Chicago IL: Indian American Medical Association of Illinois (IAMA-IL) celebrated a very special 35th Annual Meeting and Gala Banquet on November 21, 2015 at the Meadows Club Grand Ball Room at the Rolling Meadows, Chicago. Despite the worst day of the month with 6 inches of snow and cold weather, the event was well attended by members and guests. 2015 has been a very successful year for IAMA under the leadership of Dr. Samir Shah, the president of IAMA.
Dr. Gopal Lalmalani, the past president of IAMA-IL and the Mayor of Oak brook wrote in his letter to Dr. Samir Shah; “As we celebrate 35 years of service to our physician community, allow me to thank you for your gallant services to our membership as President this year. Your effective leadership and sheer passion to the service of our members, is so obvious that you have raised the bar significantly this past year and for that we feel most grateful to you.”
Dignitaries present were Dr. Thomas Anderson and his wife Teresa, President Elect, Illinois State Medical Society, Dr. Gopal and Nitu Lalmalani, Past President of IAMA and Mayor of Oak Brook, Mr. Mickey Straub, Mayor of Burr Ridge and Mr. Raja Krishnamurthy , running for Congress, 8th District and Dr. Arvind Goyal, Medical Director of Illinois Dept. of Public Aide.
The crowning glory of the event was the spectacular video presentation of the IAMA (IL), 35 Years of history from its conception to present status, created by Mr. Biju Zacharia, CEO of the Media Eyes and production team of Asianet, USA. This nostalgic journey of 35 years brought back the sweet memories of good old days for many past presidents present. This fabulous presentation expertly done as a TV special report, nicely done by our own young leaders Dr. Rajan Shah and Dr. Poonam Merai, acting as special reporters. The history covered many Community and Health services provided by IAMA (IL) from 1981 to 2015, exploring the leadership and the legacy of many past presidents, who are still giving their services to humanity, medical organizations and community.
Cocktail Reception started at 5:30 pm till 7:00 pm. Members enjoyed sumptuous appetizers and booths presented by various sponsors. The Grand sponsor for the event was Wealth Planning Network (Mr. Michael Jankowski, President) and the Gold sponsor for the event was Goldstone Financial Group (Anthony Pellegrino, President). IAMA greatly appreciates all the Booth sponsors and the Advertisers for the Souvenir.
Master of Ceremonies were Dr. Vijay Prabhakar and Dr. Radhika Chimata, pleasing the crowd with excellent and efficient job as MC’s. The Indian National Anthem was recited by our popular singer Dr. Virendra Mathur and the American National Anthem by rising star and excellent singer Dr. Radhika Chimata in her sweet voice.
Dr. Samir Shah, the President of IAMA (IL) opened the evening gala, thanking members, executive committee members, board of directors and the sponsors. He stressed the importance of leadership, hard work and commitment to excellence. His Vision, Implementation and Action plan unveiled in February was the strongest force behind many of the new initiatives started this year. 2015 was exciting and action packed year with 10 Community Health and Education events working with Religious and Spiritual Organizations like Chinmaya Mission- Chicago, The Shreejidwar Temple in Addison, The Jain Temple of Chicago and many more. Members enjoyed the special “Red Saree Event” bringing awareness of Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes in Indian Community. IAMA provided more than 15 Educational events to members and provided information on 25-30 Hours of free CME in Chicago area.
Important new initiatives include beginning of IAMA Office with a part time secretary, new improved IAMA website, Karaoke Club, progress towards having our own CME programs and creating a dynamic group of young physicians. They are our leaders of tomorrow. In 2016, IAMA will recognize 5 top teachers from different teaching institutions of Chicago. IAMA trip to South Africa, Golf Outing Event, Golden Stethoscope Event and IAMA’s Charity Foundation Semiannual Event in April, raising more than $ 125,000, were all very successful and well appreciated by members.
The Guest of Honor was Rear Admiral Dr. James Lando, Assistant Surgeon General of United States. Stressing the importance of historic and exciting time in the American Healthcare and public healthcare systems, he congratulated IAMA for the hard work, dedication and service to members and community. On behalf of Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, he thanked IAMA (IL) and appeal the members to continue health and prevention initiatives started by Dr. Murthy.
The Keynote Speaker and special Guest, Congressman Peter Roskam addressed the members. Acknowledging the challenges in the public health care and role of government, he thanked IAMA leadership and members for serving community and providing excellent medical services. First Lady Mrs. Prerana (Bella) Shah presented handcrafted wool shawls to Mrs. Lando and Mr. Roskam, as a small token of appreciation on behalf of IAMA.
The Lifetime Achievements Awards for 2015 were given to Dr. Tapas K. Dasgupta, IAMA’s very first president in 1981, serving two years and Dr. Shashtri Swaminathan, also past President of IAMA in 1992 as well as many organizations like CMS and ISMS, for their continued Leadership, Teaching, Service to Community and Medical Organizations.
Dr. Shah presented IAMA Community Service Award to Mr. Jayanti Thakkar for his lifelong services and dedication to community, organizing 37 Health Fairs over 26 years. The IAMA Leadership Award was given to Dr. Bapu Arekapudi, for his Dedication and Selfless Service, managing IAMA website for last 7 presidents and his passion for photography for IAMA Events.
Vote of Thanks was given by Dr. Umang Patel, our Past president as well as the President of the Vaishnav Samaj of Chicago (VSM) and Shreejidwar Temple. Flower bouquet were presented to Mrs. Paragi Patel, Chair of Auxiliary Committee, Mrs. Bella Shah and Mr. Kishore Chugh for hard work and dedication for IAMA, Mr. Suresh Bodiwala , a passionate Photographer, Chairman, Asian Media, Mrs. Vandana Jhingan from TV Asia and Mr. Prashant Shah, Publisher and Owner of India Tribune for their support and services to community.
Members enjoyed the delicious dinner prepared by the Meadows Club Chef. The evening ended with two and half hours of the most spectacular Entertainment Program by Niche Entertainment “The Trendsetters” depicting the exacting history of 100 years of Bollywood. The stage settings, the singers, the dancers and the narrations were outstanding and captivating, keeping the audience mesmerized by the popular songs and music till 11:30 pm.
“The enthusiasm, food and the camaraderie made the trek to Rolling Meadows on the snowiest day in Chicago history, seem like a walk in the woods” Dr. Thomas Anderson, the President Elect of IAMS wrote in his letter to Dr. Shah.
“You have created history in the annals of IAMA yesterday! Your dedication, hard work and perfection are commendable! Proud of your leadership of IAMA!” Dr. Vemury Murthy, past president of IAMA wrote to Dr. Samir Shah.