The presence of a dozen extraordinarily successful Women Leaders representing a diversity of professions, involving public, private, and government organizations at the much-anticipated Women’s Leadership Forum during the recently concluded 41st Annual Convention organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in Philadelphia, PA from July 6th to 9th, 2023 was a way of celebrating the success stories of women who are trailblazers and have inspired and led others with their exceptional achievements, personifying grace, and setting the standard for success.
Setting the tone for this celebration, Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI’s Women’s Committee, in her opening remarks, provided an overview of the Forum and the many initiatives by the Forum both in India and the United States. “Women’s Forum has been an integral part of AAPI, always at the forefront, coming up with innovative ideas to make each event a unique and transformative experience. Each year the Forum aims to spotlight women leaders who are changing the world and working towards the betterment of the community.”
The theme chosen for the Forum today, “Celebrating Women of Excellence ” holds immense importance as it recognizes and pays tribute to the remarkable achievements and contributions of women in various spheres of life, Dr. Shivangi, who was honored with AAPI’s Distinguished Service Award during the Convention here, said.
“Throughout history, women have overcome numerous obstacles and have shattered glass ceilings, leaving an indelible mark on society. They have become pioneers, breaking stereotypes and proving that gender should never limit one’s aspirations or potential. By recognizing and honoring their excellence, we uplift the achievements of women everywhere and pave the way for future generations to strive for greatness,” Dr. Shivangi added.
In her keynote address, Her Holiness Jagadguru Sai Maa, a world-renowned spiritual master, healer, and humanitarian, with a unique fusion of Eastern spiritual wisdom, Western therapeutic knowledge, and energetic mastery, fondly called Sai Maa shared with the audience on ways to uplift and empower others to master their lives. Sai Maa, who is the first-ever female to be awarded the prestigious title Jagadguru in India’s 2,700 years of the Vishnuswami lineage, one of the highest designations in the Hindu tradition, is being recognized as embodying the power and influence to transform the entire planet.
“Each of us comes from Mother. We are now in transition, shifting from an old era to a new era. An era of consciousness, higher consciousness, an era where our heart and light merge together. We have entered a phase on this planet called longevity. You look at the cosmos and you look at a fetus. There’s a similarity. Every human is born as an enlightened child. So every single human is born with like the Satya Yuga, the next step for humanity. Every child is connected and every adult no matter how a is connected to the Atma.
Sai Maa, who has developed a signature program, HealthSpan by Design, that introduces a new health paradigm where you align with your innate life force to retain vibrant health as you age, spoke about how to program your cells for maximum health, youthfulness, and longevity. With great passion, Sai Maa shared her inner knowledge and offered effective strategies that work for everyone.
Dr. Asha Pillai, Chair of Hematology, Hematologic Malignancies, and Transplantation in the Scientific Council at Regeneron received her medical degree and fellowship training in Pediatric and Adult Hematology from Stanford University. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Pillai and her research group have established important new immune theories in mismatched donor bone marrow and organ transplantation as well as cellular immunotherapy for cancer treatment. This has formed the basis for her ongoing global impact work.
Dr. Pillai spoke about the newer advances in immunotherapy, most specifically as it relates to cancer research and about the advances in stem cell research gone. In addition, her address focused on the challenges she had faced in her leadership journey, and how she overcomes them.
“The biggest obstacles we face are threefold. First, regardless of what our dream is and what we think we can achieve, the realities of politics, power plays, economy, and the gross aspects of the world. For me, meditation and having some foundation in my life is extremely important and actually helped me to do most of what I’ve done. I would say, the biggest lessons I’ve learned are to have a balance of life, which is an ongoing learning process, a balance of drive, humility, and vision. And keeping those three going is literally a full-time effort.” She lauded “the great work by AAPI members for promoting health globally, particularly in India and the United States. Let me know if there are opportunities to serve in and support AAPI in the future, as I’m certainly interested to help mentor the next generation!
Dr. Rachana Kulkarni, the president of Medicor Cardiology and serves as the regional director of cardiovascular services for RWJ Health System. The American Heart Association recently awarded her Physician of the Year and Woman of Distinction for making exceptional contributions to women, health, and society. Dr. Kulkarni, while referring to more and more physicians obtaining master’s degrees in public health, business, and healthcare administration, shared with the audience her own experiences as an entrepreneurial physician, the advantages of acquiring a secondary degree, while dedicating many years of one’s life learning the art and craft of medicine.
A versatile actress, producer, trained classical dancer, author a loving mother, and a big hearted socialite, With an illustrious career spanning many decades, and a winner of many awards including the national award, multiple film fare, Rituparna Sen Gupta was another speaker who shared her insights about a key principle or attitude she follows that has helped her balance and keep her grounded and about the roles that she had played in Movies has inspired her personal life. .
Dr. Himabindu Gadipatti, a renowned oncologist, geneticist, and entrepreneur from San Diego CA, has dedicated the past decade of her career to creating a unique holistic approach to implementing novel cancer solutions in developing countries via her three companies that facilitate extensive research worldwide. In her address, she spoke about cancer has typically been thought of as a disease of the Western world, and how cancer research in developing countries is progressing and helping actross the globe.
Dr. S. Pulluru, a family medicine physician and a Clinical Executive in Walmart Health, who plays an important role as a leader of Walmart Health that has multiple centers in various states. Dr. Pulluru spoke insightfully about how in the present era of computerized medicine, the role of Artificial Intelligence in public health. She also shared with the audience about the challenges she faced while working with a large number of over 750 physicians.
Dr. Smita Joshi, Director of Smit Medical and Heart Hospital, North Gujrat, with a special interest in Diabetes and Juvenile Diabetes, was another panelist who spoke about how she got interested in Diabetes and shared her contributions to address the pandemic of Diabetes in India, where there are said to be over 77 million people with diabetes, 25 million prediabetic and almost one million with juvenile diabetes.
Earlier, in his introductory Remarks, Dr. Sampat Shivangi, AAPI’s Legislative Committee Chair, lauded the efforts of the Women’s Forum and highlighted the achievements of women in a highly competitive world. He pointed to the “role models” who are the speakers at the Forum today for their accomplishments and contributions to the larger humanity.
Dr. Manju Sachdev, a Board Certified Pediatrician, currently serves as a faculty member and clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M School of Medicine. Dr. Sachdev has been actively involved in her local television media along with being a long-established part of TV ASIA as their medical host for a number of national programs – most notably, AAPI AND YOUR HEALTH. She has served in the AAPI organization in numerous capacities – as a former Women’s Chair, member of AAPI Board of Trustees, and Treasurer.
Dr. Gita Mehta, a practicing OB/GYN physician at the Cleveland Clinic, who has been an essential part of AAPI for the past 30 years and has been a vital part of the Women’s Forum and was Chair of the committee in 2004 eloquently moderated the interactive session with the highly accomplished women leaders along with Dr. Manju Sachdev, co-chair of the Women’s Forum.
While congratulating the members of AAPI’s Women’s Forum and lauding them for some of the major initiatives of the Women’s Forum, Dr. Anajana Samadder, President of AAPI in a message said, “From birth to death, all of us need women in our lives. They sacrifice their lives for the rest of the family, society, and the world at large. AAPI’s Women Forum salutes the great contributions of the women panelists here today and all the women who are present here today and everywhere.” For more information about AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org