It’s been a very long journey with American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) for Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, from being an ordinary member of the largest ethnic medical society in the United States to a Regional Leader, currently serving as the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of national AAPI, and now looking forward to lead the organization that he calls as his second family and has come to adore. “Since my membership to AAPI In 1997, for more than two decades I have been a dedicated foot soldier for the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin,” Dr. Amit Chakrabarty a Consultant Urologist, Poplar Bluff Urology, Past Chairman of Urologic Clinics of North Alabama P.C., and the Director of Center for Continence and Female Pelvic Health.
In his endeavor to play a more active role and commit his services for the growth and expansion of AAPI that represents the interests of over 100,000 Indian American physicians, Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, the Alabama-based Indian American Physician wants this noble organization to be “more vibrant, united, transparent, politically engaged, ensuring active participation of young physicians, increasing membership, and enabling that AAPI’s voice is heard in the corridors of power.”
Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, who was honored with the National AAPI Distinguished Service Award 2018 and the President’s Award for Services in 2019 by the Indian American Urological Society, says, “I consider myself to be a leader and shine in the fact that I can get people motivated. I lead by example that motivates people. I am fun loving and have always striven to brush off any obstacles that come in the way.”
Dr. Amit Chakrabarty is a Board certified urologist who received his medical degree as a best medical graduate with honors in Anatomy and Surgery from MKCG Medical College in Berhampur, India in 1980, and had his Master of Surgery Degree from Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India in 1984. He did his Fellowship in Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) at Edinburgh in 1987.
He completed his residency in Urology and fellowship in Uro-Oncology (Research) at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 1995. He practices adult and pediatric urology since 1995 in Huntsville Metro area. Dr. Chakrabarty is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Scotland and the International College of Surgeons. He is an active member of the American Urological Association (www.auanet.org), in addition to various memberships of societies related to his specialty.
After being in Solo Utology Practice in Huntsville, Alabama he moved to Missouri, where he continues to be a busy practicing Uroligist and with his research and teaching activities. He was an ANU by Faculty for the University of Birmingham, Huntsville Campus when he lived there. In addition, he is being invited to being a surgical proctor to several premier institutes in India and elsewhere he is also an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Medical Science,Kansas City.
A Patron Member of AAPI for 25 years, Dr. Chakrabarty has been an active AAPI Governing Body Member for over a decade. He has served AAPI in several capacities. He has served with distinction as an AAPI Regional Director from 2004 to 2006. There is hardly any Committee of AAPI that he was not part of in the past two decades. He was the Chair of AAPI Ethics and Grievances Committee in 2011-2012, and had served as the Chair of AAPI Journal Resource Committee in 2012-2013. He has served as a Member of AAPI IT committee, Journal Committee, Website Committee, Bylaws Committee, Alumni Committee, Ethics and Grievances Committee, and AAPI Charitable Foundation. “I have attended more than 100 AAPI events including Annual conventions, Governing Body meetings, Global Summits and Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in the past 20 years,” he recalls.
Having graduated as the Best Medical Graduate of his medical college, Dr. Chakrabarty thanks God for the blessings all his life, including for the opportunity to do Post Graduation in surgery from one of the e premier institutions in India. He was a Leader of Indian Delegation to Japan on a Socio-Cultural tour along with representatives of 12 other countries, and had the opportunity to meet PM Nakasone and Crown Prince of Japan. “I have a successful practice in urology where I can combine my passion for clinical diversity, teaching and research. I am a speaker and international surgical proctor and researcher in several milestones medications and devices.”
Dr. Chakrabarty is a surgical proctor for American Medical Systems, BARD urological, Medtronics (Interstim) and Urologix (Cooled thermotherapy) and regularly conducts cadaver and live workshops both nationally and abroad. He has been a primary investigator for various pharmaceutical agents and, as a primary investigator for Longwood Research and Accelovance research, still continues his research interests.
