The American Associations of Physicians of Indian Origin, AAPI, has been holding numerous teleconferences over the last few weeks with audiences reaching into the hundreds, according to the head of the organization.
Dr. Suresh Reddy told Desi Talk some 7 teleconferences have been held over the last two weeks where some 300-500 people called in. He also said AAPI is recommending that masks be used by everyone and that the organization will be sending out a call for government to take that approach.
“These teleconferences are for physicians and non-physicians,” and the advice included details about COVID-19, as well as hoe to protect one’s self, who to call, and for physicians on the frontlines. “We have also put up a helpline on the aapiusa.org website,” said Dr. Reddy and so far more than two dozen queries have come in as of March 30, 2020
“The feedback has been amazing. The goal is basically educating. Physicians come to the teleconference for thir own practices on the ground with the coronavirus; Non-physicians call in to clear doubts.”
And those asking questions on the Helpline and leaving their messages, “We are responding to them right away,” Dr. Reddy said.
The latest teleconference on March 27, was held jointly with the Indian Embassy as well as the National Council of Asian Indian Americans, according to a March 30, 2020 press release from AAPI.
“While COVID-19 continues to disrupt life around the globe, AAPI is committed to helping its tens of thousands of members across the US and others across the globe,” Reddy is quoted saying in the press release, calling the teleconference the “most effective” of the several tools being used by AAPI to reach out to stakeholders and the public.
Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, vice president of AAPI, is an anesthesiology specialist in San Antonio, TX and has been practicing for 14 years, noted that AAPI serves the interests of “nearly 100,000 physicians of Indian Origin in the United States, serving every seventh patient across the United States.”
Anurag Kumar, Minister of Community Affairs at the Indian Embassy, praised AAPI’s efforts and also gave details of what the Indian government was doing in the U.S. to help Indians and particularly the 200,000 Indian students here.
“We are coordinating with the community and hotels owned by AAHOA members and arranging accommodation for students. AAPI’s taking the lead and we are proud of their contributions,” Kumar said. “Everyone is advised not to travel abroad and back to India, stay where you are until things get better,” he advised.
NCAIA was represented by Harish Kolasani- national president; Sunil K Singh- chairman; Dr. Bharat Barai, a hematology specialist in Merrillville, IN; and, Dr.Jampala Choudary, a professor of psychiatry at Rosalind Franklin University, Chicago.
Dr. Prasad Garimella, a critical care medicine specialist in Lawrenceville, GA, was the main speaker. Specializing in critical care medicine, and pulmonary disease. Dr. Garimella gave an overview of the situation in the state of Georgia, and the many challenges his state faces as the pandemic is fast spreading. “Everyone needs to act like a Health Care Professional and need to have the best attitude in order to defeat this deadly virus,” Dr. Garimella said, adding, “Social distancing is not isolating. Keep in touch with loved ones. Stay busy and stay connected. Filter and assess the news, look for credible sources to rely upon.”
Other speakers included Dr. Arunachalam Einstein, an emergency medicine specialist in Everett, WA. who gave an update of case status in his state.
Everyone coming to the Emergency Department symptomatic and non-symptomatic and the staff must wear a mask, Dr. Einstein emphasized., as that will prevent droplets from affecting others. Quoting studies and practices in many parts of the world, he said, “Even when going out to grocery shopping use masks.”
Dr. Usha Rani Karumudii, an infectious disease specialist in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania also spoke of hygiene such as frequent hand washing and social distancing, and minimizing visits to stores etc.
During the March 25, 2020, teleconference, speakers included Dr. Kalpalatha Guntupalli, Professor, Chief of Pulmonary/ Critical Care Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston: Dr. Kumar Belani, Professor, Peds Anesthesiology & Critical Care, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Dr. Krishan Kumar, Peds Emergency Medicine, New York Presbyterian Queens Hospital; Dr. Brahma Sharma, Cardiologist, UPMC Pittsburgh, PA; and, Dr. Deeptha Nedunchezian, Emergency Medicine; Infectious Diseases, Statan Island, NY.
Another major initiative of AAPI has been the “Donate a Mask” program. For more information, visit aapiusa.org.