Trump Warns Of ‘Potential Death And Destruction’ If He’s Charged With A Crime

Donald J. Trump has warned that “potential death and destruction” may result if, as expected, he is charged by the Manhattan district attorney in connection with hush-money payments to a porn star made during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The comments from Trump, made between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on his social media site, Truth Social, were a stark escalation in his rhetorical attacks on the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, ahead of a likely indictment on charges that Trump said would be unfounded.

“What kind of person,” Trump wrote of Bragg, “can charge another person, in this case a former president of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting president in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a crime, when it is known by all that NO crime has been committed, & also that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our country? Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truly hates the USA!” the former president wrote.

After years of facing investigation after investigation, former President Donald Trump says one of those probes will lead to his arrest. President Trump reported that he expects to be arrested, and has urged his supporters to launch mass protests. Trump claimed in a post on his social media platform that he would be arrested related to the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

On Saturday last week, Trump wrote on his social networking site Truth Social that “illegal leaks” from the Manhattan district attorney’s office “indicate” he would be arrested on Tuesday, March 21st. As part of the post, Trump also called on his supporters to protest.

His lawyer is reported to have said there had been no communication from law enforcement and the former president’s post was based on media reports. Trump’s lawyer, Susan Necheles, said her team had not heard anything from law enforcement officials. The district attorney’s office has not yet commented. “Since this is a political prosecution, the district attorney’s office has engaged in a practice of leaking everything to the press, rather than communicating with President Trump’s attorneys as would be done in a normal case,” she said.

In a statement, a Trump spokesperson appeared to walk back the comments. The spokesperson said there is no notification the DA “has decided to take his Witch-Hunt to the next level. President Trump is rightfully highlighting his innocence and the weaponization of our injustice system. He will be in Texas next weekend for a giant rally.”

This case focuses on alleged hush money paid on Trump’s behalf by his lawyer to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election. It is one of several cases in which the 76-year-old is currently being investigated, although he has not yet been charged in any and denies wrongdoing in each.

The Stormy Daniels case is about how Trump reimbursed his lawyer Michael Cohen after Cohen paid Ms Daniels $130,000. The record for the payment reimbursing Cohen says the payment was for “legal fees”. Prosecutors may say this amounts to Trump falsifying business records, a misdemeanor in New York.

Cohen has said that at Trump’s direction, he arranged payments totaling $280,000 to porn actor Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. According to Cohen, the payouts were to buy their silence about Trump, who was then in the thick of his first presidential campaign.

Cohen and federal prosecutors said the company paid him $420,000 to reimburse him for the $130,000 payment to Daniels and to cover bonuses and other supposed expenses. The company classified those payments internally as legal expenses. The $150,000 payment to McDougal was made by the then-publisher of the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer, which kept her story from coming to light.

The case of Stormy Daniels is one of several legal woes facing the former US President. Donald Trump faces a separate criminal investigation over efforts to overturn his narrow loss in the state of Georgia in the 2020 presidential election – though it is not known if the former president is being directly investigated.

The Department of Justice is also looking at whether classified government documents were handled incorrectly after Trump left office, as well as broader efforts to undermine the results of the presidential election three years ago – including the January 6th attack.

Meanwhile, Trump has pledged to continue his campaign to become the Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential election, even if he is indicted. Any indictment would create a complicated calculation for Trump’s rivals within the Republican Party, as they decide whether to up their attacks on the former president while he is potentially distracted or keep their heads down and hope for the best.

Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and ex-aides Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks, are among those reported to have given evidence so far. The Trump team has said the former president declined an invitation to appear, a sign the case is almost over, according to experts. Reports suggest one final witness could give evidence, possibly on Monday.

Once the investigation is complete, the grand jury votes on whether to recommend criminal charges. However, their verdict is not binding. Ultimately, it is up to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to determine what, if any, charges to bring. There is no deadline for this. It is a legal decision – what does he believe can he prove beyond a reasonable doubt to win a conviction – but also a deeply political one.

A former US president has never been indicted before but Trump’s lawyer said he would follow normal procedure. Typically, a defendant is either arrested or surrenders to the authorities – if they are facing a more serious felony charge they would be handcuffed. They then have their photo and fingerprints taken. After an initial hearing – called an arraignment – a defendant in a white-collar crime case like this is usually released until the next court date.

The Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, has hit out at the investigation, calling it “an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA [district attorney]”. In a tweet, he also promised to investigate whether federal money was being used to interfere in elections “with politically motivated prosecutions”.

According to analysts, past efforts to investigate him, including two impeachment trials, the Russia investigation and the Mar-a-Lago raid, have tended to make him more popular with his base, so an indictment could have a similar effect.

Trump has a loyal base of followers, and the January 6th attack on the US Capitol by his supporters following his repeated calls to protest has proven that a fraught situation can quickly escalate into violence.

Trump denies the encounters occurred, says he did nothing wrong and has cast the investigation as a “witch hunt” by a Democratic prosecutor bent on sabotaging the Republican’s 2024 presidential campaign. “Democrats have investigated and attacked President Trump since before he was elected — and they’ve failed every time,” campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement Thursday about the inquiry.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has apparently been examining whether any state laws were broken in connection with the payments or the way Trump’s company compensated Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations quiet.

As per reports, prosecutors have been looking at a possible indictment of Trump. Reports say it could come next week. If he is indicted, it would be the first criminal case ever brought against a former US president. There has been no public announcement of any timeframe for the grand jury’s secret work, including any potential vote on whether to indict the ex-president.

Law enforcement officials in New York are making security preparations for the possibility that former President Donald Trump could be indicted in the coming weeks and appear in a Manhattan courtroom in an investigation examining hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with him, law enforcement officials have been quoted to have said.

US media organizations say law enforcement agencies in New York are preparing for the possibility of Trump being indicted and appearing in a Manhattan courtroom as early as next week. According to the Associated Press, they are considering the practicalities of taking a former president into court, including questions around security.

It is not yet known if he is going to be criminally charged this week or even, beyond broad strokes, what those charges might be. But with the former president predicting an arrest, and calling for mass protests, this is a journey into unknown territory.

Rahul Gandhi, India’s Key Opposition Leader Disqualified From Parliament And Sentenced To 2 Years In Prison For Defaming Modi

Rahul Gandhi, a key opposition leader in India has been disqualified from Parliament and was sentenced to two years in jail for making defamatory remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Rahul Gandhi … stands disqualified from the member of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction,” a notice issued by the parliament said on Friday, March 25th referring to India’s Lower House of Parliament.

In a tweet in Hindi following the move, Gandhi said he is “fighting for India’s voice” and that he “will pay any price for it.” Gandhi, chairman of the Indian Youth Congress – the youth wing of the Congress party was found guilty by a lower Court in India for the supposedly defamatory comments he had made relating to Modi’s surname at a 2019 rally before the last general election.

During a political rally, Gandhi had asked the crowd at the event as he criticized the prime minister’s economic policies: “Why do all thieves have Modi as their surname?” He went on to name fugitive Indian diamond tycoon Nirav Modi, banned Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi and Narendra Modi.

Rahul Gandhi has been convicted under IPC Section 500. The maximum possible punishment under this section is two years. MPs, MLAs and MLCs lose their membership if they are sentenced to two years in jail or more. They cannot even contest elections for six years, as per the Representation of the People Act of 1951.

The court has granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court, Congress leader’s lawyer Babu Mangukiya said. Gandhi was present in the court when the verdict was pronounced. Rahul Gandhi, the son of Rajiv Gandhi, denied making any defamatory remarks about people with the surname “Modi” during the hearing.

The Congress leader claimed that he is a national leader who raises issues of corruption and unemployment in his speeches in the interest of the nation when the magistrate asked him if he had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of giving Rs 30 crore to an industrialist. The scion of Gandhi asserted that he was entitled to bring up such topics at rallies.

Gandhi claimed that he never said that all Modi family members were thieves when the court asked if he had. Prior to that, Rahul Gandhi had pleaded not guilty to the charge of making the remark when he appeared in court in October 2019.

Congress officials have described the court order as politically motivated and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of targeting political opponents. Earlier on Friday, Congress members held protests in some parts of the country against Gandhi’s conviction and two-year-old jail sentence. Modi’s government has been widely accused of using the defamation law to target and silence critics.

“We believe in law, judiciary and we will fight against this as per law,” said Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge.  “He has been granted bail. We knew from the beginning because they kept changing judges. We believe in law, judiciary and we will fight against this as per law,” said Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Rahul Gandhi found guilty in the criminal defamation case filed against him over his alleged ‘Modi surname’ remark.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot called him “courageous” and said that only he can compete with NDA government. “We keep saying our democracy is in danger as there is pressure on judiciary, ECI, ED & they’re all misused. All decisions are made under influence. Such comments are common… Rahul Gandhi is a courageous man & only he can compete with NDA govt,” said Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot.

“My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it,” tweeted Gandhi after being convicted in a politically motivated and influenced case, where the key Opposition Leader in India was given the maximum punishment under the law, 2 years in jail by a Surat court.

AAPI Announces 41st Annual Convention 2023 During Curtain Raiser In Jew Jersey

(Edison, NJ – March 18, 2023)  “It is with great pleasure that we announce that the 41st Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI) will be held from July 6th to 9th, 2003 in the historical city of Philadelphia, PA,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI announced here during a colorful gala on March 3rd, 2023 at the Royal Albert’s palace in Edison, New Jersey.

Inaugurated by India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, and Bollywood Star Bhagyashree among others, prominent among those who were part of the Gala included, Dr. Ravi Kolli, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI, Dr. Sumul Rawal, Treasurer of AAPI, Dr. Pradip Shah, President of AAPI-NJ, and Dr. Sudhir Parikh, senior advisor to AAPI.

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“The 41st annual convention will be the best in the history of AAPI,” Dr. Kolli said and thanked the Organizing Committee led by AAPI’s National Convenor Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Kavita Gupta. “Our focus will be on mind, body, and spirit,” Dr. Kolli said, with special attention to mental health, removing the stigma, and access to care, artificial intelligence, lifestyle medicine, in other words, “a very comprehensive and very eclectic” program, including health, wellness, lots of cultural programs and the usual high quality Continuing Medical Education seminars.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Convention coordinator noted that AAPI is the largest organization of physicians after the American Medical Association. “We treat one of seven Americans; our Doctors are spread in every corner, and that is our strength,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. Philadelphia was a historic place to hold the Convention because it had the first hospital in America back in 1751, the first medical school in 1752. “We want to put the best Convention forward.” He thanked Consul General Jaiswal and his team.

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Consul General Jaiswal praised AAPI’s contributions, and highlighted India’s latest campaign on making the food grain millet, a global superfood – “for our health and the health of the planet” because it consumes less water and contains essential nutrients. The former Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf also addressed the gathering through video, thanking AAPI for its work and for choosing Philadelphia as the location for the Convention.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh praised the hardworking team and offered all help possible to make the Philadelphia Convention a success. “AAPI has come a long way – from fighting discrimination, to helping India-U.S. relations and engaging in philanthropy,” Dr. Parikh said. “You can always count on me and my media group,” he added. He also thanked Bhagyeshree for her support.

“AAPI is an umbrella organization representing over 120,000 Indian American physicians, 130 local Chapters, who make up 10% of total physicians in the US and nearly 50% of International Medical Graduates, rooted in every corner of the nation, who serve every 7th patient in the US. We are proud of our achievements and our contributions to the healthcare industry and the millions of people we serve,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI said.

Dr. Sumul Rawal, Treasurer of AAPI said, “Exhibitors and Corporate Partners will remain our top priority as we work together to provide a world-class forum for increased interactions between sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees. The ease with which attendees can move between the exhibit hall, conference and ballrooms, and their hotel rooms will ensure maximum attendance and visibility for Sponsors and Exhibitors.”

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Dr. Kavita Gupta pointed to the short trip to Philadelphia from New York and that there would be so many “very distinguished” Doctors would be at the Convention. Dr. Pradip Shah of AAPI-NJ, urged all AAPI members to go to the website to get the details about the Convention and invited everyone “to come and enjoy.”

Bhagyeshree thanked AAPI for inviting her and praised Indian American physicians for their achievements. She said, “After God come physicians … they save lives.” The ‘Red Carpet Dinner Gala’ featured a fabulous fashion show, live music, and other cultural attractions such as traditional and fusion dances, especially by the youth.

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Convention offers an exciting venue to interact with leading physicians, health professionals, academicians, and scientists of Indian origin. Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

While urging all AAPI members to make plans and be part of the historic Convention, Dr. Kolli said: “We have a wonderful team planning and organizing the event to make the 2023 annual convention a memorable experience. Please reach out to any one of the representatives from the Philly team for any of your queries.” Please visit www.aapiconvention.org for more details or call the AAPI office at (630) 990 2277 for further information.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula Conferred with The Top 20 Global Woman Of Excellence Award

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the immediate past President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic physician organization in United States was honored with the Top 20 Global Women of Excellence Award during a solemn ceremony On International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2023 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

The event was organized by the Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force and American Multi Ethnic Coalition Inc., chaired by Congressman Danny K Davis. Among others, who attended the event and presented the awards to the 20 outstanding global women of excellence were: Rep.  Danny Davis, Rep. Raja Krishnamurthy, Rep. Jonathan Jackson, Rep. Delia Ramirez, and Dr. Vijay Prabhakar, Founder of AMEC.

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In her acceptance speech, Dr. Gotimukula, the only 4th woman president of AAPI in 40 years said, “It is a great honor receiving this prestigious award in recognition of my services as a physician and woman leader.” Dr. Gotimukula, while accepting the honor behalf of the fraternity of the physicians, said, “Post Covid pandemic, our physician community is dealing with stress and burnout. At AAPI, we are working on providing education and support on ways to deal with burnout through lifestyle modifications and other means.”

While highlighting some of the major initiatives under her leadership AAPI had focused on, Dr. Gotimukula said, “During my tenure as the President of AAPI, we did Blood Donation Drives across the United States to help replenish Blood Banks deprived of blood products due to Covid crisis, in addition to Fund Raising efforts to help the neediest in India.”

In her efforts in leading AAPI, to honor and serve our motherland India, Dr. Gotimukula said, “On the occasion of India’s 75 years of Independence, we initiated the “Adopt a Village” 75 villages Rural Preventive Health Screening Project in India and completed more than 60 villages for preventive medical services.

Several health screening camps were organized and screened for Non communicable silent killer diseases like Diabetes, Hypertension, Kidney disease, Hyperlipidemia and Anemia/ Obesity issues . The abnormally screened villagers  were provided with  direct physician care and education on lifestyle modifications. All along, our goal has been to emphasize on ‘Prevention care is better than Disease care’ and to help build ‘Indian Preventive Task Force’ guidelines for India.”

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Dr. Gotimukula, a Pediatric Anesthesiologist  from San Antonio, TX said “I dedicate this award to my Family, Friends and my Organization AAPI, which I have served for more than a decade. AAPI has nurtured a woman leader and gave me an opportunity to do several good things in the healthcare sector and help the community.” In 2022, Dr. Gotimukula received the Excellence in Leadership Award from the Indo-American Press Club (IAPC) and  the 2022 Women  Leaders in Medicine  Award from the Bexar County Medical Society, San Antonio, Texas.

Drawing the audience’s attention to the fact that Women in Leadership are still way behind, especially for women of color, Dr. Gotimukula said, “It’s even more challenging to climb up the leadership ladder and be successful. My goal as a woman leader has been to mentor more women leaders, who can do greater things in this world! Congratulations to all the Top 20 women being recognized here today on this platform for your outstanding achievements. My message to all women in the world – Enjoy, Embrace, be Empathetic and be Humble!”

AAPI to collaborate with Dr. V.K. Raju and Eye Foundation of America (EFA) to provide vision care to millions in India

American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) is excited to join in and collaborate with the over decades of service to humanity by Dr. V.K. Raju and Eye Foundation of America (EFA) to provide vision care to millions in India,” declared Dr. Naresh Parikh, President of AAPI, who has been in the forefront, identifying noble projects by Physicians of Indian Origin in India and working with them and coordinating their efforts to maximize the many services they provide across India.
AAPI has been instrumental in establishing and coordinating  several projects and programs across India and established many charitable clinics, serving hundreds of thousands of people in several states in India. AAPI has been doing Global Healthcare Summit for over a decade in India and is known for its commitment to give back to India, their motherland. “The collaboration with Dr. Raju and the Foundation will help mobilize the resources at AAPI’s disposal in strengthening the efforts of Dr. Raju,” adds Dr. Parikh.
For the past four decades, Dr. Raju and the EFA have been actively and tirelessly on a crusade to eliminate avoidable blindness in areas plagued by poverty and poor access to medical care. The EFA’s mission is to eliminate avoidable blindness under the guiding principles of service, teaching, and research.
The realization of Dr. Raju’s vision, the EFA, has a reach that currently extends to 30+ developing countries and the USA. The EFA has served approximately 2.5 million patients and performed 340,000+ vision-saving surgeries, with 30,000+ surgeries performed on children alone.
The over 40 years of noble work bringing vision to millions in India started unexpectedly for Dr. Raju. While living in London, Dr. V.K. Raju traveled home to India on vacation, where a farmer asked him to examine his eyes. Dr. Raju complied, but without any instruments. In 1977, Dr. Raju returned to rural India with personnel and equipment, and offered his first eye camp near his hometown in 1977. This was the inception of the foundation’s work, beginning with the West Virginia Ophthalmology Foundation. The West Virginia Ophthalmology Foundation subsequently became the EFA in 1992.
“I feel so incredibly thankful for my personal and professional gifts, and I make great efforts to share those gifts with those in need of my services,” says Dr. Raju, and he generously gives freely of his own time, money, and medical expertise to help the less fortunate for the past several decades.
This is accomplished through eye camps and brick-and-mortar hospitals in developing countries, training of medical personnel to serve the needy, and educating the population at large on preventative eye care and healthy lifestyle choices. With adequate education, patients are empowered to take charge of their lives and their own health and prevent further deleterious consequences of their poor lifestyle choices, while sharing this knowledge with their friends and families.
The public is educated on eye care and injury prevention, and local teachers are taught how to screen for early eye problems in children. Patients, their families, and the greater community benefit from preventative medical care, free procedures, and access to education.
When education and preventative measures are insufficient, medical and surgical interventions are performed. With the aim of permanently providing world-class state-of-the art services to populations with poor access to health care, the EFA helped to build 2 hospitals in rural India: the Srikiran Eye Institute and the Goutami Eye Institute.
The Goutami Institute has a wing dedicated exclusively to children, and the EFA has future plans to build a service and research eye hospital in India where no child will be denied treatment and children from around the world can come to receive services. Dr. Raju and the EFA are also committed to finding new cures for age-old eye disease in children.
The Institute has provided service to more than 400,000 patients and 50,000 surgeries have been performed. It has become an autonomous institution, and Raju has raised over $6 million to establish and fund the two facilities. “You can never be tired of giving back,” he says. “But to have real success, your intentions should be pure. It is a spiritual act.”
Since its inception, the EFA has facilitated 600+ physician exchanges and trained 200+ ophthalmologists, equipping these medical practitioners with the tools to join the global fight against blindness. The EFA not only trains medical practitioners to join the global fight against blindness through exchange programs, but also provides workshops and training opportunities for medical students and physicians.
Born and raised in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, India, Dr. Raju earned his medical degree from Andhra University and completed an ophthalmology residency and fellowship at the Royal Eye Group of Hospitals in London, England. He is board certified in ophthalmology and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons. He has resided in Morgantown, WV since 1976, where he is currently a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at West Virginia University (WVU), the Section Chief of the Ophthalmology Department at Monongalia General Hospital, practices at Regional Eye Associates, and is the Founder and Medical Director of the EFA, a registered non-profit organization.
Dr. Raju has received many honors and awards, including 26 distinguished awards and 17 gold medals. In Dr. Raju’s adopted home state of West Virginia, he was awarded both the Lions Club International (Morgantown) Jarrett Award and the WVU International Service Award in 1995. Morgantown Rotary International presented Dr. Raju with an award for community service in 2000. He also received the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award from WVU in 2008.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has awarded Dr. Raju 4 times for his teaching and research contributions, including the Outstanding Humanitarian Award in 2002 as Dr. Raju had donated more than $1 million dollars of his own money that went into building hospitals in India, teaching, and providing services to needy patients.
Dr. Raju received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Association of Asian Indians in Ophthalmology in the same year and received the Free to Achieve Award from the Maryland chapter of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) for his philanthropy.
AAPI awarded Dr. Raju with their prestigious Distinguished Community Service Award in 2007 for his service, patient care, teaching, research, and professional and community involvement. In 2011, he received a Senior Achievement Award from the AAO. He has received awards from Lions International and Rotary International. For his humanitarian work, the American Medical Association Foundation acknowledged him with the prestigious Dr. Nathan Davis International Award for Excellence in Medicine in 2013. For the past 2 39 years, Dr. Raju has expanded his humanitarian efforts in African countries by joining and joined the Carter Center’s Ambassador Program 2 years ago. President Barack Obama presented Dr. Raju with the 2016 President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He was recently inducted into the University of Toledo Global Medical Missions Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
Dr. Raju’s international awards date back to the 1970s, when he received 2 separate awards for service for the blind: Lions (India) and Jaycees (Vijayawada, India). He received several gold medals, including the AP (India) Gold Medal for Contributions to Advance Ophthalmology in 2001 and the Dr. Hardia Gold Medal for Best Paper on Refractive Surgery for the All Indian Ophthalmology Society in 2002. He received the Vaidya Ratna in 2002, as well as an achievement award from the House of Lords, London, and the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman Award for Achievement in Medicine in 2014. He was also recognized as one of the Leading Physicians of the World by the International Association of Ophthalmologists in 2014. Dr. Raju was an invited guest of honor at GITAM University and the All Indian Ophthalmology Society Meeting in 2012.
Dr. Raju, who has travelled to more than 50 30 countries to help people with defective vision, says, he not only sees hundreds of patients in a day, but also teaches other eye doctors. He feels that most of his trips are enjoyable working vacations, particularly in India. “With each visit, I get my insights improved,” he says. “It is like I am getting a gift. Sometimes trips like this feel better than a holiday.”
“As I had said, the farmer I met long ago is the beginning of this work. Maybe so many friends getting involved in the Foundation’s work may be my greatest motivation,” says Dr. Raju. “Confidence is that which compels you to do the thing you think you cannot do, but you continue to do it. Many friends gave me the confidence to keep going. Many close friends were peripherally involved with the Foundation initially, but as the work of the Foundation continued, so did their involvement. This gave me incredible confidence.”
Recalling how a friend of Dr. Raju had told him that after 20+ years of foundation work, “Raju, I believed in your character. That’s why I’m very much part of it,” Dr. Raju says, “I was reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “Reputation and character are two different things. Reputation is your shadow and character is the real you.” He states, “People from distance know your reputation, but only close friends know your character. This kind of involvement from close friends  maybe one of the biggest motivators for continuing the work of the Foundation.”
“Over these years, I read volumes of books by Nani Palkivala, Mortimer Adler, and some Telugu poets. This also must have motivated me. Finally, I will add this- my mother used to say, “Whatever you do, you keep on doing more and more of it.”
Doctors in America have too many comforts, he comments. “There may be some emptiness in many of us, there is also an intellectual poverty,” he says. “Some of this can be relieved by voluntary service. We have so much potential to help others — and in doing so, we may be helping ourselves much more than others.”
With all of Dr. Raju’s momentous achievements, he has also ensured that his life’s work and vision are self-sustaining. Dr. Raju has passed on his knowledge, plans, and vision to the future leaders of this movement: Dr. Leela Raju, Dr. Raju’s daughter and fellow ophthalmologist, is the EFA’s Secretary and Coordinator for Education and actively participates in its mission. Her father’s humanity and passion stimulates whatever she undertakes, Leela says. “This is not a job for him; it has never been a job,” she says. “He does his work with passion and he enjoys it. His enthusiasm and passion are infectious.”
He believes in and practices Ayurveda, an ancient Indian health care philosophy that emphasizes a holistic approach in which prevention is stressed to help lessen the need for treatment. “Eating right and exercising are the most important preventative measures according to Ayurveda,” says Dr. Raju. “The word ‘doctor’, in Latin, means teacher. A doctor’s primary responsibility is educating the patient,” he continues.  In West Virginia, Dr. Raju accepts patients that do not have medical insurance and performs surgical procedures that are not covered by insurance.
India and Ghana are actively engaged in avoidable blindness elimination projects with cooperation from their governments. More than 11,560 children received vision screenings in Ghana schools; eye glasses and follow-up care were provided when necessary, Dr. Raju describes with a sense of satisfaction and pride.
Dr. Raju hopes that the AAPI joining and collaborating with successful projects such as the Eye Foundation of America’s children’s project will provide continuity of care and the mission of AAPI will be realized, benefitting millions who need eyecare.
Praising Dr. Naresh Parikh for his great vision and for seeking collaboration with several individual projects across India by numerous Physicians of Indian Origin, Dr. Raju says, “I dream to do a well-planned mega fundraiser by AAPI for a WORLD WITHOUT CHILDHOOD BLINDNESS.” According to Dr. Raju, the first project will be implemented in India. We will reach 100, 000 children in remote villages of India in the next 12 to 18 months.” Dr. Raju says, “EFA and Goutami Eye Institute have the infrastructure to accomplish this, which could be a model project.”
Dr. Raju’s charisma and vision inspire the EFA’s trainees return to their native countries to prevent and/or alleviate blindness in the field.  The execution of his vision, affordable and accessible healthcare, has provided innumerable individuals with the invaluable gift of sight. In children, this gift results in 75 years of a full and productive life. These children, who would be considered a burden to society, are then able to contribute to their families and to society. Never too tired to give his best for preventing, caring, and sustaining the vision for the visually impaired, Dr. Raju says, “Our work is only just beginning.

The Coming Of Age Of Indian Americans

“Despite constituting less than 1% of the U.S. population, Indian-Americans are 3% of the nation’s engineers, 7% of its IT workers and 8% of its physicians and surgeons,” wrote the popular Forbes magazine in 2008. “The overrepresentation of Indians in these fields is striking–in practical terms, your doctor is nine times more likely to be an Indian-American than is a random passerby on the street.”

Fifteen years later, in 2023, the story of the Indian Americans has grown even stronger; their successes encompassing almost all areas of American life – living  the American Dream.  The less than four million Indian Americans appear to be gaining prominence and have come to be recognized as a force to reckon with in this land of opportunities that they have come to call as their adopted homeland.

