New York, NY: July 4th, 2016: CMEs, CEO/Leadership/Women’s Forums, Spiritual Discourses, Educational Seminars, Fashion Show, Mega Entertainment, Awards, Contests, Speeches, & Networking were some of the highlights of the 34thannual convention of 34th annual convention of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square, New York City from June 30th to July 4th, 2016.
Attended by a record 2,000 delegates from across the nation, the spectacular event was a way of showcasing the strength and achievements of the more than 100,000 physicians of Indian origin who have earned a name for themselves in this country with their hard work, excellence, compassionate care, academic and scientific endeavors.
Dr. Lodha, who was administered the oath of office as the President of AAPI during the 34th annual convention in New York on July 3rd, 2016 vowed to take the more than three decades old organization to the new heights and “bring all the AAPI Chapters, Regions, Members of the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees to work cohesively and unitedly for the success of AAPI and the realization of its noble mission.”
Acknowledging that leading AAPI is a daunting challenge, Dr. Lodha said, “I’m very honored, privileged and consider myself fortunate to announce that I have an excellent group of dedicated, hardworking, and loyal officers and executive committee members who are with me to take AAPI to new heights.”
Dr. Lodha received the gavel from Dr. Seema Jain, the out-going president of AAPI as the more than 2,000 delegates cheered loudly, greeting the new President of AAPI, the largest ethnic medical association in the United States. Along with him, Dr. Gautam Samadder as President-Elect, Dr. Naresh Parikh as Vice President, Dr. Suresh Reddy as Secretary, and Dr. Manju Sachdev as the Treasurer of AAPI, assumed charge in the presence of leading luminaries from across the nation. Dr. Madhu Agarwal assumed charge as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, AAPI by the out-going chairman, Dr. Aravind Pillai. He stressed the importance of having YPS president Aditya Desai and MSRF President Atul Nakshi along with a diversified group of regional directors. “Their leadership will help us move forward with our current and future initiatives.”
In his keynote address on the final nite, Preeth Barara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said, “Welcome to my jurisdiction,” to all the AAPI delegates from across the nation, and added, “It’s an honor to be with the greatest selection of Indian Americans gathered in one place, except for in a spelling bee.” He said, he wanted to address two problems: One affecting people’s physical body and the other affecting the political body. Both are central to our wellbeing, he said …describing personal experiences…I am glad about the way people are responding today to . Opiate addiction, as we are aware that thousands of people are dying of this epidemic.
He advocated the physicians to be in the front line treating this epidemic. He drew the attention of the community to the dangers of over prescribing. “This epidemic is killing our children.” He suggested that physicians educate the patients and the community; provide treatment…we need to get them out of the addiction, he said and added, if the insurance companies are denying they should be scrutinized; and finally, he asked the physicians to “look at your own profession. You are uniquely placed to work with this kind of problem. In a very passionate way, Barara advocated with the AAPI members to be aware of and work towards stopping hate crimes involving South Asian community. “Anything is possible in America, which is like no other place on earth. I am filled with ambition and optimism,” he added.
In her welcome address, Dr. Seema Jain, President of AAPI, reminded AAPI delegates from across the nation of the historic nature of the convention. “The Future is now– Its 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. As physicians we must be equipped to tackle the next generation’s unique set of challenges and opportunities in healthcare,” Dr. Seema Jain said.
The convention began here with a panel discussion on “Health Care 2020 & Beyond,” moderated by CNN anchor, Dr. Fareed Zakaria and in an interview style open forum by US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, as well as CEO Forums featuring healthcare leaders on Thursday June 30, 2016. The two hours long discussions were very well attended by a packed audience in rapt silence and attention. The session for the day on “Health Care 2020 & Beyond” moderated by Dr. Fareed Zakaria, had featured Bob Oliver; Omar Ishrak; Michael Antoniades; and Dr. Arthur Klein;.Deepak Nath.
In conversation with Dr. Fareed Zakaria, US Surgeon General – Dr. Vivek Murthy shared with an enthusiastic audience about his background, key public health initiatives, including disease prevention through healthy eating, active living, need for sleep, wise use of modern technologies, and emotional well-being. Describing the importance of his upcoming health education report from his office on the need for ensuring health equity for all communities and fighting off threats to health drugs and addiction, Dr. Murthy said, “How the nation looks at addiction is very important and it can help prevent addiction.” Commenting that incarceration is not a solution to drug addiction, he said, “it adds to the problem.” He said, “If you help change people’s attitudes, we can help solve the problem.” Dr. Murthy had some very important tips on ways to healthy living, which was much appreciated by one and all.
With ribbon cutting and lighting of the traditional lamp below a beautifully decorated arch, Ambassador Arun Singh, India’s Ambassador to the United States, officially inaugurated the annual event of the physicians of Indian origin. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Singh 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,” he said. While conveying his greetings and best wishes to AAPI leaders for the success of the convention, Ambassador described the fast growing health sector, particularly the pharmaceutic industry in India.
In his passionate address, Dr. Prasad Srinivasan, a State Representative of the state of Connecticut, challenged his colleagues in the medical profession to be hardworking, dedicated to public cause, family-oriented and stay focused, which are keys to becoming state and national elected officials. “We have the choice to be at the table or on the table. Given our heritage, we the Indian Americans belong at the table. Get actively involved in the affairs of the local community and that’s the path to larger role in the nation,” he said.
India’s Consul General in New York, Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, lauded the many initiatives AAPI both in India and the United States, while wishing them a successful convention.
