Dr. Gautam Sammader, President of AAPI, wants to make AAPI’s voice heard in healthcare debate a top priority

Atlantic City, NJ – June 27, 2017: Working with his dedicated executive committee, Dr. Gautam Samadder, the President of President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), wants that “our voices must be heard by the people making the laws. AAPI must succeed in bringing to the forefront the many important health care issues facing the physician community and raising our voice unitedly before the US lawmakers. Our membership is our strength; as the 2nd largest medical association behind the AMA, we cannot stay silent any longer,” he said.  “We should be at the table during debate and implementation stages of health care reform and all issues facing medical professionals. Remember, if you are not at the table, then you are most probably on the menu,” he told the AAPI members.

“In order for AAPI to retain our influence, we must mentor and develop the next generation of doctors in leadership,” he said. “I want to encourage medical students, residents, and fellows and all second-generation Indian American physicians to be actively involved in both local and national level efforts to building a strong association focusing on leader development and strengthening our professional relations.” According to him, “One thing is clear, if you are a team player, hardworking, and willing to serve in the best interests of the organization.  There is always a leadership opportunity for you in AAPI.”

Dr. Gautam Sammader assumed charge as President of AAPI during the ground breaking 35th annual convention at the Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City on Saturday, June 24th, 2017 as the convention came to a conclusion with the gala attended by over 1,500 delegates from across the nation. Along with Dr. Sammader, his executive committee consisting of 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, also assumed office.

“AAPI must be responsive to its members, supportive of the leadership and a true advocate for our mission,” Dr. Gautam Samadder, president of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, said soon after taking charge of AAPI, the nation’s largest ethnic association. “I am committed to unify AAPI by breaking down the barriers of various regions, languages, medical education within the organization and bringing everyone together as a whole organization rather than separate fragments of the organization,” Dr. Samadder said.

Dr. Gautam Samadder rose through the ranks of AAPI due to his hard work and dedication. He was a Regional Director for the AAPI NE Central-II Region, and had served as the Editor-in-Chief of AAPI Journal, a quarterly published by the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI). He was instrumental in reviving the journal and turning it around to a ‘sought-after’ publication.

“My leadership involvement with the AAPI started during my Global Health Summit trip to India in Rajasthan in the year of 2010 although I have been a patron member of AAPI for more than 20 years.  I had the opportunity to know Dr. Narendra Kumar and Dr. Ajit Singhvi, past AAPI presidents, who had encouraged me to take on a leadership role at AAPI and here I am seven years later.” And he thanked Dr. Anjana Samadder “who has been with me through this journey to stand before you tonight as your AAPI president.”

Enumerating some of the current issues the nation faces, especially with regards to healthcare, including the status of the ACA, expansion of access to quality care for those who cannot afford coverage, stemming of the opiate crisis spreading across the country, treating obesity, changing Medicare and Visa programs, Dr. Sammader told the cheering audience, AAPI members as leaders in healthcare are called to be leaders in finding the answers. “That’s why it will take a unified AAPI to solve these problems,” he said.

According to Dr. Samadder, the heart of what we do revolves around education. The AAPI Global Healthcare Summit will serve as a sounding board for many health care leaders to freely exchange ideas, and help resolve challenges that are addressed during the very effective CEO forums.  “Leadership in medicine begins with the members of AAPI. It is up to us to lead on the issues; to make our voices heard, to develop leaders, and to educate everyone involved in healthcare,” he said.

With ribbon cutting and lighting of the traditional lamp Pandit Jasraj officially inaugurated the 35th annual convention of AAPI on June 22, 2017. Pt. Jasraj led the more than 1.000 delegates at the Convention Centre with an invocation prayer song, moving everyone’s heart seeking God’s bountiful blessings. In his opening remarks, Pandit Jasraj shared with the audience his heartfelt gratitude for inviting him and making him the special guest of honor. “This is the warmest welcome I have ever received in my life,” the Padma Vibhushan awardee told the AAPI delegates.

In his warm inaugural address, Dr. Ajay, President of AAPI, reminded the delegates from across the nation of the importance of the convention. “It’s with very great joy that I want to invite you all to come and be part of the 35th annual American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Convention 2017,” he said.

Dr. Lodha shared with the audience the many programs and initiatives he and his executive committee have taken in the past year since assuming charge as the President of AAPI. Dr. Lodha, among others, highlighted the successful organization of Global health Summit in Rajasthan and the many initiatives at the Summit, Crash Courses in India for police officers as first responders in accidents, EPS lab studies, AYUSH, first ever international research contest and the many charitable works through AAPI the Charitable Foundation.

The five days long convention was packed with CMEs, spiritual discourses, yoga, fashion show, town hall meeting, Bollywood extravaganza, India forum, young physicians forum, children’s activities, and delicious food from around India.

On June 24th at the AAPI Board of Trustees Luncheon Gala, Dr. Ajay Lodha, the outgoing President of AAPI was honored for his outstanding leadership, commitment to AAPI’s mission, and for carrying the entire AAPI family together, as well as for his contributions to realize the lofty goals of AAPI, by Dr. Madhu Aggarwal and the Board of Trustee members.