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In fact, Indian Americans have for some time been considered a “model minority” in the US — they are better educated, have better jobs, are wealthier than many other immigrant populations and enjoy both political and business clout. Here’s data that points to these factors:

At a virtual interaction with Nasa scientists who were involved in the historic landing of Perseverance on Mars on March 3, US President Joe Biden remarked, “Indian-of-descent Americans (sic) are taking over the country. You (Swati Mohan), my Vice President (Kamala Harris), my speech writer (Vinay Reddy).”

Biden, who was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, is in a good place to judge that. He has created history by appointing at least 55 Indian-of-descent Americans to key positions in his administration. And of course, his vice- president, Kamala Harris, is also an American of Indian-descent.

The rise of Kamala Harris, daughter of an Indian mother, as the Vice President represents a coming-of-age of the Indian American community in the United States. Harris was born to civil rights activist parents a year before the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was passed; this Act relaxed the quota regime that restricted foreigners. At that time, there was one Indian American lawmaker in the US House of Representatives — the Punjab-born Dalip Singh Saund, also from California.

The Senate India Caucus was created in 2004. Harris was elected to the US Senate in 2016. The following year, four Indian Americans were elected to the US House of Representatives, and more were elected to the Senate and Congress of other states. Two other persons of Indian origin — Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley — served as Governors of Louisiana and South Carolina, respectively, in that period.

In 2022, there are as many as five persons of Indian Origin have been elected to the House of Representatives:  Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna, Dr Ami Bera, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, and Shri Thanedar, a Karnataka-born entrepreneur – have been re-elected to the US House of Representatives

Today, more Indian Americans hold public office than ever before. However, politics is far from being the only sphere in which the Indian diaspora has gained influence in the last few decades.

Historically, Indians in the US worked in medicine, science & technology, engineering and mathematics-related jobs. Some, like the Patel community from Gujarat, took to the hotel industry and grew to dominate it. Others were entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley after the digital revolution of the 1980s.

In 1997, Ramani Ayer became the CEO of the Fortune 500 financial firm The Hartford, becoming the first in the list of Indian leaders heading American businesses.

At present, 2% of the Fortune 500 companies of American origin — including Microsoft, Alphabet, Adobe, IBM, and MasterCard — are led by Indian American CEOs. One in every seven doctors in America is of Indian descent;

Numbering about 3.8 million, or about 1.2 per cent of the US population, the Indian diaspora in the US is the richest, most educated and among the most successful ethnic groups in that country – pulling ahead of even white Americans on most counts. More than 75 per cent of Indian Americans have arrived in the US after 1990.

Picture : Quora

Looking ahead to the 2024 Presidential Elections, there are as many as three of them are seeking their way to be on the ballot. Two of the three Republicans who have announced plans so far to enter the US presidential race are Indian-Americans. While Nikki Haley is a familiar name, surprise candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is much less well known. If President Biden seeks reelection, the current Vice President, Harris is likely ot be on the ballot as his running mate in 2024.

Ramaswamy, a multimillionaire entrepreneur and author of the book Woke, Inc., announced his presidential bid on 21 February with an appearance on a Fox News show and a video laying out his political views. He wants to launch a “cultural movement to create a new American dream” based on the “pursuit of excellence” – and he says “diversity is meaningless if there’s nothing greater that binds” people.  The 37-year-old, who was born in Ohio, studied at Harvard and Yale, earned his millions as a biotechnology entrepreneur and then founded an asset management firm.

Democrat Shekar Narasimhan, founder and chairman of the AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) Victory Fund, says that while he is happy to see more Asian-Americans gain prominence in politics, he isn’t confident about Mr Ramaswamy’s ideas.

“He is a business guy and has a clean slate, but what are his promises?” Mr Narasimhan asks. “Does he care about medical care for the elderly? What are his plans for infrastructure spending? He doesn’t have fixed positions and has not articulated his policies yet.”

Indian-American Republicans are predicting a “three-way race between Mr Trump, Mr DeSantis and Ms Haley” and prefer to wait instead of forging early alliances, especially as there is still uncertainty around the former president’s legal battles.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi says that he admires Ms Haley’s aggressive campaigning style and would support her in case Mr Trump is forced to withdraw from the race. “Mr Trump has 40% ratings and Ms Haley is in single digits, but she is our candidate. Her being Indian-American is the main reason why we are close to her,” he says.

Irrespective of political differences, the Indian-American community is happy about the sharp increase in their political participation, especially over the last three election cycles, and is proud of the rise of another of their own.

“A beautiful thing is happening: Indian-Americans are coming to the forefront,” Mr Gaekwad says, adding that the latest bid could encourage more Indian-Americans to run for elections even at the local level.  Even political opponents agree with that.  “If our children see Americans with a name like Ramaswamy run, and a Khanna or Krishnamoorthi can win, that’s a good thing,” Narasimhan says.

Meet The Women Who Win Board Of Advisors

Women Who Win is excited to announce its newly formed advisory board. We are thrilled to bring this board together to continue our mission in empowering the personal and professional lives of women and girls around the world, We are bringing diverse women leaders across different industries and backgrounds to help drive the Women Who Win mission forward. Each board member represents the deep spirit and multifaceted nature of Women Who Win. Board members come from various backgrounds, from city councilors and state representatives to business innovators, educators, artists, healthcare providers, and community leaders, our Board of Advisors has a strong global footprint.  As we believe in the importance of inclusivity and the power of men and women coming together to empower women, we also included male allies on this board. Meet the board!

Women Who Win is a media platform focused on empowering women . It was Co- Founded by Dr Manju Sheth, Dr Deepa Jhaveri and Shaleen Sheth

Ami Ambani

Ami Ambani has completed her Masters in Business Administration from Bentley College and worked in the capital markets as a Research Analyst, managing clients at Tower Capital And Securities Pvt.Ltd. in Mumbai, India. She is also co-founder of www.mumbaiclasses.com. She now manages her own financial portfolio and is an enthusiast in economics, geopolitics and fitness.  Her passions include reading, cooking, travelling and running. She lives with her husband, Niraj, and two teen sons in Mumbai, India.

Rita Advani
Rita Advani is a board leader and a senior business executive and entrepreneur. In her professional career, she developed strategies to bring new products and services to market and to expand markets for diverse industries worldwide. In the recent past, her focus has been on health care delivery. She has served as a board member  for one of the  largest independent physician organizations in the state, and is currently the Chair of the Board for an organization that brings nursing and hospice care to patients in their homes. One of the themes that has resonated through her life is learning about aspects of the economy that are different from the sectors in which she worked. As an elected official and as an appointed board member she utilized her experience in the business world to make improvements in the state’s funding formulae for education and the education provided to the children of her municipality. As an early adopter of the cause for renewable energy, she chaired the effort to bring a solar power project to the municipality. She is currently working towards making her condo building resilient to the threat of rising seas. Born and educated in India, Rita has lived in Massachusetts since the 1980’s. She loves photographing and showcasing the beauty of nature, the monuments and peoples she comes across on her travels.
Sonica Arya
Sonica Arya graduated from the Academy of Architecture in Mumbai.  She has worked on a variety of projects ranging from residential homes to outhouses, and commercial projects such as banks and hotels.  She conceptualized, designed and executed the showroom design for the designer jewellery brand “Tanishq” of the Tata Group and has a keen interest in remodelling heritage properties such as those in Matheran, outside of Mumbai. She is an avid reader, an art connoisseur and loves travelling, especially places that have a strong historical, cultural and architectural heritage. She lives with her husband and two teen daughters in Mumbai, India.

Brenda Thompson

Brenda has been employed by Atrius Health for over twenty years and in September 2020 was appointed to the position of Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. She is responsible for the Affirmative Action Plan for the entire organization and is now more involved in her passion of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion as it relates to the patient population, the workforce, the workplace, and the community.   Brenda is former Vice President of the National Council of Negro Women – Greater Boston Chapter (NCNW-GBS) . Ms. Thompson Stuckey takes great pride in her work both professionally and personally and tries to mesh the two whenever possible. Ms. Thompson has received three Diamond Awards from Harvard Vanguard/Atrius Health for her individual and team contributions and she also received the YMCA Black Achievers Award.  Ms. Thompson Stuckey was also the first person to receive the Greater Boston Business Council’s Member of the Year Award, and as such the first non-LGBTQ recipient. She received this award for efforts, ideas and results produced to promote an LGBTQ inclusive workforce.

Kay Khan

State Representative Kay Khan represents Newton in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1995, currently serving the 11th Middlesex district. In 2009, she was appointed House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, by then Speaker Robert DeLeo and served in this capacity for 12 years. Representative Khan’s legislative portfolio celebrates and promotes diversity; she is an unshakable advocate for equal rights for all individuals, young and old. Recent legislative successes include; a ban conversion therapy to support of the LGBTQ community, legislation to end child marriage under the age of 18, and expanded access to maternal health care with a commission to study inequities in maternal health. She has spent her entire career in the legislature promoting better outcomes for justice-involved youth and women, additionally, she is an adamant supporter of environmental issues, filing legislation this session relative to the electrification of all new and substantially remodeled buildings statewide.  Representative Khan has lived in Newton for more than 50 years where she and her husband raised their three children and now enjoy their seven grandchildren.

Dr. Rollie Lal

An Associate Professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University where she teaches Transnational Security, Foreign Policy, and International Political Economy. Her research focuses on organized crime, terrorism, and religious extremism. Previously she was an Associate Professor at the U.S. Department of Defense and a political scientist at RAND. Dr. Lal received her Ph.D. in International Relations and her M.A. in Strategic Studies from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Dr. Kavita Navani

Dr. Navani practiced medicine in Central Massachusetts as a primary care physician for over 20 years. She also holds an MD in OB GYN from India. She is actively engaged in community service such as the Free health stop organized by India Society of Worcester. As an entrepreneur, she helped with the formation and growth of eClinicalworks, an electronic health record company with headquarters in Westborough, MA. Dr. Navani has provided clinical input to the EHR and is available to help with small and big tasks that require her expertise. Dr. Navani also takes active interest in cancer research and has made charitable contributions to research on improving outcomes from infant traumatic brain injuries. She is a big supporter of Ekal Vidyalaya.

Sangeeta Moorjani

Sangeeta Moorjani considers herself a global citizen. She was born in India, lived in Dubai, UAE until high school, pursued her undergraduate degree and MBA in India, started her career in financial services in Toronto, Canada, and has spent the last two and half decades in Massachusetts. She is an executive leader at Fidelity Investments and has held several senior leadership positions within Fidelity’s Workplace and Personal Investing business since joining Fidelity over 25 years ago Currently, she is the Head of Fidelity’s Tax Exempt business and Retirement Solutions, serving over 500 mission-driven institutions and delivering workplace benefits to their 7.5 million employees.Sangeeta believes the impact of strong leadership in financial services is through helping people make decisions about their financial futures. Her leadership style sparks novel thinking and leads people to take action. Sangeeta has a passion for helping people uncover their full potential and takes pride in coaching and developing high performing teams; and focuses on empowering them through servant leadership. The practice of candid conversations, deep curiosity, and building strong relationshipsis her hallmark approach in achieving associate and senior management buy-in and leading complex and critical businesses. She is an advocate for advancing women’s leadership and promotes Asian cultural awareness and inclusion at Fidelity and beyond. She serves on the board of two non-profit organizations; TiE Boston focused on entrepreneurship and Pratham USA focused on literacy and learning for children in India. Sangeeta enjoys traveling and exploring different parts of the world, with her husband. When not traveling, you’ll find her walking, listening to books or trying a new recipe. She is a proud mom to two young adults and her dog – Yogi.

Anusha Nanavati

Anusha is the Founder, lead architect and interior designer at Anusha Nanavati Design Studio. She did her under graduation from Balwant Sheth School of Architecture, Nmims, Mumbai and her Masters in Sustainable and Environmental Design from Architectural Association school of Architecture, London. Her studio specializes in various residential and commercial projects including schools, restaurants, gyms, offices, baby nurseries and furniture. She has completed multiple projects in India and UK. She has also completed 3 years as an assistant professor at Balwant Sheth School of Architecture, NMIMS, Mumbai. Anusha is also a part of the management commîttee  of their family run Institutes and Hospital : Shri Chandulal Nanavati School and Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai. To know more about her work follow her on her Instagram handle: @andstudioofficial

Krupa Sheth

Krupa is one of London’s leading councilors. Borough of Brent. She serves on the Cabinet in Brent as the Lead Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Action. She was elected as a Councilor for the first time at the age of 20, making her the youngest ever Asian to be elected to Post in the Country. She is currently serving her fourth term as a Councilor, and was one of Women Who Win’s first contributing writers.

Dr. Archana Srivastava

Dr. Archana Srivastava is an artist deeply rooted in the Indian history and culture and has, in the last two decades, experimented with different genres like figures, abstracts, landscapes and portraits. Her work has been shown all the world, such as at Shanghai International Art Fair, FIRA INTERNACIONAL D’ART DE BARCELONA (Fira International Art Fair), and Cannes International Art Biennale. Her designing of publicity material of the anti-AIDS campaign of Government of Maharashtra was considered hard-hitting and impactful. She has received numerous awards over the years, including  ‘Make in India Award’ in ‘Creative Art’ category in New Delhi., “Woman of Excellence Award 2020” by Indian Achievers’ Forum, “Collector’s Vision International Art Award” by Contemporary Art Curator Magazine, and “Power of Creativity Art Prize” by Contemporary Art Curator Magazine. She holds doctorate in “Socio-economic History Of Early-medieval India”. She is based in Mumbai, India. Further, she is the Founder and CEO of ArtSage, her startup with a vision is to help artists by providing resources, giving access to the technology to work at a faster pace, helping them upgrade their skills, giving them platform to sell their artworks, creating awareness about the value of their art in public through workshops and symposiums and enrich their lives as a whole.

Yoshika Sherring

Yoshika Sherring was born in New Delhi, India but considers herself a true Bostonian as she has lived in Boston since she was one.  She attended the Rochester Institute of Technology where she earned her B.S. in Biotechnology and then went on to complete an M.B.A. from Bentley University.  She has worked in the biotech / pharma industry for 20+ years having worked in multiple therapeutic areas on several blockbuster brands.  Her experience spans a cross-section of roles that include Marketing, Business Development and Patient Advocacy after starting her career as a Scientist.  Her passion is engaging with patients to help them live healthier lives.  Yoshika is also Chair for the Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island Marketing & Communications Council.  As a Bostonian, she enjoys all the great things New England has to offer including fresh seafood and won’t eat lobster in any other part of the country!

Kathleen Walsh

Kathleen Walsh is the President and CEO of the YMCA Metro North, an association of YMCAs operating eight health and wellness centers and child care facilities in Lynn, Melrose, Peabody, Saugus, and Stoneham. Walsh provides executive leadership to the $28 million association which serves 69,000 people annually and employs 700 staff members. Through Walsh’s leadership, the YMCA of Metro North advances its charitable mission by expanding access to its healthy living and youth-serving programs by providing more than $1.6 million in financial assistance to its community members each year. Walsh serves as Vice Chairperson with the American Red Cross Northeast Board of Directors, Treasurer of the Mass Alliance of YMCA’s, Thrive Committee Member at the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, Former Chairperson of the Lynn Education District Partnership, Board Member of Dept of Children and Family Services in Malden, Member of National Y Shared Services Board, and is a 2023 Fellow with LEADS, a Harvard Business School leadership program. Walsh earned a Master’s of Science from Northeastern University and a B.A. from Providence College. An avid runner, Walsh has completed 61 marathons and was recently awarded a distinguished Hall of Fame alumni award for Cross Country from her alma mater, Bishop Fenwick High School.  She is the proud mother to three young adults –Johanna, Cynthia, and Francis.

We are also honored to welcome two dedicated Male Allies to our Advisory Board, Dr. Dinesh Patel and Dr. Dhrumil Shah

Dr. Dinesh Patel

Dr. Patel was born, raised and educated in India before starting his orthopedic residency training at Mass General Hospital and the HCORP in 1971. In 1976, Dr. Patel co-founded Mass General’s Sports Medicine and Runner’s Clinic. While here, Dr. Patel also created one of the first arthroscopy bio skills laboratories in the country, and integrated the lab with HCORP in order to train new residents in his innovative techniques and retired after 55 years of teaching and practice. He has a series of accomplishments and is a renowned leader in the medical industry, and his contributions in Arthroscopy education have been recognized around the world. He Established Asia’s first center of excellence in healing art Psychomotor skill lab in for Arthroscopy teaching in  Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India He is the co-founder and past President of Indian medical association of New England, and one of the founders of Tie Boston where he was instrumental in establishing the life sciences section. He is a member of Harvard Medical School admission Committee and Senior advisor & teacher to Harvard Med school students He is a member Member and was Chairman of the Board of Registration in Medicine and continued as advisor on many committee’s for many years.  Dr. Patel has been in U.S. news and World reports as one the best doctors. We are honored to bring him onto our advisory board as a male ally.

Dr. Dhrumil Shah

Dhrumil Shah is a family physician and a CMIO at Compass Medical, an independent provider led organization in Southeast Massachusetts. His primary interests and focus areas are Digital health innovation, Data science and Care analytics, Health innovation and Entrepreneurship. Dr. Shah did his Family Medicine training at New Jersey Medical School and subsequently graduated from University of Illinois Chicago completing his Post Masters in Health Informatics. He is actively involved in Health IT space via many of national and regional speaking engagements and collaborative fueling the much needed disruption to redesign Healthcare delivery space. He also leads Greater Boston Chapter of SOPE(Society of Physicians Entrepreneurs) & Past President of IMANE Indian Medical Association of New England.

AAPI’s Share the Warmth Program Brings Comfort to the Needy

(Chicago, IL: February 20, 2023) “Continuing the tradition of providing comfort and warmth to the needy and the homeless in the United States during this winter season, with the overwhelming support from dozens of Chapters, we at the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) are happy to announce that thousands of people across the nation have benefitted from the generosity of AAPI members, ” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI said.

For several years, AAPI at the national level and various Chapters at the state level have been jointly leading efforts to bring warmth and comfort into the lives of the needy across the United States. Launched in 2019, this noble initiative has now become an annual tradition of giving by AAPI to local communities. AAPI’s “Share The Warmth” project has donated thousands of blankets to the poor and the needy in several homeless shelters across the nation every year.

“We are immensely happy to state that our AAPI’s ‘SHARE THE WARMTH’ program has been highly successful this year,” said Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, Vice Chair of AAPI Board of Trustees and Chair, Share The Warmth program. “We had nearly 30 state Chapters of AAPI who participated in this program and helped about 3,000 homeless and other needy citizens, which is a commendable gesture.”

Dr. Lolabhattu pointed to the local Georgia Chapter, which jumped into action, distributing Blankets to those stranded and without power during this cold winter, in the aftermath of a devastating Tornado striking parts of Georgia state. “It was heartwarming to see how they greatly appreciated our timely help.” Praising the concerted efforts of several other AAPI Chapters, Dr. Lolabahhttu said, “We had the same feedback from several other state leaders that their donations have been very well received and greatly appreciated by the local communities. Thanks to our AAPI President Dr. Ravi Kolli for his leadership and we would say that this is another glorious feather on his cap.”

In a heart-warming gesture, led by Dr. Madhavi Gorusu, Director of Medical Oncology at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, Hartford HealthCare, AAPI donated blankets to LifeStar, who in turn provided blankets to local EMS, the Hartford Hospital Emergency Department, and the Neighborhood Health team to hand out in the community.

“We at AAPI are extremely grateful for the opportunities we have been blessed with to serve the communities we live in and work in,” said Dr. V. Ranga, Chair of APPI BOT. “As a token of our appreciation and gratitude, we believe we are happy to be able to give back and serve the less fortunate in our society in times of their need.”

“This has been a one-of-a-kind experience for the teams of physicians and young volunteers alike who have generously volunteered their time and resources to bring joy to the less fortunate. I want to thank all the State Chapter leaders for their commitment and their enthusiastic participation,” said Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI.

“Realizing how this initiative benefits several needy in the community, gives us the motivation to organize many such events and give back to the local community. We are very happy to say that the purpose of the program has been accomplished by AAPI working with so many state Chapters and hope more things will happen in the future,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI said.

AAPI launched the “Share-A-Blanket” project during the holiday season in 2019 during the presidency of Dr. Suresh Reddy to bring warmth to the needy. Dr. Binod Sinha, founder President of NJ AAPI in New Jersey organized and conducted it successfully that year and since then it has been held annually by AAPI and local Chapters of AAPI.

“After experiencing the generosity of AAPI members, we strongly feel that we can accomplish much more with support and participation from all our AAPI physicians led by the local Chapters,” said Dr. Sumul Rawal, Treasurer of AAPI.

Dr. Kolli and Dr. Lolabhattu thanked ATG Tours for being the Grand sponsor of the program, and all the AAPI members for their generous contributions. Dr. Kolli, while expressing gratitude and appreciation to the AAPI Chapters for organizing the Drives around the nation, said, “Knowing that such measures benefit several needy in the community gives us the motivation to organize more such events and give back to the local communities where we live and serve. We strongly feel that we can make more such accomplishments with support and participation from all our generous AAPI physicians.”

American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), founded in 1982  is the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, representing the interests of over 120,000 physicians of Indian origin. In addition to several programs in India, AAPI has been in the forefront, advocating for the interests of the medical fraternity and organizing regular CME programs, health & wellness events,  and financial workshops for its members and outreach, public health education, and advocacy activities for the community both locally and internationally. For more details and to join the Share-A-Blanket Drive in your state/community, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI Plans 41st Annual Convention in Philadelphia

(Philadelphia, PA; February 8, 2023) “It is with great pleasure that we announce that the 41st Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions organized by American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI) will be held from July 6th to 9th, 2003 in the historical city of Philadelphia, PA,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI announced here today.

Highlighting the importance of AAPI and the contributions of AAPI members in the United states, Dr. Kolli, a senior Psychiatrist by profession said, “Today, AAPI is strong representing over 120,000 Indian American physicians, 130 local Chapters, who make up of 10% of total physicians in the US and nearly 50% of International Medical Graduates, rooted in every corner of the nation, who serve every 7th patient in the US. We are proud of our achievements and our contributions to the healthcare industry and the millions of people we serve.”

“We invite you to the 41st Annual Convention in the historic city of Philadelphia, PA,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta Convenor of AAPI Convention 2023 said. “We have convened a fantastic group of people to meet the needs of the convention and are very excited about this great event. Please reach out to any one of the representatives from the Philadelphia Host Team with questions or comments.”

Picture : TheUNN

“The 2023 AAPI Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly offers an exciting venue to interact with leading physicians, health professionals, academicians, and scientists of Indian origin,” said Dr. V. Ranga, Chair of AAPI BOT. “Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia.”

The Covid pandemic has impacted all aspects of human life as never been before. The past three years have been challenging to everyone, particularly to those who are assigned with the responsibility of caring for the sick, even as hundreds of millions are affected by the pandemic. Physicians and other health professionals on the front lines of COVID-19 care have experienced so many unknowns during the pandemic. They’ve also put their own health and the well-being of their families on the line to provide care.

“At this critical juncture in human history, AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the country is 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,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI said.

Describing the importance of the host city, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI pointed out, “Philadelphia is one of the most exciting, urban chic cities in the world. It is one of the leading regions for the Life Sciences, Energy, and Financial Services industries. Philly is home to the University of Pennsylvania and has 9 medical schools in the surrounding area will bring in many more participants and excellent world-class speakers.”

Pointing to the accessibility and convenience of reaching Philly, Dr. Meher Medavaram, Secretary of AAPI said, “Traveling to Philadelphia is only one hour and 20 minutes from New York City and 1 hour and 45 minutes from Washington, D.C. via Amtrak’s Acela Express line. Thirty airlines serve Philadelphia International Airport with 625 daily nonstop flights to 121 domestic destinations and will attract many attendees.”

Dr. Sumul Rawal, Treasurer of AAPI said, “Exhibitors and Corporate Partners will remain our top priority as we work together to provide a world-class forum for increased interactions between sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees. The ease with which attendees can move between the exhibit hall, conference and ballrooms, and their hotel rooms will ensure maximum attendance and visibility for Sponsors and Exhibitors.”

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Convention offers an exciting venue to interact with leading physicians, health professionals, academicians, and scientists of Indian origin. The physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

While urging all AAPI members to make plans and be part of the historic Convention, Dr. Kolli said: “We have a wonderful team planning and organizing the event to make the 2023 annual convention a memorable experience. Please reach out to any one of the representatives from the Philly team for any of your queries.” Please visit www.aapiconvention.org for more details or call the AAPI office at (630) 990 2277 for further information.

As Nikki Haley Announces Run For President In 2024, Indian American Community Pledges Support

Indian American Nikki Haley, Former South Carolina Republican Governor and former US ambassador to the United Nations under the Donald Trump administration has announced that she will run for president in 2024, becoming the first major rival to challenge former President Donald Trump for the GOP nomination.

“It’s time for a new generation of leadership — to rediscover fiscal responsibility, secure our border, and strengthen our country, our pride and our purpose.” Haley said in her video announcement. Haley accused the “socialist left” of seeing “an opportunity to rewrite history.”

“The Washington establishment has failed us over and over and over again. It’s time for a new generation of leadership to rediscover fiscal responsibility, secure our border and strengthen our country, our pride and our purpose,” Haley said in the video.

“China and Russia are on the march. They all think we can be bullied, kicked around,” Haley said. “You should know this about me: I don’t put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels. I’m Nikki Haley, and I’m running for president.”

Per reports, the former president, who announced his bid last year, recently appeared to bless her entrance into the race, telling reporters that she had called to tell him she was considering a campaign launch and that he had said, “You should do it.”

The Indian American community has expressed support to Haley, a second-generation Indian American, who has risen through the rank and file of the Republican Party by her leadership qualities. “I have known Governor Haley personally for decades and we are delighted that she has announced her candidacy on February 15th, 2023 at her home state, and capital Charleston,” Dr. Sampat Shivangi, a Member of the National Advisory Council, SAMHSA, Center for National Mental Health Services, Washington DC told this writer. “On behalf of the large and influential Indian American community, I wish her well and all the success in the coming days, and pray, she will succeed to be a nominee of GOP in 2024. We will assure our community support in every way,” he added.

Pointing to the many leadership roles she has held, Dr. Shivangi said, “Governor Nicky Haley, who has served in multiple roles in the US and on word stage as the US Ambassador to United Nations, makes all of us proud, specifically Indian Americans, who have given a unique identity as part of the diaspora. A rare quality of Governor Nicky is that she has not forgotten her roots and her ancestral homeland India as she visited India and interacted with leadership in India including meeting our beloved leader Prime Minister Modi.  She is a popular and respected leader, not only in her home state, South Carolina, and across US. She has very close ties with President Trump who she may be running against in GOP primaries. I have learned that President Trump has welcomed her candidacy for the highest office of the land, possibly a place on the world stage.”

Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, opened the video talking about how she felt “different” growing up in Bamberg, South Carolina. “The railroad tracks divided the town by race. I was the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. Not Black, not White. I was different. But my mom would always say your job is not to focus on the differences but on the similarities. And my parents reminded me and my siblings every day how blessed we were to live in America,” Haley said.  If successful in the primary, Haley would be the first woman and the first Asian American nominated by the Republican Party for president.

Haley will likely face stiff competition from other potential GOP candidates such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who are all said to be weighing 2024 runs. Some strategists say a big Republican primary field would be advantageous to Trump, who still enjoys significant support among the party base, and could splinter the vote — allowing him to walk away with the nomination.

Dr. Kiran Patel Among 75 Featured as Jewels of India

Dr. Kiran Patel, a billionaire businessman and philanthropist, who recently donated $200 million to Nova Southeastern University in Florida, was among the 75 distinguished Indian Americans who were featured as “Jewels of India.”  Consul General of India at New York, Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswal conferred the award to the high achieving Indians during a glittering, power-packed ceremony organized by Maneesh Media in New York City on January 28, 2023.

Other luminaries who were honored at the colorful event included: Dr. Bharat Barai, eminent oncologist and co-author of [email protected]: Dreams Meet Delivery; Chairman of Maneesh Media Chandmal Kumawat; Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, Business magnet and philanthropist; Dr. H.R Shah, Chairman TV Asia; and, Indian Panorama chief editor and publisher Prof. Indrajit S Saluja.

Shri Ram Nath Kovind, former President of India congratulated the 75 leading Indian Americans as the Jewels of India and released the lavishly mounted coffee table book profiling them.

Lauding the achievements and contributions to society of the Indian diaspora and of Indian Americans in particular, were Hon. Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York, Mr Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, Dr Bharat Barai, oncologist and co-author of [email protected]: Dreams Meet Delivery, and Dr Kiran C Patel.

At the standing room only event, the massive coffee table book, Jewels of India in America, was released simultaneously in the ballroom as well as by Honorable Ram Nath Kovind in India, who spoke live via video link from Kochi. The book contains profusely illustrated profiles of 75 leading Indian American personalities, out of which about 25 were present in person to receive the honors from Consul General Jaiswal and other distinguished guests.

Notable honorees included Naveen Shah, CEO of Navika group; Vijaydev Ratanjee Mistry,  first trustee of the charitable foundation of his family that made a fortune in the hat business; Dr Vivek Lall, CEO, General Atomics Global Corporation, CA; Raj Gopal Asava, Founder, Hunger Mitao, TX; Kailash N Jhalani, President, Prompt Gem Importers; Dr Manbir Singh, Medical Director, McFarland Singh Medical Clinic, CA; Mohamad Faroqui, Founder, Print Early & New York Banner Stands; Dr Samin K Sharma, Director, Cardiovascular Clinical Institute Mount Sinai Hospital, NYC; Prof Indrajit Singh Saluja, Editor-Publisher of The Indian Panorama; and Sparsh Shah, a child prodigy, rapper and motivational speaker.

Patrons, Sponsors and Supporters included Foundation for Global Understanding, International University of Vedic Wellness, Indiaspora, Bulk Petroleum, Vijaydev Ratanjee Mistry Family Trust, Vardhamana Charitable Foundation and Print Early.

Kiran Patel was born in Zambia, Africa to Asian-Indian parents. He was educated under the British Educational System in Zambia and then got his diplomas from Cambridge University and The University of London. He then went to study medicine at Gujarat University in India and did his Internship in Africa. Dr. Patel did his residency in Internal Medicine in New Jersey in 1980. He completed a fellowship in the cardiology program affiliated with the Columbia University of New York in 1982.

Dr. Kiran moved to Tampa, Florida in 1982 and began his practice in cardiology. He was very successful and became a distinguished cardiologist in that area. He developed a physician practice management company and expanded throughout the Tampa Bay area, diverging into 14 practices including Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Cardiology.

Kiran was also in partnership with many point-of-service locations to form a multi-specialty network. This network helped patients access most medical services conveniently. He has actively engaged himself in managed care contracts and it has expanded considerably, providing care now for more than 80,000 patients. Apart from this, he has developed good associations with several HMOs and hospitals.

His success in managed care contracts led a group of doctors to seek his services to help them with an HMO in New Port Richey, Florida. Dr. Patel took up the project after discussing a pre-determined purchase option of the company. It was called the Well Care HMO, Inc. (Well Care). In 1992, Dr. Kiran Patel, along with Rupesh Shaw, CEO, and Pradip Patel, President, started a Medicaid managed care company. This company became the largest Medicaid provider in the state of Florida. He also helped to bring around the struggling HMO, WellCare of New York and Connecticut.

He worked with more than 95 hospitals and a few hundred physicians in settling past due medical claims. Dr. Kiran Patel provided an additional $15 million in equity through Conversion of Brow and infused $10 million of new capital and acquired 55 percent of the publicly held Well Care Management Group.

Between 1995 and 2002, Dr. Kiran Patel built it into a billion-dollar company, providing services to more than 450,000 members, employing more than 1,200 employees and operating in Florida, New York and Connecticut.

He is presently serving as Chairman of Visionary Medical Systems. He believes that the Visionary Office will reduce the paperwork for physicians and give them more time to devote to their patients. He is a member on the following organizations: Fellow of American College of Cardiology; American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, American Association of Physicians from the South East Asia, Past Chair Scholarship Committee.

The Drs. Kiran C. and Pallavi Patel Family Foundation focuses on bettering the world through health, education, and culture. The impact of their extraordinary generosity is evident across the globe, particularly in Florida, India, and Africa. While actively initiating projects, the Drs. Patel also respond in times of need.

When a major earthquake devastated villages throughout Gujarat, India, killing thousands, collapsing buildings and homes, and leaving masses of crippled people and orphaned children, Dr. Kiran C. Patel took action. He united the Tampa Bay community and the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (which he was a member of) and led an effort that rehabilitated villagers’ homes, constructed an orphanage and model school, and created four modern hospitals. More recently, the Patels helped NSU to deliver emergency supplies to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

With the Jewels of India in America Part 2 (part 1 was released 10 years ago) Maneesh Media also celebrated its 50th publication over a proud journey of 23 years. All of their publications have been often released and endorsed by top dignitaries such as US Presidents, Indian President, Vice President, Prime Ministers and have reached the Indian community across the world.

With offices in New York, Toronto and Jaipur, Founder Chandmal Kumawat is ably supported by his 3 sons, Maneesh Media directors Manish, Abhishek and Siddharth. Manish and Siddharth were at hand managing the event on January 28, which also celebrated India’s Republic Day. Siddharth proposed the vote of thanks.

Entertaining the 250+ guests in the overflowing ballroom at the Mandarin Oriental premier 5-star hotel in the heart of Manhattan were plumed showgirls, Arya Dance Academy’s Bollywood performances, and Sparsh Shah belting out a patriotic song and a rap-raga fusion number.

Naveen Patnaik, Odisha CM Inaugurates Statewide Bystander CPR Program, Training 2400 Persons

Heart disease is the number one Global Public Health problem. People of Indian Origin are at a four-times greater risk of heart disease than their Western counterparts and have a greater chance of having a heart attack before 50 years of age. Almost one in three in this group may die from heart disease before 65 years of age. In India, heart disease remains the number one cause of death. Nearly 36% of deaths in India are due to heart disease, and 80% of them are preventable. More than 4200 sudden cardiac arrests occur per every one lakh of the population in India annually with a survival rate of less than 10%. Immediate on-the-spot Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) by a bystander and early use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can save millions of lives across the world.

With the objective of creating awareness and providing training, especially to the First Responders, Hon’ble Chief Minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik in collaboration with Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, Odisha, Sri Jagannatha Service Foundation (President, Abhinav Krishna Jasthi), American Heart Association and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Bhubaneswar) inaugurated a statewide project of Mass Hands-Only CPR training program with AED demonstration at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India on February 2, 2023.

During his address, Mr. Patnaik applauded the role played by the various organizations involved with the initiative of saving precious lives. Mr. Krishna Kishore Jasthi, Principal Director of Income Tax (Investigation), Odisha, who is the chief coordinator of the project, welcomed the participants, and explained the objectives of the ground-breaking project, “Saving Lives with Bystander CPR” in Odisha.

The project was initiated by Dr. Vemuri S Murthy, an Indo-US resuscitation expert and an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Vemuri S Murthy spoke on the importance of community CPR training and thanked the Hon’ble Chief minister for his vision and support for the statewide lifesaver project. He gave a live demonstration of Hands-only CPR and AED on a manikin for the Hon’ble Chief minister with an Indo-US AHA volunteer team of Dr. Maheshwar Parvat and Mr. Dennis McCauley.

The 9-hours long program trained nearly 2,400 participants, including 1,000 police personnel, 600 women students from R D Women’s College and Sri Sathya Sai College for Women and participants from other organizations. The plan is to train 200,000 people in the state of Odisha by the end of 2025 with a potential to save thousands of lives in Odisha. The participants received Community Bystander informational pamphlets in Oriya and “Healthy Heart” informational flyers from the American Heart Association with participation certificates.

The participants were given a brief presentation of “Heart Disease Among Women” as part of the program by Dr. Pavitra Kotini-Shah, Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Indo-US Faculty team was honored at the conclusion of the program.

The well-organized Mass CPR program involving hundreds of volunteers was commended by the participants. Ongoing Odisha stateside programs will be planned soon, the organizers announced here.

“Efforts to raise awareness of heart disease and promoting “Healthy Heart” lifestyles is essential,” Dr. Murthy said. “Given the fact that South Asians tend to have more heart problems, it is presumed that the incidence of Sudden Cardiac Arrests might be higher in them compared to the general population in the United States. Immediate Bystander CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) with early use of an AED can double or triple the chances of their survival. Needless to say, a concerted effort is needed to achieve the goals by all involved stakeholders, Governmental and non-Governmental, with individual participation.”

Dr. Sampat Shivangi Addresses “Role Of Diaspora In Promoting Healthcare Eco-System During Amritkal” At PBD In Indore

“We want to make India’s Health Care a World Class Endeavor, by utilizing: A. Information Technology; B. Field of Medicine; C. Finance, Banking; and, D. Politics. Towards this end, he recommended that the Government of India must collaborate and harness the resources available in large organizations such as the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) which is the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, representing the interests of over 100,000 Physicians of Indian origin, who serve every 7th patient, making up of nearly 15% of the healthcare professionals in their adopted country,” Dr. Sampat Shivangi, a physician, an influential Indian-American community leader, and a veteran leader of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) said, while addressing the delegates during the Pravasi Bhrataiya Diwas in Indore, India on January 9th, 2023.

As a founding member of AAPI, “I want to stress the importance of working together with solid cooperation and partnership, which will make such a tremendous change in the Indian healthcare system,” Dr. Shivangi said, while pointing out the many contributions and initiatives of AAPI and its members, who contribute immensely in several states, especially in the healthcare sector both in the urban and rural areas across India, serving millions of people.

During the recent Covid catastrophe, AAPI has provided extensive support to their motherland, he said. AAPI helped raise more than 5 million US dollars, which were used to procure and provide 2300 Oxygen Concentrators, over 100 Ventilators, 200 High Flow Oxygen, setting up dozens of Oxygen plants, and providing several Chemiluminescence Immuno-Analyzers (CLIA), each costing Rs. 50 Lakh. In addition, AAPI has adopted several villages and closely coordinated the overall development by providing primary care and preventive medicine to dozens of rural villages across India.

A conservative lifelong member of the Republican Party, Dr. Shivangi is the founding member of the Republican Indian Council and the Republican Indian National Council. Dr. Shivangi is the National President of Indian American Forum for Political Education, one of the oldest Indian American Associations. Over the past three decades, he has lobbied for several Bills in the US Congress on behalf of India through his enormous contacts with US Senators and Congressmen.

A close friend to the Bush family, he was instrumental in lobbying for the first Diwali celebration in the White House and for President George W. Bush to make his trip to India. He had accompanied President Bill Clinton during his historic visit to India.

Dr. Shivangi is a champion of women’s health and mental health whose work has been recognized nationwide. Dr. Shivangi has worked enthusiastically in promoting India Civil Nuclear Treaty and recently the US India Defense Treaty that was passed in US Congress and signed by President Obama.

Health care across the world is regarded as an important determinant in promoting the general, physical, mental, and social well-being of people around the world and can contribute to a significant part of a country’s economy, development, and industrialization when efficiently improving human health and providing access to affordable high-quality health care.

While acknowledging that India is a global leader in the manufacturing of affordable, innovative & quality pharmaceutical & medical devices across the world, realizing India’s goal of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” Dr. Shivangi pointed to how medications manufactured by Indian pharmaceutical companies “flock every shelf of American general and pharmacies, at a fraction of the cost of their American counterparts.”

Quoting studies that point to the fact that Mental Health has emerged as an “ever-challenging task,” Dr. Shivangi said, “Nearly 1 in 5 Americans has some type of Mental illness. This has caused the US government to spend $225 million in 2019 alone towards treating Mental Health.  During the Covid pandemic period, 78% of adults were experiencing a mental illness, an equivalent of over 50 million Americans, with millions of adults in the USA experiencing serious thoughts of suicide, with the highest rate amongst multi-racial individuals.

Responding to realities, the US Government has initiated several measures to help people struggling with mental health issues, Dr. Shivangi said. “In the US, there are an estimated 350 individuals for one mental health provider, with programs such as Division of Prevention, Traumatic Stress, and Special Programs, Division of State and Community Systems Development, Division of Service and Systems Improvement, and National Institute of Mental Health. In addition, the Federal Government has set up several services which are easily accessible to those struggling with mental health issues, and enabling them to receive Get immediate assistance. The Veterans Crisis Line is a free confidential resource that connects veterans 24/7 with trained responders. The Disaster Distress Helpline 800- 985- 5990, which provides immediate crisis counseling to anyone facing natural or human-caused disasters,” Dr. Shivangi pointed out.

Dr. Shivangi said, they can get instant help by calling #911 in crisis; they can call or Text #988 Suicide & Crisis lifeline, a new Nationwide service, attended by trained staff, trained crisis counselors who can counsel, guide and get them admitted into nearby crisis center, community mental health center or hospital immediately that includes ambulance service. “This has caught nationwide attention. I would strongly recommend that India should think along these lines.”

The SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is another major initiative of the US government. I serve on the Board of SAMHSA, a prestigious position, appointed by the President of the United States. I was first appointed by President Trump & now by the current President Joe Biden.”

Dr. Shivangi praised “India for making striking progress in health standards in the post-independence era. The sustained efforts to control the country’s population & the political will to march towards the SDG in health will help India to make a significant impact in the international health sector.”

The NFHS-5 carried out in this regard during 2019-20 has shown: There were 1,020 women for 1000 men in the country in 2019-2021;  TFR has also come down below the threshold at which the population is expected to replace itself from one generation to next; Child Nutrition indicators show a slight improvement at an all-India level as Stunting has declined from 38% to 36%, wasting from 21% to 19% and underweight from 36% to 32% at all India level; • Incidence of anemia in under-5 children (from 58.6 to 67%), women (53.1 to 57%) and men (22.7 to 25%) has worsened in all States of India (20%-40% incidence is considered moderate).

Full immunization drives among children aged 12-23 months have recorded a substantial improvement from 62% to 76% at all-India levels. Institutional births have increased substantially from 79% to 89% at all-India Level

Focusing on Mental Health in India, Dr. Shivangi said, “Mental Health literacy is the gateway for mental health intervention in India. However, there is a lack of awareness, which can lead to overlooking, misjudging or dismissing the signs that someone needs help.

WHO estimates 1 in every 8 individuals worldwide suffer from a mental disorder, impairment in childhood, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, & psychosis in maturity and ending with dementia in old age. 5.6 crore Indians suffer from depression, while 3.8 crore suffers from anxiety disorders. Based on the analysis, due to these factors, “India will lose 1.03 trillion in economic value” based on a study by Lancet – British Medical Journal that reported that 35% increase in mental disorders in India.

Nearly 14% of India’s population required active therapeutic interventions, while only 1 out of every 10 people gets evidence-based treatment, in other words, 70% – 80% of persons in India receive no care affiliated with it.

Pointing that there are as many as 70 million mentally ill people in the country of 1.3 billion, there are only 20,000 beds in 42 mental hospitals, due to lack of planning and funding by the government, Dr. Shivangi said. There are only 4000 qualified Psychiatrists, which is 0.2 per 100,000 population as against an average of 1.2 Psychiatrists among the nations of the world.

While the health ministry proposed to increase India’s public health expenditure to 2.5% of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, it has remained within a narrow band of 1.02-1.28% of GDP. India is one of the 57 countries with a critical HRH shortage.

In inequities between the rural and urban is even more disturbing. Rural India has a shortfall of 24% Sub-Centers, 29% Primary Health Centers and 38% Community Health Centres across the country as per the Rural Health Statistics (RHS) 2020.

The national density of doctors, nurses, and midwives was found to be 20.6 per 10,000 people compared to the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of 44.5. There are significant urban–rural differences in HRH with urban areas having four times greater doctor density than rural areas.

Dr. Shivangi recommended that India requires 3 mental health experts for every 10,000 people, which means India needs an additional 30,000 psychiatrists, 38,000 psychiatric social workers, 37,000 psychiatric nurses.

Dr. Shivangi urged the government of India to make efforts “to educate society to provide clients with prompt mental health support, prompt intervention, cognizance, & education of the issue. Therefore it is crucial to comprehend that individuals with mental illness have a right to spend their life with dignity and self-assurance.”

Among the many suggestions, Dr. Shivangi put forth included, “Integration of mental health with primary healthcare through NMHR; Provision of tertiary care institutions for treatment of mental disorders; Eradicating stigmatization of mentally ill patients and protecting their rights through regulatory institutions like the central mental health authority & State mental health authorities; Initiate agencies on the model of SAMHSA to minimize substance abuse, a federal agency; Starting of a nationwide Tele service on the US model of 988, 911; Incentives to programs of Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and social workers in the field of mental health; and, more importantly, an awareness of mental health among the general public.”

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, an obstetrician/gynecologist, has been elected by a US state Republican Party as a full delegate to the National Convention. He is one of the top fund-raisers in Mississipi state for the Republican Party. Besides being a politician by choice, the medical practitioner is also the first Indian to be on the American Medical Association, the apex law making body.

Dr. Shivangi has actively involved in several philanthropic activities, serving with Blind foundation of MS, Diabetic, Cancer and Heart Associations of America. Dr. Shivangi has number of philanthropic work in India including Primary & middle schools, Cultural Center, IMA Centers that he opened and helped to obtains the first ever US Congressional grant to AAPI to study Diabetes Mellitus amongst Indian Americans.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi was awarded the highest civilian honor, the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Sanman award in 2016 in Bengaluru by the Hon. President of India, Shri Pranap Mukhejee. He was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in New York in 2008. He is married to Dr. Udaya S. Shivangi, MD, and the couple are blessed with two daughters: Priya S. Shivangi, MS (NYU); Pooja S. Shivangi who is an Attorney at Law.

AAPI’s Women’s Forum Discusses Ways To “Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action.”

“Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action” was the theme at the much-anticipated Women’s Leadership Forum that featured extraordinarily successful Women Leaders representing a diversity of professions, involving public, private and government organizations, during the recently concluded Global Healthcare Summit organized by the American Association of Physici9ans of Indian origin (AAPI) in Visakhapatnam, India from January 6th to 8th, 2023.

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Dr. Smt. Tamilisai Soundararajan, Honorable Governor of Telangana & Honorable Lt. Governor of Puducherry delivered the keynote address at the Women’s Forum virtually. She urged everyone to “Pay attention to little things and how changes can be brought in. Ensure that the much-needed healthcare services reach everyone. There are many plans and programs initiated by the state government, but people need to be made aware of them and be helped to utilize the programs,” she said. She lauded “the great work by AAPI members for promoting health globally, particularly in India and the United States.”

Shri. MVV Satyavathi, Member of Parliament, representing Anakapalli in Andhra Pradesh was the Guest of Honor at the Women’s Forum. In her address, she congratulated AAPI, whose members having been born and educated in India, settled down in the US with success, have come back to India to serve the people of India, and  work together for the betterment of humanity.

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. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI said, “In collaboration with national AAPI, the Forum has successfully organized events like HPV vaccination drive, fundraiser for suicide prevention awareness, scholarship for medical students, and many others.” In the next 2 years, the Forum aims to conduct CPR and AED trainings and install more AEDs in areas such as the railway stations, bus stations, malls, schools,  and colleges. We plan to organize certified training workshops on Neonatal resuscitation, basic life support and emergency medicine for emergency responders and healthcare professionals.

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.  “It is my privilege and great honor to serve as the Chair of AAPI‘s Women Leadership Forum. We are fortunate to have with us.  leaders and decision makers who have made a significant impact on the society and share a common vision of a healthier and stronger India,” she said.

“Each year, the Women’s Forum has played a significant role in organizing events, fundraisers and service projects that represent the core values of AAPI and our collective mission of giving back to our motherland. These events serve as a platform to expand our resources,  share technological advancements and establish new partnerships, dr. Shivangi added.

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Panelists at the Women’s Forum included: Dr. Suneela Garg, Dir. Professor & Head of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College; Dr. Anuradha Medoju, Senior Regional Director at Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India; Dr. S. Radha Rani, Former Professor and Superintendent, Hospital of Mental Health; and Ms. Meghna Chalasani, Team Lead, Advisory Committees, Program Lead, Science Office Strategies for New Drugs at Center for Drug Education and Research, US Food & Drug Administration.

Dr. Anuradha Medoju, Senior Regional Director at Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India spoke about how she is able to work as a mother and government servant. “Working with balance is challenging. We should have boundaries for everything while needing to balance our personal life, our family life and our passion,” she said.

Dr. Suneela Garg, Dir. Professor & Head of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College pointed out that women are 55% of the total population of India. “We have made progress in so many areas of health indicators and infant mortality. I urge AAPI to come forward to work with local organizations and help spread wellness initiatives among the people.”

Dr. S. Radha Rani, Former Professor and Superintendent, Hospital of Mental Health spoke about why is mental health important and how to improve one’s overall health. “Woman is an important member of the family and the society. Her mental health is vital, as it affects everyone in the family and therefore caring for her mental health is important. Major life events impact women, who in turn affect all other members of the family.”

Women’s Forum is chaired by Dr. Udaya Shivangi and Dr. T. Radha, while Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda is the Advisor and Dr. B. Devi Madhavi is serving as the Co-Chair. Dr. Jonnalagadda, while proposing the vote of thanks, said, “I thank you for being with us today and advocating for women’s rights.” For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI’s Women’s Leadership Forum Deliberates on Ways To “Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action.”

“Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action” was the theme at the much-anticipated Women’s Leadership Forum that featured extraordinarily successful Women Leaders representing a diversity of professions, involving public, private and government organizations, during the recently concluded Global Healthcare Summit organized by the American Association of Physici9ans of Indian origin (AAPI) in Visakhapatnam, India from January 6th to 8th, 2023.

Picture : TheUNN

ZDr. Smt. Tamilisai Soundararajan, Honorable Governor of Telangana & Honorable Lt. Governor of Puducherry delivered the keynote address at the Women’s Forum virtually. She urged everyone to “Pay attention to little things and how changes can be brought in. Ensure that the much-needed healthcare services reach everyone. There are many plans and programs initiated by the state government, but people need to be made aware of them and be helped to utilize the programs,” she said. She lauded “the great work by AAPI members for promoting health globally, particularly in India and the United States.”

Shri. MVV Satyavathi, Member of Parliament, representing Anakapalli in Andhra Pradesh was the Guest of Honor at the Women’s Forum. In her address, she congratulated AAPI, whose members having been born and educated in India, settled down in the US with success, have come back to India to serve the people of India, and  work together for the betterment of humanity.

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. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI said, “In collaboration with national AAPI, the Forum has successfully organized events like HPV vaccination drive, fundraiser for suicide prevention awareness, scholarship for medical students, and many others.” In the next 2 years, the Forum aims to conduct CPR and AED trainings and install more AEDs in areas such as the railway stations, bus stations, malls, schools,  and colleges. We plan to organize certified training workshops on Neonatal resuscitation, basic life support and emergency medicine for emergency responders and healthcare professionals.

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.  “It is my privilege and great honor to serve as the Chair of AAPI‘s Women Leadership Forum. We are fortunate to have with us.  leaders and decision makers who have made a significant impact on the society and share a common vision of a healthier and stronger India,” she said.

Picture : TheUNN

“Each year, the Women’s Forum has played a significant role in organizing events, fundraisers and service projects that represent the core values of AAPI and our collective mission of giving back to our motherland. These events serve as a platform to expand our resources,  share technological advancements and establish new partnerships, dr. Shivangi added.

Panelists at the Women’s Forum included: Dr. Suneela Garg, Dir. Professor & Head of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College; Dr. Anuradha Medoju, Senior Regional Director at Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India; Dr. S. Radha Rani, Former Professor and Superintendent, Hospital of Mental Health; and Ms. Meghna Chalasani, Team Lead, Advisory Committees, Program Lead, Science Office Strategies for New Drugs at Center for Drug Education and Research, US Food & Drug Administration.

Dr. Anuradha Medoju, Senior Regional Director at Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India spoke about how she is able to work as a mother and government servant. “Working with balance is challenging. We should have boundaries for everything while needing to balance our personal life, our family life and our passion,” she said.

Dr. Suneela Garg, Dir. Professor & Head of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College pointed out that women are 55% of the total population of India. “We have made progress in so many areas of health indicators and infant mortality. I urge AAPI to come forward to work with local organizations and help spread wellness initiatives among the people.”

Dr. S. Radha Rani, Former Professor and Superintendent, Hospital of Mental Health spoke about why is mental health important and how to improve one’s overall health. “Woman is an important member of the family and the society. Her mental health is vital, as it affects everyone in the family and therefore caring for her mental health is important. Major life events impact women, who in turn affect all other members of the family.”

Women’s Forum is chaired by Dr. Udaya Shivangi and Dr. T. Radha, while Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda is the Advisor and Dr. B. Devi Madhavi is serving as the Co-Chair. Dr. Jonnalagadda, while proposing the vote of thanks, said, “I thank you for being with us today and advocating for women’s rights.” For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda Given Gold Medal By the Indian Red Cross Society

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, Past President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) was conferred with a Gold Medal By the Indian Red Cross Society during the 5th annual General Meeting held in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh on October 28th, 2022. Dr. Jonnnalgadda was conferred with the award for his contributions by Shree Biswabhusan Harichandan, the Honorable Governor of Andhra Pradesh.

