for a career decision that I chose knowing to be right, drove me and continues to drive me, to ensure me that I'm successful in this alternate path – even though not fully blessed by my mother before her passing. This change of course is what drove me and continues to drive me moving forward.

Iulian Cioanta: Interesting. What would you say is the project that you have worked on that you are most proud of?

Shri Parikh: I would say that as we put the premium on people, it's a strategy with people and understanding what's going on to achieve their greatest potential. I read a lot and understanding what's going on in the marketplace and working well with people to be able to support what will happen. So, for example, there was a bet that I had with a former boss of mine in the cardiovascular space when I was working at St. Jude’s Medical. I said to him that a realignment and redeployment of people would result in at least a minimum increase of $5 million in revenue. He disagreed but supported my move, and the bet started with a handshake. Lo and behold, we were able to grow that business almost $50 million, more precisely $48.9 million, at the end of one calendar year. This is tenfold more than what the bet was. I'm very competitive. I believe that if I put the right type of process in place, together with the right people, support the strategy and speak to it in a structural fashion that we can accomplish anything. And that was an example of one that I still reflect on, I'm very proud, and then brings a smile to my face.

Iulian Cioanta: You should be proud. I mean increasing revenue 10 times fold is very good in one year.

Shri Parikh: And the bragging rights with this one particular person made it even better.

Iulian Cioanta: So, talking about your job and career, what is your primary source of motivation in your work?

Shri Parikh: Yeah, I love working with people and helping them understand the business potential in their personal and professional capabilities. I think that's the greatest joy that I have. Sometimes you fail. You may not hit the stretch goal, or you may not even hit the goal that you want, but I think it's the process of going and working towards it where that developmental opportunity is learned and where the people come together as a result of that. Because then you'd take that competency, you can replicate it for future investments or a future opportunity. I think that's been my greatest joy, and I should say that I think much of that was probably learned through my years of playing soccer. I played soccer competitively and all the way up through college. I think even though I wasn't the best player on the team in the later years, as I began to play with others from all over the country, I think that the leadership and the teamwork dynamic is what helped me to be more of a contributing supporter on the team. By helping others overcome some of the challenges that they faced during games and that specific dynamic is a replication of what I see, as I work with people in the professional world.

Iulian Cioanta: What position did you play?

Shri Parikh: I played striker and right wing.

Iulian Cioanta: Okay. Important ones.

Shri Parikh: So the World Cup has been very visible in our household. I was pulling for Croatia. I was disappointed that England was out. Croatia was hungry and I think that actually helped them.

Iulian Cioanta: Yeah. They overcome a lot of adversity.

Shri Parikh: You know, the other interesting thing is that they did not give up. They played with no fatigue, and it's almost as if they got better without giving up, which is actually an attribute. When you think about some teams with experience, they sometimes show signs of retreat when they are down at 70, 75, 80 minute mark. Croatia continued to be on the attack for a full 90 plus minutes, and that is clearly what helped them beat England and other teams earlier in the World Cup stages.

Iulian Cioanta: It is a great psychology from their point of view, because in former communist countries, the mentality is not positive. You can see in the sports, they think as though the sky will fall, if things aren't going their way. That's why I think Croatia was as motivated as they were.

Shri Parikh: There is so much you can build off of this because you can take that and apply it to the business and life in general. The work ethic, the discipline, all of the vigor that's necessary to condition yourself to be at that level, but then never giving up. Never showing retreat. Croatia has clearly gotten the attention of many people across the globe.

Iulian Cioanta: I'm sorry for the little diversion. Maybe it's linked somehow.

Shri Parikh: If not, we'll find a way to weave it back.

Iulian Cioanta: If you are asked to do a task you thought was impossible at first, how do you approach this kind of task?

Shri Parikh: Wow. Impossible? I try not to use that in my vocabulary.

Iulian Cioanta: Let’s not say impossible but difficult.

Shri Parikh: Very challenging. I think the best way is to break it down and build it up. So, I think if you're able to break something down into many pieces, then you can rely on your processes in a systematic fashion to build up, and you have an empirical and didactic knowledge that will help you build it in the right way. In this way you can start bringing some meaning to it. I think that's probably how I've approached a number of things that I found challenging both in my career, personal, or professional decisions. So, I think going back to the basics, stripping something, breaking it down, looking at it and all of its individual parts, and then bringing it together again provides perspective. It provides a lot of different domain knowledge from the experience that you will find in a relationship to something that you've probably been able to overcome in the past.

Iulian Cioanta: Yeah. No rushing to conclusions.

Shri Parikh: Yeah, that's a great point.

