Thank You Message
Dear AAPI Members:
After nearly two years of isolation, virtual meetings, covid fears, the first in person event in 2 years, the 39th annual Convention by American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) was successfully organized at the at the fabulous and world-famous Omni Atlanta at CNN Center and Georgia World Congress Center from July 2nd to July 5th.
While we recognize this pandemic period as hard times, on behalf of AAPI I want to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to each of you for the great work during the challenging times, especially to the AAPI Convention Committee led by my good brother, Dr. Sreeni Gangasani and the entire Georgia Chapter of AAPI.
Only during hard times, one can achieve greater things in life. As physicians, our dedication to work will have powerful impact on our children. We are placing the wellbeing of others before our own. This is the biggest strength for all of us.
The Convention was a great way to remember and memorialize the brave AAPI Warriors and thousands of healthcare workers, who have sacrificed their lives at the service of humanity, especially during the Deadly Covid Pandemic. This convention was a tribute to those who have lost their lives and to the frontline medical professionals who are at the forefront, combating the pandemic around the globe.
Although only a limited number of participants were expected to attend the convention this year due to the ongoing Covid pandemic and considering the safety of those attending, there was a new energy and enthusiasm among the AAPI delegates with an obvious relief among the members cherishing every moment of the coming together and networking and renewing friendship.
We were grateful that several notable leaders have graced the occasion and joined the AAPI convention. The Convention commenced with the traditional prayers and blessings by Hindu Priests and Congressman Buddy Carter, representing the 1st District in Georgia inaugurated the Convention.
Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who addressed the gathering virtually lauded, Indian American Physicians as the “real heroes.” In her inaugural address, Dr. Swati Vijay Kulkarni, Consul General of India in Atlanta, described the Indian American Physician community as a “Testament to the greatest growth story” of Indian Americans. Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux representing the 7th Congressional district of Georgia said, her district is home to the largest South Asian population in the Southeast USA. “India is a very, very important strategic partner to the United States,” and promised to work with the federal government in helping India especially during the pandemic.
Past Presidents and past BOT Chairs were called on state on the 2nd night’s gala and were recognized for their leadership and continued guidance. We had the privilege of presence of Dr. Jagan Kakarala, Bhishma Pitamaha of AAPI at the convention after a long time, and we are incredibly grateful to Dr. Kakarala for taking the time to join us.
I want to acknowledge Dr. Sampat Shivangi for his help and guidance all through the year and especially for his support in nominating me for Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award 2021.
The delegates at the convention received Eight Hours of CMEs, coordinated by AAPI CME Chair, Dr. Krishan Kumar, Dr. Vemuri Murthy, Advisor & CME Program Director, and Dr. Sudha Tata, Convention CME Chair.
Popular Bollywood actor Ms. Pooja Batra stated, she flew in from India specially to be with the physicians, acknowledging their commitment and dedication to serve humanity, especially during the pandemic.
The Women’s Forum led by Drs. Anjana Samadder, Uma Jonnalagadda, and Udaya Shivangi featured eminent women leaders, including Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta, Dr. Swati Kulkarni, India’s Consular General in Atlanta, Prof. Amita Sehgal, Professor of Neuroscience at UPENN, Dr. Nahid Bhadella, Director of Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy & Research; and, Dr. Mona Khanna, Emmy Award Winning Journalist. Internationally famed actor from India, Mallika Sherawat, delivered the keynote address, shared her inspiring and daring personal life story with the audience.
An exciting Bollywood Hungama Dhum Dhama Dhum featured popular stars Kosha Pandya, Rex D’Souza and Shilpi Paul. Talented artists Vidya Vox and Ravi Drums led the cultural programs. Traditional Dandiya Raas by AAPI’s own Garba King, Dr. Dhiren Buch with live music by Aradhana Music Group of Los Angeles was huge hit among AAPI delegates. World renowned fashion designer Ghazala Khan-choreographed Fashion Show by beautiful and talented local artists was a treat to the hearts and souls of all the participants.
A totally new feature at the Convention is the RealAssets Webinar on Crypto Currencies, featuring blockchain & cryptocurrency experts, who threw light on the paradigm shift taking place from regular finance to blockchain based cryptocurrencies, platforms & ecosystems. Sri. Gauranga Das, a well-known ISKCON and Hindu monk enlightened the audience with his words of wisdom.