Dr. Jonnalagadda was chosen for the prestigious award by the Indian Red Cross Society in the field of Medicine and for his great leadership of AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the US, especially during the Pandemic.

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Dr. Jonnalagadda, said, “Wanted to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Indian Red Cross Society for selecting me for the prestigious award. In recognizing me, the Indian Red Cross Society has recognized all the medical professionals who have been in the forefront fighting Covid, including those who have laid their lives at the services of treating patients infected with the deadly virus. This award will strengthen the medical fraternity to recommit our efforts, skills and talents for the greater good of humanity.”

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda had served as the 37th President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and has worked hard to “make AAPI stronger, more vibrant, united, transparent, politically engaged, ensuring active participation of young physicians, increasing membership, and enabling that AAPI’s voice is heard in the corridors of power,” .

AAPI is the largest Medical Organization in the United States, representing the interests of the over 120,000 physicians and Fellows of Indian origin in the United States, serving the interests of the Indian American physicians in the US and in many ways contributing to the shaping of the healthcare delivery in the US for the past 39 years. “AAPI must be responsive to its members, supportive of the leadership and a true advocate for our mission,” he said.

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Dr. Jonnalagadda was born in a family of Physicians. His dad was a Professor at a Medical College in India and his mother was a Teacher. He and his siblings aspired to be physicians and dedicate their lives for the greater good of humanity. “I am committed to serving the community and help the needy. That gives me the greatest satisfaction in life,” he said modesty.  Ambitious and wanting to achieve greater things in life, Dr. Jonnalagadda has numerous achievements in life. He currently serves as the President of the Medical Staff at the Hospital. And now, “being elected as the President of AAPI is greatest achievement of my life,”

As the President of AAPI, the dynamic physician from the state of Andhra Pradesh, helped to “develop a committee to work with children of AAPI members who are interested in medical school, to educate on choosing a school and gaining acceptance; Develop a committee to work with medical residents who are potential AAPI members, to educate on contract negotiation, patient communication, and practice management; Develop a committee to work with AAPI medical students, and to provide proctorship to improve their selection of medical residencies.”

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A Board-Certified Gastroenterologist/Transplant Hepatologist, working in Douglas, GA, Dr. Jonnalagadda is a former Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia. He was the President of Coffee Regional Medical Staff 2018, and had served as the Director of Medical Association of Georgia Board from 2016 onwards. He had served as the President of Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage 2007-2008, and was the past Chair of Board of Trustees, GAPI. He was the Chairman of the Medical Association of Georgia, IMG Section, and was a Graduate, Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (advocacy training).

In response to the pandemic, Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalgadda helped AAPI raise $5.4 million in three months to send 3,000 oxygen concentrators, 100 ventilators, and 100 pieces of high-flow oxygen equipment to India. AAPI connected with the American Heart Association, UNICEF and Intel for charity programs, and the NY Times rated AAPI as the second best charitable organization in the nation.

AAPI was able to provide tele-health platforms and a community outreach program through ZTV which educated millions of viewers. AAPI donated 5000 blankets during Thanksgiving and held luncheons for National Nurses Week in over 50 hospitals in the United States as well as, for the first time, locations in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, and the Caribbean. AAPI provided 30 credit hours of CME virtually and started the first ever purely scientific journal, JAPI. AAPI successfully initiated a clinical observer ship program to young physicians.

A Board-Certified Gastroenterologist/Transplant Hepatologist, working in Douglas, GA, Dr. Jonnalagadda is a former Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia. He was the President of Coffee Regional Medical Staff 2018, and had served as the Director of Medical Association of Georgia Board from 2016 onwards. He had served as the President of Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage 2007-2008, and was the past Chair of Board of Trustees, GAPI. He was the Chairman of the Medical Association of Georgia, IMG Section, and was a Graduate, Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (advocacy training).

Under his leadership, AAPI raised funds to provide 1,000 Water Purification Plants in several towns and villages in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.  Also, it was during his Presidency, for the first time ever, AAPI held annual elections to national offices via electronic ballots.

Dr. Jonnalagadda and his team, under stressful Covid times, organized the annual Convention in a record three months’ time, both successful and profitable. As the president, he was interviewed by CNN, Voice of America, and the Washington Post, as well as Republic TV and NDTV in India. He was recognized by the Indo-American Press Club (IAPC) with the Excellence in Leadership Award 2020 and the government of India presented him with the Pravasi Bharatiya  Samman Award in 2021.

His vision for AAPI has been to increase the awareness of APPI globally and help its voice heard in the corridors of power.  “I would like to see us lobby the US Congress and create an AAPI PAC and advocate for an increase in the number of available Residency Positions and Green Cards to Indian American Physicians so as to help alleviate the shortage of Doctors in the United States.”

“Sharing of Knowledge and Best Practice is a Key Component of AAPI’s Global Healthcare Summit:” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI

“Sharing of knowledge and best practice has been a key component of AAPI’s Global Healthcare Summit,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), while describing the objectives of the recently concluded Global Healthcare Summit, said here.

Attended by nearly 500 delegates from the United States and India, the GHS 2023 was jointly organized by AAPI and the local organizing committee at Visakhapatnam from January 6th to 8th, 2023. This Global Health Care Summit, with participation from leading medical professionals, thought leaders, heads of several health industry sectors, and policy-makers has had a vibrant and most enriching series of educational seminars and workshops.

“The essence of AAPI is educational,” Dr. Kolli added. “That translates into numerous Continuing Medical Education (CME) and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields. The GHS 2023 with the theme of “True and Total Health is the Wellbeing of Mind, Body, and Spirit” has had several CME sessions that focused on Mental Health, Infant and Maternal Mortality as well as various other medical specialty updates, research, and Medical Jeopardy.”

CME sessions with academicians from the United States offered unique opportunities for local medical staff and healthcare professionals to advance their learnings and provide the best possible care for the people of India. The Summit had a research competition for medical students and postgraduate students from all over India. AAPI conferred Awards of excellence and lifetime achievements during the Summit.

A major theme of the GHS 2023 was Metal Health. The much-anticipated CME on Psychiatry coordinated by Dr. Rao Mowwa began with an excellent presentation on “State of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Training in India” by Dr. N. N. Raju on Friday, January 6th. The session on “Prevention of suicide through safety planning – a proactive approach” by Dr. Bush Kavuru, and on “Creativity and Insanity: Two Sides of Same Coin?” by Dr. Indla Ramasubbareddy educated the audience on ways to understand and appreciate mental health issues in individuals and offer support, which will help them live a productive and dignified life. Dr. Ravi Koll provided an overview of the need for gratitude and appreciate the blessings in life through an insightful session on “Science and Practice of Gratitude in Wellbeing.” Dr. Srinivas Gokarakonda and Dr. Vijay Maurya moderated the sessions.

The second part of the morning session was on Diabetes and Kidney Disease. The scientific presentation on Diabetes Management Update was given by Dr. G.R. Sridhar, while “Diabetic Nephropathy: Current Concepts in Diagnosis” was offered by Dr. Sharma Prabhakar. Dr. K. L. Gupta educated the audience on Lupus Nephritis. “CKD of Unknown Origin & Uddanam Nephropathy” was the theme addressed by Dr. T. Ravi Raju, while “New Insights into the Biology and Mechanism of Renal Fibrosis” was the topic addressed by Dr. Raghu Kalluri. The sessions were moderated by Dr. KAV Subrahmanyam, Dr. K. Dilip Kumar, and Dr. R. K. Sharma.

The first-ever “JAAPI Symposium on Development of Non-Communicable Diseases in India” was moderated by Dr. Suresh Karne. Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs): A Global Health Challenge in the 21st Century was the theme addressed by Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, a former Chief Scientist at World Health Organization. Dr. Suzanne Tanya Nethan provided an overview on “Non-Communicable Disease Risk Factors and Their Trends in India” while a presentation on “Intergenerational Transmission of NCDs in Developing Countries and in India” was given by Dr. Chittaranjan Yajnik. The Role of Infant Nutrition in the Development of Adult Onset of NCDs was addressed by Dr. Ramasubbareddy Dhanireddy.

The AAPI delegates were led to a Meditation Session by Mrs. Sheerisha on Saturday morning. Apollo Session of Cardiology on Saturday was led by Dr. Sreeni Gangasani,  AAPI’s CME Chair, and was moderated by Dr. D. K. Baruah, Dr. C. Ravi Venkatachelam, and Dr. Sujeeth Punnam.

N K Panigrahi opened the session with a brilliant talk on Heart Disease Epidemic, which was followed by an informative session on Heart Failure- What’s New for 2022, presented by Dr. Sreeni Gangasani. Dr. A. Sharath Reddy spoke on Interventional Cardiology Update, and Dr. Brahma Sharma educated the delegates on Current Concepts in Prediction and Prevention of Heart Attacks in South Asians. Structural Heart Disease was the theme of the presentation by Dr. Prasad Chalasani, while Update on Cardiac Surgery was presented by Dr. M. Gopichand.

The Biophore Session on Gastroenterology was moderated by Dr. G. Santarao and Dr. SNR Naveen. Dr. Nagendra Myneni updated the delegates on Hepatitis, while Lap GI Surgery Update was given by Dr. C. Palanivelu. Hepatocellular Carcinoma was the topic addressed by Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, and “An Integrative Medical Approach to Common Gastroenterological Conditions” was the theme discussed by Dr. Vijaya Voruganti.

The session on LVPEI Blindness Prevention was moderated by Dr. C. V. Gopala Raju and Dr. P Viswamithra. Dr. Gullapalli N. Rao gave an overview of Global Blindness Statistics & Vision 2020 Outcomes, while Global Glaucoma Blindness – Magnitude & Management was the topic addressed by Dr. Sriram Sonty. Blindness in South East Asia – Prevention Strategies was the focus of the address by Dr. Rohit Khanna, while Childhood Blindness was the theme by Dr. V. K. Raju. Dr. Harsha Bhattacharjee shared insights from a case study on Blindness Relief Program in Northeast India.

NATCO Pharma Oncology Session on Sunday, January 8th was chaired by Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, and moderated by Dr. Muralikrishna Voonna and Dr. Sushil Jain. “A focus on newer treatment modalities in Radiation Oncology” was the topic addressed by Dr. Umesh Mahantshetty, while Dr. T. Subramanyeswar Rao spoke about “What’s new in surgical oncology?” An Update on Systemic Therapies for Cancer was provided by Dr. Raghunadharao Digumarti. “Evolving Biology and New Therapies – Strategies to Control Cancer” was the topic addressed by Dr. Raghu Kalluri. An insightful session on Pharmaco economics of cancer drugs – can we afford it?” was presented by Dr. Satheesh Kathula. “India’s unique value proposition towards Medical Tourism” was addressed by Mr. Shaaz Mehmood.

The session on Infant Mortality: Current Trends was led by Dr. Raja Nandyal and Dr. Sashi Kuppala. The session on Neurology had Dr. Suresh A. Reddy as the lead speaker, who spoke on “Stroke and Interventions,” while Acute stroke and post-stroke management in India was the topic addressed by Dr. K. Venkateswarlu. Head Injury Management was the topic discussed by Dr. Krishan Kumar, and Challenges and Opportunities in providing Epilepsy care in India was the topic addressed by Dr. Malla Bhaskara Rao. Neonatal Resuscitation sessions were led by Dr. Raja Nandyal and Dr. Sumitra Reddy. Education on Neuro Emergency – ENLS was provided by Dr. Leena Gupta.

Prem Reddy Foundation Medical Jeopardy was brilliantly coordinated by Dr. Harsha Thirunagari, Dr. A. P. Naveen Kumar, and Dr. P Venu Gopal, while the Advisor was Dr. Leena Gupta. Poster Presentations provided an opportunity for aspiring young physician students to showcase their research and knowledge in addressing healthcare needs across the nation. The contest was judged by Dr. A. Bhagyalakshmi, Dr. A. Mythili, Dr. Sharma Prabhakar, and Dr. Raghu Kalluri.

The much-anticipated Women’s Leadership Forum featured extraordinarily successful Women Leaders representing a diversity of professions, involving public, private and government organizations.

Dr. Smt. Tamilisai Soundararajan Honorable Governor of Telangana & Lt. Governor of Puducherry delivered the keynote address at the Women’s Forum, chaired by Dr. Udaya Shivangi and Dr. T. Radha, while Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda is the Advisor and Dr. B. Devi Madhavi is serving as the Co-Chair. According to Dr. Shivangi, “The eminent speakers at the Women’s Form deliberated on ways to: Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action.” Shri. MVV Satyanarayana, Member of Parliament, representing Visakhapatnam was the Guest of Honor at the Women’s Forum, while Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Dr. T. Radha, Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda, Dr. B. Devi Madhavi, and Dr. Ramani moderated the session.

The Summit featured a CEO Forum, where a galaxy of CEOs from around the world from hospitals, teaching institutions and major healthcare sectors, including pharmaceutical, medical devices and technology, shared their expertise and explored potential opportunities for collaboration. Shri. Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Honorable Governor of Andhra Pradesh will be the keynote speaker at the CEO Forum 2023 with the theme, focusing on “True and Total Health is the well-being of the Mind, Body, and Spirit for holistic person-centered care.” Dr. Ravi Kolli, AAPI President led the discussions, while Prof. MD Nalapat served as the Co-chair along with Prof. Joseph M. Chalil, MD, Co-chair & AAPI Chief Strategy Officer. “We envision a great future for our country with the direct result of complex interactions at this forum with your assistance, guidance, and experience,” Dr. Chalil said.

Medical Education & Research was led by Dr. Lokesh Eadara, Dr. P.V. Sudhakar, and Dr. G. Butchiraju. Community Outreach Program – HPV Vaccination at the Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Visakhapatnam was coordinated by Dr. Syed Ahmed, Dr. Murali Krishna Voona, Dr. Meher Bala Medavaram, Secretary of AAPI.

The 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) came to a close with a call and commitment to give back to India, our motherland, helping healthcare accessible, efficient and equitable for all at Hotel Novotel on the seashore in Visakhapatnam on January 8th, 2023.

“In our quest to fulfill the mission of AAPI, we are proud to share best practices and experiences from leading experts in the world and develop actionable plans and projects that enable access to affordable and quality healthcare for all people. To help accomplish this mission, we are excited to be here in Visakhapatnam and lead the GHS 2023,” Dr. Kolli said. For more information, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI’s 16th Annual Global Healthcare Summit in Visakhapatnam Concludes with a Call to Give Back to Our Motherland

The 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) concluded with a call and commitment to give back to India, our motherland, making healthcare accessible, efficient, and equitable for all, at Hotel Novotel on Varun Beach in Visakhapatnam on January 8th, 2023.

Attended by nearly 500 delegates from the United States and India, the GHS 2023 was jointly organized by AAPI and the local organizing committee at Visakhapatnam from January 6th to 8th, 2023. This Global Health Care Summit, with participation from leading medical professionals, thought leaders, heads of several health industry sectors, and policy-makers has had several unique events with enthusiastic participation from local healthcare fraternity and dozens of leading physicians from the United States.

Dr Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI, while describing the objectives of the Summit, said, “The Global Healthcare Summit has served as a means to raising awareness on key health care issues affecting the Indian subcontinent, such as the Stigma of Mental illness, Suicide prevention, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, Women’s and Children’s Health, Blindness Prevention and Hepatitis etc.  Highlight of this Summit was to reaffirm NRI Physicians’ commitment towards improving health care and create model programs for management of various diseases and to improve outcomes universally, he added.

The Summit focused on mental health, including reducing the stigma for seeking mental health services, and on Physicians burnout, Dr. V. Ranga, Chair of AAPI BOT said. “Deliberations  included discussions on the Stigma of Mental illness, Suicide prevention, Management of Chronic and Non Communicable Diseases, and other Global Health issues including Climate Change and its impact on population health,” he added.

In addition, AAPI has plans to collaborate with various state and federal government programs to enhance the quality of healthcare delivery, making it affordable, efficient, and equitable, improving health outcomes universally and training the trainer sessions involving learning modules in different specialties, and tele-consultations.

Shri. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Honorable Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, in a message delivered to the AAPI delegates at the GHS, urged the members of “the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin to give back something to the society, which has given them an opportunity to pursue medical education and become successful in India and abroad.” He expressed confidence, stating, “I’m sure this platform will bring together best in the healthcare field from professionals, who will provide innovative solutions for the challenges being faced by all.”

Chief Guest at the Summit, Smt. Vidadala Rajini, Honorable Minister for Health, Family Welfare & Medical Education of state of Andhra Pradesh, said, “The Global Healthcare Summit is an important opportunity for all the healthcare professionals to learn from each other and enhance fellowship. I’m grateful to have this opportunity to attend and learn from all of you,” she said. “I believe that by working with you, we can improve the health and wellbeing of the people in the state. The government has the ability to design the best policies on healthcare, while delivering the best  treatments and medical care to the patient is essentially in the hands of the physicians.” Among others who addressed the AAPI delegates and joined the felicitation of AAPI delegates and the local organizers of the Summit included, Shri. Gudivada Amarnath, Honorable Minister for IT.

“We are sure that the Summit offered a rewarding experience not only on intellectual but on aesthetic front as well, with the scenic beauty of Visakhapatnam and the many surrounding places. The organizing committee has taken every measure possible to make the event a memorable one for everyone at the GHS,” said Dr. Ravi Raju, Chair of GHS (India) 2023.

Describing some of the objectives of the GHS, Dr. Prasad Chalasani, Chair of GHS (USA) 2023 said. “We have tried to create an intellectually charged platform for experts to share their knowledge and experiences on some of the common professional issues that remain a challenge in spite of all the advances. The exchange of expertise and transfer of technology by the best brains is bound to offer positive and innovative solutions to some of the problems faced by humankind.”

Among the many initiatives that emerged from GHS 2023, a notable action plan has been for AAPI to collaborate with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to initiate an ambitious program to address mental health and wellness of students in high school in Andhra Pradesh. Some of the other initiatives that were announced during the GHS 2023 included: effective treatment modalities on non-communicable medical diseases, reducing the infant and maternal mortality and HPV Vaccination.

The essence of AAPI is educational. That translates into numerous Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields. The GHS 2023 with the theme of “True and Total Health is the Wellbeing of Mind, Body, and Spirit” has had several CME sessions that focused on Mental Health, Infant and Maternal Mortality as well as various other medical specialty updates, Spiritual presentations and Medical Jeopardy for Medical students.

CME sessions with academicians from the United States offered unique opportunities for local medical staff and healthcare professionals to advance leanings and provide the best possible care for the people of India. The Summit had a research competition for medical students and post graduate students from all over India. AAPI conferred Awards of excellence and lifetime achievements during the Summit.

AAPI, in collaboration with the AAPI India Foundation administered free HPV vaccines to over 100 low income young women from several government schools in the region, during a special launch and awareness camp organized at the Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Visakhapatnam in India on Saturday, January 7th, 2023 with the objective of creating awareness and preventing cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in India.

“We at AAPI, in keeping with our efforts and initiatives to educate, create awareness and provide support on disease prevention, are happy to be part of the HPV Vaccine Awareness Program,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI said. “It was truly an enriching experience to be present in person and meeting with the young women and be part of this life saving mission.”

“Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action” was the theme at the much-anticipated Women’s Leadership Forum that featured extraordinarily successful Women Leaders representing a diversity of professions, involving public, private and government organizations. Panelists at the Women’s Forum included: Dr. Suneela Garg, Dir. Professor & Head of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College; Dr. Anuradha Medoju, Senior Regional Director at Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India; Dr. S. Radha Rani, Former Professor and Superintendent, Hospital of Mental Health; and Ms. Meghna Chalasani, Team Lead, Advisory Committees, Program Lead, Science Office Strategies for New Drugs at Center for Drug Education and Research, US Food & Drug Administration.

Dr. Smt. Tamilisai Soundararajan Honorable Governor of Telangana & Honorable Lt. Governor of Puducherry delivered the keynote address at the Women’s Forum virtually. She urged everyone to “Pay attention to little things and how changes can be brought in. Services need to reach everyone. There are many plans and programs initiated by the government, but people need to be made aware of them and be helped to utilize the programs,” she said. She lauded “the great work by AAPI members for promoting health globally.”

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. Shri. MVV Satyavathi, Member of Parliament, representing Anakapalli was the Guest of Honor at the Women’s Forum. In her address, she congratulated AAPI, whose members having been born and educated in India, settled down in the US with success, have come back to India to serve the people of India and  work together for the betterment of humanity.

The Summit featured a CEO Forum, where a galaxy of CEOs from around the world from hospitals, teaching institutions and major healthcare sectors, including pharmaceutical, medical devices and technology, joined to explore potential opportunities for collaboration.

Shri. Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Honorable Governor of Andhra Pradesh was the keynote speaker at the CEO Forum 2023 with the theme, focusing on “True and Total Health is the Well-being of the Mind, Body, and Spirit for holistic person-centered care.” Dr. Ravi Kolli, AAPI President led the discussions, while Prof. MD Nalapat served as the Co-chair along with Prof. Joseph M. Chalil, MD, Co-chair & AAPI Chief Strategy Officer. “We envision a great future for our country with the direct result of complex interactions at this forum with your assistance, guidance, and experience,” Dr. Chalil said.

A galaxy of speakers who were part of the powerful CEO Forum included: Ambassador Pradeep K. Kapur; Dr. Sangita Reddy. a Global Healthcare Leader, Indian Entrepreneur, and Humanitarian; Dr. Juby A Jacob-Nara, Vice President, Head of Global Medical- Respiratory Allergy & Gastroenterology (Sanofi-Genzyme), Mr. Sadasiva Rao Nannapaneni, Vice President – Corporate Affairs, Legal & Secretarial, Estate Management at NATCO; Dr. Anu Chirala, Co-Founder & President InstaMD; Dr. Jagadeesh Babu Rangisetty, CEO at Biophore India Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd, who has more than 30 years of experience in the Pharmaceutical Profession; Mr. Ramprasad M, Chairman, SHAI and an Investment banker,  Dr. Upendra Srinivas, Managing Director at Quantum Specialty Diagnostics; Dr. Venkat Ramana Sudigali, Founder-Director Excell Multispecialty Hospital, Hyderabad, India, and the CEO of EHA Consortium.org; and Mr. Sasi Sunkara, Executive Director and Co-founder at CIPHER Oncology

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, former World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist was conferred with the prestigious Prof P. Brahmayya Sastry Oration & Dr. T. Ravi Raju Excellence Award during the Summit in Visakhapatnam on Friday, January 6, 2023. The event jointly organized by Prof P. Brahmayya Sastry Memorial Oration Committee and Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam was chaired by Dr. Abhijat Sheth and Dr. Sridhar Chilimuri.

The women leaders of AAPI dazzled on stage with elegance, and showcasing their talents by presenting two amazing Fashion Shows on Friday and Saturday at the Summit to the delight of the AAPI delegates.

Led by Surgeon Rear Admiral R. Ravi, Command Medical Officer, Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam, nearly 500 students from local schools and colleges, and dozens of delegates at the 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit participated at the Walkathon on the serene oceanside of the Bay of Bengal at Visakhapatnam on a beautiful Sunday morning on January 8th, 2023 with a mission  to create awareness on Mental Health with the theme: “Be the Change: All for Global Health.”

In his closing remarks, Dr. Ravi Kolli said, “The Global Healthcare Summit held annually in India across several states, has become a major contributing factor, where Indian American Doctors focus on various programs and policies in our efforts to make a huge difference in the delivery of healthcare in India.”

“After the highly successful Global Healthcare Summit in Visakhapatnam last weekend, I am happy to announce that the 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit will be held in New Delhi from January 2nd to 4th, 2024,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) announced here during a Curtain Raiser held at the prestigious Constitution Club in New Delhi on January 9th, 2023.

“In our quest to fulfill the mission of AAPI, we are proud to share best practices and experiences from leading experts in the world and develop actionable plans and projects that enable access to affordable and quality healthcare for all people. To help accomplish this mission, we are excited to be here in Visakhapatnam and be part of the GHS 2023,” Dr. Kolli urged. For more information on Global Health Summit, please visit: www.summit.aapiusa.org and www.GHS2023.com

AAPI Organizes HPV Vaccination Awareness Camp in Visakhapatnam to Prevent Cervical Cancer

(Visakhapatnam: January 7th, 2023) American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), in collaboration with the AAPI India Foundation administered free HPV vaccines to over 100 low income young girls, chosen from several government schools in the region, during a special launch of HPV Vaccination awareness camp organized at the Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Visakhapatnam in India on Saturday, January 7th, 2023 with the objective of creating awareness and preventing cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in India.
“We at AAPI, in keeping with our efforts and initiatives to educate, create awareness and provide support on disease prevention, are happy to be part of the HPV Vaccine Awareness Program,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI said. “It was truly an enriching experience to be present in person and meeting with the young women and be part of this life saving mission.”
Picture : TheUNN

The awareness camp was organized as part of APPI’s 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2023 and was inaugurated in person by Chief Guest at the Summit, Smt. Vidadala Rajini, Honorable Minister for Health, Family Welfare & Medical Education. In her address, the Minister, praised the efforts and the many initiatives of AAPI in providing the best and efficient healthcare to the most vulnerable sections of the society. She urged AAPI to work collaboratively with the government of Andhra Pradesh to make healthcare affordable and efficient for all.

 While elaborating the objectives of the Summit, Dr. V. Ranga, AAPI BOT Chair said, “In addition to HPV VACCINATION and cervical cancer awareness program, GHS 2023 has provided education on: Chronic diseases which can be prevented- notably diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension, maternal and infant mortality, lifestyle changes, mental health, management of neurological disorders and blindness prevention.”

 

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Attended by nearly 500 delegates, the largest ever to attend the AAPI GHS, from the United States and India, the GHS 2023 is being jointly organized by AAPI and the local organizing committee at Visakhapatnam from January 6th to 8th, 2023. This Global Healthcare Summit, with participation from leading medical professionals, thought leaders, heads of several health industry sectors, and policy-makers  has been instrumental in help create policies and programs that make healthcare delivery in India equitably available to everyone in India.
“In coordination with the local organizers, AAPI donated the funds for the HPV Vaccination, a total of 200 doses for the vaccine for 100 children from the state of Andhra Pradesh,” said Dr. Meher Medavaram, an organizer of the program, and the Secretary of AAPI. “AAPI’s noble initiative through education and awareness programs is aimed at helping save many lives in India,” she added.

The funds for the vaccine has been provided by Dr. Rao Mowa, Dr. Medavaram, Dr. Syed Ahmed, Dr. V. Ranga, AAPI BOT Chair, A T G Tours, and Shri. Sadasiva Rao and others. Prominent among those who attended the event and supported the noble initiative included, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, Dr. Mallikarjuna, Collector and District Magistrate, Visakhapatnam; Dr. Jagadeeswara Rao, DM & HO, Visakhapatnam; Smt. Chandralekha, DEO; and, Dr. Suresh Reddy, past President of AAPI.