He is a pioneer in the state for newer modalities of treatment for urinary incontinence being the first in North Alabama to offer interstim therapy (Medtronic) and in-office Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (Urgent PC) for intractable Overactive bladder symptoms, Advance Male Sling for male urinary incontinence and minimally invasive therapies for BPH with Cooled Thermotherapy (Urologix), Transurethral Needle Ablation of the prostate (Medtronic) and Greenlight XPS laser vaporization of the prostate (American Medical Systems).
A multi-talented physician, Dr. Chakrabarty has not only showcased his musical talents at almost every major AAPI event, he was the Founder and Creator of AAPI’s Got Talent, at AAPI Annual Convention 2010 in Washington DC. He was the Founder and Conductor of “Mehfil” @ AAPI Annual Convention in Atlanta 2008, and has been conducting the ever popular AAPI’s Got Talent and Mehfil every year at Annual Conventions.
Dr. Chakrabarty attributes his talents and skills to “My father, who was an accomplished surgeon and teacher in India and my mother, who was a great singer. I get my talent for both of them, my surgical prowess and teaching skills that I inherited from my father leads me to be a surgical proctor all around the globe and be a CME speaker on various topics for AAPI and other professional organizations. I have been a topper in school and college and always wanted to be a surgeon like my father and a singer like my mother. My parents have always encouraged me to pursue extra-curricular activities.”
Dr. Chakrabarty has been a dreamer and devoted his talents for charity and noble deeds from childhood onwards. “Since my childhood I have been motivated for philanthropic activities that includes several school fund raising activities, organizing inter college meets in college forming a musical group in India and here primarily for fund raising.” And, as an ardent and active member of AAPI, Dr. Chakrabarty has continued these noble deeds as an adult.
One of the major goals for AAPI in recent years has been the financial stability of AAPI. Describing fund raising as his strength, he points out to his special talents and skills in raising money for AAPI in the past two decades. He says with pride that “I have been a leader in Fund Raising for AAPI and the several causes we have committed to support.”
He organized and raised funds during AAPI-Mahadevan show in Atlanta, raising almost $300,000 for AAPI in 2013. Other concerts/events he has helped organize and raise funds include: The 10 city Sukhwinder Singh Tour, 9 City Talat Aziz Fund, Pankaj Udhas Show, Hema Malini Concert, , as well as towards AAPI Hurricane Harvey Fund by conceiving and organizing “musical performance by my group Geetanjali Music.”
In addition, “I had spearheaded a fund rising in 2013 at Huntsville, Alabama collecting almost $80,000 for AAPI scholarship fund and National AAPI childhood obesity awareness program. Many of these events/concerts I had organized myself, spending my own money for travel and logistics.”
Contributing his personal money as seed money for AAPI, he had single-handedly spearheaded planning a fund-raising tour called “DADA vs DADA” for AAPI Charitable Foundation in 2005. The show did not take place due to Hurricane Katrina devastating the region.
He led the Indian American Urological Association (IAUA) 2008-2010 as its President and was the President of Alabama Association of Physicians of Indian Origin 2012-2014. During his Presidency, Dr. Chakrabarty brought the Alabama Chapter of AAPI to a sound financial footing with more than $60,000 in working capital and had spearheaded the Alabama API fund raising for the tornado victims in Alabama in 2011. He helped raise more than $ 200,000 for the Indian American Urological Society during his presidency of this organization.
Realizing how hard it is for the physicians in India to come to the US for training, Dr. Chakrabarty “raised almost $100,000 for the Society of Indian American Clinical Urology for a scholarship fund for Clinical Indian Urologists to come for a month training in US.”
He participated in two back to back fund raising shows 2015 and 2016 for the Hindu Temple of St. Louis raising more than $ 300,000 each year, featuring Geetanjali musical group’s performance.
A physician with compassion, brilliance, and dedication, Dr. Chakrabarty has excelled in every role he has undertaken. As an educator at AAPI’s CMEs and Workshops, he has authored several articles/publications in Medical Journals, Chair of Entertainment Committee, and as a Founder member of Geetanjali Music Group (www.geetanjalimusic.com
Amit has been the President of two legitimate AAPI subchapters namely Alabama Association of Physicians of Indian Origin 2012-2014 and Indian Medical Council of St Louis 2018-2020 reviving them from obscurity and inactivity to make them one the most vibrant chapters of AAPI. Under his leadership Alabama API produced 13 out of the last 15 Regional directors and the St Louis Chapter hosted the most productive and successful AAPI governing body within 3 years of its revival from 10 years of inactivity!!
