Indian American physicians celebrate achievements, highlight self-healing at 40th Convention in San Antonio

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Outgoing President of AAPI Dr. Anupama Gotimukula handing over the gavel to incoming President Dr. Ravi Kolli, at the concluding gala June 25, 2022, at the four-day annual convention held in San Antonio, TX. Photo: AAPI

The historic 40th annual convention of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) concluded in San Antonio, Texas Saturday, June 25th, 2022 with the Presidential Gala during which the new leadership team led by Dr. Ravi Kolli assumed charge from outgoing President Dr. Anupama Gotimukula.

The four-day convention and scientific assembly, attended by more than 1,000 AAPI delegates, while celebrating the achievements focused on the theme – Physician Heal Thyself.

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Highlights included with several unique and first-of-a-kind opportunities to help AAPI members self-care, especially in the context of Covid-related burnout, paying tribute to freedom and democracy, and honoring  75 years of India’s independence in event co-sponsored by the Embassy of India & the Consulate General of India (CGI) – Houston.

Inaugural ceremony held at the 40th annual convention of AAPI in San Antonio, TX June 23-26, 2022. Photo: AAPI

“AAPI’s strength is in its numbers and members. Our Sakthi is in our Samkhya and our Sabhyas,” Dr. Ravi Kolli said at the Presidential Gala, on assuming charge, thanking all those present.

Lamplighting ceremony at the 40th annual convention of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, AAPI, held in San Antonio, TX, June 23-26, 2022. Photo: AAPI

Dr. Kolli  will work with Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect; Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President; Dr. Meherbala Medavaram, Secretary and Dr. Sumul RavalTreasurer of AAPI for the year 2022-23. Dr. V. Ranga will serve as the Chair, AAPI Board of Trustees. Giving representation and strengthening the voice of young physicians of Indian origin, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala, President, AAPI Young Physicians Section (YPS) and Dr. Ammu Susheela, President of AAPI- Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section (MSRF). Dr. Anupama Gotimukula will serve as the Immediate Past President of AAPI.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the immediate past president of AAPI dwelt on projects and activities during her tenure, educational, philanthropic, legislative, networking, and many more activities benefiting members and communities.

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the covid 19 pandemic. The 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr.  Jayesh Shah, chair of AAPI Convention 2022.

Dr. Jayesh Shah, Convention chair receiving a plaque of appreciation from dr. Anupama Gotimukula, president of AAPI at the 40th convention of the organization June 23-26, 2022, held in San Antonio, TX. Photo: AAPI

Dr. Sathessh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI noted the hard work of the organizing committee which made the convnention a success.

During the Board of Trustees luncheon outgoing chair Dr. Kusum Punjabi handed over the office to the new Chair, Dr. Vishweshwar R. Ranga. Dr. Punjabi highlighted the many initiatives under her leadership including the launch of the AAPI Medical Project Grant (MPG) aimed at supporting AAPI medical students/residents/fellows/young physicians in various medical projects such as observerships, community service projects, entrepreneurships, innovation developments, etc.:

Dr. V. Ranga in his address said he hoped to formalize and create the AAPI leadership academy working with executives from American College of Physicians for the development of leadership roles for all AAPI members. I want to work hard to engage young physicians and attract them to AAPI. They are the future of AAPI.”

Dr. Surender Purohit, Chair of AAPI’s Charitable Foundation provided a brief summary of the many initiatives AAPI has undertaken in recent years, especially benefitting the remotest villages in the country.

Welcoming AAPI delegates to San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio, declared June 24th as AAPI Day and International Yoga Day in the City of San Antonio, and praised the organization for its contributions.

The segment on India’s 75 years of India’s independence showed the rich cultural heritage of India through a video presentation depicting the diversity of India and performances of Indian/Mexican fusion dances, ranging from Bharatnatyam, Rajasthani folk dances, and the traditional Indian dances in sync with Mexican pop dances.

Keynote address being delivered by Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu
India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Singh Sandhu was the keynote speaker aat the AAPI 40th annual convention in San Antonio, TX, June 23-26, 2022. Photo: AAPI

In his keynote address, Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu lauded AAPI initiatives over the past four decades describing it as an “outstanding job in advocacy and health education” especially during COVID, and spoke about growing U.S.-India relations and collaboration. “From the provision of active pharmaceutical ingredients to generic medicines that have lowered drug prices and created jobs and investments, India has demonstrated its reliability as a supply chain partner, especially as de-risking from single country supplies has become a priority,” he said.

Consul General of India in Houston Aseem Mahajan, commented on the significance “of the two most vibrant democracies, representing two great multicultural societies with shared values, who are natural partners” working together in several areas of interest to both nations.