Dr. T. Radha, Chair of AAPI Women’s Forum, who was part of the cervical awareness campaign event said, “If vaccination programs are effectively implemented, approximately 90 percent of invasive cervical cancer cases worldwide could be prevented, in addition to the majority of precancerous lesions.”
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In India, cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women and India contributes to the largest proportion of global cervical cancer burden. Cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease as long as it is detected early and managed effectively. Most cervical cancers are associated with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and the HPV vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if the vaccine is given before girls or women are exposed to the virus. Prevention through vaccination is one of the pillars of the Global Strategy adopted by WHO for the elimination of cervical cancer.

Dr. Anjana Samaddar, President-Elect of AAPI said, “Cervical cancer could be the first cancer EVER in the world to be eliminated, if 90 % of girls are vaccinated; 70% of women are screened; and, 90% of women with cervical disease receive treatment. This is an important step towards reaching goal,” she pointed out.

Cervical cancer develops slowly over time, and another powerful preventive measure is Pap test screening, a procedure during which cells are collected from the surface of the cervix and examined. The Pap test can both detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment outcomes tend to be better, and detect precancerous abnormalities, which can then be treated to prevent them from developing into cancers.

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, who was among those who attended the awareness camp, said, “Cervical Cancer is preventable through Vaccination and Early Pap smears and cervical examinations. Justifiably so, one of our preventive campaign goals has been to provide education and prevention of Cervical Cancer in India.”
According to The American Cancer Society, Cervical Cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. The cervical cancer death rate dropped significantly with the increased use of the Pap test for screening. Cervical cancer is among a number of cancers that can be caused by infections with pathogens – bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

“Through Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields, AAPI provides comprehensive and current reviews and guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of various disease states to reduce morbidity and mortality and achieve cost effective quality care outcomes,” said Dr. Suresh Reddy, past President of AAPI.
Expressing confidence, Dr. Ravi Kolli said, “Together we can all bring awareness in the community to prevent Cervical Cancer in India, which is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women!” For more information and ways to support this noble initiatve, please visit www.aapiusa.org/

AAPI’s 17th Global Healthcare Summit Announced During Curtain Raiser in Delhi

(New Delhi, India: January 11, 2023) “After the highly successful Global Healthcare Summit in Visakhapatnam last weekend, I am happy to announce that the 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit will be held in New Delhi from January 2nd to 4th, 2024,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) announced here during a Curtain Raiser held at the prestigious Constitution Club in New Delhi on January 9th, 2023.

Organized under the leadership of Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Women’s Forum Chair of AAPI, the kickoff event and press conference was attended by nearly 50 journalists from the nation’s capital and several leaders of APPI, who had come all the way from the United States to be part of this important ceremony. Prominent among those who attended the event included Dr. Seema Arora, past BOT Chair of AAPI, Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, vice chair of AAPI BOT, Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, Dr. Gautam Samadder, past president of AAPI, Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Dr. Raj Bhayani, and Dr. Joseph Chalil. Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of AAPI’s Legislative Chair joined the meeting through a message of felicitation sent to the media and AAPI leadership.

In her address, Dr. Anjana Samadder said, the theme for the next global healthcare summit will be “Maa Bachao,” meaning, protecting the mother, which will be a great way to strengthen families and humanity as a whole.

Dr. Sushi Singh, chief guest at the event said, saving the mother and giving her due respect and honor is essential today more than ever. She pointed to the high infant mortality rate in India and urged all sections of society to work together to save girl children.

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Shri. Karthikeyan, a decorated former IPS Officer, in his keynote address,  shared of the many sacrifices and contributions by the fraternity of doctors, and lauded them for their services to humanity, especially during the covid pandemic. He shared with the audience his personal experiences working with the most vulnerable people across society and urged everyone to work compassionately towards the poor and help uplift their lives.

In a message, Dr. Ravi Kolli, president of AAPI said, “The Global Healthcare Summit held annually in India across several states, has become a major contributing factor, where Indian American Doctors focus on various programs and policies in their efforts to make a huge difference in the delivery of healthcare in India.”

“Coming from a nation that has given us so much, today Physicians of Indian origin have become a powerful influence in healthcare across the world,” said Dr. Shivangi.  “Nowhere in the world is their authority more keenly felt than in the United States. The overrepresentation of Indians in the field of medicine is striking – in practical terms, one out of seven doctors in the United States is of Indian Heritage. We provide medical care to over 40 million of the US population.”

During an interactive session with the media persons who had filled the meeting venue, the leaders of AAPI shared with them of the numerous initiatives taken up by AAPI during the course of the past four decades in India as well as in the United States.

“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 and help India to have a cost-effective, efficient and advanced healthcare delivery benefitting India’s 1.4 billion people,” they pointed out.

The Global Health Summit held annually in India has been a major contributing factor by Indian American Doctors, focusing on various programs and policies, and making a difference in the delivery of healthcare in India.

In addition to educational seminars/workshops on current topics, the GHS includes 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.

Areas of ongoing skill training, investment in infrastructure, modernizing healthcare delivery, and private-public collaboration specific to each state in the healthcare sector are discussed and specific plans laid out, which are sent in a White Paper report for follow up in the coming months.

Over the past 17 years and beyond, AAPI leadership has been 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 Groups, only to name a few. These connections and collaborations are vital for us to stay connected and make a powerful impact on our communities.

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Through AAPI’s charitable activities with service to our motherland as the motto, AAPI has several programs in India and the United States.  Despite the Covid challenges of Delta and Omicron waves, in spite of limited resources, AAPI blood donation drives were done in several cities with several of them organizing multiple events. .

Among several other initiatives, AAPI’s “Adopt a village” Rural Preventive Healthcare Screening Initiative in India, where free health screening camps with free physician consultations were done in several Indian rural villages in the middle of Covid pandemic.

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. The funds will continue to support Covid patients in rural hospitals.

Since its inception 40 years ago, AAPI has served as a link to foster stronger US-India relations and has been lauded by the governments of both nations for their great achievements and contributions.

While proposing vote of thanks, Dr. Gautam Samadder, former President of AAPI said, “Thank you very much for attending the press conference . We appreciate all the efforts media does to promote awareness including health care.
we do hope you will be a integral part of the actual conference next year.”

“We urge you to be part of this event in January 2024 and help create awareness and reach our services to the neediest in India and the United States,” said Dr. Anjana Samadder. For more details about AAPI and its many noble initiatives, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan Presented with Prof P. Brahmayya Sastry Oration & Dr. T. Ravi Raju Excellence Award During AAPI’s 16th Annual Global Healthcare Summit in Visakhapatnam

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, former World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist was conferred with the prestigious Prof P. Brahmayya Sastry Oration & Dr. T. Ravi Raju Excellence Award during the 16th Annual Global Healthcare Summit organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in Visakhapatnam on Friday, January 6, 2023.

The event jointly organized by Prof P. Brahmayya Sastry Memorial Oration Committee and Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam was chaired by Dr. Abhijat Sheth and Dr. Sridhar Chilimuri. While introducing the awardee, Dr. T. Ravi Raju, Chair of the Oration Committee said, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan was most recently WHO’s Deputy Director-General for Programs. A pediatrician from India and a globally recognized researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she brings with her 30 years of experience in clinical care and research and has worked throughout her career to translate research into impactful programs.

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Dr. Swaminathan was Secretary to the Government of India for Health Research and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research from 2015 to 2017. In that position, she focused on bringing science and evidence into health policy making, building research capacity in Indian medical schools and forging south-south partnerships in health sciences. From 2009 to 2011, she also served as Coordinator of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases in Geneva.

In her eloquent address, Dr. Swaminathan said, “The coronavirus has evolved significantly since it was first traced in late 2019. From being a considerably deadly virus, it has now become less fatal – thanks to the vaccination initiatives across the world.” She asserted that death rates are much higher in unvaccinated compared to vaccinated and boosted individuals.

Dr. Swaminathan, while describing the main lesson from the pandemic, stated that “climate change, and it all boils down to what humans have done to the environment. Our lives are intertwined with the health of the environment,” she added.

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The vulnerable suffer a lot, and it’s important to focus on equity and help those who are left behind, she said. She also stressed on the importance of a public health approach, having good data, and research.

We are recovering quickly because of vaccines, she said, pointing out that over 13 billion people worldwide have taken the vaccine and 20 million lives have been saved due to it. The majority of deaths in the US were because of no vaccination, she added.

Dr Swaminathan further explained that vaccines are developed with high efficacy and safety. The virus is trying to evolve, and each time mutations have allowed the virus to evade antibodies, she said, adding that, “there are people who have not taken the vaccine and haven’t fallen sick, but that’s a matter of chance.

COVID-19 has also disrupted the education system. It has also adversely affected access to nutritious food as a huge number of children depend on school meals, she said and urged everyone to help children overcome and regain the loss they had to endure due to the covid.

Stating that the global pandemic is marching on, the world renowned scientist said, “Of the lessons I have learned since the pandemic began, the most important one is the significance of investing in public health and primary healthcare. Countries that invested in primary healthcare over the past decade or two are reaping the benefits now. Another lesson is the positive role of science and scientists. The global collaboration between scientists to take forward advances in knowledge so that science is continuously informing our response to the pandemic has been encouraging.”

Emphasizing the need for partnership between the private and public sectors, Dr. Swaminathan said, “We also need to think about working with the private sector, which is already playing a very big role in technology. But we need to think about technologies that are considered public health goods.”

For the future, Dr. Swaminathan stressed, “We need to invest in strong institutional mechanisms and capacities in our regulatory bodies, research centers and public health institutions. We have seen so much fear, stigma and discrimination circulated on social media. This must be countered by health literacy.”

Dr. Ravi Kolli, president of AAPI praised the accomplishments and contributions of Dr. Swaminathan and numerous healthcare leaders of Indian origin who have contributed immensely to the many ways, the world has been able to overcome the once in a century, deadly pandemic that has devastated the entire humanity. Expressing hope for the future, he said, “The world looks towards us with hope for leadership and consolidated action to prevent and secure health and well being of everyone committed to our care.”

AAPI’s 16th Annual Global Health Summit Inaugurated in Visakhapatnam

(Visakhapatnam, India: January 6th, 2023) The 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS)  organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) was inaugurated with a beautiful rendition of Vande Mataram and the lighting of the traditional lamp by the Chief Guest, Smt. Vidadala Rajini, Honorable Minister for Health, Family Welfare & Medical Education and several other dignitaries, AAPI leaders and local organizers of the Summit at Hotel Novotel on the seashore in Visakhapatnam on January 6th, 2023.

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Attended by nearly 500 delegates from the United States and India, the GHS 2023 is being jointly organized by AAPI and the local organizing committee at Visakhapatnam from January 6th to 8th, 2023. This Global Health Care Summit, with participation from leading medical professionals, thought leaders, heads of several health industry sectors, and policy-makers  assumes importance especially in the context of the waning pandemic that has shaken the entire human race and has been instrumental in helping everyone realize that the predicament is common across all the continents.

Shri. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Honorable Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, in a message delivered to the AAPI delegates at the GHS, urged the members of “the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin to give back something to the society, which has given them an opportunity to pursue medical education and become successful in India and abroad.”

Shri. Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed confidence, stating, “I’m sure this platform will bring together best in the healthcare field from professionals, who will provide innovative solutions for the challenges being faced by all.” Lauding the world-renowned specialists from the United States, who have assembled in Visakhapatnam, Shri Jagan Reddy said, “I am informed that many specialists from the US are attending the conference, whose expertise will be very much useful since their ideas on technology and advances in various fields in solving health related issues in India. While this conference is focusing on mental health, neurology, maternal and child health, oncology, gastroenterology, neurology, cardiology, they will be very relevant to learn from the successful practices abroad.”

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Chief Guest at the Summit, Smt. Vidadala Rajini, Honorable Minister for Health, Family Welfare & Medical Education, said, “The Global Healthcare Summit is an important opportunity for all the healthcare professionals to learn from each other and enhance fellowship. I’m grateful to have this opportunity to attend and learn from all of you,” she said. “I believe that by working with you, we can improve the health and wellbeing of the people in the state. The government has the ability to design the best policies on healthcare, while delivering the best of the patient’s treatment eventually falls into the hands of the physicians.” She praised AAPI delegates for their “dedication and passion to deliver the best patient care. Thank you all once again. The nation is indebted to you for your leadership, and for helping our vulnerable people.” The state has already started taking measures to improve the performance of the healthcare sector by mapping the public healthcare and preventive healthcare system through effective interventions, she said.

While presenting a robust picture of how the state of Andhra Pradesh has become a role model in healthcare delivery with higher rate of investment on healthcare, the Health Minister of Andhra Pradesh said, “Thank you all for being here. And thank you for taking time and conducting such big summits over here. And likewise, it’s a learning session for all of us. And all of your ideas will be taken into consideration by the government of Andhra Pradesh, and let’s all work together and be a part of the growth story of us today.”

Others who spoke on the occasion and felicitated AAPI and the local organizers of the Summit included, Shri. Gudivada Amarnath, Honorable Minister for IT.

Dr Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI in his opening remarks, while describing the objectives of the  Summit, said, “The Global Healthcare Summit aims at raising awareness on key health care issues affecting the Indian subcontinent such as Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, Women’s and Children’s Health, Infectious Diseases and Mental Health.”  Highlight of this Summit is to reaffirm NRI Physicians’ commitment towards improving health care and create model programs for management of various diseases and to improve outcomes universally, he added. The Summit will be focusing on mental health, reduce the stigma for seeking mental health services, working on Physicians burnout, he added. In addition, AAPI is keen to collaborate with various state and federal government programs to enhance the quality of healthcare delivery, making it affordable, efficient, and equitable, especially helping with the management of various diseases, improving health outcomes universally, training the trainer sessions involving learning modules in different specialties, and tele-consultations.

“We are sure that the Summit will offer a rewarding experience not only on intellectual but on aesthetic front as well, as the scenic beauty of Visakhapatnam and the many places around will be worth going during your trip. The organizing committee is immensely pleased to be at your service,” said Dr. Ravi Raju, Chair of GHS (India) 2023.

Describing some of the objectives of the GHS, Dr. Prasad Chalasani, Chair of GHS (USA) 2023 said. “We hope to create an intellectually charged platform for experts to share their experiences on some of the common professional issues that still remain a challenge in spite of all the advancement. The exchange of expertise and transfer of technology by the best brains is bound to offer positive and innovative solutions to some of the problems faced by humankind.”

Among the many initiatives that emerge from GHS 2023, a notable action plan will be for AAPI to collaborate with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to initiate an ambitious program to address mental health and wellness of students in high school in Andhra Pradesh. Some of the other initiatives that will be announced during the GHS 2023 include: effective treatment modalities on non-communicable medical diseases, reducing the infant and maternal mortality and HPV Vaccination.

Discussions and deliberations that are being addressed included, the Stigma of Mental illness, Suicide prevention, Management of Chronic diseases and Non Communicable Diseases, and other Global Health issues including Climate Change and its impact on health.

The essence of AAPI is educational. That translates into numerous Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields. The GHS 2023 with the theme of “True and Total Health is the Wellbeing of Mind, Body, and Spirit” has several CME sessions that focus on Mental Health, Infant and Maternal Mortality as well as various other medical specialty updates, and Medical Jeopardy.

CME sessions with academicians from the United States offer unique opportunities for local medical staff and healthcare professionals to advance leanings and provide the best possible care for the people of India. The Summit will have a research competition for medical students and post graduate students from all over India. AAPI will confer Awards of excellence and lifetime achievements during the Summit.

“In our quest to fulfill the mission of AAPI, we are proud to share best practices and experiences from leading experts in the world and develop actionable plans and projects that enable access to affordable and quality healthcare for all people. To help accomplish this mission, we are excited to be here in Visakhapatnam and be part of the GHS 2023,” Dr. Kolli urged. For more information on Global Health Summit, please visit: www.summit.aapiusa.org and www.GHS2023.com

we are excited to be here in Visakhapatnam and be part of the GHS 2023,” Dr. Kolli urged. For more information on Global Health Summit, please visit: www.summit.aapiusa.org and www.GHS2023.com

AAPI Holds Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness CME

“Lifestyle medicine is the simplest yet most powerful approach to true health and healing,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) while setting the context for the Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness Webinar organized on November 19th, 2022. “We understand that well-being is more than the absence of disease. It’s our hope that by attending this very important webinar today, we all will experience the transformative power of using everyday choices and habits to achieve peak performance and well-being.”

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, AAPI’s CME Chair, while welcoming the nearly 200 AAPI members who attended the webinar, introduced Dr. Koushik Reddy, who is passionate and deeply committed to the idea of health promotion and disease prevention, using lifestyle and nutrition-related tools, and, Dr. Param Dedhia, a dedicated internal and integrative medicine practitioner, who is a board-certified Integrative Medicine Physician, Internal Medicine Doctor, Obesity Medicine Expert, and Sleep Medicine Specialist, who led the discussions today on Lifestyle Medicine and Wellness.

“I Have a Carrot and a Stent, You Pick!,” Dr. Koushik R. Reddy, director of interventional cardiology at the James A Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, FL, challenged a record over 200 Physicians who had joined the webinar on weekend morning.  Dr. Kaushik Reddy emphasized the importance of a fundamental diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle approaches in the primordial and primary prevention of many NCDs that can easily be prevented through simple day-to-day choices.

Dr. Koushik Reddy argued that our healthcare system is really a disease management system, but we still have some agency. He shared with AAPI members several pillars he believes will help each of us have a happy, long healthy life. In his address, he said, he is deeply committed to the idea of health promotion and disease prevention, using lifestyle and nutrition-related tools. It is with this passion and commitment, he boldly challenges his patients with – “I have a carrot and a stent, you pick!”

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Dr. Reddy said Lifestyle medicine-certified clinicians are trained to apply evidence-based, whole-person, prescriptive lifestyle change to treat and, when used intensively, often reverse such conditions. Applying the six pillars of lifestyle medicine—a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and positive social connections—also provides effective prevention for these conditions. Dr. Reddy discussed the flaws and opportunities inherent in our healthcare system as it relates to heart health. He spoke about the power of plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine, and how he incorporates those principles into his current practice.

Both the quality of life and the quantity of life, are inseparable components of a Good Lifestyle, he said. Pointing to how in 1920, the life expectancy was 42, and in 202o, it has nearly doubled to 78. While the quantity of life has increased tremendously, the quality of life has suffered greatly. “While we are living longer, we are also dying longer due to illnesses.”  Dr. Reddy pointed out that the United States is not among the healthy nations of the world because “We are failing the system.” In his efforts to spread the message, he said, “I am happy to work with AAPI and help spread the message of Lifestyle Medicine beyond AAPI and to back home in India.”

Dr. Reddy, after practicing interventional cardiology for ten years, changed his focus towards cardiovascular health promotion and disease prevention, using lifestyle and nutrition-based strategies. He is a member of the American College of Cardiology’s working group on nutrition and lifestyle and is board certified in Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, and Lifestyle Medicine. He is closely involved with the department of Whole Health at the Tampa VA hospital. Working in partnership with the local Whole Health leadership, he established two preventive cardiology clinics. “HEAL – Healthy Eating and Living – Introductory Program. CALM – Comprehensive Approach to Lifestyle Medicine – 6 weeks of the multidisciplinary program.”

In his insightful address on “Sleep, The Master Lever Of Health,” Dr. Param Dedhia, who had his education at Johns Hopkins University and Canyon Ranch, which allowed him to bridge eastern and western philosophies, and connect traditional wisdom to modern science, is the Founder & Medical Director of Moveo Health, a personalized health program focused on longevity, shared at length some valuable lessons and words of wisdom on the importance of staying curious and honoring our health.

Referring to Sleep Medicine in the United States as only 40 years old, Dr. Dedhia stressed the importance of sleep in our daily lives and said, “Sleep is about restoring.” He said, “Sleep evolves through adulthood. So, we must evolve our lifestyles to promote sleep. According to him, “Most adults need 7-9 hours” of sleep daily. In his address, he pointed to the function & promise of sleep, which Restores, and Cools the brain and body. It helps regulate ion channels and optimizes physiological growth. Sleep is Anti-Inflammatory, as it helps reduce inflammatory markers. Sleep improves one’s mood, by soothing emotions & mental fatigue.
Sleep is “Actively cardio-protective and Enhances neuro-plasticity.” Another important function of Sleep is to help “Improve memory formation & consolidation.” Sleep “connects us physically, mentally & emotionally” and helps us “Replete energy stores.”

Dr. Dedhia, who continues to pursue his passion and be an advocate for people to live their best lives, quoting scientific studies and evidence-based research, Dr. Dedhia said, “Rx for optimal sleep & health are: (1) Quantity and (2) Quality, which are determined by ‘Daytime Lifestyle’ and ‘Nighttime Sleep,’ by creating ‘Night Time Rituals’ that last a lifetime.”

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, AAPI CME Chair, said, with the rapidly worsening trends in Chronic Lifestyle Related Non-communicable diseases across the world stemming from modern food and diet practices, inadequate physical activity, poor sleep, worsening stress, poor social relationships, and risky substances abuse – healthcare systems across the world are now inundated with premature and preventable mortality and morbidity from these NCDs. In this context, “Today’s webinar is filled with inspiring and informative talks and presentations by two great speakers that shed the light on the importance of lifestyle interventions as the primary mode of prevention.

In his vote of thanks, Dr, Pankaj Vu, Director of Lifestyle Medicine at Kaiser Permanente, while expressing gratitude to the internationally renowned speakers for their inspiring discussions on Lifestyle Medicine and for AAPI members for being part of this important session said, said, “In support of physician well-being and self-care, such sessions are being offered to the AAPI members, families and friends.”

In his remarks, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, while referring to the importance of the Webinar, said, “It is well established that evidence-based clinical nutrition and lifestyle practices play a pivotal role in the prevention, treatment, and potential reversal of various common chronic diseases. However, this area of science is underappreciated at all levels of medical education and training. Most medical schools and residency programs do not offer any organized training in nutrition and lifestyle medicine. Given recent data on the rising cost and loss of quality of life secondary to preventable causes, there is an absolute need for a drastic reform of the US medical education system.” Fort more details on AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI Condemns Violence Against Physicians In India AAPI Urges Government to prevent violence and bring to justice those harm Physicians

Chicago, IL: November 29, 2022:  “AAPI is very concerned by the recent and ongoing assaults on Doctors and Medical Professionals in India and joins American Kerala Medical Graduates Association (AKMG ) and Kerala Medical Post Graduates Association in condemning the recent physical assault on a female Doctor at Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College on  November 23rd that was caught on the CCTV,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of American Association of Physicians of India Origin (AAPI) said here today.

The leadership of AAPI, including Drs. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI, Dr. Vishweshwar Ranga, Chair, BOT of AAPI, Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, Vice Chair, AAPI BOT, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Chair, Alumni Committee of AAPI, Dr. Geetha Nair, President of AKMG,  Dr. Nigil Haroon, immediate past President of AKMG, and Dr. Subra Bhat,  past President of AKMG,  and the entire Executive Committee and Board Of Trustees of AAPI, stand in solidarity with our fellow physicians and medical professionals, who are on the front line, work very hard, day and night to serve and take care of patients diligently and dutifully, Dr. Kolli said in a statement issued here.

Quoting media reports last month that pointed to a very grim situation in the state of Punjab in India, Dr. Kolli said, it is shocking to learn of “Recent incidents of physical assaults and misconduct have once again instilled a sense of fear in the mind of on-duty medical staff. As per the data, compiled by the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association, over 400 incidents of violence against medical staff, including doctors, have been reported over the past two years.”

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Recalling that from ancient times, physicians across the world have been revered for dedicating their lives for the noble mission of preventing people from getting and saving millions of lives of people from illnesses, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI said. “We as a community of physicians and individual members of this fraternity have decided to go into the medical profession with the best of intentions. We as physicians want to help people, ease suffering and save lives. Physicians of Indian origin are well known around the world for their compassion, passion for patient care, medical skills, research, and leadership.”

“We strongly urge both the central and state governments to take decisive and drastic actions to curb these anti-social behaviors that endanger doctors serving patients,” Dr. Ranga, BOT Chair of AAPI said.  He agreed with the health experts who “want a multi-pronged approach to prevent such attacks, involving reducing the crowd by strengthening peripheral hospitals, increasing staff and providing better security.”

Dr, Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI said, “These incidents are unfortunate. We urge the federal and the state governments to provide adequate security at all hospitals and healthcare centers.” AAPI supports the petition calling for justice to the Doctor attacked in Thiruvananthapuram, which has gained support from the Kerala Medical Post Graduate Association, who stated that it is unsettling that such attacks occurred in medical campuses, which are supposed to be a secure location, he added.

“AAPI members share their angst as there is not enough support from the state and federal governments and the larger society as the attacks on Medical Professionals in India continue to rise, Dr. Meher Medavaram, Secretary of AAPI said.

Pointing to the trend of increasing violence against the Medical Professionals, and the actions against the perpetrators are disproportionately low, Dr. Sumul Raval, Treasurer of AAPI said, “Medical Professionals cannot provide the best possible health services to the people until there is a safe working environment. Potential fear of violence always looms, especially in the overcrowded Government Hospitals.”

Several aspiring Physicians have expressed concerns following the assault on the female doctor at Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College last week. The attacked female Doctor is quoted to have told Dr. Sulphi N, the Indian Medical Association state president, that she was shocked and regretted her decision to pursue a career as a Doctor and even as a neurosurgeon.

“Despite the noble intentions to save lives and prevent pain and suffering among the patients, Doctors and Medical Professionals continue to put their own lives on the line in the course of their jobs, it is shocking that face such attacks from the very people they are trying to help,” Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Chair, Alumni Committee of AAPI added.

Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, Vice Chair, AAPI BOT said, “AAPI urges the Government of India and the State Governments across the country to bring to justice those behind the cruel attacks on the physicians who have dedicated lives for serving the sick, especially during the critical Covid pandemic, risking his own life and that of his dear ones.”

“We at AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States urge the Government of India and every state in India to make all the efforts needed to prevent violence against medical professionals and enable them to continue to serve the country with dignity, pride and security. We are shocked by the lack of coherent action against such violence and protect members of this noble fraternity. And we want immediate action against the culprits, who have been carrying on these criminal acts.” For more information on AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Dr. Mathew Joys Honored With FOKANA Literary Award

Dr. Thomas Mathew Joys (Dr. Mathew Joys), a member of the Editorial Team at The Universal News Network (ww.theunn.com) and a prolific writer, commentator and social activist from Las Vegas in the United States has been honored with the FOKANA  Literary Award, which is described as America’s most popular literary award among the Malayalee American community.

