Healthy You - Every Day

Sonal Patel Builds Relationships With Colleagues While Sharing Her Culture

Celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month by reading her story

Sonal Patel

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. This month, we recognize AANHPI colleagues by sharing their stories.

Sonia Patel is a Financial Coordinator for Comprehensive Health Services at Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street. Patel is grateful to share her favorite cultural food with friends and colleagues alike.  

What are some of the most memorable moments when you felt included and welcomed at Lehigh Valley Health Network?

For me, there is not one memorable instance, but rather a series of moments where I have felt at home within Comprehensive Health Services, including my first day, daily morning huddles and the fun potlucks and get-togethers we enjoy as a team. I am so appreciative of my welcoming and supportive colleagues and leaders.

“I am so appreciative of my welcoming and supportive colleagues and leaders.”

What is one of the most common misunderstandings or assumptions people make about your racial/ethnic heritage or identity?

A misguided assumption is that South Asian individuals with a non-American sounding accent are unable to communicate adequately in English. Another assumption is that India is still considered a developing country with limited resources, but over the last several years, India has significantly modernized and is a large player in the world’s economy. Fortunately, the awareness of India’s rich culture and traditions is growing, and our culture is becoming appreciated worldwide.

What food makes you think of your family/heritage and why?

Like in many cultures, food has the ability to unify family and friends. Vada pav is one of my favorite dishes. This common street food delicacy is a fried potato-based patty placed in a hamburger-style bun. It holds many memories such as enjoying it with my college friends, savoring it when I visit India and sharing it with my colleagues here. The bond of sharing and enjoying foods of different cultures is important to foster.


Physician and APC Careers

LVHN is proud to be Great Place to Work-Certified™

LVHN is a great place to work for all. Here, you can be yourself and be #LVHNProud.

Explore More Articles