Congressman Lee Zeldin, said, Physicians of Indian origin are well known around the world for their compassion, passion for patient care, medical skills, research, and leadership. “Indian-Americans constitute about one percent of the country’s population, but you account for nine percent of the American doctors and physicians, serving one out of seven patients being treated across the nation.”
The convention was packed with back to back seminars and CMEs and conferences, including Auxiliary/Spouse Program, Diamond Selection Activity, India Global Engagement Innovation and Entrepreneur Seminar, and inspiring speeches at the Leadership Seminar on “Aligning management thinking with patient care: Building an effective medical practice” by Dr. Dipak Jain and “Should I encourage my child to go to medical school? The future of medical education and medicine as a profession, and Rutgers’ plans as a case study?” by Dr. Brian Storm.
“This is the best of all Leadership Seminars by AAPI,” Dr. Seema Jain declared after the inspirational speeches. During the delicious Dinner Reception, delegates were treated with “Regional Flavors of India.”
The days were filled with back to back CMEs on cutting edge technologies, modern trends in diagnosing treating patients. This CME program has been jointly sponsored by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin and has been designed to meet the educational needs of Primary Care physicians – Internists, Family Practitioners, Pediatricians, and Specialists – Cardiology, Oncology, Endocrinology, Surgery and other specialties involved in the care of patients with Atrial Fibrillation, HIV disease, Diabetes, Dyslipidemia, Depression, Prostate and Hematologic malignancies and Back pain.
“What we call feeling healthy, is not just the absence of disease, but having a sense of wholeness within us. If we feel like a complete being in our body, mind and spirit, that is when we are truly healthy,” Sadhguru, founder of Founder of Isha Foundation, told a packed audience, who came to receive his words of wisdom and blessings. Sadhguru, dressed in his long robe and sash, was addressing the delegates at the annual convention of Physicians of Indian Origin on July 2nd, at the Marriott Marquis in New York City on “Life Sense: Technologies for Wellbeing.” Sadhguru’s wit and piercing logic provoked and broadened the thoughts and perception of life of every participant.
Other events included a session by AAPI Charitable Foundation on ways to give back to one’s motherland and the adopted land. Winners of the Research/Poster Presentation were recognized during the AAPI Executive Committee Recognition Lunch, during which, delegates had an opportunity to hear from Dr. Vas Narasimhan, Global Head Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis, Switzerland; Arthur Klien, Medical President at Mt. Sinai Medical Center; Eric Paterson, US VP Diversity Dealer Relations; and Ramakrishna of the Ramakrishna Hospital in Tamil Nadu, India.
Dr. Charanji Rihal of the Mayo Clinic addressed the audience on “Effect of Affordable Care Act on Physicians Healthcare Provider and Hospital Systems,” while Naveen Jain, Founder & CEO Blue Dot, spoke passionately about “Future of Healthcare in the world of Exponential Technologies” Other speakers of the day included, Dr. Chandy Abraham, CEO, Cayman Hospital.
Shankar Mahadevan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Aditya Narayan and Indian Idol Juniors, took the AAPI delegates by storm. “Each of the three mega stars led a group of talented artists and stars from Bollywood and from the United States,” said Dr. Ratan Mirchandani, Chair of the Entertainment Committee for AAPI Convention. “With 12 leading stars to entertain in one weekend during AAPI convention in the Big Apple, this mega event was truly historic,” he added.
The delegates were treated with scintillating entertainment performance by Bollywood singer Sunidhi Chauhan. Young artists, including Aditya Narayan and Indian Idol Junior Group from India showcased their talents before a packed audience beyond mid-night. The grand finale was a live performance by Shankar Mahadevan and team, showcasing their musical talents before a lively audience.
This year’s Fashion Show was led by Rohini Bedi. The much sought after South Asian designer Rohini Bedi from California presented her exclusive collection 2016, The Colors Of India. Rohini’s collection infused the vibrant colors of the East and the jaw dropping designs that rocked the runways in the West.
As women, you burn yourselves in the process of accomplishing things in life, Chandrika Tandon, a 2011 GRAMMY nominated artist and a Billboard Nominee for top 40 Women in Music 2011, told a packed audience at the Women’s Forum. Being a wife, mother, businesswoman, artiste, each role she plays is so demanding. But, Tandon said, she was able to all of them. Tandon suggested that everyone needs to have the courage that comes from competence; the courage that comes from compassion; and, the courage that comes from contemplation. Woman is a powerful force that can move everything. One must believe that I am the power. I am the light.”
Kim Guadagno, Lt. Governor of New Jersey, Dr. Sherine Gabriel, Dean of Rutgers RWJM School & CEO Rutgers RWJM Group, and Aroon Shivdasani, President of Indo-American Arts Council, shared with the audience their own personal experiences of being a woman. “We all need to have a sense of humor, especially when you have so many roles to play in life and each one is so demanding.”
Dr. Rita Ahuja, Chairwoman of the convention said, “For the very first time in the history of AAPI, both the President and the Convention Chair are women. We are so fortunate to have Dr. Seema Jain as the President of AAPI.” The annual convention this year was organized by AAPI’s New Jersey Chapter.
Dr. Ajay Lodha invited all AAPI members to be part of the new journey, and participate in the upcoming two major evets, he has planned to organize. The Global Healthcare Summit will be held in Udaiipur, Rajasthan from December 28-30, 2016. The 35th AAPI Convention will be held at the Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey from June 21-25, 2017. “A new era has begun. AAPI will continue to discover her own potential to be an active and vital player in shaping the landscape of national healthcare delivery system with a focus on health maintenance than disease intervention,” Dr. Lodha said. For more details, please visit: www.aapiconvention.org