Indian American physicians launch inaugural VOAC in Virginia The First Veterans

Obesity Awareness Campaign (VOAC) 2K walk was organized by Dr. Bhushan Pandya in Danville, Virginia. The event was based on a First VOAC pilot event organized by Dr. Uma Koduri, leaders of the VFW and VA MOVE! Initiative, in Oklahoma, last year.

The Danville event was hosted by VFW post 647 led by Commander Jeff Crews and Quarter Master Dennis Forslund. The Mayor of Danville John Gilstrap, proclaimed April 21, 2018 as the “Veteran’s Health and Obesity Awareness Day” as more than three quarters of veterans receiving care in VA facilities are considered obese, overweight or struggling with weight-related issues.

Dr. Pandya talked about the medical ill effects of obesity and the importance of staying healthy while Janice Bailey, a dietician at VA clinic and MOVE! Coordinator, said, “it is a negotiation when you come to see me. What are you willing to do to remain physically independent, similar to what you did during active duty?”

Virginia Senator Frank Ruff donated to the event and joined the 2K walk along with Virginia General Assembly Delegate Les Adams. The event also featured a mini Yoga session and a CPR demonstration by first responders.

The event was attended by a number of Indian American physicians and showcased their service to the community, It was supported by Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, founder and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and Dr. Sanku Rao of Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO), WHEELS Global Foundation, Greater Piedmont Triad AAPI and DPAM.

VOAC is chaired by Dr. Vikas Khurana and co-chaired by Dr. Uma Koduri and Dr. Satheesh Kathula. It was launched at the Consulate General of India in New York, on November 4, 2017.

Earlier in November 2017, the national AAPI had launched a similar campaign across the US> “Coming from a nation that has given much to the world, today physicians of Indian origin have become a powerful influence in medicine across the world. Nowhere is their authority more keenly felt than in the United States, where Indians make up the largest non-Caucasian segment of the American medical community,” Dr. Gautam Samadder said adding that one out of seven doctors in the United States is of Indian heritage, providing care to around 40 million Americans.

The AAPI has been conducting awareness campaigns aimed at childhood obesity for several years, adopting more than 80 schools around the country, and that has led to taking up the veterans health challenge.

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