I want to express my gratitude to my executive committee members: Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President-Elect; Dr. Ravi Kolli, Vice President, Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Secretary of AAPI; Dr. Satish Kathula, Treasurer of AAPI, Dr. Sajani Shah, Chair of AAPI’s BOT; Dr. Ami Baxi, YPS President; Dr. Kinjal Solanki, MSRF President for their cooperation, collaboration, and leadership in helping to meet the vision for AAPI and Dr. Surendra Purohit, Chair of AAPI CF his support and leadership. I want to express my appreciation to Drs. Suresh Reddy and Meher Medavaram for organizing the 2020 AAPI Fall GB in Chicago, in conjunction with the AAPI mini convention during the difficult time of pandemic partial lockdown.
I also want to acknowledge and applaud, Dr. Binod Sinha for ‘Community outreach program’, Dr. B. Kishore and team for bringing out the inaugural edition of JAAPI, Drs. Uma Koduri , Padmaja Adusumilli ,Puja Kinkhabwala and Uma Jonnalagadda for ‘Obesity awareness program’ and creating the new AAPI Zumba dance video, Drs. Himanshu and Anurabh Talwar for launching Clinical observer ship program, Drs. Sujeet Punnam and Anil Tibrewal for ‘Nurses appreciation lunch’ program, Dr. Raghu Lolabattu and Dr. Manoj Shah for the successful ‘Share a Blanket Program’ and also thank my advisors Dr. Jayesh shah , Dr. Rangareddy, Dr. Sanku Rao Dr. Ravi Jaghirdar and Dr. Narendra Kumar for their guidance.
AAPI has raised over $ 5 Million towards Covid relief funds for India and has purchased, shipped, and coordinated with local authorities the supply and distribution of medical supplies to several parts of India. AAPI has shipped over a thousand Oxygen generators, masks, PPEs and essential supplies, and our pipeline will continue until the pandemic is overcome. As with anyone else, our doctors believe that they can best carry out our service to God through our service to our fellow humans.
Delivering a spiritual discourse at the Convention, Sadhvi Bhagwati Saraswathi, Author of “Hollywood to the Himalayas” guided the AAPI delegates into an experience of peace and serenity. In her keynote address, Sadhvi ji inspired the participants to engage in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the field of medicine.
Dr. Sudhir Parikh, CEO of Parikh Media introduced the keynote speaker, Mrs. Anandiben Mafatbhai Patel, an Indian politician serving as the 28th and current Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, Chair of BOT at American Medical Association shared memories of his long association with AAPI, growing up as a child of both physician parents and his father Dr. Apparao Mukkamala being one of the past Presidents of AAPI and now, to be leading the largest Medical Association in the US.
During the BOT Luncheon on July 4th, Dr. Sajani Shah, the outgoing BOT Chair in her powerful message enumerated the numerous programs BOT under her leadership had initiated in the past one year. Dr. Shah invited all the past BOT Chairs onto stage and honored them for their leadership of AAPI. Research & Poster Contest Winners were recognized with $2500 cash award.
This year AAPI annual awards committee recognized the following with awards, Dr. Radhu Agrawal was bestowed with AAPI Lifetime Achievement Award; AAPI Most Distinguished Physician Award was given to Dr. Dhanireddy Ramasubbareddy; AAPI Most Distinguished Service Award was given to Dr. Suresh Gupta; AAPI Most Distinguished YPS Award went to Dr. Purvi Parikh; and AAPI Most Distinguished Community Service was bestowed on Dr. Sujatha Reddy.
I want to express my sincere gratitude to all who have worked so hard to put together this fabulous convention in a matter of less than three months. Thanks to all who came and were part of this historic convention. My special thanks to Vijaya Kodali, our Office Administrations, Hari Prasad Lal, our Legal Counsel and Ajay Ghosh, our Media Coordinator.
We will all work together and continue to dedicate our energy, strength and looking forward to seeing you all again at our future AAPI events. Stay Safe and continue to be blessed.
Sudhakar Jonnalgadda, MD
Immediate Past President, AAPI 2020-21