Chicagoans host health summit in New Delhi to deliberate on depression in India

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Several Indian-Americans from the Greater Chicago area recently hosted a World Health Day Summit in New Delhi, India, to examine the mental health issues affecting the people in India and exploring solutions to this largely relegated public health issue. The two-day summit, held April 6 and 7 at Vigyan Bhavan, was was inaugurated by President of India Pranab Mukherjee. Deputy Lok Sabha Speaker Dr. M. Thambidurai and a host of luminaries and eminent health care professionals attended the summit.

Several prominent members of the Indian-American community of Chicago were part of the summit’s host committee which was principally organized and convened by Dr. Vijay G. Prabhakar, along with Dr. Sriram Sonty, Keerthi Kumar Ravoori, Harish Kolasani, Praveen Bhumana, Dr. Hemalata Bakane, Dr. Radhika Chimata, Dr. Sanhita Agnihotri, Dr. Viji Susarla, Diksha Pinjani, Nagendra Sripada and Sarada Sonty.

The theme of the summit was “Unite for a Healthy Mind” which is in accordance with the W.H.O. slogan for the World Health Day 2017 “Depression: Let’s Talk”. The summit served as a platform for leaders, physicians, educators, elected officials, policy makers, medical professionals, health care administrators NGOs and the corporate sector to deliberate on this epidemic of depression in India.

The Chicago host team led by Prabhakar, Bhumana and Kapur received President Mukherjee upon his ceremonial arrival into the hallway of Vigyan Bhavan. Harish Kolasani, president of NRI Seva Foundation presented Mukherjee with a special memento. The inaugural program was emceed by Dr. Radhika Chimata.

On the opening day, after lighting the lamp, Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child development congratulated NIMCARE summit team for hosting this significant World Health DAY event. Keerthi Kumar Ravoori conducted the opening session and Gandhi for championing the causes of women and child welfare. Kolasani welcomed Union Minister Maneka Gandhi; thereafter she launched ‘Live Life’ project and released a copy to Dr. Kannan Gireesh.

Ravoori and Sonty served as moderators for the main plenary sessions and the panelists Dr. Viji Susarla, Sarada Sonty, Dr. Kannan Gireesh, Dr. Prerna Kohli and Dr. Hemalata Bakane made in depth presentations. Dr. Sanhita Agnihotri organized the Summit Banquet Gala at Bristol Hotel in Gurgaon, Haryana for the visiting delegates.

Mukherjee in his key note address applauded the efforts of NIMCARE World Health Day leadership for convening the global summit that seeks to provide a unique opportunity to mobilize action around the topic of mental health issue hosted in commemoration of the World Health Day. President Pranab Mukherjee said the social stigma attached to a mental disorder, even if it is easily treatable, is also a major problem in India. However, people have now started talking about this issue leading to greater awareness in this respect.

Dr. Selvakumar, president, Telemedcine Society of India, gave introductory remarks. After the presentation of awards, Logith proposed a vote of thanks. P.K.Prithvi presented the summit overview; while Meena Venky coordinated the awards presentations.

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