After nearly two years of isolation, virtual meetings, covid fears, the first ever in person event, the 39th annual Convention by American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) inaugurated at the at the fabulous and world famous Omni Atlanta at CNN Center and Georgia World Congress Center on July 2nd.
“Remembering and memorializing the brave AAPI Warriors and thousands of healthcare workers, who have sacrificed their lives at the service of humanity, especially during the Deadly Covid Pandemic is the major theme during the Convention,” said Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President of AAPI. “This convention is a tribute to those who have lost their lives and to the frontline medical professionals who are at the forefront, combating the pandemic around the globe,” he added.
Describing the theme and importance of the Convention as the world struggles to return to normalcy with the pandemic our lives for the past year and a half, Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, Chairman, Co-founder, eGlobalDoctors and Chair, AAPI Convention 2021 said, “We invite physicians of Indian origin to join the AAPI community as we celebrate the victory of science over calamity while paying tribute to all the fallen healthcare workers including some from AAPI family. We also want to show the world that we can start socializing with precautions once you are vaccinated.”
The annual convention this year is being organized by AAPI’s Atlanta Chapter, chaired by Dr. Sreeni Gangasani. The inaugural Nite’s Gala was hosted by Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPI), during which several leaders of GAPI, including Drs. Indrani Indrakrishnan, Raghu Lolabhattu, Manoj Shah, Yogesh Joshi, Arvind Gupta, PB Rao, Dilip Patel, Uma Jonnagalada and Tarun Gosh addressed the audience. In her address, Dr. Indrani Indrakrishnan shared with the audience of GAPI’s educational, philanthropic, humanitarian, political, entertaining and social activities. Educational scholarships were presented to deserving students from the region.
Although only a limited number of participants are attending the convention this year due to the ongoing Coivd pandemic and taking into account the safety of those attending, there was new energy and enthusiasm among the AAPI delegates with an obvious relief among the members cherishing every moment of the coming together and networking and renewing friendship among the members. In her inaugural address, Dr. Swati Vijay Kulkarni, Consul General of India in Atlanta, who is a career diplomat who holds M.B.B.S. (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree from the prestigious Government Medical College, described the Indian American Physician community as “Testament to the greatest growth story.” Dr. Kulakarni while emphasizing the role of physicians during the pandemic, she praised their contributions and achievements.
Dr. Kulkarni shared with the audience about the many programs and plans offered by the Government of India to alleviate the sufferings of the people of India during the pandemic. Dr. Kulkarni stressed the importance of Indo-US Strategic Alliance, especially in the health sector, while pointing out India’s contributions providing the world with quality drugs for cheaper prizes. Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux representing the 7th Congressional district of Georgia was introduced to the audience by Dr. Sreeni Gangasani. Sharing her own close association with the South Asian community, Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux said, her district is home to the largest South Asian population in the South East. “I have so many wonderful friends in this community for many years I have had many friends who are from South Asia,” she said. “I have been in Washington for about 6 months and I have worked very hard to Advocate on behalf of the South Asian Community.”
Describing herself as a friend of India and Indian Americans, the Congresswoman said, she is an active member of the India Caucus in the House, she said, “India is a very very important strategic partner to the United States,” and promised to work with the federal government in helping India especially during the pandemic. The inaugural nite’s star attraction was the young and energetic artist Vidya Vox who entertained the audience with song, music and dances. During the nearly 2 hours long live performance. She showcased the influences of her Indian-American heritage to create music that is refreshingly unique and contemporary, seamlessly fusing together the intricacies of Indian music with elements of electronic and hip-hop for an undeniably catchy sound. The delegates were presented with live performances of Bhartanatyam, Thillana and fusion dances by local artists, displaying unique talents in Indian classical dance forms. The popular and much loved Mehfil E Khaas provided AAPI members and families a platform to showcase their talents impromptu, in music, dance, jokes and Shero Shayari in an informal setting.
The delegates at the convention have Eight Hours of CMEs, coordinated by AAPI CME Chair, Dr. Krishan Kumar, Dr. Vemuri Murthy, Advisor & CME Program Director, and Dr. Sudha Tata, Convention CME Chair, focusing on themes such as how to take care of self and find satisfaction and happiness in the challenging situations they are in, while serving hundreds of patients everyday of their dedicated and noble profession, said Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, Convention Vice Chair.
Physicians of Indian Origin in the United States are reputed to be leading health care providers, holding crucial positions in various hospitals and health care facilities around the nation and the world. Known to be a leading ethnic medical organization that represents nearly 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, AAPI members are proud to contribute to the wellbeing of their motherland India and their adopted land, the United States. The convention is forum to network, share knowledge and thoughts, and thus, enrich one another, and rededicate ourselves for the health and wellbeing of all peoples of the world.
“Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally have come together to participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.” said Dr. Jonnalagadda. For more details, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit: www.aapiconvention.org