Chicago, Illinois — Healthcare has come to occupy center stage in recent times, especially after the launch of the Affordable Health Care Act enabling nearly millions of Americans to buy or obtain healthcare coverage. Physicians play a central role in providing healthcare services to every individual, both in preventing as well as treating diseases. Physicians of Indian origin in the United States are reputed to be leading healthcare providers, holding crucial positions in various hospitals and healthcare facilities around the nation and the world.
Dr. Jayesh Shah, president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has been right on task in leading an organization that represents more than 100,000 physicians and fellows of Indian origin in the U.S. and providing a forum to its members to collectively work together to meet their diverse needs.
“I am proud to report that the state of AAPI is strong. We have made significant progress; our reputation, our credibility, our member engagement, our sponsor commitment and our financial status is stronger than ever,” said Dr. Shah, who is passing on the mantle of AAPI’s leadership to Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar during the convention in San Antonio, TX June 28.
“I am humbled and honored for this opportunity bestowed on me to serve as the president of this esteemed organization,” he added. “The current executive committee has been in office for the most eventful one year. During my inaugural address at the Chicago Annual Convention, I shared with you the major projects AAPI is undertaking this year.
Dr. Shah recalled some of the successes over the year, such as the nine-city musical tour and the regional conferences. Every regional conference attracted almost full attendance from each region, and edducational conferences were very well-attended. A childhood obesity awareness message was delivered to more than 20,000 people during the conference and to a wider audience around the world through the media. The multi-city mini-seminars are a novel concept for education and recreation that helped raise funds for the local chapters of AAPI, the national AAPI and the AAPI Charitable Foundation.
AAPI was joined by the Indo-American Psychiatric Association in America and the Association of Cardiologists of Indian Origin. The seminars and workshops were led by accomplished faculty of leading cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and psychiatrists.
Dr. Shah said, “I want to thank all the nine-city conveners and hundreds of volunteers who worked very hard to make these conferences very successful. AAPI Family/CME Cruise was an awesome way to bond with fellow AAPI members.” About 185 physicians and their families enjoyed a week of education, friendship, networking and bonding together.
At the first meeting for strategic planning in New York City on Aug.17, 2013, 20 AAPI members of the executive committee, board of trustees and other leaders met to give strategic direction to AAPI and developed the “Vision 2020” document. The members who had convened discussed five main topics — governance, communications, financial health, legislation and focus on India, and concrete plans and practical guidelines for implementation of goals were developed. AAPI also had a wonderful women’s conference with amazing speakers. This event was jointly organized by the AAPI, the AAPI New York City Metro Chapter and the New York County Medical Society Aug. 18.
AAPI’s first ever Capitol Hill Health Care Symposium on Sept. 18, 2013 discussed immigration reform and healthcare policy. Twenty U.S. lawmakers addressed the dozens of AAPI delegates who had come from across the nation, pledging support to AAPI’s legislative agenda, Dr. Shah said.
The 8th annual Global Healthcare Summit held at Ahmedabad Medical Association from Jan. 2-4 was a great success. The summit concluded with the valedictory event and Research Contest award ceremony. Over 1,000 delegates, which included a record 350 international delegates, attended this event that was filled with dozens of educational workshops, CME seminars and insightful interactive forums, cultural programs, laser show, awards ceremony, inaugural and valedictory events and dinner receptions.
For the first time ever, a highly competitive Research and Poster Contest was organized. AAPI conducted several workshops including ACLS/BLS, Advance Endoscopy, Advance Wound Care, and Head and Neck Oncology. The AAPI-AHA partnership was started with opening an international training center at Baroda Medical College. AHA Vice President John Meiners attended the event.
AAPI’s Missions committee with AAPI Charitable foundation conducted the first health camp after global health care summit inGujarat from Jan 5-9, 2014. Organized by the AAPI Charitable Foundation, more than two dozen physicians did pro bono services during the health camp, treating over 1,800 patients. Many volunteers also performed specialized surgeries at theRMS Hospital, which serves approximately 450 villages in the region. AAPI truly thanks all the volunteer physicians who took part in the camps. Health Camp in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh for three days, starting on March 1st, 2014under the leadership of Dr. Chander & Onaly Kapasi went very well being organized.
Dr. Shah led AAPI delegation to the PBD in New Delhi and presented on the topic of “Health Care Opportunities inIndia and Role of AAPI” on January 9th, 2014. He also represented AAPI at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) meeting on January 10th and presented to the FICCI on the topic of “Health Innovations and Medical Tourism.”
AAPI also held its first YPS young physicians meet with over 150 delegates in Miami from Jan. 17-20. Dr. Shah said, “Young physicians are excited to join AAPI. YPS and MSRF leadership is extremely dynamic. They want to work from the ground up. The AAPI town hall was extremely productive. Young physicians brought great suggestions to make AAPI a force to reckon with.”
Topics such as physician shortage, J-1 visa waiver program, immigration reform, permanent fix to the Medicare SGR, medical liability reform, tuberculosis prevention and funding were discussed during the annual Legislative Day Mar. 27. Over 120 members of AAPI and nearly two dozen U.S. lawmakers attended. AAPI members also supported the nomination of Dr. Vivek H. Murthy (AAPI’s young physician member) as Surgeon General of the United States.
“The Childhood Obesity Committee of 15 AAPI physicians formed in February 2013 has come up with AaS-COAC (Adopt a School - Childhood Obesity Awareness Campaign) whose guidelines are on our website,” Dr. Shah said. The goal is to conduct school walkathons and events in at least 100 schools in 50 states in the nation. “We hope to do most of them in the month of September as President Obama proclaimed September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness month,” he added.
Under Dr. Shah’s leadership, AAPI has launched educational networks of renowned thought leaders in the areas of cardiology, diabetes and stroke to foster education of AAPI physicians in these important areas which heavily impact the Indian American community. AAPI’s new “Oncology Network” is to be formed in Cincinnati under the leadership of Dr. Kirti Jain and Dr. Sateesh Kathula. AAPI, with the help of Dr. Vemuri Murthy, signed a memorandum of understanding that will help AAPI to develop international training centers in India to facilitate the education of ACLS/BLS in India. The first meeting of AAPI-AHA was held Nov. 17, 2013 at Dallas, Texas during AHA symposium
AAPI and ACP will work together for mutual goals of increasing membership, the Observership Program and developing a scientific session for the ACP annual conference, ACP India meetings and AAPI annual convention. AAPI, with the help of Dr. Thakor Patel, signed a memorandum of understanding to expand the “Sevak Project” in multiple villages in India. AAPI joined hands with the National Medical Association and several other associations of diverse American cultures to communicate shared passion and resolve for addressing the critical need to improve “minority” representation in clinical trials, data supporting marketing applications for products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Summarizing the year past and the years ahead, Dr. Shah said, “We still have a few more challenges and lots more opportunities. AAPI has faced some turbulence from time to time and we have overcome those and have come out stronger. AAPI is developing an e-platform by end of the year with a complete update of our website so we can provide an e-learning experience in chronic diseases to our members. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the AAPI executive committee, board of trustees and the AAPI Charitable Foundation for their help and support.”