Dr. Mathew Joys was chosen for the award for his book, American Aadukal (Goats of America), a collection of various articles published in various media, and compiled as a popular book, released by K P Publications, London.

FOKANA’s Literary works selected various branches of Malayalam literature and honored outstanding contributions with awards at a special ceremony in conjunction with the FOKANA Global Convention at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel in Disney Orlando in the summer of 2022.

Since its inception in 1982, FOKANA’s literary awards have been recognized by Malayalam literature lovers all over the world. The Fokana Sahitya Puraskar, which is one of the most important literary awards in Malayalam, has been awarded to many famous writers of Malayalam, both dead and alive.

Among other Awardees honored with Fokana Literary Award for Best Perspectives on Social Media include; Poem in Limca Books of Records Award-winning anthology, Gandhi Peace Global Essay Competition Award – Drug Free Kerala (2021).

Dr. Mathew Joys is a regular Columnist and Journalist in various print and digital media, in the US and India. He is also a creative author and authored many books including ‘Oh My Beloved’ an interpretation of the Song of Songs in the Bible, and ‘American Aadukal’ (the Goats of America) are a few. He is the Executive Editor for the JAIHINDVARTHA Newspaper from New York and Associate Editor for Express Herald and editorial board member for the NERKAZHCHA Weekly from Houston. He is the Regional Reporter for the Global Reporter TV channel.

After his studies in Bangalore, his career began in India at the Finance department of the Indian Government and extended his abilities to be the Rotaract/Rotary club Director and National General Secretary of Employees Federation (NTC) in India. His philanthropic activities and leadership in different projects of social importance at his homeland at Kottayam are commendable and recognized.

As a founder member of the Indo American Press Club, who had served as the secretary and as the Vice Chairman of its Board of Directors, Dr. Joys has been an active member and leader of the pioneering media group in the United States He has been the Chief Editor of IAPC Annual Souvenirs since its inception. He is also the Global Chairman of the Media and Publicity of the Global Indian Council. He is now settled in Las Vegas, Nevada with his wife Dr. Alice Mathew, who is also a Professor in UNLV and a renowned YouTube channel anchor on her own Cookery and Gardening videos.

India Assumes Leadership Of G-20 Presidency

Signaling the emergence of India as a significant player on the global scene, India will officially assume the Presidency of the G20 (Group of 20) countries, one of the most consequential amongst current-day multilateral bodies, on December 1st, 2022 at the conclusion of the Indonesian presidency.

Releasing the logo, theme, and website of India’s G20 Presidency, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on November 8th, 2022, “India’s G20 presidency is coming at a time of crisis and chaos in the world. The world is going through the after-effects of a disruptive once-in-a-century pandemic, conflicts, and a lot of economic uncertainty.’’

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The current G20 Summit is being organized in Bali, Indonesia from November 15-16, 2022. Heads of states from the world’s largest economies are attending – although Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided not to attend in-person. With unstable global political conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, energy issues, as well as global economic downturn, this is believed to be the most challenging G20 summit yet.

President Joe Biden is confronting competing issues at home and abroad while he’s at the Group of 20 Summit in Bali this week, using the moment on the world’s stage to lean into international support for condemning Russia’s aggression.

The G20 was conceived in 1999, while the repercussions of the Mexican peso crisis (1994), Asian financial crisis (1997) and the Russian ruble crisis (1998) were still being felt. The G20 forum was first established to respond to the global crisis, including the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the September 11 attacks in New York in 2001, the US subprime mortgage crisis in 2008, and the European debt crisis in 2011.

In a meeting of finance ministers and presidents of central banks of the G7, it was decided to expand the group and make it more representative in order to generate policies that would have a wider impact on the global economy. A group of key emerging economies was invited to a new forum of finance ministers and presidents of Central Banks. This became the G20.

The G20 was upgraded to the Summit level from the finance ministers and presidents of central banks, and became the main instrument to face the global financial crisis of 2007-’08 and beyond.

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The G20 is an international forum that includes 19 of the world’s largest economies including both industrialized and developing nations, and the European Union. Its core mandate is to address the major challenges related to the global economy and financial architecture such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development among others. It seeks to evolve public policies to resolve them.

Together, the G20 members represent 85% of the global gross product; 75% of international trade; two-thirds of the world population; 80% of global investments in research and development, and 60% of the world land area.

Because the G-20 is a forum, its agreements or decisions are not legally binding but they do influence countries’ policies and spur global cooperation. The G20 is small and cohesive enough to allow concrete in-person discussions to find solutions to the new challenges on the international economic and financial agenda, and is broad and inclusive enough to represent the vast majority of world economic production.

While economic and financial issues tend to lead the agenda, other areas have gained prominence in recent years. New additions include participation of women in the labour market, sustainable development, global health, fight against terrorism and inclusive ventures, among others.

The group’s stature has risen significantly during the past decade. It is, however, also criticized for its limited membership, lack of enforcement powers, and for the alleged undermining of existing international institutions. Summits are often met with protests, particularly by anti-globalization groups.

The G20 seeks to enrich the content of its dialogues by encouraging the participation of civil society through affinity groups. Each of them focuses on an issue of global importance and meets independently throughout the year. From the dialogue in the various meetings, each group delivers a series of recommendations to the G20. Currently, the affinity groups comprise of: Business 20 (B20), Civil 20 (C20), Labour 20 (L20), Science 20 (S20), Think 20 (T20), Women 20 (W20), Youth 20 (Y20).

Modi, Biden review India-U.S. ties during their meeting in Bali

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden on Tuesday reviewed the state of India-US strategic partnership including in sectors like critical and emerging technologies and artificial intelligence.

The two leaders also discussed topical global and regional developments in their meeting that took place on the margins of the G-20 summit in this Indonesian city, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said. It is understood that the Ukraine conflict and its implications figured in the discussions.

The MEA said the two leaders expressed satisfaction about close cooperation between India and US in new groupings such as Quad and I2U2.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President of USA, Joseph R Biden on the margins of G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Bali today,” the MEA said.

“They reviewed the continuing deepening of the India – US strategic partnership including cooperation in future oriented sectors like critical and emerging technologies, advanced computing, artificial intelligence, etc,” it said in a statement.

The MEA said the two leaders discussed topical global and regional developments.

“PM Modi thanked President Biden for his constant support for strengthening the India-US partnership. He expressed confidence that both countries would continue to maintain close coordination during India’s G-20 Presidency,” it said.

While the Quad comprises India, the US, Australia and Japan, the members of the I2U2 are the US, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

India is currently part of the G20 Troika (current, previous, and incoming G20 Presidencies) comprising Indonesia, Italy, and India.

The prime minister is attending the summit at the invitation of Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Indonesia is the current chair of the G-20.

Harry Arora: The Most Qualified Candidate For CT State Treasurer

“I am running for Connecticut State Treasurer to bring leadership and experience to Hartford,” says Mr. Harry Arora, an Indian American and a State Representative of the Connecticut General Assembly. Mr. Arora has over 25 years of experience in investment management and running a successful business in Greenwich. Five years ago, the talented and experienced businessman pivoted to public service to give back to his community.  As a state representative for Connecticut’s 151st district, Mr. Arora has fought tirelessly for his constituents, and now he wants to play a bigger role at the state level, serving the 3.6 million people who have made this beautiful state their home.

Connecticut is considered one of the most expensive states to live. It’s residents have the second-highest tax incidence in the country after New York. According to WalletHub’s analysis, Connecticut proved to be the state with the most expensive residential energy bills, paying an average of $372 per month to keep warm, cool, lit, moving and entertained.

​ A new report by the Personal finance website Bankrate  has ranked Connecticut the 3rd most expensive, and 8th worst overall, in which to retire. Connecticut tied for 4th with Vermont in the crime category, and is ranked 8th overall for retiree “well-being,” but takes a beating in the data when it comes to affordability. The state ranks No. 48, right behind affluent enclaves Hawaii and California.

In this context, electing someone who understands the needs and the complexities of managing the finances of the state of Connecticut is very essential. “It’s time Connecticut has a Treasurer that actually has experience in the role they are elected for: managing our pensions and debt,” says Mr. Arora. “I ask for your vote on November 8th to fix Connecticut’s finances.”

Mr. Arora has extensive experience in portfolio management and investment analysis, with a proven risk manager with an excellent track record. He has a strong background in macro-economics and financial theory and has experience selecting third-party portfolio managers and fixed income experience, in managing duration and credit risk. All these endear him well to elect Mr. Arora as the next State Treasurer.

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“I am the most qualified candidate for this role. I am a finance professional with 20+ years as a portfolio manager and Chief Investment Officer,” says Mr. Arora. “I have led an investment firm for many years. My opponent is a lawyer with no formal education in business or economics and no experience in finance or investing. No private sector firm would entertain him to be their Treasurer.”

“My platform is to fix Connecticut’s finances,” says, Mr. Arora. “I want to work to improve returns on our $50 billion pension fund. We are lagging a passive index by billions of dollars. I will work towards managing our debt better and lower interest expense. We have $30 billion in outstanding debt and pay $1 billion + interest each year. I want to improve CT residents’ financial well-being by promoting financial education on budgeting, borrowing, and investing.”

Mr. Arora understands the need to be fiscally conservative and help lower the tax burden on the people of the state. “I have the plan to lower our interest expense, manage our debt and improve returns on our pension assets,” say Mr. Arora. “I will work to improve financial education and improve economic well-being of all residents in Connecticut. I hope to have your vote on November 8th to be Connecticut’s next State Treasurer.”

Mr. Arora, an immigrant American who came to the United States from India as a student and naturalized as a citizen 18 years ago, if elected will be the first Indian American to be in statewide office if elected. Reflecting on India and its steady growth to be a world leader, Mr. Arora says, “India has made significant economic and social progress in the last 75 years. This progress has improved the standard of living for hundreds of millions of people and created a vibrant middle class. India is ready for primetime with a younger, educated, and diverse workforce. It is also astounding how India has made this progress as a democracy with a free press and the rule of law. I left India 30 years ago to pursue graduate school. As an Indian American, I feel proud to see India – the country of my birth, make strides to become a leading nation in the world.”

“I have served two terms in the state legislature and have a proven record of working across the aisle and getting things done. My opponent has never served in elected office,” says Mr. Arora. “I started and ran an investment management firm for 15 years and have a proven ability to manage high-performing teams. As your next State Treasurer, I plan to improve returns on our pension assets, lower interest expenses, and focus on financial education for CT residents to improve their financial well-being.”

Mr. Arora is running to be the next State Treasurer, who manages the state’s $45 billion in pension assets for the state employees and teachers. With 25 years of experience in finance, Mr. Arora intends to leverage that expertise to produce higher returns for the state’s portfolio After years of underperformance, let us build a portfolio for outperformance.

Mr. Arora and his wife Nisha are raising their three kids in Greenwich. He came to the United States from India as a graduate student 27 years ago and naturalized as an American citizen in 2004. He truly represents the American dream.

Mr. Arora understands that this is a close race and every vote that is cast could be the deciding vote. He is urging every eligible voter in the state of Connecticut to come out and vote and help him get elected to be the next Treasurer of the state of Connecticut. “I ask for your vote on November 8th.” To learn more about the candidate and his vision for Connecticut, please visit: https://www.arora2022.com/

Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, Democratic Party Candidate For CT Assembly Seat

“For too long we have allowed our representatives in Hartford to finger-point and leave messes for others to clean up,” Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, a Democratic Party candidate, for the 123rd District seat in the state House of Representatives, said. “The time is now to take responsibility for getting our state back on the right path.”

Gadkar-Wilcox said her platform is based on creating a new kind of politics. Gadkar-Wilcox, an Indian American, is pitted against incumbent David Rutigliano, a Republican in the November 8th mid-term elections. Rutigliano has held the seat since 2012. An associate professor at Quinnipiac where she teaches Constitutional law and human rights, Gadkar-Wilcox spoke passionately about how she plans to represent the entire population in Trumbull that is fast growing and diverse.

Gadkar-Wilcox said she was running out of concern for the “contentious and divided” political environment. “The time is now to take responsibility for getting our state back on the right path,” she said. “We have an obligation to ensure that our children enjoy quality public education, preparing them to be innovators and problem solvers. We must find sustainable solutions to manage our budget while not imposing an undue burden on our residents. We must responsibly invest in upgrading our infrastructure, which is the economic lifeline to our state.”

A Trumbull resident for nearly two decades, Gadkar-Wilcox said she hoped to create a new kind of politics that would work for everyone. “I hope to earn your support so that I may carry your voice to Hartford, working to ensure that you are not only able to thrive, but that Connecticut remains the place you are proud to call home,” she said. “As we move towards election day in November, I will work to earn your trust (and your vote) by listening to your concerns and sharing my vision for a new kind of politics.”

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Gadkar-Wilcox is a Professor of Constitutional, Comparative and Human Rights Law. She was honored to receive a Fulbright-Nehru Award to support her research on the framework of the Indian Constitution. She also is a former director of juvenile law at Family Services in Westchester where she worked to train attorneys and law students in violence and delinquency prevention programs.

She was awarded the prestigious William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which enabled her to travel to India during the 2015-2016 academic year to continue her research on the framework of the Indian Constitution.

“I am delighted to be selected for a Fulbright-Nehru grant to continue my research,” Gadkar-Wilcox said. “My interest in understanding the pluralism informing the drafting of the Indian Constitution relates to my own experience of being raised in the United States by immigrant parents who instilled in us an appreciation and understanding of our own Indian cultural heritage. The process of operating in overlapping cultural spaces has always enabled me to approach issues from a different vantage point, which is what I see in the drafting of the Indian Constitution as well.”

“Both of my parents were born in India, and I was inspired as a young adult by my grandfather’s stories of his presence at Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Quit India’ speech, his involvement in pro-Congress Party student protests, and his admiration for B.R. Ambedkar, both as a Maharashtrian and as an advocate for dalit “untouchables.” These led me to be intrigued by the issues of constitutional change at the time of India’s independence.

In 2017, Sujata received the James Marshall Award for Service to the Quinnipiac community. She serves as a faculty fellow with the Albert Schweitzer Institute, is a member of the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights and is a Carnegie New Leader with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Sujata, her husband Wynn, and their two daughters live in Trumbull, CT.

The race is a rematch of the 2018 contest which she lost by just over 900 votes, the closest showing by a Democrat in the district in 46 years, according to Trumbull Democrats. Trumbull First Selectman Vicki Tesoro said she was “thrilled” that Sujata is running, and described her as “passionate about doing what is right for others.”

According to Regina Haley, Gadkar-Wilcox’s campaign manager, “What’s remarkable about Gadkar-Wilcox’s incredibly fast fundraising effort is that it happened organically,” said Haley. “We posted on Facebook and sent out an email. Then the word just started to spread. It’s like people have been waiting for a candidate like Gadkar-Wilcox. The energy behind her is enormous.”

“In the long run, Connecticut requires a politics characterized by careful deliberation, open and direct communication, and good decision-making,” says Gadkar-Wilcox. “Politics needs to move away from the back and forth of partisan commentary and get to issues beyond the headlines and sound bites. We need to discuss the more fundamental structural issues that will create a better political climate and a more vibrant economy.”

Confident and determined, Gadkar-Wilcox says, “I hope to earn your support so that I may carry your voice to Hartford, working to ensure that you are not only able to thrive, but that Connecticut remains the place you are proud to call home,” she said. “As we move towards election day on November 8th, I will work to earn your trust (and your vote) by listening to your concerns and sharing my vision for a new kind of politics.” For more details on Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, please visit: http://sujataforct.com/

“US And India Need To Stand Together As Democracies That Stand For Values:” Rep. Jim Himes Says During Meet & Greet With GOPIO-CT Leadership

“The United States and India need to stand together as they are great democracies that stand for human values,” declared US Congressman Jim Himes, a Democrat representing the 4th district of Connecticut during a networking reception, Diwali Celebrations, Dinner, Music and Interactive Session With Congressman Jim Himes at the Hampton Inn and Suites, Stamford, CT on Friday, October 28th, 2022. 

Stating that the Indo-US relationship is fundamental to the stability of the world, Rep. Himes referred to the compulsions that led to India’s response to Russia’s unilateral invasion of Ukraine. “We underrated the long-standing relationship India has had with Russia. We understand the constraints India faces. No one needs to sit  in judgement of India’s position on Ukraine,” Rep. Himes said. 

Rep. Himes shared with the audience about his recent visit to Ukraine and meeting with the leadership in this war-torn nation. Describing the pain and the suffering inflicted on the people of Ukraine, Rep. Himes said, “Everyone we met in Ukraine stated, we will  do everything in our power to defend every inch of our territory.” 

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While hoping that the war ends soon, the Congressman pointed to how “Democracy is under threat today more than ever,” and he stressed the need for India and the United States need to “stand together to protect the democratic values.”

“There is a temptation to test the ties India and the United States have developed for centuries,” Rep. Himes pointed out. Stating that the this “friction is between India and the United States is only temporary” Rep. Himes said, “We will stand united and will work together towards the common values that are dear to both the nations.” Describing India and the United States as “cousin democracies” Rep. Himes said, “The Democratic party leadership is in understanding of the critical need for strengthening the relationship between India and the United States. We are very supportive of the need to build on the India US relationship,” he added. 

On the issue of long waiting, sometimes nearly 2 years to obtain an appointment for a Visa interview, while describing this as “a solvable problem, but the right intention and motive is essential,” Rep. Himes said, “We need to advocate with local representatives in every state to solve this back log.” As Chairman of the House Committee overseeing the State Department, Himes suggested that the US State Department will listen to Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York. “You need to have them understand the long delay in visa interviews,”  he said. 

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On the Green Card back log, Rep. Himes said, attracting skilled laborers is “central to our economy.” On a question, regarding the discussions about the Country-based quota not being used and unused visas could be used to allow Green Cards to other qualified individuals who are caught in the backlog for Green Card approval, Rep. Himes was unsure if the Biden Administration will embrace the policy.

Rep. Himes serves on the US Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, a forum in which Members of Congress address the issues central to our relationship with this important South Asian nation. By promoting dialogue on issues of interest to the Indian American community, the Caucus strives to strengthen bilateral relations between the United States and India, promote trade with India, enhance economic development in India and the United States, increase anti-terrorism cooperation.

While commenting on the recent US decision to sell F-16 Fighter Jets to Pakistan, Rep. Himjes said, “I have my personal perspectives on India and Pakistan. I understand who are our partners in security.” 

On the question of “cyber security” Himes said, “It is getting more and more a serious issue.” While acknowledging that “China is very targeted” Himes said, “Russia is not as sophisticated.” Himes stated, the US is investing heavily on cyber security to address the fast and ever evolving security threats posed by many rogue nations and people, around the world. “We need to be more resilient and there is an urgent need to fix ther problem.” 

Congressman Himes had all praise for the Indian American community. He referred to how he came to meet with a new entrepreneur of Indian origin in Bridgeport recently, who is setting up a large firm that will help manufacture semiconductors that is in huge demand now. He also spoke about the contribution of the Indian American community for their contributions to creating a hub of tech innovation in Stamford in CT. “The brains of tech innovations are here,” he said, while pointing to the Indian community. 

While acknowledging that “We have so much to do on immigration” to enable these tech savvy and entrepreneurial Indian American community to have a smoother and faster way to have Green Card and Job Visas,  Rep. Himes, whose District has a fast-growing South Asian immigrant community, praised them for their contributions. “You are a secret weapon for economic growth,” he told the Indian American community, and called them “the future of US innovations.”

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In his inaugural remarks, GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, said, “Every year, GOPIO-CT has had an interactive session with Rep. Jim Himes and other elected officials.” Dr. Thomas Abraham initiated the discussion by raising the “H1 and H4 visa issues and what needs to be done by the Biden Administration, especially for the need to clear the backlogs of pending Immigration numbers for our community.” Responding to these concerns that were shared in a series of questions by GOPIO leaders on the Immigration issues, Dr. Abraham described the immigration policy and the current situation as “messy.”

During the interactive session among members of GOPIO, who raised concerns about the Western Media being anti-India, Ritu Johorey, Board Member of GOPIO-CT refuted the claim and stressed that the Western Media is neither anti-India nor anti-Modi Government, and stated speaking of the realities in India and portraying what is happening in India today cannot be described as anti-India. The Diwali celebrations at an eloquently decorated Meeting Hall included Cocktail Dinner and a live Bollywood Music by popular Playback singers from across the state of Connecticut, emceed by Dr. Jaya West. 

The program started with a welcome by GOPIO-CT President Ashok Nichani who said that Rep. Himes is a great supporter of GOPIO and the Indian community. He said, over the last 15 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future. GOPIO-CT – Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of PIOs through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities. For more details, please visit: http://gopio-ct.org/

Rishi Sunak Named Prime Minister Of England Amid Political Turmoil

History was made as Rishi Sunak, a British citizen of Indian Heritage has been chosen as Britain’s youngest Prime Minister on Monday, October 24th, 2002.  As the leader of the United Kingdom, Sunak has been tasked to steer the economically floundering nation days after his predecessor Liz Truss stepped down, conceding defeat. At age 42, he is the youngest and the first person of color to hold the post. The former Goldman Sachs analyst will be the United Kingdom’s first prime minister of Indian origin.

Rishi Sunak becomes Britain’s next prime minister after he won the race to lead the Conservative Party, leaving him with the task of steering a deeply divided country through an economic downturn set to leave millions of people poorer. In his first address to the people after being named Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak said it was the “Greatest privilege of my life…Will work day in and out to deliver”.

Sunak, one of the wealthiest politicians in Westminster has been asked to form a government by King Charles, replacing Liz Truss, the outgoing leader who only lasted 44 days in the job before she resigned. He defeated centrist politician Penny Mordaunt, who failed to get enough backing from lawmakers to enter the ballot, while his rival, the former prime minister Boris Johnson, withdrew from the contest saying he could no longer unite the party.

“This decision is a historic one and shows, once again, the diversity and talent of our party,” Ms Mordaunt said in a statement as she withdrew from the race just minutes before the winner was due to be announced. “Rishi has my full support.”

Sunak, the former finance minister, becomes Britain’s third prime minister in less than two months, tasked with restoring stability to a country reeling from years of political and economic turmoil. The multi-millionaire former hedge fund boss will be expected to launch deep spending cuts to try to rebuild Britain’s fiscal reputation, just as the country slides into a recession, dragged down by the surging cost of energy and food.

He will also inherit a political party that has fractured along ideological lines, a challenge that damaged the fortunes of several former Conservative leaders. Britain has been locked in a state of perma-crisis ever since it voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, unleashing a battle at Westminster over the future of the country that remains unresolved to this today.

Boris Johnson, the face of the Brexit vote, led his party to a landslide victory in 2019, only to be driven out of office less than three years later after a series of scandals. His successor Liz Truss lasted just over six weeks before she quit over an economic policy that trashed the country’s economic credibility.

Economists have questioned whether Sunak can tackle the country’s finances while holding the party’s multiple warring factions together. Rishi Sunak came to national attention when, aged 39, he became finance minister under Boris Johnson just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit Britain, developing the successful furlough scheme.

Sunak’s family migrated to Britain in the 1960s, a period when many people from Britain’s former colonies moved to the country to help it rebuild after the Second World War. After graduating from Oxford University, he went to Stanford University where he met his wife Akshata Murthy, whose father is Indian billionaire N. R. Narayana Murthy, founder of outsourcing giant Infosys Ltd.

The fact such a senior political leader in Britain has a family background that is nonwhite — with both his parents of Indian origin — has only become commonplace in the past handful of years. “That is a very, very recent development,” says Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, a think tank that researches issues around immigration, integration, race and identity.

He says since David Cameron became prime minister, the Conservative Party has placed an emphasis on putting more ethnic minorities in senior positions inside the government. “Ethnic diversity has become a new normal at the top table of British politics,” Katwala acknowledges. “In the last five years, we’ve seen ethnic minority chancellors of the Exchequer, home secretaries, foreign secretaries at a remarkable pace. Everyone’s got used to that and everybody thinks you shouldn’t make too much of that.”

Bronwen Maddox, the chief executive of the London-based think tank Chatham House, says that one silver lining amid all the chaos of recent weeks is that it “has forced someone with economic competence to the top of the Conservative field, and it has also forced Labour, the main opposition party, to put together a platform based on a claim to financial coherence, competence, things that Labor hasn’t always been associated with in the past.”

Congratulating Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “I look forward to working closely together on global issues, and implementing Roadmap 2030. Special Diwali wishes to the ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership”.

Considered a centrist and pragmatic politician, he emerged in the latest leadership contest as a safe pair of hands to guide the U.K., after Liz Truss’ policy proposals around tax cuts and spending shook the government’s credibility and spooked markets.

Sunak’s rise in British politics has been nothing short of meteoric. After entering Parliament in 2015 after a career in banking, Boris Johnson appointed him just five years later as finance minister — a role formally known as chancellor of the Exchequer, the U.K.’s Treasury.

Financial markets have reacted calmly as it emerged that Rishi Sunak is set to be the UK’s next prime minister. The pound was broadly unchanged against the dollar on Monday afternoon and government borrowing costs stayed lower after Commons leader Penny Mordaunt dropped out of the leadership race.

NRIs Reflect On The Changing Landscape Of India After 75 Years Of Independence

On August 15th, 2022, as the nation celebrated its 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, a Letter was sent to the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, signed by 100  world renowned writers, journalists, creative artists, “to express our grave concerns about the rapidly worsening situation for human rights in India, specifically freedom of speech and creative expression, on the eve of India’s 75th anniversary of independence.”

Freedom of speech—the right to express opinions without government restraint—is a democratic ideal that dates back to ancient Greece. In the United States, the First Amendment guarantees free speech. When it comes to democracy, liberty of thought and expression is a cardinal value that is of paramount significance under our constitutional scheme.

However, this freedom of speech/expression, a fundament right enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution of India is being eroded, more in the recent past. The many measures restricting freedom of expression, punishing and intimidating those who report corruption in the government, and the many evils prevalent in society have become a common practice for those in power at many state and federal levels.

The authorities in power have used and abused various sections of the Law to intimidate and punish those who criticize the people and policies of the ruling Party. Reporters Without Borders ranked India in 15-th place out of 180 countries in its 2022 World Press Freedom Index.

Human Rights Watch reported in 2022 that “Critics of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in India including activists, journalists, peaceful protesters, and even poets, actors, and businesses increasingly risked politically motivated harassment, prosecutions, and tax raids. Authorities shut down rights groups using foreign funding regulations or allegations of financial irregularities.  ”

The Indian authorities routinely use vaguely worded, overly broad laws as political tools to silence and harass critics, Human Rights Watch said in a report. The government should repeal or amend laws that are used to criminalize peaceful expression, it stated. “India’s abusive laws are the hallmark of a repressive society, not a vibrant democracy,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Putting critics in prison or even forcing them to defend themselves in lengthy and expensive court proceedings undermines the government’s efforts to present India as a modern country in the Internet age committed to free speech and the rule of law.”

