Dr. Naresh Parikh, a cardiologist, entrepreneur, and community activist, assumed charge as president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) at the concluding session of the 36th annual convention July 7th night gala, held in the Greater Columbus Convention Hall in Ohio. More than 1,700 delegates from across the country attended the four-day convention.
Along with Dr. Parikh, his executive committee consisting of Doctors Suresh Reddy, president-elect; Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, vice president; Anupama Gotimukula, secretary; Dr. Anjana Samadder, Treasurer; and Dr. Ajeeth Kothari, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, was sworn-in to loud cheers from the crowd of attendees.
“I will dedicate my time, energy and skills to maintain the integrity of AAPI and promote membership database and scrub data,” Dr. Parikh is quoted saying at the Convention in a press release sent by AAPI. “We will work together encouraging and motivating more and more physicians and dentists to join AAPI and work towards increase in AAPI membership representing all sections, including, women, young and old, while providing enhanced membership benefits including liability insurance carrier, billing, collection company, cardiac remote monitoring, and credit card transactions through reputed banking services,” he said, adding, he wants to make this “the year of progress and balance.”
Outgoing President Dr. Gautam Sammadder called it “a humbling experience” to work with the leaders of AAPI, and counted among his achievements, the Global Health Summit in Kokkata, Health Clinic inauguration in West Bengal, African Safari, contributions to Veterans Obesity and Lukemia Society, India day parade and Leadership seminar.
During the luncheon, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, spoke passionately about the fast-growing Indian American community, noting its success in terms of income and education levels. “But this socio-economic achievement has not translated into commensurate political clout, as shown, for example, by the community’s lack of success in federal elections,” Krishnamoorthi said urging those present to get involved in the political process.
Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravarthy, in his keynote address, praised the contributions of Indian American Physicians for their commitment, dedication and, especially for contributing to the advancement of Indo-US relationship. Describing it to be the “elephant in the Room, he spoke of the key role Artificial Intelligence is coming to play in the healthcare sector.
At the start of the Convention, Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther joined Acharya Lokesh Muni to inaugurate the event July 5.
“The Future is now–Its time to step up to a new era of innovation through a new age of digital healthcare that transcends biological and chemical medicine into the future,” declared Dr. Sammadder, in his inaugural address. “As physicians we must be equipped to tackle the next generation’s unique set of challenges and opportunities in healthcare,” he added.
Mayor Ginther praised Indian-American physicians for their contributions to the country, particularly the state of Ohio. “You have excelled in your fields of medicine, and thus make significant contributions through hard work, commitment and dedication to your profession and the people you are committed to serve,” Ginther is quoted saying in a press release. He described the fast growing health sector, particularly the pharmaceutical industry in India. He also highlighted the fast growing and diverse city that Columbus has become and urged Indian- American physicians to invest in and make Columbus their home.
Acharya Lokesh Muni highlighted importance of having a platform such as the Convention to share knowledge. He underscored the importance of ancient Indian wisdom that is he said, the basis for modern Medicine.
Member of Indian Parliament, Vallabhbhai Katharia, in his speech, said physicians of Indian origin are well known around the world for their compassion, passion for patient care, medical skills, research, and leadership.
In his speech, Katharia also praised India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “inspiring” leadership in steering the largest democracy in the world to “new heights.” The MP also urged AAPI to endow an AAPI Chair in India to share the knowledge and experience of AAPI members with their counterparts in India.
The incoming President, Dr. Naresh Parikh said he would address three key priorities for the year – 1. Opioid epidemic and awareness (coordinated by Dr. Kavita Gupta and Dr. Sanjay Gupta); 2. Lymphoma and Leukemia Research (led by Dr. Vinod Shah); and 3. the Silent Epidemic, TB in India, with a major focus at The Global Health Summit to be held from Dec 28th to 30th in Mumbai.
The Convention held myriad events, including one highlighting the work of the AAPI Charitable Foundation, where the organization recognized Raja Rajadhyaksha and Dr. Sanju Bhaghya for their contributions to society and for AAPI. Ohio’s only Indian-American Republican State Representative Neeraj Antani, the youngest elected official in the Ohio state Assembly felicitated AAPI and presented a Citation to AAPI, the press release said.
A fashion show, performance by Mystic India, Continuing Medical Education seminars, a beauty pageant, children and youth activities, medical school alumni meetings, and speeches, kept attendees occupied in a jampacked schedule. A busy market place saw vendors luring hundreds with their products, ranging from jewelry to medical equipment and services.
Dr. John Johnson, Chair of the Convention Committee, praised the local chapter for its hard work and “meticulously” planning in organizing the event.