At the BOT luncheon, physicians with distinguished achievements and community services were honored. Winners of the Research/Poster Presentation from across the nation who had presented the abstracts of their research on diverse medical topics, were honored with cash awards.  While addressing the audience, Rep. Leonard Lance praised the contributions of Indian Americans and the achievements of the Indian American community and in particular that of the physicians of Indian origin in the US. While criticizing the GOP Bill being considered by the US Senate, Rep. Lance urged the lawmakers to work unitedly to fix the system rather than repeal the Obama Care.

Baba Ramdev, the world renowned yoga guru known for his work in ayurveda, business, politics and agriculture, led the members to an hour long early morning yoga session.  Later on, during a packed session, the famous guru addressed the audience for over 70 minutes, leading them to learn and practice simple ways of living healthy. According to him, the source of happiness is to “enjoy whatever you do.” He told the told the physicians of the glorious past of the Indian civilization that gave birth to the most advanced forms of practicing medicine thousands of years ago, and urged them to be knowledgeable to be AYUSH.

During an inspiring discourse by Brahmakumari Sister Shivani on June 23rd, the Indian spiritual teacher and inspirational speaker and a member of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University challenged the physicians to be “healing angels.” In an hour long address, she appealed to the delegates “to work on the inner thing. You can do whatever you want to do, provided you can keep the right state of emotion.” As physicians, she told the delegates, “You can learn to stay peaceful inside and share that feeling with your patients, staff and everyone you work with, so that they can free themselves from their own anger.”

She was part of the Women’s Forum, which has come to be a major attraction among the delegates at the annual conventions, and was led by Dr. Rachana Kulkarni, Dr. Udaya Shivangi, and Dr. Purnima Kothari. Panelists at the Women’s Forum included, Dr. Madhu Aggarwal, Chair, AAPI BOT; Poonam Alaigh, MD – Acting Under Secretary for Health, Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs; Ambassador Mrs. Riva Ganguly Das Consul General, NY; Dr. Jayesh Mehta, Chair of MCI, India; Dr. Ratna Jain; and Neha Kakkar, Bollywood Singer. The distinguished panelists discussed on the challenges for women in the 21st century; do women lack leadership skills? How did each of them rise above and became leaders in their own fields?

In her key note address during the gala on Thursday, Sadhvi Ji, said, “Having all the successes, comforts and luxuries in life does not lead one to happiness or real joy and peace. It’s found within and that’s what the Indian culture is teaching us, which emphasizes as you think so you become.”

During the luncheon, Dr. Prasad Srinivasan, who is currently serving his fourth term as the State Representative in Connecticut and is a candidate aspiring to be the next Governor of the state, in his passionate address, challenged his colleagues. “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.”

Speakers at the gala included, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy, who spoke passionately about the fast growing Indian American community. “The Indian-American community is often hailed as one of the most successful ethnic groups in the United States. According to census data, its members have obtained income and education levels far above the national average. But this socio-economic achievement has not translated into commensurate political clout, as shown, for example, by the community’s lack of success in federal elections.”

Congressman Tom Suozzi spoke about his close association with the Indian American community and praised their contributions in his home state and around the nation.
Ambassador Ravi Ganguly Das Consul General, NY lauded the many initiatives AAPI both in India and the United States, while wishing them a successful 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,” she said.

The Town Hall Meeting with Congressmen Frank Pallone and Tom Suozzi provided insights into the current Healthcare Bill and how it’s going to be affecting the way healthcare is expected to be delivered in the coming years, if the Bill becomes law. Both the members of the US Congress passionately spoke about the deficiencies in the current Bill in the working, While acknowledging the limitations in Obama Care, they both showed the delegates that how the GOP will affect patients, physicians, hospitals and the entire delivery system. They answered several questions from AAPI delegates on issues that affect physicians.

At the Dinner gala, AAPI Charitable Foundation Fundraising helped raise funds for the various causes around India. The long nite on Friday was filled with spectacular performances by Bollywood singers Neha Kakkar and Sreeramachandra. Each day was packed with back to back seminars and CMEs and conferences. Several non medical topics were also offered to educated physicians and others.

The India Global Engagement Forum showed about concrete ways AAPI delegates can contribute to the growth of the nation. Children were engaged in several activities challenging their minds. A beautifully choreographed fashion show was a treat to the hearts and souls of all as beautiful women and handsome men cat walked wearing elegantly designed Indian attire.

Physicians of Indian Origin in the United States are reputed to be leading health care providers, holding crucial positions in various hospitals and health care facilities around the nation and the world. Known to be a leading ethnic medical organization that represents nearly 100,000 physicians and fellows of Indian Origin in the US, and being their voice and providing a forum to its members to collectively work together to meet their diverse needs, AAPI members are proud to contribute to the wellbeing of their motherland India, and their adopted land, the United States. The convention is forum to network, share knowledge and thoughts, and thus, enrich one another, and rededicate for the health and wellbeing of all the peoples of the world.

Dr. Gautam Samadder invited all delegates to come and participate at the 36th annual convention to be held in Columbus, OH from July 4th to 8th 2018. We look forward to seeing you all in Columbus, OH!” For more information on AAPI and the 36th convention, please visit: www.aapiconvention.org

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