(San Antonio, TX. June 26, 2022) “This year, AAPI has created a great track record,” declared Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the immediate Past President of AAPI in her farewell presidential address on the final day of her Presidency during the 40th annual convention of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in San Antonio, TX on June 25th, 2022. “Our leadership team has worked diligently on so many wonderful projects and activities including educational, philanthropic, legislative, networking, and many more activities benefitting our members and communities. This has been possible because of the incredible work and support from the dedicated team of leaders, members, and our supporting office staff,” the only 4th woman President of AAPI in the four decades long history of AAPI, said.
During a solemn ceremony, she handed over the presidency to Dr. Ravi Kolli as the next President of AAPI, the largest Ethnic Medical Organization in the United States, representing over 120,,000 physicians of Indian Origin, who have grown stronger and have become a powerful force and stronger voice in the United States making a unique identity for themselves. Dr. Gotimukula gave the gavel to Dr. Ravi Kolli during the presidential induction ceremony attended by over 1,000 AAPI delegates and distinguished guests.
In her inaugural address a year ago, Dr. Gotimukula, the leader of the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, had said: “I like to hope. I am a passionate people-person with a smiling calm personality. I strive to be an empathetic team leader and good listener, always seeking and doing my best in achieving the set goals. Thanks Dr. Gotimukula had promised “to make AAPI a premium healthcare leader, working towards reforms to the current healthcare system to help reduce the healthcare costs. I want to build a strong support system to protect the IMG physicians and their issues and help with physician burnout. I will further the existing educational goals and charitable goals and engage member physicians to support these goals.”
At the end of her Presidency, this soft spoken, gentle and visionary leader, Dr. Gotimukula, the only 4th woman president in the four decades old history of AAPI, has been proud that under her presidency, AAPI has been strengthened and grown, and reached newer heights.
Education has been a key area where Dr. Gotimukula’s focus has been during her year-long Presidency. “More than 45 CME credit hours have been provided by outstanding speakers all year and provided cutting edge CMEs to members.” She thanked the Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Vemuri Murthy, Dr. Amit Chakraborty, CME Chair and Dr. Sagar Galvankar, & Co-Chair for their diligent efforts. In addition, AAPI members were offered Financial educational sessions on ways to wisely invest and improve their financial health. Thanks to our sponsors who supported these sessions. Dr. Sunita Kanumuri and team were instrumental in organizing Healthcare Reforms Webinars, addressing health equity and disparities and physician burnout.
“Latte with Legislators” has been a new and pioneering program under Dr. Gotimukula’s leadership. Senator Dick Durbin, the High Ranking Senator from Illinois along with Rep. Mary Newman, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthy, Rep. Danny Davis, Rep. Don Young, Rep. Alma Adams, and Rep. Frank Pallone addressed the AAPI members exclusively and answered questions on healthcare reforms and ways to make healthcare affordable, addressing the Medicare payment cuts for physicians, IMG issues of Green Card Backlogs, etc. Dr. Suresh Reddy and Dr. Sumul Raval organized these productive sessions for members.
“The Leadership Seminar on “Advocacy as a Critical Component of Patient Care: Why Physician Advocacy Matters and How to Succeed it” was addressed by Clarence Brown, MD, and Erin O’Brien, was coordinated by Dr. Meher Medavaram and the Illinois State Medical Society,’ said Dr. Gotimukula. The AAPI Women’s Committee organized two-panel discussions with motivational speakers on the “Domestic Violence Awareness” and “Women’s Health and Wellbeing,” which were coordinated by Dr. Seema Arora and the entire women’s committee.
Under her leadership, AAPI had two Family CME Trips: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania in July 2021, and to Peru in April 2022. “Both were beautiful rejuvenating breaks for our hardworking physicians and their families. We provided a total of 10 CME credits to the attendees during these trips,” Dr. Gotimukula said.
The Global Health Summit held in Hyderabad in January 20022 has been a major achievement under Dr. Gotimukula, focusing on “Prevention is better than Cure.” The GHS included a well-organized CEO forum with a panel of eminent healthcare leaders from the US and India, reinforcing the need for preventive care rather than disease management, to control the non-communicable diseases which are the biggest silent killers.
Dr. Gotimukula said, “AAPI presented a report to the Prime Minister of India with an emphasis on initiating an “Indian Preventive Health Task Force” with the development of Annual Preventive Healthcare Screening Guidelines for early disease detection and prevention, emphasizing disease prevention as more vital than disease cure. GHS organized panel discussions on medical education reforms to help establish Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Palliative Medicine specialty PG courses in every medical college and to change the examination pattern from essay questions to all MCQ testing. The Women’s Forum with the theme ‘Women Who Inspire’ with inspirational speakers who came from both continents was outstanding under the leadership of Dr. Udaya Shivangi and Dr. Dwaraknatha Reddy Duvvuru.”