Leaders of AAPI at the 40th Annual Convention of Indian physicians held in San Antonio, TX June 23 to 26, 2022. Photo: AAPI

Dr. Jack Resneck, president of the American Medical Association praised the contributions and achievements of Indian American physicians who provide best healthcare to every 7th patient in the United States. “It’s time our nation renews our commitment to you for the incredible services you provide to our nation,” he said.

Keynote speaker, cricketer Little Master Sunil Gavaskar was introduced by Venky Adivi, CEO of the Convention. Gavaskar, a record holder of numerous international Cricket matches, in his address said, “Yours is the greatest of all professions in the world. You have put your lives at risk during the pandemic to save the lives of others. Yours is the noble profession that I have admired always.”

Executive Committee of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin pose for photo at the 40th annual convention held in San Antonio, TX, June 23 to 26, 2022. Photo: AAPI

The U.S. Director of National Drug Control Policy Dr. Rahul Gupta, conveyed greetings from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris praised the contributions of Indian American Physicians. “The role of the Drug Czar has never been as critical as it is today,” he told the AAPI delegates, who have been advocating for price control of drugs to contain overall healthcare costs. “As physicians of Indian Origin, we have learnt to find simple solutions to complex problems. We need 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.” And he encouraged his colleagues to think and find ways to make a difference in the healthcare delivery in the country.

Others who addressed the Convention included Dr. Bobby Mukamala, chair of BOT at American Medical Association, Congressman Joaquin Castro from Texas, and Peter Jay Hortez,, who was part of the plenary session on “Covid Vaccination Globally and Vaccine Hesitancy.”

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, a spiritual leader, teacher and author, dwelt on reducing stress. Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga, congratulated organizers for focusing on healing the healers and using yoga in one’s daily life. Free Yoga Classes and Education program was held in collaboration with all the 10 City Council Districts of San Antonio, TX and Mayor Ron Nirenberg and iDoYoga San Antonio. The popular Yoga on the famous Riverwalk was part of the global celebration of the 8th International Day of Yoga (IDY). Several yoga-related wellness programs were part of the four-day convention.

President-elect Dr. Anjana Samaddar noted the relief among  physician delegates coming together in-person, as the Covid Pandemic is waning and people are able to mingle freely and interact with one another cautiously.

Multidisciplinary CME classes featured renowned experts, enabled CME credit hours for attendees, noted Dr. Satheesh Kathula, vice president of AAPI who thanked the Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Vemuri Murthy, Dr. Amit Chakraborty, CME Chair and Dr. Sagar Galvankar, & Co-Chair for their diligent efforts all the prominent speakers for sharing their expertise with AAPI delegates.

A section of the audience at the AAPI annual convention held in San Antonio, TX, where more than 1,000 delegates attended June 23-26, 2022. Photo: AAPI

Ten to 12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, AAPI Got Talent, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Poster/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more programs were part of the convention, noted Dr. Meherbala Medavaram, secretary of AAPI.

According to Dr. Sumul Raval, treasurer of AAPI,  the convention offered a venue for physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally to convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

The panelists at the Women’s Forum included: Dr. Juby A. Jacob-Nara, a Public Health Physician, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Respiratory Allergy & Gastroenterology (Sanofi-Genzyme); Dr. Kalpalatha Guntupalli, Endowed Professor for Pulmonary Disorders, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Sowjanya Mohan, Group Chief Medical Officer, Texas Group/Tenet Health; and, Ms. Rosemary Hickman, Semmes Foundation Education Manager at the Mcnay Art Museum.

The CEO Forum moderated by Dr. Joseph Chalil had a panel of Industry Leaders including: Dr. Juby A Jacob-Nara, Vice President, Head of Global Medical- Sanofi-Genzyme; Robert Mattchione, from NOVA; Dr. Monika Kapur; Ms. Rebecca Seidel. Medtronix; and Mario Ball. A pioneering AAPI Medical Leadership Council is being formed to collaborate with Industry leaders and to be the voice of healthcare providers, said Dr. Chalil.

Several distinguished physician service awards were presented by Dr. Gotimukula to the following- Dr. Jagan Ailinani – Life Time Achievement Award. The Distinguished Physician Award was given to Dr. Vijay Yeldandi and AAPI’s Most Distinguished Award was given to Dr. Ravindra Nathan.

AAPI’s Most Distinguished YPS Award was given to Dr. Sejal Hathi and the AAPI’s Most Distinguished MSRF Award was given to Aaiswariya Gulani.

Dr. Gotimukula honored Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Dr. Dwarkanath Reddy and AAPI’s Legal Advisor Harilal with Presidential Awards for their dedication and support during her presidency.

The next convention is to be held in Philadelphia, PA.

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