He also serves as the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Huntsville India Association and was the President, Indian Cultural Association of Birmingham, and led an Indian Delegation to Japan at the International Youth Year in 1985.
A Gandhian at heart, Dr. Chkarabarty says, “I have always believed in Gandhiji’s principles “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth always wins). I am a Bengali from Odisha and have lived in small AAPI subchapters like Alabama and Missouri, I have no special state or chapter affiliation, I take pride in reaching across the aisle and have friends from all states and backgrounds not only in AAPI but also in my personal life participating in all ethnic festivities as my friends from Huntsville can testify.”
Acknowledging the many challenges he would face in leading AAPI, Dr. Chakrabarty says, “AAPI leadership has lost the vision of service. When yozu place your goal ahead of AAPI’s, there is always conflict and infighting that undermines the real purpose of being a leader. I intend changing all that.
Thankfully we have seen over the last few years that this is changing for the better. Being in AAPI all these years, I have worked for the organization irrespective who the president has been or if I was given any role/portfolio.”
Recognizing the role of Young Physicians in AAPI, Dr. Chakrabarty wants to invest heavily in Medical Student/Residents and Young Physician (MSR/YPS) section of AAPI and in giving them leadership roles in mainstream AAPI, which will create more enthusiasm in our young members towards their parent organization. Without them there will be no AAPI in 20 years. “Give some prime time slots in the main convention to AAPI YPS, at least one night main stage should be devoted to and managed by them,” he suggests.
Another goal he wants to pursue is to “Continue partnership in health care education and provide economic and material aid across the globe, working towards making AAPI, along with Indian physicians in other countries, a global health leader. I want AAPI to be a part of the decision-making process of World Health Organization and United Nations health policies especially those affecting south Asians.”
Dr. Chakrabarty understands that infighting has deterred any progress that AAPI leaders could have made. “Most of our leaders have good intentions for AAPI but have a tunnel vision and do not get a democratic opinion. Every president seems to be intent in changing the by-laws. I will work hard and coordinate with all to have a cordial and affable relationship among the executive members amongst ourselves and with the Board of Trustees to be able to move forward with constructive policies for AAPI’s future. This is important that the membership understands who can do this better before casting their votes.
Dr. Chakrabarty says, he wants to have AAPI Charitable Foundation to be the main frame of AAPI make it more accountable. Making our noble efforts known to the society is important, he says, “We need to make their services more prominently advertised. Anytime we do press conference we use primarily them as example of what we are doing but we do not give them the support that they need.”
Acknowledging the many challenges in unifying AAPI, the veteran AAPI leader says, with an open mind, he will strive to bring AAPI together to work for a common goal: solving issues that the members face, providing them with a platform that AAPI was built upon. Sure we do not have rampant discrimination issues that AAPI was formed for, but there are different issues facing us now, most importantly Green Card and Residency issues many of our Indian IMGs face, he points out.
As a leader of AAPI, Dr. Chakrabarty wants to “form a separate political action committee (PAC) and make it financially sound so that AAPI can hire lobbyists on Capitol Hill who will help to move forward policies that are important to AAPI. VISA issues for our colleagues should top the list.”
“I love people and having good times,” he describes self. “I rarely get depressed or feel down with any failures and bounce right back. I believe in seeing the silver lining in each cloud. If life gives me lemons, I make lemonade!”
“I have the diverse experience to achieve each of these goals,” Dr. Chakrabarty says with confidence. “Having been a member and leader of AAPI for over two decades, I have perfected the skills necessary to move AAPI forward through the office of AAPI’s national Secretary. My mission/goal in life is to leave back a legacy of work that people will remember me fondly and proudly after I am gone.”