AAPI Hails Appointment of Dr. Vivek Murthy to Lead Covid Task Force by President-Elect Joe Biden

(Washington, DC – November 10, 2010) : “Dr. Vivek Murthy’s appointment by President-Elect Joe Biden to co-chair the Task Force on Corona Virus is highly critical, timely, and much needed,” Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) said here today. While praising the appointment of the Task Force to be the very first major announcement by the new administration led by President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, Dr. Jonnalagadda described the choice of Dr. Murthy to chair and Dr. Atul Gawande as a member of the Task Force, as “cementing the reputation physicians of Indian origin have across America.” President-elect Joe Biden has turned to three prominent physicians to lead his coronavirus task force who have collectively signaled that they will approach the pandemic far differently than the Trump administration, which they have criticized for mixing politics with science. A top Biden aide announced on Sunday, November 8th the two co-chairs of the incoming administration’s task force: Vivek Murthy, the former U.S. surgeon general, and David Kessler, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Murthy and Kessler were outspoken during the 2020 campaign about the need for the FDA to avoid the perception of political interference in evaluating and approving a Covid-19 vaccine. “America is still losing over 1,000 people a day from COVID-19, and that number is rising — and is expected to continue to get worse unless we make progress on masking and other immediate action,” Dr. Jonnalagadda said. ‘That is the reality for now, and for the next few months. The announcement of the Task Force by Biden promises the chance to change that in the coming weeks and months.” “President-Elect Biden has made the right choice in naming the two highly qualified physicians of Indian origin to serve on the most important panel to combat the pandemic and suggest ways to fight and contain the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Sajani Shah, Chair of AAPI’s BOT. Dr. Vivek Murthy, co-chair, was the U.S. surgeon general from 2014-17, who commanded public health force that dealt with Ebola, Zika and Flint water crisis. Dr. Atul Gawande. Professor of surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and at Harvard Medical School, has served as a senior adviser in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration. “We are proud of Dr. Vivek Murthy and his many accomplishments and look forward to supporting him throughout the process, as the nation and the entire world seeks to find best possible solutions to tackle the pandemic that has taken the lives of over a million people around the world and nearly 240,000 in the US alone,” said Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President-Elect of AAPI, that represents over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin in the United States. Dr. Ravi Kolli, Vice President of AAPI, stated that with Dr. Murthy leading the Task Force on the pandemic, he is “looking forward to bringing the experience and perspective of real experts and doctors to the table. His ethics, quiet leadership style and impeccable credentials make him the smart choice for this leadership role.” “Dr. Vivek Murthy represents the next generation of Indian American physicians,” Dr. Amith Chakrabarty, Secretary of AAPI said.  “Dr. Murthy was America’s youngest-ever top doctor, and he was also the first surgeon general of Indian-American descent, when appointed by President Barack Obama in 2014.”  “Dr. Vivek Murthy’s appointment to the Task Force brings new energy in the fight against Covid-19. We at AAPI, look forward to working closely with Dr. Murthy and his team to end this deadly pandemic,” said Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Treasurer of AAPI.   Murthy, 43, who served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States during Obama Administration from December 2014 to April 2017, said Americans need a leader who works with the people for the progress of the country. Dr. Murthy’s commitment to medicine and health began early in life. The son of immigrants from India, he discovered the art of healing watching his parents – Hallegere and Myetriae Murthy – treat patients like family in his father’s medical clinic in Miami, Florida. Indian American Doctors have lobbied earnestly to have Dr. Murthy confirmed as the US Surgeon General under Obama administration. “The feeling of de ja vu was pervasive, of a triumph over injustice with a hard fought battle by the Indian community during his confirmation, with AAPI playing a major role that secured the prize of the highest position occupied by an Indian American, and that too by one from our second generation,” said Dr. Jahagirdar, who had led a delegation of AAPI leaders to be at the historic oath taking ceremony of Dr. Vivek Murthy as the US Surgeon General at Fort Myer in Virginia across from Washington DC on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.  “The oath ceremony, a proud moment for Indian Americans, was led by Joseph Biden, Vice President and currently President-Elect, held in a large hall like a school stadium, with flags in abundance rigged in from the ceiling and leaning in from the sidewalls,” recalls Dr. Suresh Reddy, the immediate past President of AAPI, who was present at the oath ceremony in the nation’s capital. “I am proud of our community of Indian physicians for all the progress that we have made over the years, and I know that AAPI has been a critical force in making this process possible. The advice you shared and assistance you kindly offered were important pieces of this journey,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, stated in a letter to Dr. Jayesh B. Shah, a past president of AAPI, who along with AAPI’s Legislative Affairs Chair, Dr. Sampat Shivangi and several others had led several delegations to US Senators, lobbying for his confirmation. For more information about AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org  


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