AAPI’s New Leadership Under Dr. Ravi Kolli Commits To Strengthen AAPI’s Mission

“I will work towards strengthening the goals and mission of AAPI and help make AAPI a healthcare thought leader in the US and globally and work in the best interests of our Physicians and our community here in the US and serve our motherland, India,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI declared in his inaugural address immediately after being sworn in as the President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in San Antonio, TX.

Dr. Ravi Kolli has a dynamic and diverse team comprising of Dr. Anjana Samaddar, President-Elect, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President; Dr. Meherbala Medavaram, Secretary; Dr. Sumul N. Raval, Treasurer; Dr. V. Ranga, Chair, Board of Trustees; Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala, President of Young Physicians Section; and, Dr. Ammu Susheela, President of Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section. Dr. Anupama Gotimukula will continue to guide AAPI as the Immediate Past President of AAPI.

Dr. Kolli, President of AAPI is a Board Certified Psychiatrist with additional qualifications in Addiction, Geriatric and Forensic Psychiatry, and serves as Psychiatric Medical Director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services. A former Clinical Asst. Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University, Dr. Kolli had served as the Vice President of AAPI 2020-21, Secretary of AAPI 2019-20, Regional Director of AAPI 2017-18, Past President of Pittsburgh Chapter of AAPI (TAPI), Past President of Rangaraya Medical College Alumni of North America and as the Past President of Association of Telugu Medical Graduates in USA

“In my role as the President of AAPI, I will be working closely with my entire leadership team to make AAPI a more dynamic and vibrant organization playing a meaningful and relevant part in advocating health policies and practices that best serve the interests of all patients and promoting the physician’s role as the leaders of the team-based health care delivery,” Dr. Kolli says.

While leading the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, Dr. Kolli wants to “focus on battling the stigma of mental illness and access to quality mental health care broadly. I will be forming liaison with mental health professionals in India and globally and bring awareness of various biopsychosocial therapeutic options to promote wellness and recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders.  We will also actively promote physician wellness and self-care to address the challenges of physician burnout and suicide.”

Dr. Vishweshwar R. Ranga, Chairman of Board of Trustees of AAPI is a practicing Internal Medicine Specialist from Las Vegas affiliated with multiple local area hospitals and has had more than 35 years of experience in the medical field. Dr. Ranga has been associated with AAPI since his early days as a Resident in New York. “Since moving to the United States to pursue my career as a physician I have been closely following the entire spectrum of health care in the world’s largest economy,” recalls Dr. Ranga.

A team player and dedicated to the growth of AAPI, Dr. Ranga says, he wants “continue to work with the team and ensure that AAPI’s voice is heard wherever relevant decisions are made that impact the physician community.”  Dr. Ranga, who has worked hard towards the growth of this organization under the leadership of various presidents, is a medical degree holder from the Medical Academy of Sofia, Bulgaria. He has worked on several AAPI Committees including: AAPI Bylaws Committee, Membership Committee, Awards Committee, and Publications Committee.

Dr. Ranga says, “AAPI is very close to my heart and I want to see it as more of an inclusive outfit, making a clarion call to physicians of Indian origin serving in some of the remote areas of the country to be part of this great organization and be driving forces of change. My goal in the coming year is to formalize and create AAPI leadership academy working with executives from American College of Physicians for the development of leadership roles for all AAPI members. I want to work hard to engage young physicians and attract them to AAPI. They are the future of AAPI.” the newly elected Chair of AAPI BOT

Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI, says, “In my role as the President-Elect, I would like not only to carry on the good work initiated and started by prior presidents, but also like to address health care practice issues facing our members both in private practice and in academia. I would like to get AAPI represented in the US National Health care committee by organizing strong lobbying efforts. I will also address physician burnout and establish a networking platform for young physicians. I will be open to suggestions from members in order to make our organization one of the strongest ethnic organizations in USA.”

Dr. Samadder has shown great leadership qualities which she proved during her tenure as local chapter President (Central Ohio), Regional Director (Ohio and Michigan) and as AAPI National Treasurer. She has also served diligently in different capacities within AAPI including being National Coordinator for AAPI Annual Convention, 2018 in Columbus.  Dr. Smaddar served as the Chair, AAPI Women’s Forum and has organized first live conference of this year in Tampa, Florida (March 19 to 21,2021) with great success. Her vision for AAPI is “to help build an ethically strong, morally straight and fiscally responsible organization. It is also vitally important to bring much-needed diversity to keep AAPI thriving.”

