Dr. Ajay Lodha, past president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, passed away Nov. 21 due to complications from COVID-19, according to a press release.
“We are shocked and saddened at the passing away of Dr. Ajay Lodha, a visionary leader and past president of AAPI,” Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, president of AAPI, said Nov. 22.
Lodha passed away peacefully, after fighting COVID valiantly for the last eight months at the Cleveland Clinic, surrounded by his wife Smita, his son Amit and his daughter Shweta.
Describing this day as “the darkest day in AAPI history,” Jonnalgadda, who has known him personally and had worked with at the Executive Committee of AAPI under the leadership of Lodha, said, “In his passing away today, I have lost a dear friend, mentor, and brother. We will cherish the wonderful days we spent together. Ajay, you will live in our hearts forever.”
Dr. Sajani Shah, chairwoman of AAPI’s Board of Trustees, said, “The deadly Corona virus has placed the entire healthcare sector, and in particular the Indian American medical fraternity, at the frontlines of the fight against the pandemic. We are deeply saddened by another hero, who gave up his life in caring for his patients.”
Lodha was well known in the community and among his fellow physicians as a leader with a powerhouse of entrepreneurial skills. He had an extensive background of overseeing quality assurance and quality improvement. He was a past president of RANA and RAJMAAI (Rajasthan Medical Alumni Association Inc.), a police surgeon with Nassau County PBA and director of Research Department at Flushing Hospital in New York.
A past president of AAPIQLI, Lodha was a former chief medical officer and senior vice president of the Caritas Health Care System representing St. John's Hospital and Mary Immaculate Hospital in New York. Lodha was appointed a member of Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos’s MWBE Advisory Council in 2015.
An internist by profession, Lodha has had experiences in leading almost all areas of medicine. He owned two nursing homes in Long Island, New York, and has been credited as the founder of the Accountable Care Organization and the Independent Physicians Association.
Born in Rajasthan, Lodha, a graduate of RNT Medical College, Udaipur, Rajasthan, completed his residency at Flushing Hospital. He was the founder and president of Queens Medical Services, a primary care practice with two locations serving Queens, New York, since 1995.
The New York-based physician, who was honored with the prestigious Ellis Island Medals of Honor in 2016, rose through the ranks of AAPI and served as the president of AAPI from 2015-16. He was a recipient of the Lawrence J. Scherr Award of Excellence for being an Outstanding Physician. In 2008, he received the Nargis Dutt Memorial Foundation Physician of the Year Award.
During the AAPI convention in 2016, at the AAPI Board of Trustees Luncheon Gala, Lodha was honored for his outstanding leadership, commitment to AAPI’s mission..
“Dr. Ajay Lodha was very passionate about AAPI and a champion fundraiser. He was always there for everyone 24/7. He served as an advisor to several AAPI presidents. Dr. Lodha served as a mentor to several young upcoming leaders in AAPI. He will remain in our memories forever,” Jonnalagadda said.
In his honor, AAPI is creating an AAPI Lodha Distinguished Service Award through GoFundMe.com and is seeking donations to help make an impact and to educate members of the medical profession on current activities and new products in the medical field, said the release. For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org or to donate, visit https://events.aapiusa.org/memorial-fund/