In addition to banning various authors and publications, “Charges of sedition have recently multiplied in India as a way to curb free speech and to intimidate government critics,” writes Mira Kamdar at the Pacific Council on International Policy. “India has become a dangerous place to be a journalist,” and adds, “India’s media has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of powerful. High-profile journalists whose views do not toe the new line have been pushed out or quit their jobs. Self-censorship by journalists is a growing problem. Those who do speak out regularly face harassment and threats.”

The Columbia Global Freedom of Expression pointed to the Supreme Court of India’s ruling that an indefinite suspension of internet services would be illegal under Indian law and that orders for internet shutdown must satisfy the tests of necessity and proportionality. The highest court in India ruled that “Restrictions under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure could not be used to suppress legitimate expression and are subject to judicial scrutiny.”

Romila Thapar, who has specialized in the study of early Indian history and historiography, and is a Professor Emerita at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, aptly describes the state of India at 75: “Some Indians in authority, seem averse to India being a secular democracy. Therefore, poverty and unemployment prevail, nationalism is being replaced by religious majoritarianism, freedom of expression is increasingly disallowed, the rights of citizenship have faded, and the security implicit in being a citizen is denied. How do we fulfill the aspirations of the national movement for Independence? That is the question we should be asking.”

At independence, India offered a beacon of hope—a secular society choosing democratic governance and a Gandhian vision of inclusion and tolerance. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru spoke of India’s ‘tryst with destiny,’ and the hope is that the country will live up to the dream of Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore: “Where the mind is without fear,‘…. ’into that heaven of freedom, let my country awake.”

Ajay Ghosh

Chief Editor, The Universal News Network


India Is A Global Player

As an Indian American, who had left India more than 40 years ago, it makes me extremely proud to see how my Motherland has progressed over the years, especially since 2014 when Prime Minister Modi took the helm of the country.

The Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav honors the advancement of India and the culture of our people. On Oct. 1st this year, Modiji launched 5G services in India! And he spoke of the common people of India adapting to new technology at a greater speed.

Not only is India the world’s largest democracy, but as The World Bank says, “Over the past decade, the country’s integration into the global economy has been accompanied by economic growth. India has now emerged as a GLOBAL PLAYER.”

Just a couple of weeks ago, India surpassed the United Kingdom to become the 5th largest economy in the world. And in terms of purchasing power parity, meaning how much a rupee can buy, it is the world’s third-largest economy, according to World Bank data.

India’s recent growth has been a significant achievement. And since independence, its agricultural revolution has made it self-sufficient and a net exporter of food!

Since 2001, India has built all-weather rural roads for millions of people living in 171,000 small villages and habitations around the country, so they can increase family incomes, reach markets, hospitals, schools and entertainment. It is building infrastructure like ports and ships, defense equipment, strategic alliances in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere, space technology, the list is endless.

And Modiji’s “Make In India” initiative is strengthening the country towards economic growth and independence.

India has taken global leadership in areas such as health and climate change. During COVID, it has been manufacturing vaccines that can be distributed to countries in Africa and Latin America, and other parts of the world; it has been producing medicines for HIV, Rotavirus, and numerous diseases that are available at low prices so that poor can afford them around the world!

India has spread the message of Yoga for health, non-violence for a more peaceful world, and solar energy for a sustainable planet. Its space program is the epitome of what can be achieved by its people. Its scientists, engineers, doctors and entrepreneurs are the envy of the world.

And Prime Minister Modi plans to get to India 2.0, through his Atmanirbhar strategy of independence. His Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav initiative which officially began on March 12, 2021 and ends August 15, 2023 – is the symbol of all that makes India into the vibrant and progressive country it is today.

Sudhir M. Parikh, M.D.
Chairman & Publisher-Parikh World Wide Media; Chairman-ITV Gold (24/7 TV Channel)’; Chairman-Life Global; Chairman-Center for Asthma & Allergy; Secretary General of Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO); Padma Shri Awardee 2010; Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardee 2006; Ellis Island Medal of Honor 2005


Changing Landscape Of India After 75 Years Of Independence

From being an education hub of the world in ancient times to becoming the IT hub of the world today, the Indian landscape has come a long way.

The Landscape of Education and Health.

In 1947 India had a population of 340 million with a literacy rate of just 12%. Today it has a population of nearly 1.4 billion and a literacy rate of 74%. The average life expectancy has also risen from 32 years to 70 years in 2022. Even though India has shown remarkable progress in terms of literacy rate, the quality of higher education is still a cause of major concern.

However, some other fields like health and education still seem to be lacking behind as compared to the other developed countries. The health sector is also lacking behind. The doctor to patient ratio is merely 0.7 doctors per 1000 people as compared to WHO average of 2.5 doctors per 1000 people.

At present 65% of medical expenses in India are paid out-of-pocket by patients as per a recent study. The main reason behind this is that the patients have no alternative but to access private healthcare because of poor facilities in public hospitals.

The Economic Landscape.

India’s economy has expanded significantly in the 21st century. Under the Prime Ministership of Mr Narendra Modi many significant changes have taken place like the scraping of section 370, strengthening of the defense system, creating a startup-friendly environment, and much more.

In addition Mr. Modi’s administration launched several programs and campaigns, including ‘Make in India’, Digital India and the Swachh Bharat project. Today India is the fifth largest economy in the world with 147 lack crore GDP, accounting for 8% of the global GDP.

The Landscape of Defense Sector.

The Indian military is one of the largest Defense systems in the world because of the defense research and development organization established in 1958. In summary, analyzing the different landscapes of India we find that we have come a long way in our journey but still there is a lot to be done if we want to make India a superpower. A lot will depend on our people’s willingness to change, ensuring the equal participation of women in the workforce, including marginalized communities in our economic growth, and last, but not least is having a liberal and progressive and unbiased mindset.

Gautam Samadder, M.D

Past President, AAPI


Nurture Democracy To Be A World Leader

India Proudly celebrates Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav!

India @75 has emerged as the world’s largest sustainable democracy. A growing power with an aspiration to be the third largest economy after US and China.

For me, India’s biggest asset or strength is its constitution which talks about Unity in Diversity, which gives strength to live in an inclusive way in a diverse society and helps its people to rise not just at the national but international level.

Swami Vivekanand had rightly said: “The land where humanity has attained its
highest towards gentleness, towards purity, towards calmness – it is India.”

No doubt India has evolved since the Britishers left but it will be essential for India to stay focused on reducing inequality, nurture and value democracy, focus on proper education, and yes, check the growing population, which at present is 1.38 billion and will surpass China in 2023.

Ritu Jha

Chief Editor/Publisher, Indica News


I Am Proud Of India And I Am Proud As An Indian Immigrant.

Hearty congratulations to all Indians for a grand celebration of 75 years of independence!

India has achieved a lot during the last 75 years, especially during the last 25 years. India has become a world leader of Pharmacy and information technology. India has become one of the richest countries of the world. Infrastructure, Airline, Health, and travel industries have grown tremendously during the last 25 years.

India has produced some of the best Physicians, company CEOs, and great thought leaders.

Indian immigrants have done extremely well in several countries including the USA.

I am proud of India and I am proud as an Indian Immigrant!

Subrahmanya Bhat, MD, FCCP, FACP, DNBPAS

Board member, Georgia Composite Medical Board; Trustee, Clayton State University

Past President of the Association of Kerala Medical Graduates


This Century Belongs To India

August 15th, 1947! A day to remember all those who fought, laid their precious lives for us to enjoy this happy occasion.

Today is the day not to forget why they sacrificed their lives, their mission & purpose of the long struggle.

A day to reflect on what we can do so that each of our fellow citizens live a  life of respect dignity and prosperity.

In 75 years, we have achieved a lot.

At 75, India is full of energy, realizing it’s true potential, retaining its culture, and yet going modern. More needs to be done in the coming years so that India @ 100 will be a fully developed nation, the most powerful nation in the world and a Vishwa Guru.

This century belongs to India. In the coming years, India is going to be the manufacturing Hub . Also being the country with the youngest population, English Speaking population, and skilled labor, India is unstoppable. India will be the powerhouse of development. [email protected] 100 will be top three Economies in the world.

Vande Mataram! Happy Independence Day!

Jagdish Sewhani

President, The American India Public Affairs Committee


India Has A Rich History Engrossed With Thousands Of Years Of Civilization

I was born years after India gained independence. But so much have I heard from my grandfather, who was a freedom fighter too. He used to repeat that Gandhiji, Nehru, Netaji, Vallabhbhai Patel, and many others united the Indian people and fought to get India’s independence from the British. Later on, in school, it was the history of heroic stories of India. Looking back today, I am proud to be an Indian because India has a rich history engrossed with thousands of years of civilization and culture, absorbing and rise of religions and empires, British Rule, Revolution, Independence, and, no doubt, now emerging as a world power.

The world’s largest democracy and second-most populous country in this 21st century, India is a dynamic nation with a thriving economy, made up of a variety of beliefs and peoples united under one flag.

If small nations, like Japan could meticulously attain a leading position, India, with its large population and vast resources, could have emerged as number one by this time. For this world’s largest democracy, it is highly advantageous to remember that with British rule, English is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication, and we can have instant contact worldwide.

The country has gone from having a GDP of just Rs 2.7 lakh crore at the time of Independence to now sitting close to Rs. 150 lakh crore. India is now a healthcare hub with exporting affordable medicines worldwide. Indian students are flying off to all developed countries for higher education in engineering, advanced medical research and the latest information technologies.

The new plans and projects are changing INDIA, its roads, railways, and digital telecommunication, with solar-powered airports of the highest qualities across the nation, and have multiplied the image and status of the New emerging INDIA.

Though we beat our trumpets a lot on our achievements, India appears to be suffering from a stinking bureaucracy and corruption among the administration and high political leaders. Whereby the country’s resources are underutilized or exploited. We must revive its democratic syncretic and inclusive credentials to be on the top list. We need to trim or eliminate all weeds that eat up tender growths.

India is not that India that the British left on 1947.  With its incredible progress, India’s present history continues to be the most enviable topic for developing countries globally. As an Indian American, I am proud to see India making hope- step- and jump each day to become a leading nation in the world, while celebrating Azadi ka 75th Amrit Mahotsav

Dr. Mathew Joys, Author, Writer

BOD Member, Indo-American Press Club

Editorial Board Member, The Universal News Network

At AAPI’s 75th India Independence Day On Capitol Hill, Key US Lawmakers Advocate For Stronger India-US Ties

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) organized the 75th Anniversary of the Independence of India/Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022, where key US Senators and Congressmen participated and stressed the need to strengthen Indo-US relationship and praised the contributions and achievements of Physicians of Indian Origin and the larger Indian American community.

A strong India means a strong US, influential US lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said, as they pledged to work towards strengthening the relationship between the two largest democratic countries of the world at a time when the world is undergoing several changes and facing numerous challenges. Attended by dozens of leaders of AAPI and several community leaders, a first of its kind, the India Day on Capitol Hill was a celebration of India as a nation that is a model and strong democracy and a fast-growing economy that has taken a central place on world stage.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of AAPI Legislative Committee, who has played a lead role in organizing the India Day celebrations on Capitol Hill said, Indian-Americans have a key role to play in the India-US relationship. “It is a proud moment for every Indian, living in every part of the world to see the progress that our motherland has achieved since its independence 75 years ago.” Dr. Shivangi, a member of the National Advisory Council, Center for National Mental Health Services referred to India which has now become the fifth largest economic superpower in the world even surpassing India’s Colonial Masters, the UK, France, and Germany.

Quoting a White House Press Release last month, Dr. Shivangi said, “The QUAD agreement is a testimony of this the role for the promotion of human freedom and dignity, and ways to restrain the Chinese expansionism that is not respecting international laws, friendships, and relationships. “The United States sees India as an indispensable partner and confident in a relationship the two countries are pursuing their own national interests in Ukraine. The US-India strategic partnership is grounded in their commitments to the advancement of the free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

In his welcome address, Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI, “India @ 75! It is a milestone filled with feelings of sense of pride and joy for all the accomplishments and progress we have made, while preserving our integrity, unity, core values of freedoms, democracy and respect for diverse cultures and the groups that live and thrive in our beloved motherland. India has made great strides in various sectors of economy lifting over 270 million out of poverty in the past decade or so.

Referring to the unprecedented growth of India, Dr. Kolli said,  “It is the 5th largest economy in the world. In 1947 Maternal Mortality Rate was 2,000 for 100,000 births and Infant Mortality rate was 150 and now MMR is 150 and IMR is 27.6 in 2021. In the higher education sector India now has 1,043 universities and 42,000 colleges vs 27 universities and 578 colleges in 1950 and literacy rate is close to 75 % now as opposed to 20% in 1950. The number of medical colleges grew from mere 28 in 1950 to over 612 now in 2022. These accomplishments by themselves are worthy of a grand celebration, but India accomplished all this progress as a thriving democracy, with its steadfast commitment to freedoms with equity and inclusion of all faiths and creeds is a remarkable success story to be cherished and shared. We are proud to be part of this historic celebration of India on Capitol Hill, where we will have an opportunity to exchange views and express our concerns with the dozens of US Lawmakers, who will come to be part of the celebrations.”

“I am here today to say, thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat said. Recalling his visits to India, he said, he saw in action “the greatness of the largest democracy in the world in full action.”  While lauding the contributions of physicians of Indian Origin, “Had it not been for the Indian community that came to West Virginia to provide their services, most of rural West Virginia would not have health care today.” While observing that a major section of healthcare service in the rural US is provided by Indian American Doctors.

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican Senator representing the state of Mississippi stressed the importance of having strong relations between India and the United States. “The relationship between the United States and India is mutually beneficial for both of the countries and not just in the field of medicine and technology,” she said.

Senator Shelley Capito from West Virginia noted how the Indian American community is playing a key role in enriching the cultural experience of her state. “I live in Charleston, West Virginia, a small rural state. If we did not have any Indian American doctors, we would not have any kind of quality healthcare, we would not have the breadth and the depth and the richness of our communities that we have,” she said.

India’s Ambassador to the US Hon. Taranjit Singh, in his keynote address said that there is a close connection between the two countries and today it is driven by the leadership of the two largest democracies of the world. Indian American doctors have an especially key role to play in the India-US relationship, Sandhu said. “India today is one of the fastest-growing, major, emerging economies in the world,” he said. “We have such a vibrant and dynamic Indian American community represented in this country. The success of the Indian American community as professionals – doctors, technocrats, scientists and, entrepreneurs, has been an inspiration to many of us in India. And today, support of this community is vital to us” in forging a much stronger relationship with the US.

India and United States enjoy a comprehensive global strategic partnership covering almost all areas of human endeavor, driven by shared democratic values, convergence of interests on a range of issues, and vibrant people-to-people contacts, he said. Referring to the fact that within one month’s period, more than half a dozen senior Indian Ministers are visiting the US and a similar visit would happen from the US to India, he said. “This is a reflection of the relationship between India and the United States,” he pointed out.

Congressman Joe Wilson, a GOP lawmaker and co-chair of Indian Caucus in Congress, shared about his fond memories with India, going back to the days when his dad served in India during the World War. India and America – nations which respect individuals, freedom, human dignity, private property, and believe in free markets – have the potential to build on shared values, he said. “India has a major role to play in world peace, stabilizing world,” he added.

Rep. Michael Guest from Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District, said, “We are so blessed to have you. I want to thank you for coming to the US from a great civilization.” Lauding the great contributions of AAPI fraternity, he said, “You reach out to when people are in crisis. You put yourself in arms way to serve your fellowmen, to serve others, especially during Covid.” Describing Indo-US partnership as “strategic relationship” the Congressman said, “We work together to protect freedom and democracies. We work together for the greater good of humanity.”

Indian American Congressman Ro Khanna from the California said, “US India relationship is more critical than ever for the world.” He said, “India should not be subject to (CAATSA) sanctions because of its historic relationship with Russia.” Praising the recent messaging of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Russian leadership, Khanna said India can play a critical role in a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian conflict. He referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met Vladimir Putin last week on the sidelines of the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand, had told the Russian leader that “today’s era is not of war.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the first and only Indian-American woman in the US Congress, said India and the US, despite being a world apart, have shared a very unique and important relationship over the years. India and the US have made tremendous strides in the promotion of public health. With the help of more than USD 200 million in aid from the US, India surpassed an important milestone in the fight against COVID-19 by administering two billion doses of vaccines, the second most of any country in the world, she said.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said the Indian American community needs to make its presence known. Imploring more Indian Americans to run for office, Krishnamoorthi told the Capitol Hill gathering, “If you are not at the table, you will be on the menu.” India, he said, has done a lot in the last 75 years. “I want to talk a little bit about its (India’s) greatest export. Its greatest export is you – Indian Americans who are four million strong. They are the fastest-growing ethnic minority in America. They are the most prosperous ethnic minority and the most well educated.”

Congressman Ted Deutch said, India and the US are strategic partners and Indian Americans are the key assets in the India-US relationship. “We are not only strategic partners, but we are friends,” he said. Referring to the NRI community, he said, “This is the group in the US, of all the ethnic groups, with the highest income and the highest level of education.”

U.S. Congressman Pat Fallon (TX-04), who had attended both the Capitol Hill event as well as at the Embassy Reception compared India and the United States, as both have gained independence from Britain. Both are today the greatest democracies of the world, he said and added that India at 75th anniversary of Independence Day is doing better and greater than how the US did at its 75th anniversary. Lauding the contributions of Indian American Physicians and the larger Indian American community Rep. Fallon highlighted the strong and strategic relationship the United States and India have, that benefits not only the two nations, but the entire world.

“Indian American physicians have made vital contributions to the health care field,” said Dr. Kishore Challa, Co-Chair of AAPI’s Legislative Committee. “As physicians, we provide critical care to patients from rural & urban communities across the Country. Indian American doctors are playing a critical role in filling the nationwide physician shortage. The India Day on Capitol Hill is a unique opportunity for AAPI members to be part of the decision-making process on matters related to healthcare and advocate for stronger and closer ties between India and the United States.”

Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI said, “AAPI has been serving India and contributing to the effective healthcare delivery in the US and in India. In keeping with the mission of AAPI, the celebrations on the Hill provided us with a forum to facilitate and enable Indian American physicians share our concerns with the Lawmakers in pursuit of our aspirations in matters relating to professional and community affairs.”

“The historic 75th India Independence Day celebrations on Capitol Hill was an effective Forum to help renew our friendship with US administration under the leadership of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and brief the Congressional leaders on issues that are important to us,” said Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI.

“AAPI’s India Day celebrations on Capitol Hill helped members rekindle and renew our energy in bringing up the issues to the attention of national policymakers and leaders of the US Congress on Capitol Hill,” said Dr. Sumul Rawal, Treasurer of AAPI.

A reception and dinner hosted by Honorable Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ambassador of India to the United States, with several dignitaries at the Indian Embassy was the grand finale to the day-long event at the nation’s capital. India and United States enjoy a comprehensive global strategic partnership covering almost all areas of human endeavor, driven by shared democratic values, convergence of interests on a range of issues, and vibrant people-to-people contacts. “The relationship is very strong,” noting India and the US are connected in culture, democratic traditions, entrepreneurship, and innovation. “And we are connected because the Indian American community in the US is so very strong,” Ambassador Sandhu told an enthusiastic audience said.

In his vote of thanks, Dr. Ravi Kolli expressed gratitude to Dr. Sampath Shivangi, for organizing the event and bringing powerful senators and Congress Members and giving a forum and opportunity for AAPI members to participate in conversations with them. “Both the Senators form Mississippi referring him as the ‘Rockstar of Mississippi’ is the true reflection of his leadership and contributions at the national level.” He said. “I deeply appreciate Dr. Kishore Challa for personally arranging for both the Senators of WV to attend, both of them spoke so highly of Dr. Challa and his leadership in healthcare matters in the state of West Virginia and nationally and how he was instrumental in making Telemedicine Audio Service approved by Federal Agencies during the pandemic.”

“AAPI has been seeking to collectively shape the best health care for everyone in the US, with the physicians at the helm, caring for the medically underserved as we have done for several decades when physicians of Indian origin came to the US in larger numbers,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli. For more information on AAPI and its several noble initiatives benefitting AAPI members and the larger society, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI Observes World Suicide Prevention Day, Educating Members on Causes, Trends, Warning Signs, Treatment, & Ways to Prevent Suicide

Suicide, especially among children and adolescents is a growing phenomenon of concern and the numbers tell a shocking story. Every 40 seconds someone takes their own life according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Bringing awareness on this critical issue, September 10th is being observed each year as World Suicide Prevention Day across the world.

Observing World Suicide Prevention Day, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) organized a live online seminar on “Treating Depression in Children and Adolescents in Primary Care” on September 10th, 2022. Attended by a record number of physicians from around the nation, the online seminar was led by Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI and a Board-Certified Psychiatrist from Pittsburgh, PA.

Dr. Kolli set the context for the Webinar, by drawing the attention of the AAPI members to the prevalence of suicidality among people of all walks across the United States. “Nationally in 2020, there was approximately one death by suicide every 11 minutes. In the same year, for people aged 10–14 and 25–34 years, suicide was the second leading cause of death. From April 2020 to 2021 over 100,000 people died of drug overdose alone,” Dr. Kolli said. “Over 44,000 people die by suicide annually. As many as 123 people die by suicide every day. Over 1.3 million people attempt suicide each year, and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all age groups,” Dr. Kolli pointed out.

Mental health issues like depression are known to be the leading cause for attempting suicide. Suicide often occurs in a moment of unbearable pain or deep despair. Millions of Americans consider suicide, make a suicide plan, or attempt suicide every year – especially young Americans for whom suicide is the second leading cause of death.

“By drawing attention to the problem of suicide in the United States, the suicide prevention campaign also strives to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic, as well as encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance and support people who have attempted suicide,” Dr. Kolli, a board-certified psychiatrist told the AAPI members. “With the objective of strengthening and expanding the Lifeline infrastructure to respond to crisis calls, texts, and chats anytime and establishing a system that provides more opportunities for crisis service, the Federal Government has initiated the soft launch of Emergency Suicide Prevention Number, 988, transitioning from 1-800-273-TALK to 988,” Dr. Kolli pointed out. Dr. Kolli educated the participants on ways to respond to crisis and talked about the impact from “Reaction vs. Response.”

Dr. Malti Mehta, a member of AAPI BOD and a moderator of the session, stressed the importance of understanding how from inception onwards, the family dynamics contributes to depression and suicidality among children, especially among children of Indian heritage. “Let us work together with our family, friends, healthcare workers, religious and political leaders to prevent suicide through active counseling and support. It is time we empowered others to be in charge of their lives and value the one life they have.”

In her eloquent and comprehensive presentation on “Treating Depression in Children and Adolescents in Primary Care” Dr. Aparna Vuppala, Medical Director, SPEAK project of       HHF -Huntsville Hospital Foundation and a Psychiatrist from Huntsville, AL educated the audience on: the prevalence of suicide in children; Criteria for depressive disorders in children; Etiology and stressors worsening depression; Screening u Differential Diagnosis and comorbidity; Suicide prevention measures; Non-pharmacologic Treatment and Pharmacologic Treatment available today.

“In 2011, for the first time in 20 years in the US, more teens died from suicide than homicide,” Dr. Vuppala pointed out. “In 2017, the suicide rate was more than twice the homicide rate. In 2018, Suicide has become the second leading cause of death in 10–24-year-old children.”  Dr. Vuppala shared with the audience her own experiences in efforts to prevent suicide among school-going kids in Alabama. “The mayor’s office has recognized our efforts, providing funds for the program,” she said. She offered her team’s services to other parts of the nation.

Addressing the challenges of Pediatric Depression, Dr. Vuppala said, “Most depression research has been done on adults. Childhood depression is not necessarily the same illness as adult depression. We use the same DSM-V criteria as for adults. Childhood emotional instability is a challenge to understand and treat. AAP Guidelines recommend screening all youth 12 years and older for depression.”

Educating the parents about the consequences of untreated depression with the need for treatment compliance, she said. It is possible that 9 out of 10 kids are likely to share their issues with someone close to them or express their views on social media. Identifying them and recognizing them in advance is a sure way to prevent suicidality, Dr. Vuppala said.

She recommended that “parents must ask directly and matter-of-factly about suicide with children. Do not underestimate the threat of suicide or invalidate feelings. Do not be judgmental. Do not argue or debate if suicide is right or wrong. Do not say that their pain/stressor is not a serious enough reason. Do not lecture on the value of life. DO NOT be sworn to secrecy.” Among other things, she stressed the need for a minimum of 8.5 hours of sleep at night and limiting screen time with less than 2 hrs./day of recreational screen time for school-age children, and less than 1 hr./day for 2-5 yrs. old children.

Referring to treatment modalities to address depression and suicidality, Dr. Vuppala highlighted the importance of individual psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps increase awareness of thoughts-emotions-behaviors and change thinking pattern. In addition to Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) and medications to treat depression, she referred to Dialectical Behavior therapy (DBT) which has been found to be helpful in preventing SI/self-harm by offering techniques to cope healthily with stress, regulate emotions, and improve relationships with others. Mindfulness has been found to a way for compassion and being grateful, while pet therapy and nature therapy are found to be useful.

During the interactive session, Dr. Kolli and Dr. Vuppala shared their insights on how “mindfulness and meditation” have contributed to stress reduction and prevent suicidality. Research on meditation and mindfulness has been shown to improve holistic person. Spirituality is found to be a valuable resource in combating loneliness and depression, Dr. Vuppala said.

American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI,) the largest ethnic organization in the United States, representing nearly 120,000 physicians and Fellows of Indian origin in the United States. For more details on AAPI and its programs, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

MASCONN’s Onam Celebrates Kerala’s Culture, Traditions

Malayalee Association of Southern Connecticut (MASCONN) organized its annual Onam celebrations at Madison Middle School, Trumbull, CT on Saturday, September 17th, 2022.

Attended by nearly 250 people, the long awaited Onam celebrations brought together the fast growing community of people of Kerala origin from across the state of Connecticut to celebrate their culture, traditions, and fellowship.

