39th AAPI Convention a grand success. Governor Anandiben Patel praises Indian-American physicians

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Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, introducing Governor of Uttar Pradesh Anandiben Patel who was the keynote speaker July 4, 2021, at the AAPI 39th Annual Convention held in Atlanta, GA. (Photos: ITV GOLD)

In an atmosphere full of joy tempered with moments of solemnity, hundreds of Indian-American physicians, experts, medical students, celebrities and high-profile politicians, attended the 39th Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in Atlanta July 2-5, 2021.

Incoming President of AAPI Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, speaking after being handed the gavel from outgoing president, at the 39th AAPI Convention in Atlanta, GA July 2-5, 2021.
Incoming President of AAPI Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, speaking after being handed the gavel from outgoing president, at the 39th AAPI Convention in Atlanta, GA July 2-5, 2021.

The Governor of Uttar Pradesh Anandiben Patel gave the keynote address in a live videoconference call, praising the work of Indian-American physicians, not just during the pandemic, but also through the years, both in the United states and India (See Box for excerpts).

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, Convention Chair

Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide  Media and ITV Gold, introduced Governor Patel, the former Chief Minister of Gujarat, the first woman to occupy that position.

Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, 2nd from left, receiving the AAPI Major Media Sponsor and Service to AAPI Award from Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, left, outgoing President of AAPI, at the 39th Annual Convention in Atlanta, GA, held July Fourth weekend.
Dr. Purvi Parikh, 3rd from left, receiving the AAPI Most Distinguished Young Physicians Section (YPS) Award at the 39th Annual Convention held in Atlanta, GA. July 2-5, 2021.

Education seminars, forums for women, youth, and CEOs, as well as recreational activities and entertainment, filled the July Fourth weekend, culminating in the passing of the baton from the outgoing to the incoming President and new leadership.

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, the outgoing president of AAPI, in his farewell address, said, “I am happy to declare that, AAPI is stronger and is going to be in safe hands, as I pass on the traditional gavel to Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the new President of AAPI.”

Dr. Radheshyam Agrawal receiving the AAPI Lifetime Achievement Award at the 39th Annual Convention held in Atlanta, GA, July 2-5, 2021.

Dr. Jonnalagadda, who had assumed office a year ago during a virtual convention, told the AAPI delegates, “Despite the Covid pandemic and the many challenges AAPI had to face, “I am proud of the many accomplishments under my leadership. I am grateful for the immense and life-changing moments, probably the best of my life ever, that came with my association with and leading AAPI.”

Warmly received by the audience, Dr. Gotimukula, who will be holding office for the year 2021-2022, reminded those gathered about their journey to this country to pursue the American Dream.

“Through hard work and a bit of luck, most of us achieved that dream and have become successful and caring doctors who play a crucial role in the American healthcare system. We serve patients. Raise money for local causes. Contribute to our education system and improve the lives of millions of Americans,” Dr. Gotimukula said.

Dr. Suresh Gupta, left, receiving the AAPI Most Distinguished Service Award at the 39th Annual Convention in Atlanta, GA, held over the July Fourth weekend.

The outgoing executive committee members were thanked for their cooperation, collaboration and leadership in helping AAPI meet its goals: Dr. Gotimukula, president-Elect; Dr. Ravi Kolli, vice president, Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, secretary; Dr. Satish Kathula, treasurer, Dr. Sajani Shah, chair of AAPI’s BOT; Young Physicians Section President Dr. Ami Baxi; Dr. Kinjal Solanki, Medical Students Residents & Fellows section president; and Dr. Surendra Purohit, chair of AAPI Charitable Foundation.

Dr. Gotimukula ushered in the new Executive Committee comprised of Vice President Dr. Anjana Samadder; Dr. Satheesh Kathula, secretary; Dr. Krishan Kumar, treasurer;  Dr. Kusum Punjabi, chair of the Board of Trustees; Dr. Soumya Neravetla- president, Young Physicians Section; and, Dr. Ayesha Singh, president, Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section.

Among last year’s several programs, Dr. Jonnalagadda highlight initiatives like  obesity-prevention, weekly webinars and creating awareness through media, plus projects in India through the AAPI Charitable Foundation, as well as launching the Clinical Observership Program, the medical Journal of AAPI (JAAPI), and an AAPI Endowment Fund.

Raising more than $5 million, AAPI members sent medical supplies for fighting Covid, to India.

Other Highlights

During the BOT Luncheon on July 4th, Dr. Sajani Shah, the outgoing BOT Chair detailed the initiatives taken in the past one year, and honored all past BOT chairs.

Several physicians were recognized, prominent among them,  Dr. Radhu Agrawal-AAPI Lifetime Achievement Award; Dr. Dhanireddy Ramasubbareddy-AAPI Most Distinguished Physician Award; Dr. Suresh Gupta – AAPI Most Distinguished Service Award; Dr. Purvi Parikh — AAPI Most Distinguished YPS Award;  Dr. Sujatha Reddy — AAPI Most Distinguished  Community Service; and Dr. Sudhir Parikh received the Major Media Sponsor and Service to AAPI award.

Research  & Poster Contest Winners were recognized with $2500 cash award.

A dance performance
Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat at the 39th AAPI Annual Convention held in Atlanta, GA. July 2-5, 2021.
Bollywood actress Pooja Batra at the 39th AAPI Annual Convention held in Atlanta, GA. July 2-5, 2021.

Delivering a spiritual discourse at the Convention, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, author of “Hollywood to the Himalayas” led the AAPI delegates into an experience of peace and serenity.

Chair of the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, shared his memories of AAPI over the years.

Aaishwariya A Gulani, valedictorian from The International Bolles School and recognized by the United Nations for community service as the reigning Miss India USA participated in the Fashion Show.

Fashion show held at the 39th AAPI Annual Convention held in Atlanta, GA., July 2-5, 2021.

The concluding day was one full of pomp and show with music and dance by the local organizing committee of the Convention headed by Dr. Gangasani.

“For the first time ever, we had to stop registration as we had reached the required number of participants for the convention, disappointing many who wanted to come and join the annual meet,” Dr. Gangasani said.

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