Physicians raise funds for suicide prevention at Diwali Banquet, meeting in Atlanta

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India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan and Consul General of India in Atlanta Dr. Swati Kulkarni were the chief guests at the October 7-9, AAPI-GAPI Diwali gala and fundraiser. Photo: AAPI_GAPI

More than 250 delegates from around the United States   attended the annual Governing Body Meeting and Diwali- Dussehra Celebrations hosted jointly by the national American Association Of Physicians Of Indian Origin (AAPI) and the Georgia Association Of Physicians Of Indian Origin Chapter October 7 to 9, 2022, at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel in Atlanta, GA.

India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan and the  Consul General of India in Atlanta, Dr. Swati Kulkarni were the chief guests at the Gala. A lamp-lighting ceremony kicked off the event.

Continuing Medical Education seminars, good food, elegant decorations, and entertainment with Bollywood and Garba Nite by popular artists led by Samir and Dipalee were enjoyed by attendees.

AAPI Women’s Forum members pose for a photo during the October 7 to 9, 2022, AAPI-GAPI Diwali celebrations and governing body meetings in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: AAPI, GAPI
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The gala began with Dr. Uma Johnnalagadda, president of GAPI, Dr. Sreeni Ganagasani, and Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, welcoming community members, family, friends, colleagues, and sponsors.

In his presidential address, Dr. Ravi Kolli, president of national AAPI, thanked the GAPI leadership – Drs. Uma Jonnalagadda, Sreeni Gangasani, Raghu Lolabhattu, Raj Alappan, Tarak Patel, Amol Takalkar, Syamala Erramilli, Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, Brahma, Amol, Chandana, Mukul, Uday and the rest of the organizing committee for the team work involved in making the event a success, including the fundraising Campaign.

As September is recognized as “National Suicide Prevention Month,” the AAPI Women’s Forum initiated a fundraiser to support suicide awareness programs.

According to the AAPI press release, during and post Covid, physician burnout and the suicide rate among physicians had gone up. The organization estimates that every year about 200 + physicians die by suicide.

AAPI-GAPI executive members at Diwali Banquet & Governing Body Meeting In Atlanta which also raised funds For Suicide Prevention October 7-9, 2022. Photo: AAPI-GAPI

Suicide has a devastating effect on the lives of family members, friends, co-workers, and society. In 2021, in the US alone, more than 47,000 people lost their lives to suicide, Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI’s Women’s Forum said. “By learning the signs, starting conversations, understanding barriers, and sharing resources we can all contribute to preventing this loss of precious life,” she added.

The amount, of $15,000 raised during the Gala has been donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Georgia Chapter. A check was presented to the Board Chair for the Georgia chapter of AFSP Cheryl Cloar during the GAPI-AAPI Gala on October 8. Women’s Forum members involved in the drive include Dr. Gita Mehta, Dr. Manju Sachdeva, Dr. Sapna Aggarwal, Dr. Anupama Bhatt, Dr. Sunitha Polepalli, Dr. Hetal Gor, Dr. Shubha Jain, Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala, Dr. Malti Mehta, Dr. Ammu Thampi Susheela, Dr. Indira Veerisetty and Advisor, Dr. Anjana Samadder.

Attendees were informed of the next Global Healthcare Summit planned to be held in Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh from January 6-8, 2023.  Members were urged to register and attend (summit.aapiusa.org).

The GHS 2023 will focus on Mental Health, Infant and Maternal Mortality and a range of other subjects as well as cultural and popular entertainment programs. Organizers described it as a “one-of-a-kind experience at a unique and novel location.”

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