According to Dr. Samadder, “My journey with AAPI in the past 20 years taught me lots of lessons, skills and molded me to take more responsibility in the organization. I will bring to the organization the level of commitment, hard work, experience and skill set needed to accomplish the various goals for AAPI and its members.”  Her vision for AAPI is “to help build an ethically strong, morally straight and fiscally responsible organization. It is also vitally important to bring much needed diversity to keep AAPI thriving. We, at AAPI, are a large extended family. I look forward to creasing the existing issues, besides bringing about reforms to further enhance the prestige that the AAPI commands.”

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI assures that, “I will sincerely work for the betterment of our beloved organization, AAPI.” A board certified hematologist and oncologist from Dayton, Ohio, practicing Medicine for nearly two decades, Dr. Kathula is a clinical professor of medicine at Wright State University- Boonshoft school of medicine, Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India in 1992. He has been actively involved in community service locally, nationally and internationally for the last two decades. He has been awarded with the “Man of the year-2018, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

At AAPI, Dr. Kathula has served in numerous capacities, before being elected as the Treasurer of AAPI-2020-21. He had served as the Chair, IT Committee- 2019-20; Editor, Enewsletter-2019-20; a member of AAPI’s Board of Trustees- 2014-17; and Regional Director- 2012-14, in addition t several roles at the local and regional level.  He has served as the President and founding member of Association of Indian Physicians from Ohio; President, Miami Valley Association of Physicians of Indian Origin; President, ATMGUSA; and has worked with Ohio State Medical Association on various issues.

A recipient of several Community Service/Awards, Dr. Kathula wants to “Make AAPI a mainstream organization and work on issues affecting physicians including physician shortage, burnout, and credentialing, while leveraging the strength of 100,000 doctors at legislative level.” Another area, he wants to work is to “Encourage and engage next generation/young physicians in AAPI activities. While working closely with other physician organizations such as AMA.” Dr. Satheesh Kathula says, “I will work with the entire AAPI leadership to the greatest of my abilities to reach our goals, addressing the challenges, and advance the issues important to our members. We will work together to promote our values of professionalism, collegiality, and excellence in patient care and enhance AAPI’s reputation as a premier professional organization offering educational programs and advocacy.”

The Secretary of AAPI, Dr. Meher Medavaram is a Board Certified in Family Medicine and is a Fellow of Academy of American Physicians. A graduate of Osmania Medical College, she is serving as the Assistant Director at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Medavaram is the Medical Director of Mount Sinai Hospital, FAQH Center, and a Staff Physician Advocate at Good Samaritan  Hospital as well as a Clinical Preceptor at UIC College of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine CMU School of Medicine and is the President of Naperbrook Medical Center.

In her role as the Secretary of AAPI, Dr. Medavaram wants to “unify and revitalize the AAPI, ensuring and advocating for physician rights and interests.” While recognizing the mission of AAPI, she wants to work towards making AAPI a purely professional organization, while forming a bridge between AAPI Senior Leadership and Young Physicians.” Committed to AAPI and dedicated to its continued progress, Dr. Medavaram wants to work towards “strengthening AAPI financially by securing a robust endowment fund and supporting and upholding AAPI’s vision of promoting professional solidarity in the pursuit of excellence in patient care, teaching and research.”

At AAPI, Dr. Medavaram has served in many capacities. She was the Chair of Women’s Forum GHS AAPI- 2022 and had served as the Convention Chair of the 38th AAPI Convention of Chicago 2019-2020. Being an active member of AAPI for several years, Dr. Medavaram has served as the Regional Director AAPI, Region 5 (IL, WI, IN) 2020-2022 and was elected President of the Indian Medical Association of Chicago 2020-2021. She served as a Board of Trustee member of OGKTMA from 2018 and was the National ATA from 2016 onwards.

Dr. Sumul N. Raval, Treasurer of AAPI is a board-certified neurologist and world authority on brain tumors, and is among the very few neuro-oncologists in private practice in the USs. The founder and director of the David S. Zocchi Brain Tumor Center at Monmouth Medical Center – New Jersey’s first and most comprehensive facility specializing in brain tumors, Dr. Raval completed his neuro-oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Raval is a humanitarian. “I believe, quality of life is just as important as battling the disease,” he says.

Describing his vision as a treasurer AAPI 2022-2023, Dr. Raval says, “My goal is to manage and maintain organized and consistent AAPI financial records. I will collaborate with the Executive team and our partners to ensure that our mission, vision, and values are being met from a financial standpoint. In addition to recruiting new members, in service to communities nationwide and remembering our collective tie to India, I will act as a trustworthy and effective advocate for all AAPI members. Through unity and transparency, my ultimate goal is to engage and empower all Indian-American physicians in local, state and national legislatures.”

