The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin July 4 through July 8 hosted its annual convention and scientific assembly in Columbus, Ohio, with a mix of business and pomp and circumstance.

The 36th annual convention offers an exciting venue to interact with leading physicians, health professionals, academicians, and scientists of Indian origin, AAPI said in a news release.

Physicians and healthcare professionals, roughly 1,500 at the five-day event, from across the country participated in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

“The future is now. It’s time to step up to a new era of innovation through a new age of digital healthcare that transcends biological and chemical medicine into the future,” Dr. Gautam Samadder, president of AAPI, said on the opening day of the event. “As physicians we must be equipped to tackle the next generation’s unique set of challenges and opportunities in healthcare.”

Among those who addressed the physicians in attendance included world leaders, U.S. senators, Nobel laureates, governors, members of Congress and celebrities.

Humanitarian Gautam Samadder was a keynote speaker and also participated in a question-and-answer session for physician wellness programs.

Shankar, who has spearheaded an unprecedented worldwide movement for a stress-free, violence-free society, in his keynote address at the AAPI Executive Committee Luncheon, addressed the AAPI delegates to work towards preventing health problems by learning and living a stress-free life, before they could lead others to a stress-free healthy life, according to the AAPI news release. 

“The secret of meditation is in letting go,” Shankar told the gathering, which included AAPI members and their families. “Stress arises when we have too much to do, and not enough energy or time to do it. We can neither change time nor the number of things we need to do. So, the only option is to increase energy levels. And this can be accomplished through yoga, breathing techniques and meditation.”

Leading up the 20 minutes long meditation session, Shankar told the doctors, “Meditation is that space where thoughts have subsided and the mind is in complete rest. Meditation is the journey from movement to stillness, from sound to silence.” “Surrender is not an act, it is a state of your being. Whether you acknowledge it or not, it is there,” he said. “The wise wake up and see, the unwise take a longer time. Know that you have no choice, you are in a state of surrender deep within you.”

Samadder said AAPI and the convention was fortunate to have Shankar at the event, saying he “has graciously come and be with us enlighten us all with his wisdom.”

Samadder felicitated his executive committee members with a plaque for their leadership and support for the past year under his leadership during the event as well.

Dr. Naresh Parikh, president-elect; Dr. Suresh Reddy, vice president; Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, secretary; Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, treasurer; and Dr. Ashok Jain, chairman of the board of trustees, were among those who were recognized for their dedication and commitment to AAPI.

Dr. Vanila M. Singh, the Indian American chief medical officer for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in her address, shared with the audience the initiatives of Trump administration on healthcare policy and effective delivery of services. She provided a detailed description of her department and the vital services she and the department provide to the nation. 

Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and Acharya Lokesh Muni did the ceremonial lamp lighting to officially inaugurate the convention. 

“You have excelled in your fields of medicine, and thus make significant contributions through hard work, commitment and dedication to your profession and the people you are committed to serve,” Ginther said.

Acharya Lokesh Muni, in his address, highlighted the importance of having a platform such as this to share knowledge. He underscored the importance of ancient Indian wisdom that is the basis for modern medicine. While praising the contribution of the physicians to the world, he reminded them that they are participating in the work of God and what they do today will shape the future of the world, AAPI said.

Indian Parliament member Vallabhbhai Katharia spoke at the event as well, praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi while also urging the AAPI to endow an AAPI chair in India to share the knowledge and experience of AAPI members with their counterparts in India.

Dr. Veena Gandhi of the Health Foundation of Rural India shared with the audience the immense job the Foundation does in 70,000 villages across India, benefitting millions of people, AAPI said. 

The event kicked off with an AAPI’s Got Talent contest featuring a plethora of talents such as music, dance, magic, drama and poetry among other skills showcased by physicians from across the country.

Shree Saini, Miss India USA, made a special appearance at the event to describe her experiences as a pageant winner and her services to humanity.

The second day of the convention featured an AAPI pageant to promote self-confidence, leadership, poise and public speaking skills.

There was also a fundraising event during the festivities led by the AAPI Charitable Foundation, as well as a fashion show by Rohit Verma.

Samir Shah, 16; and Saar Shah, 15, two Indian American kids who have raised over $413,000 in a seven-week campaign for blood cancer research, helping them win the national title of Students of the Year, were honored for their commitment.

The annual event offered 12 hours of CME credits. The CME program was designed to meet the educational needs of primary care physicians involved in the care of patients with atrial fibrillation, HIV, diabetes, dyslipidemia, depression, prostate and hematologic malignancies and back pain.

Additionally, the convention featured an exhibition hall with large exhibit booth spaces in which the healthcare industry had the opportunity to engage, inform and educate the physicians directly.

AAPI, which represents the interests of the more than 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, is among the largest ethnic organizations of physicians.

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