President's Acceptance Speech
Dr. Ravi Kolli 41st President of AAPI’s address to AAPI delegates at
40th AAPI Convention in San Antonio on June 25th 2022.
Let me thank all our distinguished guests Hon Ambassador Sri Taranjit Singh Sandhu ji, Congressman Mr. Joaquin Castro, Drug Czar Dr. Rahul Gupta, other esteemed guests and colleagues and honored guests from India for your gracious presence and we all appreciate that.
Tonight, I bow with gratitude and humility for the trust and faith you have in me to be the steward and servant of this esteemed and illustrious organization for the next one year.
I want to pay respects to every one of the past 40 presidents and the leadership teams for their service to AAPI. I know what personal sacrifices you all have made to the success of this organization.
Research has shown that human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds since 2000 with advent of cell phones, that is shorter than that of a humble gold fish’s 9 seconds. We check our phone 1500 times a week that is about every 7 minutes, So I must catch your attention in less than 8 seconds and keep my speech less than 7 minutes.
I have a theory why these mobile devices are called cell phones. I used to work in correctional systems. The living space in a prison or jail is called Cell, where one loses their privacy, freedom and held captive and that is what exactly these devices do that to us now and that is why they are also called cell phones which are our prison cells. Let us be not lose ourselves into these shiny new objects. Let us also experience the real outer world and explore our true inner world to become self-aware of the purpose and meaning of life. Let us try to connect with causes bigger than us such as AAPI.
As Alvin Toffler, the famous author and Futurologist said, “The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” It is essential we as individuals, organizations and societies must reinvent and repurpose themselves constantly and continuously to stay relevant and impactful. Leadership is all about reconciling conflicting ideas and the cognitive dissonances and finding solutions collaboratively without compromising our core values and relationships. Old style command and control and top-down.
transactional leadership styles are no longer as effective as collaborative leadership with mutual respect and shared knowledge and participation from center to periphery.
Like Uncle Ben’s advice to Peter Parker “With great power comes great responsibility,” not just a big utility bill. Our Dharma says “Karmanye Vadika raste mapaleshu Kadachana”. “To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.” These are ancient as well as eternal wisdoms and values.
Once there was blessed child who had unlimited power, talent and energy, but he was so, mischievous and hyperactive, he annoyed everyone, so he was cursed that he doesn’t know his own strength until some sage reminds him of that. He grew up to be a strong man and finally he was reminded of his powers, with that leap of faith he did leap across the oceans to solve a challenge, which a divine and God like person could not do. That powerful person was Hanuman, the original superhero before others like superman, batman, iron man etc. I was reminded by so many people many times AAPI doesn’t know its own power.
AAPI is one such powerful organization and when we fully recognize and unleash our unlimited potential, we can literally cross oceans, which we already have done and even move the mountains. AAPI strength is its numbers and members Our Sakthi is in our Samkhya and our Sabhyas. You are that powerful threads of this colorful and strong fabric, and your participation and contributions are essential for its continued success. With you being the driving force, we can overcome any challenge. So, thank you all AAPI members.
I believe in humility and not hubris, reconciliation and not recrimination, vision and not division. Being empathic is as important as being emphatic and being compassionate as much as passionate. When we join for a cause, we achieve justice and when we unite with a vision we are in unison. We all will and only succeed together.
My leadership responsibilities started in Pittsburgh with the TAPI team a couple of decades ago. It has been an exciting experience as well as an enriching one, as I traveled all over the USA attending the events of many chapters of our AAPI and had the privilege of meeting so many brilliant and wonderful leaders and members of AAPI across the length and breadth of this great and beautiful country. I thank all my friends, colleagues, leaders and mentors for your constant love and encouragement. I could not have been here without you.
We are still dealing with the remnants of Covid 19 and its global impact that has upended our lives over an extended period. I am hoping for a time soon when Zoom is just camera lens and not a meeting platform, Corona is a Mexican beer and not a deadly virus, masks are what usually surgeons wear, and six feet is 1.8 meters and not social distance.
The unabating and senseless mass shootings and gun violence incident are recurrent nightmares that need to be addressed from a public health as well as civil societies perspectives honestly and forthrightly. The challenges of misinformation affecting the health and safety of our communities and children need to be called out. The stigma and barriers affecting access to mental health treatments need to be challenged and dismantled. The physician wellness shall be the front and center of our organization’s focus and our foremost priority.
We will work to build strategic partnerships and relationships with other stakeholders and professional groups to find solutions and remedies cohesively, comprehensively, and competently. I humbly seek your continued guidance, support, and good will.
Finally, my sincere thanks and gratitude to my wife Latha, without whose unconditional support and love, I will not be who I am today and my children, Vickranth and Priyanka’s understanding for not always being there with them and for them.
“To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded” Ralph Waldo.
Ravi Kolli, MD