Dr Pal Manickam is an Indian-origin gastroenterologist practising in the USA, who is a board-certified doctor. He focuses on gut health, and time-restricted eating, and predominantly follows a plant-based diet. He is a well-known doctor for using a unique approach that combines in-person and virtual stand-up comedy, known as ‘MedCom,’ to educate people about interventions for chronic illnesses.
Palaniappan Manickam The Times of India was born on Tuesday, 15 November 1983 (age 40 years; as of 2023) in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. His zodiac sign is Scorpio. In 2007, he earned his MBBS degree from PSG Institute of Medical Sciences & Research in Coimbatore, Tami Nadu, followed by a Masters in Public Health from the University of Massachusetts in Boston, USA. Later, he obtained his MD in Internal Medicine from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Michigan, USA. Dr. Pal Manickam In 2015, he completed his gastroenterology fellowship at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, USA. doximity
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information about his parents & siblings.
Wife & Children
In 2012, he got married to Priya, a data scientist at a software company. The couple has two sons. He lives with his family in Sacramento, California, USA.
In July 2015, Manickam joined Dignity Health Medical Foundation as a consultant gastroenterologist in Sacramento, California.
Social Media Influencer
His journey as a social media influencer started in March 2020, when he posted a video related to COVID-19 on social media. In an interview, he talked about how he became a content creator and said,
In March 2020, a non-profit organisation wanted me to do an educational video on Covid awareness. My wife and my kids were in Chennai then. I was supposed to join them but because of the lockdown, I had to stay back in California. Since I had time on my hands, I created the 12-minute video and sent it. They said it looked like stand-up comedy and wasn’t professional enough for a doctor’s presentation. I’d spent so much time on making it and asked them what I should do with it. They told me to upload it to YouTube and that’s when I discovered one can start a YouTube channel with just a Gmail account. I sent the video clip to a WhatsApp group I know and after that, it went viral quite fast, mainly because of the timing as Indians were trying to know more about the coronavirus.” The Times of India
Later, he started posting his videos on Instagram and Facebook. He has more than 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube and over one million followers on Instagram. Initially, his video content centred on COVID-19, but over time, it evolved to cover topics such as gut health, time-restricted eating, mostly plant-based diets, and weight loss. Alongside this shift, Manickam started studying stand-up comedy. In May 2020, he joined a standup comedy club named Building 18 in California, where he learned how to write a script, deliver punchlines, understand the essence of stand-up comedy, and various tips and tricks in the field. He created the character ‘Saravana Kumar’ to establish a connection with his audience. As part of his evolving approach, he started incorporating his ‘MedCom’ routines into live stand-up performances, both in the United States and India. He shares educational content on gut health and chronic illness intervention through platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and in-person engagements.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Young Investigator Award in the Research Department
- Pioneer Award for ‘Medcom’ show by American Tamil Entrepreneur Association
- Top Doctor Award 2020
- Top Doctor Award 2021
- Dr Pal once revealed that all the funds generated from his various social media outlets are directed towards the Aishwaryam Trust in Madurai. This foundation is dedicated to providing palliative care services. Deccan Herald
- In December 2023, he appeared in an episode of the podcast show ‘The Ranveer Show’ by Ranveer Allahbadia.
- In an interview, he revealed that he once used to weigh more than 100 kg and suffered a mild heart attack. He experienced palpitations during a consultation. Later, he took care of his health while trying intermittent fasting and lost 30 kg of weight. He said,
Our bodies work best when they follow the circadian rhythm, which means one must eat between sunrise and sunset, sleep on time and wake up on time. Hormonal imbalances will sort themselves out if one follows this.” Deccan Herald
- In an interview, while talking about, how difficult it was for him to transition from a medical professional to a social media influencer, he said,
My main problem is to balance my professional requirements and the YouTube channel. I love doing videos because it reaches so many people. I always have this guilty feeling that I came to the US for a better life and couldn’t serve my people. I’m dealing with that guilt through this approach. Coming from a middle-class family, applying for the United States medical licensing exams in 2006 was a no-brainer given the difficulty of being the ‘first doctor’ in the family. It has helped me grow professionally and eventually has led to this YouTube channel.” The Times of India
- He follows a non-vegetarian diet.