Iulian Cioanta: Just take a deep breath, look at it. We put the man on the moon, and we're going to put the man on Mars too. Nothing is impossible.

Shri Parikh: That's right.

Iulian Cioanta: So now I kind of want to steer the discussion towards SANUWAVE shockwave technology. Why did you choose the job that you have right now, as President of SANUWAVE?

Shri Parikh: Yeah, that's a great question. I think the biggest reason is that there is just remarkable potential both in the technology, and the many verticals that we can enter. That is the first one of the number of reasons. Number two is the people, the dynamics and the tenure of the employees, who I met along the way. Here at SANUWAVE there is a sort of vigor that you all have demonstrated before I arrived here. This vigor is used in combination with the chemistry of people in the office and their authenticity. It was really reading and understanding the pulse of the company along with those other variables that I found so much potential and satisfaction, which agitated me to become increasingly more curious. And as that curiosity grew and continues to grow, you can't help but love what we stand for. What we can potentially help to cure, and the remarkable impact that we're making on the quality of patient suffering right now with diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs), but as well, a whole list of other verticals that we can enter into and help that patient population improve their quality of their life.

Iulian Cioanta: This is one of the best parts of working in a medical device company. You can see the impact that your products have in the daily lives of patients and the improvement of their quality of life. In reference to your mentioning of the many verticals, where do you see the shockwave technology's role in the medicine and science?

Shri Parikh: There are so many applications. Right now our focus is diabetic foot ulcers with dermaPACE in the international markets. You see the benefit that it's having. So, working appropriately, diligently putting it to work, and showing some restraint with physicians that are so excited to take this technology to move it into other verticals is necessary. I think we have a responsibility to kind of pull them back and direct them to where FDA has given us/granted us clearance to move forward. So, shockwave technology, albeit having been in the market for quite some time with lithotripsy, has made it into this new space. I think there are many verticals that we can be taken with this very proven technology, using the wide assortment of variables, like the energy source for shockwaves and the type of therapies that can be changed to have a profound effect on patients. What we've got to do is to continue to support that, never lose that excitement, and being able to support a remodeling effect, by improving and making a significant attribute towards advances in each of those verticals. But we're also a “for profit organization”, as well. So we've got to capitalize on what we have successfully proven to date, build enough of a profitability, and windfall of cash flow, so that we can further innovate and invest in research and development, in a manner that will help us to make those advances and those other verticals.

Iulian Cioanta: So, from all of these verticals, what do you think it would be a new revolutionary application of the shockwave technology?

Shri Parikh: So again, this is where I may have some bias because of my background. My time at Stryker orthopedics in the US, particularly sports medicine. My experience there has created a great potential, which allows me to see a fantastic opportunity here at SANUWAVE. Not to mention what people are spending out of pocket on plastic surgery and cosmetology. So I think there's a profound potential there as well. But I do think that there is a calculus that we've got to work to develop, so that our talk track is consistent with the remediations and improvements that people are looking for in that space. And that takes money, takes investments, and takes other investors becoming increasingly enthusiastic to support us. So again, I think there's a step wise approach. To use a baseball analogy, we've got to capitalize and get a run or a home run and do it every time we're at plate, with the indication that we have right now for DFU. We must establish credibility quickly and being able to introduce this technology in a disciplined and measured fashion, so that our dermaPACE systems are being used in every wound care center to treat DFUs is the goal. As we are treating patients, we start to begin to see DFU patients benefiting and subsequently the number of amputations coming down. We would like to take that, replicate it, demonstrate a compelling cost savings scenario, and move into other verticals.

Iulian Cioanta: Now I will just try to go back to your personality and life. So, what do you value the most in a person?

Shri Parikh: I think a few things. One is their integrity, their background. So, if they are humble, and true. Something that I often look for is their curiosity. Do they want to learn, do they want to develop, and are they wishing to step out of their comfort zone to challenge themselves with the predisposition of curiosity? And those are qualities I look for in both my social circles and professional circles. The similarity between the two gets me excited.

Iulian Cioanta: Do you have any special talents that not many people know about?

Shri Parikh: I can juggle. We were able to save money when my kids were younger. They're teenagers now, but when they were younger, we didn't have to hire the clowns because I could play that role. Outside of that, I spend a lot of time coaching and refereeing again when my kids were young. I love being involved with kids’ sports and anything related to helping people grow and develop has been a passion of mine.

Iulian Cioanta: What would you say have been the most significant milestone that you hit in your life?

Shri Parikh: I don't think I've hit one yet. I think that's still unwritten. Hopefully it'll be here at SANUWAVE, and we can all celebrate when that's achieved.

