“AAPI’s strength is its numbers and members. Our Sakthi is in our Samkhya and our Sabhyas,” Dr. Ravi Kolli stated in his inaugural address in San Antonio, TX immediately after he assumed charge as the 41st President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) on the concluding nite of the 40th annual Convention on June 25th, 2022. “You are that powerful threads of this colorful and strong fabric, and your participation and contributions are essential for its continued success. So, thank you all,” Dr. Kolli told the over 1,000 AAPI delegates and distinguished guests who had packed the Ball Room at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center during the Presidential Gala.
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. 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. AAPI, representing the interests of the 120,000 physicians of Indian Origin, is the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States.
Dr. Ravi Kolli, a Board-Certified Psychiatrist with specializations in Addiction, Geriatrics, and Forensic Psychiatry, serving as the Psychiatric Medical Director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services, was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University. Dr. Kolli has over four decades of experience in the healthcare field. He graduated from Rangaraya Medical College, NTR University of Health Sciences Medical School in 1981. He is affiliated with medical facilities at the Washington Health System Greene and Washington Hospital.
Under his leadership, Dr. Kolli has Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect; Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President; Dr. Meherbala Medavaram, Secretary and Dr. Sumul Raval, Treasurer of AAPI for the year 2022-23. Dr. V. Ranga will serve as the Chair, AAPI Board of Trustees. Giving representation and strengthening the voice of young physicians of Indian origin, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala will serve as the President, AAPI Young Physicians Section (YPS) and Dr. Ammu Susheela is the President of AAPI- Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section (MSRF). Dr. Anupama Gotimukula will serve as the Immediate Past President of AAPI.
Accepting the Presidency, Dr. Kolli told the more than 1,000 AAPI delegates and distinguished guests: “Tonight, I bow with gratitude and humility for the trust and faith you have in me to be the steward and servant of this esteemed and illustrious organization for the next one year. “
While declaring that “The physician wellness shall be the front and center of our organization’s focus and our foremost priority,” Dr. Kolli said, “We will work to build strategic partnerships and relationships with other stakeholders and professional groups to find solutions and remedies cohesively, comprehensively, and competently. I humbly seek your continued guidance, support, and good will.”
Recognizing that this new role as the President of AAPI comes with greater role to serve the members and the larger society with diligence, Dr. Kolli quoted the “ancient as well as eternal facts and values: Uncle Ben’s advice to Peter Parker “With great power comes great responsibility,” and quoting the Bible, “To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.” Our Dharma says “Karmanye Vadika raste mapaleshu Kadachana.”
Describing the story of Lord Hanuman, who needed to be reminded of his immense potential, Dr. Ravi Kolli said, “AAPI is that such powerful organization. As we recognize and unleash our full potential, we can literally cross oceans, which we already have done and even move the mountains.”
Quoting Alvin Toffler, the famous author and Futurologist who had said, “The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn,” Dr. Kolli said, “It is essential we as individuals, organizations and societies must reinvent and repurpose themselves constantly and continuously to stay relevant and impactful.”
Giving a glimpse into his style of functioning, Dr. Kolli a Psychiatrist, whose goal has been to unite and strengthen AAPI, said, “Leadership is all about reconciling conflicting ideas and the cognitive dissonances and finding solutions collaboratively without compromising our core values and relationships. Old style command and control and top-down transactional leadership styles are no longer as effective as collaborative leadership with mutual respect and shared knowledge and participation from center to periphery.:
Dr. Kolli assured that “We will work together to promote our values of professionalism, collegiality, excellence in patient care and enhance AAPI’s reputation as a premier professional organization offering educational programs and advocacy. I will work hard to keep AAPI focused on its core mission and conduct all of its activities and business beyond reproach in a transparent, accountable and responsible manner.”
Dr. Kolli offered his respects to every one of the past 40 presidents and the leadership teams for their service to AAPI. “I know what personal sacrifices you all have made to the success of this organization,” he said.
Dr. Kolli said, he believes “in humility and not hubris, reconciliation and not recrimination, vision and not division. Being empathic is as important as being emphatic and being compassionate as much as passionate. When we join for a cause, we achieve justice and when we unite with a vision we are in unison. We all will and only succeed together.”
Recalling how his association with AAPI and leadership responsibilities started in Pittsburgh with the TAPI team a couple of decades ago, Dr. Kolli said, “It has been an exciting experience as well as an enriching one, as I traveled all over the USA attending the events of many chapters of our AAPI and had the privilege of meeting so many brilliant and wonderful leaders and members of AAPI across the length and breadth of this great and beautiful country. I thank all my friends, colleagues, leaders and mentors for your constant love and encouragement. I could not have been here without you.”
He called upon everyone to work towards ending “the unabating and senseless mass shootings and gun violence incident are a recurrent nightmare that needs to be addressed from a public health as well as civil societies perspectives honestly and forthrightly. The challenges of misinformation affecting the health and safety of our communities and children need to be called out.”
Mental Health has been an area that has been closer to his heart. Under his presidency, Dr. Kolli has made it a priority to address “the stigma and barriers affecting access to mental health treatments need to be challenged and dismantled.”
With gratitude he lauded the understanding and cooperation of his wife Latha, “without whose unconditional support and love, I will not be who I am today and my children, Vickranth and Priyanka’s understanding for not always being there with them and for them.}
Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, Dr. Kolli’s mission for AAPI, as he stated during the address is: “To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.” For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org