Dr. Raval listens to patients with compassion and inspires them to think positively. Dr. Raval was presented with the GBM Heroes Award (Glioblastoma Multiforme) during the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology held in Scottsdale, Arizona organized by CURE® magazine. During his long association with AAPI, Dr. Rawal has served as the Regional Director of AAPI and as Vice President and President of MOCAAPI (a subchapter of AAPI) as well and as a newly elected Treasurer for the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) this year.

Giving representation and strengthening the voice of young physicians of Indian origin, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala will serve as the President of AAPI Young Physicians Section (YPS) and Dr. Ammu Susheela as the President of AAPI- Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section (MSRF).

Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala is a board certified Endocrinologist, currently practicing in Indiana. She graduated from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pennsylvania, and has completed her Internal Medicine Residency from Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades in North Bergen, New Jersey and her Endocrinology Fellowship from Larkin Community Hospital in Miami, Florida. She uses a holistic approach with her patients and focuses on preventative medicine.

An active member of AAPI since 2016, Dr. Kinkhabwala was the President of the MSRF Section from 2017-2018 and 2019-2020, and has worked on growing membership via grassroots efforts in Medical Schools and Residency Programs. She has served as the Chair of Obesity Awareness Subcommittee of AAPI and was the Alternate Delegate for AAPI to the AMA.  Dr. Kinkhabwala was the AAPI Representative of a Resident Well Being Task Force which included the ACP and ACGME and is also a part of the Physician Well Being Task Force of the American Osteopathic Association and is a co-author of the paper on Addressing Burnout through the Physician Life Cycle.

Dr. Kinkhabwala says, “This past year YPS has expanded our reach by holding virtual mentoring sessions, virtual wellness sessions, and a virtual career fair. Over the next year I plan on continuing with these virtual sessions and growing our mentoring and career development programming. I also plan on providing more networking and CME opportunities for our YPS members throughout the year. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of WMC and I am so excited to plan this amazing event. This year we plan on bringing WMC back to Las Vegas, Nevada.”

Dr. Ammu Thampi Susheela, President of the Medical Students, Residents and Fellows section of AAPI, is an incoming third-year Resident in Internal Medicine at Loyola-MacNeal Hospital, Chicago, IL. She completed a post doctoral research fellowship at Harvard Medical School-Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA. She co-founded a wearable Medtech company for patients with dementia. She is experienced in serving lead roles as vice chair of Harvard Medical Postdoc Association, task force member of Massachusetts Medical Society, national delegate of American Medical Association, and vice-chair of MSRF of Illinois State Medical Society. She is currently serving as a team lead for a reference committee section of the residents and fellows section to the house of delegates in the American Medical Association. She is dedicated to research, innovation, advocacy, and policy making. Over the years, she cultivated passion and enthusiasm to bring about policies and changes for the welfare of the medical students, residents, and fellows section.

 “As a platform that serves over 40,000 medical students, residents, and fellows of Indian Origin, my vision for AAPI is to build a welcoming and accommodating community of young physicians to help and support each other in their particular stage of their career,” says Dr. Ammu Thampi Susheela.  “I would also like to advocate for outreach of AAPI in the medical students, residents, and fellows communities throughout the USA and in India. I would like to promote research, innovation, and community outreach during my time as the president and intend to enhance mentoring in the AAPI MSRF community.”

Dr. Gotimukula, the Immediate Past President of AAPI said, “Since its inception in 1982, AAPI has been in the forefront, representing a conglomeration of more than 100,000 practicing physicians in the United States, seeking to be the united voice for the physicians of Indian origin. I hope and wish that the new Team under Dr. Ravi Kolli will continue the noble mission and strengthen our efforts to make AAPI reach greater heights.”

The growing influence of physicians of Indian heritage is evident, as increasingly physicians of Indian origin hold critical positions in the healthcare, academic, research, and administrative positions across the nation. We the physicians of Indian origin are proud of our great achievements and contributions to our motherland, India, our adopted land, the US, and in a very significant way to the transformation of Indo-US relations.  Serving 1 in every 7 patients in the US, AAPI members care for millions of patients every day, while several of them have risen to hold high-flying jobs, shaping the policies and programs, and inventions that shape the landscape of healthcare in the US and around the world. For more details, please visit: www.appiusa,org

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