Iulian Cioanta: That will be great. What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten?

Shri Parikh: I think, as I shared with you before, that the individual who had the most significant impact on my life is my father. And my father was Indian and was actually a part of the Mahatma Gandhi Movement for India, to gain its independence. A lot of his quotes and his philosophies were shared with me as a young child growing up, and one specific had a profound effect on me: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." That quote was shared with me many times. I believe my dad was at one of Mahatma Gandhi's rallies when he shared either that line or something very similar to it. That had a profound impact and effect on my father, who would then pass that down to his children. And that was one that resonated and still influences me today - BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.

Iulian Cioanta: Fantastic. Now, talking about advices, what piece of advice would you like to give to those that look up to you?

Shri Parikh: Well, as I indicated earlier, I think the attributes that I look for are the same as advices that I would give, which is to be humble, be hungry, and always remain curious.

Iulian Cioanta: If you had the ability to learn a new skill overnight what would that be?

Shri Parikh: I'm a horrible cook, so I would love to be able to become a master chef, specifically with the grill and barbecuing. I would make my household very happy.

Iulian Cioanta: How do you find time to balance your personal life with work and challenges that are coming with that?

Shri Parikh: Yeah, it used to be more of a struggle when I felt pressured to do something. Now it's a hobby. I believe work is a hobby. I'm here because it's a hobby and I feel it has a noble purpose. You must have satisfaction and enjoy what you're doing. I think travel becomes too heavy at times, but then I balance that out by making time for my family, whether it's a vacation or more time at home, so I balance it out that way. I think as you go through different stages across these two journeys, professional and personal life, as long as there is full understanding by all the parts in both families, the professional family and the personal family, I think you're able to have an easier way of balancing it. So, I would say in the last eight, nine years, it hasn't been as much of a challenge as it was earlier in my life. And I should also say that the positions I've had in the past eight to nine years are more significant as well, leading larger parts of businesses, leading more people, etc. So, I think remaining grounded has helped me provide that level of balance. And I'm living an active healthy lifestyle too. Age certainly isn't on my side. So, you know, running three and a half miles today takes two times longer than it did 10 years ago. But I'm committed to it, because I understand the benefits of that. Now you guys just hear me complaining about it, because I'm sore, and I'm trying to get chiropractor's names and things like that, but it’s become a rewarding balance.

Iulian Cioanta: If you run for longer times, it gives you more time to think. So some advantages, in a positive way.

Shri Parikh: There's many, many advantages. You're absolutely right.

Iulian Cioanta: What activities are you involved outside the work in the community and for fun?

Shri Parikh: Yeah. So, my wife and I have been very supportive to a couple of different charities. American Diabetes Association is one that actually took a backseat to one that we became passionate towards during my time at Molnlycke, and that was Operation Smile. So, kids in third world countries have a propensity to have what's called “cleft lip and cleft palate”. I've had the pleasure and the good fortune of being able to go to third world countries and be a part of a couple of these surgeries and donate, a little bit of time and products from my previous companies. And last year was particularly special because I was able to take my daughter with me to the Philippines to a small city outside Manila called Iloilo. As a parent and one that has been highly critical of my daughter and her level of giving and maturity, I was very happy to see her engage with surgeons, to not be fearful in the operating room, and to be a part of these young kids life before surgery, during the surgery, and then follow up afterwards. And it's actually led to her interest in pursuing medicine at the tender age of 16, so we'll see where that story is written. But similar to that commitment to Operation Smile, I'd like to take a much deeper type of involvement with American Diabetes Association, particularly since we're tied to it anyway.

Iulian Cioanta: The last question is this - as President of the company, what do you intend to do with the company to keep it environmentally and energy friendly? Do you have any plans regarding these kind of activities?

Shri Parikh: I think it starts with just our practices in the office first, so finding one that's supportive to the environmental conditions that we look for in an office building. The way we choose to conduct our behaviors in an office also translates to how we wish to make an impact with the innovative stages of what SANUWAVE can impact. So again, it's one of these things where I feel our abilities to be curious – to start crawling first and then understand with the help of our leadership team, what we can do to make these advances, so that we have more of a footprint towards improving the world we live in.

Iulian Cioanta: Perfect. Well, welcome aboard, and thank you very much for the interview.

Shri Parikh: It was a pleasure. Thank you Iulian.

Keywords: wound care, diabetic foot ulcers, DFU, shockwave therapy, amputation prevention, dermaPACE, chronic wounds, SANUWAVE, PACE Technology