Growing up in Mumbai, India, Dr. Pradeep Merchant dreamed of becoming a doctor. His father’s youngest brother was a physician, and Dr. Merchant saw him to be a role model — one who helped chart his path for the future.

That path saw Dr. Merchant immigrate to Canada in the mid 80s, where he enrolled at Queen’s University to study pediatrics. A super-specialty in neonatology captured his interest and took him to SickKids in Toronto, where he finished his training. But he was soon enticed to come to The Ottawa Hospital, and his interest in a research fellowship solidified that decision — that was 30 years ago.

Ottawa is where Dr. Merchant and his wife, Anita, would call home and raise their family. For the past 25 years, Dr. Merchant has been the Site Chief of the neonatology division at Civic Campus of our hospital, where he’s dedicated himself to caring for our tiniest and most vulnerable patients. He has been their voice — always championing for the latest technology and tools to care for pre-mature babies and their mothers.

Dr. Pradeep and Mrs. Anita Merchant

“We’ve done so well with an almost 100-year-old building at the Civic Campus serving the population — you can just imagine what the New Campus Development will mean.”

– Dr. Pradeep Merchant

That dedication includes making our hospital the best it can be. For Dr. Merchant, that means giving back by volunteering on the Board of Directors of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, and most recently, as a Campaign Executive for the Campaign to Create Tomorrow.

In addition to this latest role, it was important to both him and Anita to support the Campaign with a significant donation — and they hope it will inspire others to give as well. That’s why they’ve committed to matching the contributions of new monthly donors until November 15th, for up to $50,000.

They believe the Campaign, which focuses on taking research to unprecedented heights and supporting the construction of the New Campus Development on Carling Avenue, will be a game-changer for the city. “We’ve done so well with an almost 100-year-old building at the Civic Campus serving the population — you can just imagine what the New Campus Development will mean. It will be an absolute marvel of engineering. So, when you look at a building of that stature, not only are we going to provide the best possible care, but what excites me is we are going to attract the best physicians from around the world,” he says.

Dr. Merchant doesn’t shy away from sharing that message with others in our community — including the Indo-Canadian community, with whom he has worked closely over the years. “Philanthropy starts from within and at home. So, when people see I’m not just coming and talking, but I’m doing what I can do to help, I hope it inspires them to want to do what they can to help as well. Because when you have amazing, transformational, cutting-edge healthcare within our city, it benefits everybody, not just a few people.”

It’s the people of our city and their future that truly motivates Dr. Merchant to be a part of this important campaign. “While my career is in its twilight years, I’m as excited as when I started at this hospital in 1992, because this is just a phenomenal opportunity for us to contribute or be part of this entire movement, and to deliver the very best healthcare to the community for the next 100 years.”

“Philanthropy starts from within and at home. So, when people see I’m not just coming and talking, but I’m doing what I can do to help, I hope it inspires them to want to do what they can to help as well.”

– Dr. Pradeep Merchant

Dr. Merchant’s philanthropy and tireless efforts to give back over the past several decades are not lost on anyone. He received one of the highest honours when he was awarded the Order of Canada in 2021. “Canada has given me so much and to get the call from the Governor General’s office, even today, chokes me up. I’m humbled and honoured. It’s not something I ever anticipated or expected. I thank not only our country but our society for making me what I am today.”