ATLANTA, Ga. – Dr. Suresh Reddy, a young neuro-interventional radiologist, July 6 assumed charge as the 36th president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin for 2019-20 during the 37th annual AAPI convention at the Omni Atlanta at CNN Center and Georgia World Congress Center here. 

“I promise to align all the energies to make AAPI an enormous force,” the Indian American physician declared immediately after assuming charge of the largest ethnic medical association in the country, according to a press release.

Over 2,000 delegates from across the nation cheered and wished him well in his new role, leading the dynamic and vibrant organization.

Reddy received the gavel from Dr. Naresh Parikh, the outgoing president of AAPI, on the final day of the convention.

Reddy’s team includes Dr. Seema Arora, who will serve as the chair of board of trustees; Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, president-elect of AAPI; Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, vice president; Dr. Vijay Kolli, secretary; Dr. Raj Bhayani, treasurer; Dr. Stella Gandhi, president of the Young Physician section; and Dr. Anubhav Jain, president of the Medical Student and Resident section.

The four-day-long annual event was packed with activities, celebrating the success story of Indian American physicians and the fast growing Indian American community at large, offering an intimate setting that facilitated sharing of knowledge about cutting-edge research through CMEs, promoting personal, professional and business relationships, and displaying ethnic items, and an array of ethnic cuisine. 

The convention is filled with CMEs, a Women’s Forum, CEO Forum, Obesity Awareness Walk, entertainment, mehfil, research contest, spiritual and political discourses, fashion parade, speech contests, ‘AAPI Has Got Talent’, networking, fellowship, honoring of past presidents and board of trustees. 

Shri Sadhguru, recognized around the world for his pioneering efforts to nurture global harmony, inaugurated the convention with his spiritual discourse on July 4.

In his keynote address, Sadhguru said, “The moment we learn to see things as they are, we will be peaceful. No one can make me happy or angry. I do it to myself by choice. You need to treat the lifestyle illness. What happens within you is your choice 100 percent.”

Dr. Patricia Harris, president of the American Medical Association, referred to some of the key initiatives AMA has been pursuing in recent years.

She spoke about AMA’s three strategic areas: attacking the dysfunction in health care by removing obstacles and burdens that interfere with patient care; driving the future of medicine by reimagining medical education, training and lifelong learning for future generation of physicians, and by promoting innovation to tackle the biggest challenges in health care; and leading the charge to confront the chronic disease crisis and improve the health of the nation.

On July 3, the Georgia chapter of AAPI hosted the inaugural dinner event with a gala and recognition of various individuals who had worked hard to put together the convention, along with mesmerizing cultural events by local artists.

In his address, Dr. Sreeni Gangasani acknowledged the efforts of the local committees that made the events spectacularly successful.

In her address, Consul General of India in Atlanta Swati Vijay Kulkarni praised the many contributions of AAPI members in the United States and back home in India.

“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,” she said. 

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthy praised the achievements of the Indian American community and the doctors who are the role models for the rest of America. He urged AAPI leaders to take an active role in local and national politics, in order to be able to shape the destiny of the nation. 

An Obesity Awareness Walk led by Dr. Uma Koduri and other AAPI leaders at the famous Centennial Park drew hundreds of doctors and their family members as they walked around the park wearing yellow T-shirts proclaiming to the world the need to create awareness of a healthy lifestyle. 

At the Executive Committee Luncheon, members of the association were honored, including senior advisers to the team led by Parikh along with senior AAPI leaders and presidents, including S. Purohit, Vinod Shah, Dr. Narendra Kumar and Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar. 

The focus of the convention was on education and sharing of expertise with fellow colleagues in the profession.

Some of the major themes as part of the CME sessions included: Pursuit of Happiness In Medicine; Burnout Prevention and Wellness in Physicians; Easy Life of a Hospitalist: An Illusion; and Meditation and Mindfulness.

Other themes at the CME included Combining Ancient Sciences and Modern Medicine in the Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases; Mysteries of Type 2 Diabetes in South Asians - the Unresolved Questions; and Cardio-oncology: Clinical Practice and Echocardiography. 

At the Luncheon Gala hosted by AAPI’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Ajith Kothari provided an update on the efforts of Board of Trustees under his leadership in strengthening AAPI.

Dr. Seema Arora, the incoming BOT chair, assumed charge at the event and stated her commitment to continue to strengthen AAPI and work with the team to make AAPI financially sound and responsive to the needs of larger AAPI body. 

Also, for the first time, all past AAPI presidents and past BOT chairs were recognized and honored with a decorative shawl for their able leadership and continued guidance of AAPI. AAPI’s talent segment and mehfil, led by Dr. Amit Chakraborthy and Dr. Hemant Dhingra, kept the audience enchanted every night often until early hours of every morning, where AAPI members showcased their talents in art and music. Golf with cricketer Kapil Dev and his keynote address at the final gala, a special address by Bollywood actor Gulshan Grover, and the signing of books by the two legends and donating their sale of books to AAPI and its Charitable Foundation were other highlights of the convention. 

The Women’s Forum, chaired by Dr. Asha Parikh and Dr. Udaya Shivangi, featured Bollywood actor Preity Zinta, designer Archana Kochar, who promotes India and Indian-ness through fashion; Swati Kulkarni; Aparna Bhattacharya, executive director of Raksha, who has won awards for her relentless community service; Malini Moorthy, vice president of Medtroics, and Dr. Ila Shah, a physician and AAPI leader. 

“The Women’s Forum is where successful and powerful women come and share their life’s dreams, challenges and this empower and inspire other women. Today’s forum is about how career changes by women affect them and the larger society,” Parikh said.

In her keynote address, Zinta said, “Women have come to be successful and they have to be working really hard.” She stressed the need for equal wages. Respecting women and have them walk shoulder to shoulder with men is the biggest challenge, she said.

Bhattacharya shared with the audience about her own advocacy role she and RAKSHA are doing in Georgia and other southern states. Describing violence against women as “most shameful,” Bhattacharya said the prevalence of violence against women is a global phenomenon. She called for the need for education towards gender sensitization.

Moorthy told the delegates, “I strongly believe in promoting equality. You are the role models for all of us here. Keep fighting and support one another.”

Kochar spoke about guiding our children to make career choices in the highly competitive fashion world.

The 37th annual AAPI Convention, while providing physicians of Indian origin an opportunity to come together in an atmosphere of collegiality, has enabled them to retrace and appreciate their common roots, culture and the bond that unites them as members of this large professional community, noted the release. 

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