(Chicago, IL: July 12th, 2020) Healthcare has come to occupy center stage in recent times, especially in the past few months with the spread of Corona Virus. Physicians of Indian Origin in the United States have been playing a unique and critical care combating the deadly virus.
Leading an organization that represents more than 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, is a major challenge. Dr. Suresh Reddy, president of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has been right on task and has devoted the past one year leading AAPI to stability and greater heights.
“As the year ends, my three promises for the year of working in unison with the other arms of AAPI, long- term planning and financial stability have been achieved,” Dr. Reddy, the young, energetic and talented out going president of AAPI, informed members of this noble organization as he passed on the gavel to his successor, Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda during a Virtual Change of Guard Ceremony held on July 11th, 2020.
The pandemic had put a dent on several plans and activities Dr. Reddy and his team had on their agenda. However, he turned the challenge into an opportunity to enhance the agenda of AAPI. “My term as president of AAPI will be noted as an “unconventional year during unconventional times,” Dr. Reddy told the AAPI members, as he enumerated several programs he and his Team had accomplished in the past few months.
AAPI’s primary focus is education. The pandemic helped realize this mission of AAPI. “Never in the history of AAPI had so many educational programs been organized. Never had so many specialists shared knowledge so actively with the participation of thousands of Doctors from across the nation.”
“I am humbled and honored for this opportunity bestowed on me to serve as the President of this esteemed organization,” Dr. Reddy said. “The current Executive Committee has been in office for the most eventful one year. As I look back to the past one year since we assumed office, leading AAPI, I am extremely happy to state that we have kept our promise.”
Dr. Suresh Reddy said. “In my inaugural address, I had promised “to align all the energies to make AAPI an enormous force, committing 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, bringing in increased dignity, decency, professionalism and eliteness into the organization, and thus elevate the already existing stand.”
Some of the goals Dr. Reddy and his Team had set before them included: Make AAPI financially robust and increase our endowments enormously so we can focus on our mission of: Education, Mentoring, Research, Charity, and Service. “In the one year we have been in Office, we have worked hard to realize the goals we have set for ourselves, taking AAPI to greater heights,” Dr. Reddy proudly announced here.
Giving credit to AAPI, Dr. Reddy said, “I have realized that AAPI has given me more than I have given AAPI in return.” Describing how his life had changed forever as he came to be associated with AAPI, Dr. Reddy said, “After a life that was based on planning, suddenly something called “AAPI” came along out of nowhere. I accidentally stumbled upon it.
Now I realize that the best things in life you happen to stumble onto. No plan, no heads up. Every important thing in life until then had followed a plan. But with AAPI, I unknowingly fell into its path and could never leave the path. Stumbling was the best thing I ever did. And I have never looked back.”
Dr. Reddy said, he is grateful for the priceless “comraderies, connections and convictions that came with my association with AAPI. Working with many physicians motivated me to be a better physician myself. I understood the higher meaning of being a physician, especially even more now in the time COVID. AAPI has in fact become my second family. All the emotions that characterize a family like love, connections, conflicts and challenges are also a part of AAPI.”
“For the first time, we have started an endowment for AAPI with an initial establishment of quarter million dollars, the returns of which will be used to run the AAPI office. We have also transferred $ 100,000 for the incoming team to work on their goals and mission. This will help the future Presidents focus on the goals and missions of AAPI rather than spend time on fund raising.”
It has been a learning curve for Dr. Reddy as he took on the challenges of leading AAPI. “My time with AAPI has shown me that leadership is a balancing act. I took every role I played in AAPI very seriously. I am proud to say that over the years, I have been involved in various projects that were meaningful.”
Under Dr. Reddy’s leadership, AAPI has been actively involved In community awareness programs like Obesity prevention, sharing medical knowledge at the Global Health Summit, team building activities such as the Share a Blanket program, medical education programs such as CPR training, social networking programs including 3 trips to the continent of Antarctica, morale building programs like mentoring a future medical student, India heritage programs like Independence Day celebrations.
His foresight and leadership was appreciated as AAPI became the first major organization to call for ‘universal masking’. AAPI provided free masks to thousands of health care workers. AAPI members have honored more than 10,000 nurses in over 100 hospitals across more than 40 states by sponsoring lunches for them during the Nurses Week. AAPI has also stood against racial discrimination. “We are proud to say that for all our Doctors ‘all lives matter,’” he added.
It was the first time ever, a sitting Prime Minister of India addressed an AAPI event, when Shri Narendra Modi spoke at the Summer Summit organized by AAPI. AAPI Leaders presented a Memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Offering to play a critical role in Implementation of Ayushman Bharat, during his visit with President Donald Trump in Houston.
AAPI joined hands with IRC to train 500,000 lay people in CPR during the month of October to celebrate the World Restart A Heart (WRAH) day. AAPI has been in the forefront condemning Gun Violence, and has offered support to AMA’s Stance, calling upon the US and state governments to make common-sense reforms, supported by the American public to protect innocent lives.
Dr. Reddy thanked “some senior mentors and friends for this idea. For two weeks we have celebrated the Summer Summit “Closing in on COVID” in lieu of an annual convention.
I have to say some amazing ideas have come forth during this online summit and I bet these changes and online ways of doing business will be a thing of the future.”
Dr. Reddy expressed gratitude to both his “friends and my critics and my supposed archrivals too! Because of them I worked even harder and put extra thought into every decision I made. Thank you for making me take better decisions.”
“Among several many, I give special thanks to my mentors and advisors, Drs. Jagan Kakarala, Ranga Reddy, Sanku Rao, Jayesh Shah Ravi Jahagirdar and Ajay Lodha and many other senior mentors. My additional thanks to Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Dr. Prem Reddy, Dr. Bharat Barai, Dr. Lokesh Edara, Dr. Vemuri Murthy, Dr. Dwaraknath Reddy, Dr. Srini Gangasani, Dr. Anil Tibrewal and many others. My love to my wife Leela and son Rohun, for letting me take this bumpy ride of AAPI, for last 10 years, at the expense of my family time,” Dr. Reddy said in an emotionally filled farewell address.
“I am grateful to the AAPI members and leaders who have entrusted me with the task of leading AAPI,” said, Dr. Reddy, who along with Dr. Seema Arora, as the Chair of BOT; Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President-Elect of AAPI; Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, Vice President; Dr. Vijay Kolli, Secretary; Dr. Raj Bhayani, Treasurer of AAPI; Dr. Stella Gandhi, President of Young Physician Section; and, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala, President of Medical Student and Resident Section and the entire BOT and all the Regional and Local Chapters of AAPI. He wished the very best to the new leadership of AAPI under Dr. Jonnalagadda as the President and Dr. Sajani Shah as the Chair of BOT.
Summarizing the year past and the years ahead, Dr. Reddy said, “We still have a few challenges and many more opportunities. AAPI has faced some turbulence from time to time and we have overcome those and we have come out stronger.”