Dr. Gotimukula led AAPI leadership was able to establish Collaboration and multiple medical organizations – ACP – FSMB – ECFMG – NMC (India) – IMA (India) – GAPIO – UNICEF – Red Cross Society – CWC – Lifestyle Medicine – MDTok – Apollo 2nd Consult. “These connections and collaborations are vital for us to stay connected and make a powerful impact on our communities,” Dr. Gotimukula assured.
A major theme under Dr. Gotimukula has been initiating programs and activities that benefit not only AAPI members, but also the larger society. “It’s been an immense satisfaction to me leading AAPI’s charitable activities this year with service as one of our motto Dr. Gotimukula said. “Despite the Covid challenges of Delta and Omicron waves, in spite of limited resources, AAPI blood donation drives were done in over 30 cities with several of them organizing multiple events. . The same cities remained motivated and doing another round of blood donation drives. With the Red Cross Society partnership, we can reach many more cities in near future and continue the good work.”
Dr. Gotimukula had special emphasis on “Adopt a village” Rural Preventive Healthcare Screening Initiative in India, where free health screening camps with free physician consultations were done in 29 Indian rural villages in the middle of Delta and Omicron waves with additional 25 villages are pending to get initiated soon in all states. In her efforts for “Free for Life” Fight Human Trafficking in India, AAPI raised and donated $75,000 during the Fall Fund Raising Gala with the AAPI Nashville host chapter at our Fall GB meeting, Dr. Dotimukula said.
During the Global Health Summit in January 2022, an Awareness and Prevention Initiative for Cervical Cancer in India was conducted. AAPI donated 100 free HPV vaccinations to needy children in India. During the Spring GB meeting and Gala an awareness for Women’s Breast Cancer was conducted. Spring Fundraising gala along with IAMA/ IAMA CF-supported free Mammograms for underserved women in Chicago was also completed. AAPI supported “H2H Foundation” (Founded by Padma Shri Padma Bhushan, Little Master Sunil Gavaskar) to perform heart surgery for the poor and needy children. Each surgery costs $2,000. Fundraising for this event is done during the AAPI convention in San Antonio to support 25 – 50 needy below poverty kids born with congenital heart disease.
Continuing the efforts towards the Covid-19 Fund – Post-Covid Relief Activities, AAPI has raised over $5 million during the delta wave in India. “The ongoing Covid-19 relief work in India is in progress, donating lifesaving equipment to support critically ill patients – Biochemical Analyzers, Ventilators, Oxygen Flow Meters, and Oxygen Plants,” Dr. Gotimukula pointed out. “The funds will continue to support Covid patients in rural hospitals. AAPI is prepared to support and help any deadly Covid wave in near future in India.”
Describing it to be a “historic 40th annual convention celebrating 40 years of AAPI and India’s 75 years of Independence in collaboration with the Indian Consulate / Embassy with invited dignitaries from the US and India,” Dr. Gotimukula expressed gratitude to “the entire AAPI leadership and members for their participation in AAPI activities, making AAPI stronger than ever and bringing a strong impact to the communities we live in and globally as well.”
The leadership team under her Presidency included: Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI; Dr. Anjana Samaddar , Vice President; Dr. Satheesh Kathula Secretary; Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI. Dr. Kusum Punjabi served as the Chair of BOT. Dr. Gotimukula honored Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Dr. Dwarkanath Reddy and AAPI’s Legal Advisor with Presidential Awards for their dedication and support during her presidency.
Dr. Anjana Sammadar, who has been serving AAPI as the Vice President in the current year also did not face elections, as she automatically becomes the President-Elect of AAPI for the coming year. Dr. Ravi Kolli will have a dynamic and diverse team comprising of Dr. Anjana Samaddar as the President-Elect, Dr. Satheesh Kathula as the Vice President; Dr. Meherbala Medavaram as the Secretary; Dr. Sumul Raval as the Treasurer; Dr. V. Ranga – as the Chair, Board of Trustees; Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala – President, Young Physicians Section; and, Dr. Ammu Susheela, President, Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section. Dr. Gotimukula will continue to guide AAPI as the Immediate past President of AAPI. For more details, please visit: www.aapiconvention.org and www.aapiusa.org