The Steven S. Cohen Humanitarian Award has been established to honor individuals who effect change within their communities and demonstrate a commitment to the betterment of humankind.
P.K. is a gifted clinician, a brilliant researcher and a world-renowned cardiologist. He spends his days engaging in life-saving research that will change medical history, sharing his wisdom with the next generation of medical professionals, and healing the hearts of his patients in both physical and metaphorical ways. Kimberly is an accomplished businesswoman, a community activist, and a devoted wife and mother whose greatest joy in life comes from dedicating her time to the service of others. Together, they form a multi-faceted, truly extraordinary couple, but if you go back to the beginning, P.K. and Kimberly started their lives literally a world apart.
P.K. was born in Kashmir, India. The son of Prem Nath and Gunvati Shah, P.K. grew up in a large family with one brother, six sisters and numerous cousins, aunts and uncles. His father worked for the local government but was also a scholar of English literature and a talented sitar player. Often times the family and neighborhood friends would gather in the Shah home for evening sitar concerts. P.K. didn’t start his life wanting to be a doctor. In fact, at the age of 13 he was determined to become a detective after having read Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie novels as a youngster. His life changed, however, when his 19-year-old sister was diagnosed with a rare lung cancer and passed away within 3 months.
From that day, he knew he had a different calling in life, and he turned his attention to medicine. After skipping two grades, P.K. finished 10th grade at the age of 13. By the time he was 15, he had completed his pre-medical degree, and three months shy of his 20th birthday he received his medical degree from Medical College in Srinagar. He completed an internship in Kashmir and a residency in neurology in AIIMS, New Delhi, India, and then came to the United States where he completed another internship in Milwaukee and two more residencies in internal medicine – one at Montefiore Hospital of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. It was here, upon hearing Chief of Cardiology Dr. James Scheuer present a cardiac case, that P.K. was inspired to switch his discipline from neurology to cardiology. After staying a few more years to finish a cardiology fellowship at Albert Einstein College–Montefiore Hospital in New York, P.K. came to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in 1976 where he completed a research fellowship in cardiology the following year and started his cardiology career thereafter. It was here in Los Angeles that he first crossed paths with Kimberly.
Originally from Las Vegas, Kimberly, the daughter of prominent Las Vegas businessman George Jaramillo and Jenny Jaramillo, relocated to Los Angeles to attend college and pursue a career in marketing and fashion merchandising. While attending college, Kimberly also worked at I.Magnin and later became VP of Sales and Marketing for a women’s dress manufacturing company. She then went on to establish and co-own Sorelle, a women’s dress company that sold to major stores across the country. In her spare time, Kimberly taught a fashion merchandising course at LA Trade Tech College.
After work one day, both P.K. and Kimberly ended up on the patio of the Joe Allen Restaurant and after this chance meeting, a first date and courtship ensued. P.K. and Kimberly were married in 1986 at the Hotel Bel Air. The following years brought the start of their own family – first a son – Kishore (meaning handsome one) – and then a daughter – Nisha (meaning beautiful evening).
While many know the professional sides of P.K. and Kimberly, there is so much more to this dynamic couple. They are passionate philanthropists, supporting heart-related causes, KOA (Kashmiri Overseas Association) which provides college tuition scholarships to Kashmiri refugee students in India, women’s cancer research, and diabetes research. As an advocate for children’s causes, Kimberly supports and serves as a member of the Conductor’s Circle for the Harmony Project which provides musical instruments and music lessons to underserved children in Los Angeles. She also serves on the scholarship committee of USC’s Town & Gown, the Membership Board of the National Charity League-LA Chapter and The Blue Ribbon of the Music Center. Kimberly enjoys playing the piano and participates in a weekly chamber music ensemble at her home. Raising a family and working as a volunteer and community activist has brought Kimberly the greatest satisfaction and joy. She firmly believes that “you make a living by what you get and a life by what you give.”
In addition to a love of music, travel, skiing, tennis, movies, dancing together, and going out, P.K. and Kimberly share a deep devotion to family, both immediate and extended, as well as their circle of friends. No distance is too far to journey to spend time with loved ones. When asked who they admire most, both P.K. and Kimberly responded, “Our parents.” This influence is clearly evident in the way they parent their own children, always carving out family time to be together.
The Heart Foundation’s Steven S. Cohen Humanitarian Award recognizes individuals who effect change within their communities and demonstrate a commitment to the betterment of humankind. P.K. and Kimberly Shah inspire us with their passion, humility and generous acts of philanthropy. They truly embody all this award represents, and it is our honor to present it to them.