Marlene Mahipat, D.C.
Making a Difference Wherever She Goes: Education Provides Empowerment
by Director of Alumni Relations Marggi Roldan
One morning she wakes up and decides this would be a good day to feed the homeless. She buys food and assembles care packages in the kitchen of her chiropractic office.
Her dark blue Honda CRV loaded with 40, sometimes up to 120 care packages, she drives around downtown Baltimore looking for those in need of this gift from the heart.
With “typical” days like these, it’s no wonder Dr. Marlene Mahipat has been honored with award after award for her charitable activities. In January 2008, it was the Women Making a Difference Award from the Baltimore County Commission for Women. Before that it was a Bravo Business Achievement Award, the 2006 Smart Woman distinction from Smart CEO Magazine, and an Outstanding and Dedicated Service to the Community Award from a Baltimore area Rotary Club.
A care package assembled by Mahipat typically includes two sandwiches, an apple, an orange, a banana, two beverages, breakfast bars and a blanket. Sometimes her patients help, making sandwiches before or after their appointments. Sometimes they make donations.
Mahipat, a native of Trinidad, settled in Maryland after graduating from Sherman in 2001. Single and having no other geographical or familial ties, she chose Baltimore for its earning potential. It proved to be a good choice for her. She moved to Maryland in 2002 with a job secured, and by 2004 she opened her own practice in Randallstown.
She practices three days a week and devotes the rest of the week to her charitable endeavors. She’s already established two charitable foundations. The first, called PLEASE (People Letting Every Animal Survive Euthanization) was born out of her volunteer work with Meals on Wheels, where she saw a need to help that organization’s clients feed and care for their pets.
Wherever she goes, even on vacation, Mahipat’s compassion for others, especially homeless children, becomes evident. In fall 2004 she took a vacation to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico and ended up spending all her recreation money on toys, clothing and vitamins for children living in an orphanage near her hotel. That unselfish act inspired hotel employees to “adopt” the orphanage where some of the employees still, today, regularly send food and pay visits.
That experience in Mexico resulted in Mahipat establishing the HOPE (Helping Orphans Prosper Everywhere) Children’s Foundation. This foundation, like the one for pets, is a 501(c) non-profit foundation.
Mahipat moved to the United States with the intention of going to medical school. But as she pursued this dream she realized that a career built on writing prescriptions did not align with her personal beliefs or lifestyle. As she investigated holistic alternatives, she discovered information about chiropractic and Sherman College at the Melbourne (Florida) Public Library.
She visited Sherman and was given a tour by then-students Dave Serio and Simon Senzon, who now also enjoy successful careers, Serio as a pioneering chiropractor in Argentina and Senzon as an accomplished philosopher and practitioner in Asheville, NC. “The philosophy of straight chiropractic was so amazing to me. I was sold!” she says.
Mahipat says she is living proof that education is the key to rising up out of a bad situation, be it poverty, an abusive home life or being orphaned. During her own childhood, she suffered many ills. She found healing through giving and service to others; she found a new life through education. All of this drives her community service.
Through her own life experience Mahipat has come to believe that education makes a tremendous difference in a person’s life. “The day I graduated, I was a completely different person than I was when I entered college. The only thing that was the same was my DNA,” says Mahipat. “The challenge of getting through the program at Sherman and higher level education makes you so strong. Your life will never be the same again. When I walked off the stage at graduation, I was empowered.”
This is the message she wants to share with young people facing challenges. Education provides empowerment. Empowerment provides a way out. Empowerment allows one the freedom to make a difference in other people’s lives… like Dr. Marlene Mahipat.