The day long Onam celebrations began with the lighting of the traditional Nailavilakku or the lamp by honored guests of MASCONN and the executive committee members of MASCONN, including, Tijo Josh, President; Sreejith Mambarambath, Vice President; Giby, Vice President;  Veena Ramesh, Secretary; Reshmi Parakkal, Joint Secretary; and, Jacob Mathew, Treasurer; and members of the Board of Directors: Sujanan TP, Anitha Nair, Aswathy Rajeevan, Jose Kalarikkal, Kaushik Prakash, Prince Lal, Roy Sebastian, Sofia Salim, and Sudhi Balan. Kids Club President Lakshmi S Nair introduced the members of the Club and announced of the planned Blood Drive in collaboration with the local RED CROSS on October 4th.

The chief guests who graced the event and shared their Onam greetings and message included, Connecticut State Assemblyman Harry Arora and Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, a candidate for CT State Assembly representing Trumbull. Both Mr. Arora and Ms. Gadkar-Wilcox urged the Indian community to come out and vote on November 8th and at every election cycle to make the voice of the Indian Americans heard on the corridors of power. They, later on volunteered and served food to the participants at the Onam Sandhya.

A colorful Pookoalm and the traditional lamp with a sandalwood tilak on forehead at the entrance of the school, welcomed the participants with a warm traditional Indian welcome. Legendary King Mahabali was given a traditional welcome as he mingled with the participants showering his blessings.

Earlier the legendary King Mahbali was welcomed on to the state in a procession led by children and women, including Veena, Aswathy, Nimmi, Roniya, Avani, Deepa, Hency, and Shreya, who set the stage for the Onam celebrations with their beautiful performance of Thiruvathirakali.

“MASCONN an offshoot of the natural growth of the Indian-American especially Malayalee Community in the southern Connecticut region,” said Tijo Josh, President of MASCON, in his welcome address. He led the participants to a moment of silence praying for those who lost their lives due to Covid and honoring those healthcare professionals who worked bravely to save the lives of those who were affected by the deadly virus. Tijo praised the Masconn Youth Group and the executive committee and the members for their dedication.

Eloquently emceed by Clarence Xavier and Mini Ajay, who explained the story behind this cultural festival of Kerala, a southern Indian state. “Onam awaits one very special visitor, Kerala’s most loved legendary King Maveli. He is the King who once gave the people a golden era in Kerala. The King is so much attached to his kingdom that it is believed that he comes annually from the nether world to see his people living happily. It is in honor of King Mahabali, affectionately called Onathappan, that Onam is celebrated,” Mini Ajay said.

The whole ambience was filled with nostalgia since it was an occasion for all the Malayalees in Connecticut to cherish their childhood memories, especially everyone enjoyed the sumptuous Onam Sadhya (meal), the most important and main attraction of the day with different traditional dishes and payasam that was served on banana leaves.

For the 1st time, MASCONN organized Onachamayam photo contest was held for Malayalee Manga and Family Chamayam photo contest and winners were awarded. The winners of the Chess and Cards Games were recognized with trophies.

In his Onam message, Mahabali told the audience that the “beauty of the festival lies in its secular fabric. People of all religions, castes and communities celebrate the festival with equal joy and verve. Onam also helps to create an atmosphere of peace and brotherhood by way of various team sports organized on the day,” he added.  Sreejith Mambarambath and Jaya Giby, Vice Presidents of MASCONN proposed vote of thanks, while thanking all the organizers for the great event they had worked so hard to put together.

Participants were dressed in their traditional attire. The most traditional costume for the men of Kerala is the “Mundu” which is mostly white in color. It is worn tightly at the waist with a knot and comes down till the feet. Women following Hinduism wear a blouse and mundu known as “Mundu neriyathu.” Children were seen elegantly in mundus, shirts, sarees and salwar.

The celebration of Onam festival provides them with a perfect opportunity to encourage the new generation of children of Indian origin to witness, learn and appreciate these rich traditions, even while it offers the first generation NRIs to stay connected and cherish the rich cultural heritage they hold so dear to them.

Living in countries that are far away from their homeland, in the midst of different cultures, busy with the day-to-day mundane work and home tasks, the Non Resident Indian (NRI) community made this “land of opportunities” their home, have brought with them these cultural traditions and have sought to pass them on to their children, who are often born and raised here.

Onam is a festival celebrated in the south-western state of Kerala, India. Keralites or the Malayalees, the illustrious people of the beautiful state are known around the world for their hard work and spirit of adventure, celebrate the festival of Onam wherever they are.

Malayalee Association of Southern Connecticut (MASCONN) which was formed a dozen years ago, the cultural extravaganza was in many ways “reliving the culture and traditions” and “cherishing the past with a view to pass it on to the future generation.”

 

India Day Parade In New York City Led By Iconic Allu Arjun Creates 2 Guinness Records

Allu Arjun, the popular Southern Indian Star was the Grand Marshal at the  India Day parade held on Sunday, August 21st, 2022 in New York City, commemorating the completion of 75 years of Indian Independence, earmarked as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav,’ the celebration of eternal freedom.

Organized by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA-NY/NJ/CT), the annual parade returned to New York City after two years, when Covid Pandemic restricted public gatherings. The colorful celebrations at the heart of New York City was a salute to Mother India by the Indian American community.

Accompanied by his wife Allu Sneha and director Harish Sankar, the Pushpa star was greeted by more than 150,000 people and fans, who turned out to see him along the route on Madison Avenue in New York City. Eric Adams, New York’s Mayor, Randhir Jaiswal, a career diplomat and the Consul General of India in New York were among others who led the parade that filled Madison Avenue from 38th Street to 21st Street as dozens of floats showcasing the rich cultural heritage of India marched through the parade route, and greeted by enthusiastic Indian Americans, as they waved the tricolor, honoring India.

Known as the world’s biggest Indian event outside of the country, the India Day Parade gave FIA to create two Guinness Book of World Records. As per the FIA, the two events at the parade entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of flags flown simultaneously at an event and the largest ensemble of Damru, an ancient musical instrument associated with Hinduism and Buddhism, being played at a time in any given event.

The Federation of Indian Associations which represents New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New England in the U.S.

Kenny Desai, president of FIA and a seasoned veteran community leader expressed his gratitude to the community and board for trusting him with leading the organizational efforts. He said, FIA had in its own way tried to honor India by attempting the records and “making our motherland shine in our homeland.” Desai said FIA has made India proud and this achievement is a tribute to the unknown and unsung heroes of the freedom struggle.

FIA chairman Ankur Vaidya said that these records are dedicated to the global community. He thanked the community for their support without which the feat would not have been possible. The flags display, in keeping with the theme this year of honoring the Tiranga, the Indian flag, made a show of India’s universality by also including the flags of nations around the world.

Allu Arjun shared a story of having fun at the Times Square and participating in the New York India Parade on his Instagram account. “It was a pleasure meeting the Mayor of New York City. Very Sportive Gentleman. Thank You for the Honours Mr. Eric Adams. Thaggede Le,” Allu Arjun wrote and shared pictures of him with the Mayor sporting the ‘Thaggede Le’ signature mannerism which has become popular all over the world. Superstar Allu Arjun is one of the much-loved actors in the industry. His film Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1 was a box officer superhit, and earned Rs 300 crore worldwide.

More than 1,500 volunteers who had registered for the record on FIA website turned up early in the morning, the release said. In an atmosphere of patriotic fervor lead conductor Kailash Kher sang ‘Hindustan Meri Jaan Tu’ (India you are my life) with the whole gathering of thousands joining him.

The annual cultural events on India Day in the City were held through several streets on Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, featuring tableaux by various Indian-American organizations, marching bands, police contingents and cultural performances by young Indian-American children.

FIA secretary Pravin Bansal, who served as event chair for the attempts said that the endeavor required massive efforts and the whole team of FIA volunteers had been working day and night for the past few months especially since the logistics were a big challenge in itself.

Previously, actors Arjun Rampal, Abhishek Bachchan, and Baahubali actors Rana Daggubati and Tamannaah Bhatia, as well as Sunny Deol and Raveena Tandon have attended the parade.

In other events, as a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the FIA NY-NJ-CT-NE organized a wide range of unique events to commemorate India’s 75th anniversary of independence. A fly-past by a 220 ft-long majestic Indian tricolor, made of Khadi, over the iconic Hudson river and the display of a giant billboard at the Times Square are among the highlights of the grand celebrations

GOPIO-CT Celebrates India’s 75th Independence Day with Flag Hoisting, Kite Flying, Cultural Events

The Mill River Park in Stamford, CT on Saturday, August 6th wore a festive look as Indian Americans gathered in large numbers to celebrate India’s 75th Independence Day with an annual India Day Festival. Dressed in colorful traditional Indian attire, with melodious music from the popular Bollywood world, dances depicting the wide variety of Indian culture, kite flying, spicy Indian cuisine, and booths decorated with Indian symbols and face art, the festivities were a treat to the fast growing Indian American community in the state of Connecticut.

The City of Stamford led by Mayor Caroline Simmons, along the Mayor of Norwalk, Harry Rilling,  and several elected state lawmakers joined hands with the Indian Diaspora in Connecticut for a celebration organized by the Connecticut Chapter of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-CT).

The day-long celebrations began with the hoisting of the American, Indian, and Connecticut flags at the Government Center in Stamford by Mayor Caroline Simmons, State Senator Patricia Billie Miller, 27th District, event Gold sponsor, an investment firm 3Lines Partner, Nandu Kuppuswamy, and Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International.

During the inaugural ceremony, Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons proclaimed August 15th as India Day to commemorate Indian Independence when Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian flag at the Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15, 1947. In the proclamation presented to GOPIO, Mayor Caroline Simmons said that the Indian Independence was marked largely by non-violent resistance and civil disobedience and the Independence Day is celebrated by the Indian Diaspora worldwide. The proclamation further noted that Stamford City will honor Indian community which is an integral part of city’s diversity, success and great future.

Prominent among those who addressed and greeted the Indian American community included: State Senator Patricia Billie Miller, 27th District; Representative Daniel J. Fox, 148th District; Representative Matt Blumenthal, 147th District; Representative David Michel, 146th Dist; Representative Corey P. Paris, 145th District; and, Representative Hubert D. Delany, 144th District.

A citation by the Connecticut General Assembly honoring India’s 75th Anniversary of Independence was presented to GOPIO-CT officials. “In Recognition Of: India is celebrating its 75th Anniversary of Independence, also known as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Today, we join you to celebrate the rich history and culture along with freedom and liberty with people of India. We urge all our citizens to join us in publicly acknowledging the many achievements and contributions Indian Americans have made to the economy of Connecticut especially in IT and Technology, Healthcare and Hospitality. Congratulations on your Independence Day!”

“The India Festival is a tribute to a strong and vibrant Indian-American community that has excelled in almost all areas of life in this adopted nation of ours,” assemblyman Harry Arora, who shared with the audience his childhood in India and later on, how he continued to cherish the memories of India’s non-violent freedom movement and close partnership between Indian and the United States, the largest democracies of the world.

The program began with the singing of a patriotic songs by children. The cultural programs depicted the diversity of Indian culture and traditions. Among those who portrayed the diverse and cultural traditions of Indian traditions included Lakshmi Sujanan, daughter of Vineetha and Sujanan, former president of MASCONN.

In his welcome address, GOPIO-CT Trustee/Advisor and Chairman of GOPIO International Dr. Thomas Abraham, a veteran community leader instrumental in numerous community and professional organizations said, “The India Festival in Stamford, CT is a tribute to a strong and vibrant Indian-American community that has excelled in almost all areas of life in this adopted nation of ours,” Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and chairman of GOPIO International, who is also a Trustee of GOPIO-CT, said. “We are cultivating and developing community networking with all these younger elected officials,” he added.

In her address, Executive Vice President Dr. Jaya Daptardar described the many flagship events the organization organizes every year. “Our mission at GOPIO-CT is to be active participants in the local community through involvement in community events and local politics, and by providing services to the Indian community at large here in Connecticut.

The activities for 2022 gave an overview of several programs GOPIO-Ct offers to the larger society such as Women’s Mentoring Network, Future 5, Children’s Learning Center, Building One community, Grassroots of Norwalk/Stamford and Stamford Public Library.

The program included remarks by the honored dignitaries, brief entertainment of music, presenting a community service award and recognition high school graduates who graduated from high School and are on way to prestigious Colleges across the nation\. Independence Day Liberty Award 2022 Recipient for Service to GOPIO-CT and Community Causes was given to Ashok Nichani, past president of GOPIO-CT,

Following the flag hoisting, an India Festival comprising of colorful Folk and Classical Dances of India, Music, Magic Show and Bollywood Dances were enjoyed by one and all. There were vendors who served delicious Indian food, Indian arts and crafts, Indian clothing and other items were displayed at the Park, giving a glimpse of India’s rich and diverse culture.

Aarya Walveka From Virginia Is Crowned As Miss India USA

As many as 74 contestants representing 30 States from across the United States participated in three different categories – Miss India USA, Mrs. India USA and Miss Teen India USA held in New Jersey

Aarya Walvekar, 18, from Virginia was crowned Miss India USA 2022 during a glittering pageant held at the Royal Alberts Palace, Edison in New Jersey on Friday, August 5th, 2022. Saumya Sharma, a second year premedical student at the University of Virginia, was declared the first runner-up and Sanjana Chekuri of New Jersey was the second runner-up.

As many as 74 contestants representing 30 States from across the United States participated in three different categories – Miss India USA, Mrs. India USA and Miss Teen India USA. Akshi Jain from Washington State has crowned Mrs. India USA and Tanvi Grover from New York was crowned Miss Teen India USA.

During the talent competition, the contestants performed Bollywood dances and songs on stage, gave motivational speeches, did mono acting, sang popular American songs, performed hip hop, and did paintings. Esha Kode – The First Ever Miss Teen India Worldwide and Navya Paingol – the reigning Miss Teen India USA were emcees for the pageant. Nishi Bahl was the choreographer, and was assisted by Shilpa Jhurani and Anushree Shah. Tabulation was done by Nilesh Choksi CPA.

Neelam Saran and Dharmatma Saran, chairman and founder of the New York based India Cultural Festival (IFC) that organizes the trail blazing Miss India Worldwide, are pioneers in entertainment, holding Indian pageants and fashion shows in the USA and worldwide. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the pageant, which is the longest-running Indian pageant outside of India. The pageant was presented by Morgan Stanley and was supported by  TV Asia and Royal Albert’s palace.

The annual pageants started in a basement in New York in 1980 with the first ever Miss India New York and Miss India USA, has evolved and expanded, now incorporating and having membership from over 40 countries, that promote Indian heritage and providing a platform for people of Indian origin to unite and showcase their talents, skills and beauty. Winners of all three categories gets complimentary tickets to Mumbai to take part in worldwide pageants, also organized by the same organization, early next year.

“It has been my childhood dream to see myself on the silver screen and work in films and TV,” said Aarya who is an aspiring actress. The Bollywood fan also shared on Instagram that she got the opportunity to showcase herself in front of leading playback singers from the 80s and 90s. “It was an honor to open the show for Bollywood legends Kumar Saanu, Alka Yagnik, and Udit Narayan. Forever grateful,” she wrote. Her hobbies include exploring new places, cooking and debating.

Attended by over five hundred participants from across the nation, the beauty pageant began with an opening dance number for all contestants choreographed by Shilpa Jhurani and followed by Ethnic costume and talent performances by the top five and the finale was the question/answer segment.

Dharmatma Saran presented an appreciation plaque to Padmashree Dr. H.R. Shah – Chairman of TV Asia and Albert Jasani of Royal Albert’s Palace for their continued support. Judging panel included Bollywood singer Shibani Kashyap, Swathi Vimal – the reigning Mrs. India Worldwide, Gietanjali Thakoer – National Director of Worldwide Pageants from Suriname, Sachin Mally CEO of Lucid Technologies, Sonika Krishna – Vice President of UST Contineo Health and Diamandi Devereaux – Hollywood actor and model. Sumathi Narayanan, State Director of Connecticut, was awarded “State Director of the Year” award.  Khushi Patel, the reigning Miss India Worldwide, attended the pageant as the Special Guest.

Saran said, he is “very proud of the fact that we have been able to provide a common platform for the international Indian community through pageantry. We are equally proud of the fact that we have been able to imbibe Indian values, traditions and culture among the youth of Indian origin around the world. We have also been successful in promoting Indian performing arts around the world.”

“FIA Plans To Create Guinness World Records While Allu Arjun Leading India Day Parade In New York:” Kenny Desai, FIA President

The FIA India Day parade is considered the largest parade outside India to mark the country’s independence and brings together thousands of members of the Indian Diaspora.

“Celebrating India’s 75 years of Independence -Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav with the annual India Parade on the Streets of New York City, the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA-NY/NJ/CT), the oldest and a leading Indian diaspora organization in the United States plans to create two Guinness World Records with the popular Indian actor Allu Arjun leading the largest India Day Parade in the world,” said FIA President, Kenny Desai.

Popular Telugu actor Allu Arjun, who starred in the hit film Pushpa will lead the annual India Day Parade in New York on Sunday, August 21st, 2022, as India marks 75th year of Independence. The Federation of Indian Associations — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — has planned grand events to celebrate India’s 75 years of Independence —  Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Allu Arjun, the Grand Marshal will lead the parade along with NYC Mayor Eric Adams and a host of other celebrities and distinguished participants.

The Federation of Indian Associations which represents New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New England in the U.S., has announced it is eyeing two Guinness World Records relating to the India Day Parade. The two Guinness Records being aimed at include – 1. Most flags flown in an outdoor event; and 2. Largest Damru, 2-headed drum ensemble.

The FIA India Day parade is considered the largest parade outside India to mark the country’s independence and brings together thousands of members of the Indian Diaspora. The annual cultural events run through several streets on Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, featuring tableaux by various Indian-American organizations, marching bands, police contingents and cultural performances by young Indian-American children.

FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya welcomed the announcement of Arjun as FIA’s 40th Grand Marshal and complimented the mega star for his kindness and patriotism towards the motherland. “There is palpable excitement in the Indian-American community to welcome the popular superstar and FIA will ensure he feels at home in the US,” Vaidya said. Previously, actors Arjun Rampal, Abhishek Bachchan, and Baahubali actors Rana Daggubati and Tamannaah Bhatia, as well as Sunny Deol and Raveena Tandon have attended the parade.

Under his leadership, FIA has organized several events. On celebrating 75 years of Independence of India, Desai said he is committed to “a jamboree of blockbuster mega-events” that will start with the International Women’s Day celebration and carry on into October of this year.

Some of the other events include FIA’s cultural event of children’s Dance Competition on May 7th;  a historical inaugural launch of the festivities from Capitol Hill in DC on May 12th; Press events in India; International Yoga day in NYC; and the flagship event of flag-hoisting at Times Square, followed by the World’s largest India Day Parade on Aug. 21st on Madison Ave in New York City.

FIA commemorated the 75 years of Indian Independence and honored the Asia Heritage Month on May 12, 2022 at Rayburn Building, Capitol Hill Complex Washington D.C. FIA was recognized for the event in Congressional Record Vol.168, No. 81. The event saw unprecedented participation from the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the states from the region of New England.

“It was a historical moment for Indian Americans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence Day at the US Capitol,” said Kenny Desai, FIA president. FIA is one of the oldest and largest non-profit grass-root umbrella organizations of Indian Americans.

Kenny Desai, FIA President for 2022 is being assisted by a dedicated team of community leaders. The new team consists of Himanshu Bhatia as the executive vice president along with Saurin Parikh and Haresh Shah, the vice presidents; Parveen Bansal as the general secretary; Smita Miki Patel as the joint secretary; Amit Ringasia as the treasurer with Mahesh Dubbal as the joint treasurer.

Desai completed his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Baroda, India, before immigrating to the United Statres and completed his Master’s Degree at the Stevens Institute of Technology at Hoboken, NJ. He has over 30 years of construction and real estate development experience. Desai has successfully led the TAK Group, a conglomerate of enterprises involved in general construction, construction management, design build projects, real estate development, multi-family development, along with healthcare and senior housing development and operations.

Over the past 20 years, TAK has focused its development strategies in the healthcare space. With Kenny’s experience in construction and real estate development, he has led TAK to be a unique player in the healthcare market by combining his development experience with his operating experience to provide exceptional work and quality care. Currently, TAK has expanded into trade finance and established a venture capital fund in the healthcare sector. Kenny has had experience in developing and operating medical centers and senior housing facilities, as well as urgent care facilities, surgery centers, and health & wellness spas.

Kenny Desai has actively been involved in different philanthropic activities. His generous personal involvement and contributions have resulted in the successful completion of the Mahatma Gandhi Center and the Hindu Temple in Wayne, NJ. He is the Vice Chairman, Trustee, and Director of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, a premier cultural and educational institution. He was awarded “The Prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award”. He has served as the President of World Vegan Vision and currently he is serving as a trustee and is a member of the advisory board of Share and Care Foundation. He is currently a trustee at Vraj Temple, where he has previously served as chairman, vice chairman, and president.

Kenny Desai’s vision for the year 2022 is to be working on the following matters: Mega Independence Parade celebration for Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav 50th anniversary for FIA; attempt to achieve Guinness Worlds Records; provide 40,000 plus meals in Diwali-soup kitchen across the USA and India for less fortunate; establish Diwali celebration in the US senate; women’s empowerment; youth participation in entrepreneurship; Dance pe Chance Annual Cultural Dance Competition; establish FIA / Indian community Center and help all the community members for any support requiring to obtain visa and help with job opportunities.

Kenny Desai, a seasoned veteran community leader expressed his gratitude to the community and board for trusting him with leading the organizational efforts.  He assures that he would deliver on the expectation of enhancing the community’s image and through his selfless service and dedication.

All Eyes On Sen. Kyrsten Sinema  After Manchin-Schumer Deal On Bipartisan Bill On Tax Reforms, Climate

After several months being in limbo, and constantly criticized for lack of action on crucial items on Biden’s election manifesto, Senate Democrats are aiming to pass a major spending bill

While the most comprehensive deal on Climate, Tax Reforms was the primary points of agreement in a deal by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the focus is on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who remains the biggest wildcard to passing a Democrat-only spending bill ahead of the midterm elections.

After several months being in limbo, and constantly criticized for lack of action on crucial items on Biden’s election manifesto, Senate Democrats are aiming to pass a major spending bill this week that includes funding for climate change, health care and tax increases on corporations.

Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a surprise deal with conservative West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin on a 10-year, $739 billion domestic policy package that seeks to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by roughly 40% by the end of this decade. All eyes are now on Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who has yet to announce whether she’ll support the legislation.

Sinema’s vote could make or break the bill. Democrats, with no hope of winning Republican support, need every member of their caucus to be present and voting — not guaranteed given recent absences of senators infected with Covid — for it to clear the Senate.

“Kyrsten Sinema is a friend of mine, and we work very close together. She has a tremendous, tremendous input in this legislation,” Manchin said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “She basically insisted [on] no tax increases, [we’ve] done that. And she was very, very adamant about that, I agree with her.”

Manchin has stated that he will talk to fellow centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) about supporting a broad tax reform and climate bill he’s negotiated with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) that would reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030.   Sinema has kept silent about whether she will support the deal, which needs the votes of all 50 members of the Senate Democratic caucus to pass.

The Arizona senator expressed opposition last year to closing the carried interest tax loophole for asset managers, something that Manchin insisted be part of the deal.

Manchin said last week that he was “adamant” about keeping a proposal to close the carried interest loophole, which lets money managers pay a capital gains tax rate on the income they earn from profitable investments.  Sinema’s staff said the senator is reviewing the legislation.

“Rather than risking more inflation with trillions in new spending, this bill will cut the inflation taxes Americans are paying, lower the cost of health insurance and prescription drugs, and ensure our country invests in the energy security and climate change solutions we need to remain a global superpower through innovation rather than elimination,” Manchin said.

Manchin indicated that he would likely vote to protect the budget reconciliation package from amendments that would alter it significantly, arguing that he and Schumer have struck the right balance after months of difficult negotiations.

“I’m just saying, we have a good balanced piece of legislation. It’s taken me eight months to get here. We’ve listened to everybody along the way,” he said when asked whether he would vote for amendments to change the bill, which would raise $739 billion in new revenue and reduce the deficit by more than $300 billion.

An analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation, for example, shows people earning between $50,000 and $75,000 would see their taxes increase by 0.8 percent in 2023.

Bloomberg reported that the bill would increase a lapsed tax on crude and imported petroleum products to 16.4 cents per barrel.   “We have to agree to disagree. My Republican colleagues are my friends and I’ve worked with them tremendously and I’ll continue to work with them in any way, shape or form,” he said. “But these are things we have all talked about in bipartisan groups. How can we start paying down our debt and take our finances seriously?”

Details of the New Proposal

  • The provisions would invest $369.75 billion in Energy Security and Climate Change programs over 10 years.
  • Proponents said the package would cut about 40% of the country’s carbon emissions by 2030.
  • Package would raise a total of $739 billion in revenue through programs including a 15% corporate minimum tax, prescription drug pricing reform and IRS tax enforcement. The bill would impose a 15% corporate minimum tax, while raising taxes on carried interest, and raising another $124 billion through IRS tax enforcement. Families making less than $400,000 per year would not be affected. Democrats say it would reduce the deficit by $300 billion.
  • Besides climate spending, the bill will also spend $64 billion on extending the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) subsidies through the 2024 election and the first term of Biden’s presidency, taking a big political headache off the table for Democrats. Manchin said that “helps people because you just can’t throw [increases] on them during inflammatory times like this.”
  • For the first time, Medicare would be empowered to negotiate drug prices, something Democrats say would raise $288 billion, and it would cap out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 for drugs.
  • Manchin said the final deal does not leave out new incentives for electric vehicles, which he’d resisted in what became a major sticking point in the negotiations. Manchin said the bill gives incentives to make new car batteries in America “and not only be able to assemble them but be able to extract the minerals that we need, critical minerals, in North America.” The deal includes a methane fee as well as a $4,000 tax credit for the purchase of used electric vehicles. The bill also includes efforts to make fossil fuels cleaner, Manchin said, and to increase production to help American allies amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has limited European fuel supplies.

Assault On The Media Continues Across The Globe

There are many forces that are assaulting journalism around the world: misinformation, intimidation, pressures on revenue models, and a growing trend of autocrats attacking press freedom

“Finally it is also an important right in a free society to be freely allowed to contribute to society’s well-being. However, if that is to occur, it must be possible for society’s state of affairs to become known to everyone, and it must be possible for everyone to speak his mind freely about it. Where this is lacking, liberty is not worth its name,” Peter Forsskål, a philosopher, theologian, botanist and orientalist wrote in his pamphlet, Thoughts on Civil Liberty, published in Stockholm in 1759.

And, it’s noteworthy that The World Press Freedom Day in Helsinki in 2016 adopted the Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms, which is the right of every human being around the world, and its three perspectives: freedom of information as a fundamental freedom and a human right; protecting press freedom from censorship and surveillance overreach; and ensuring safety
for journalism online and offline.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and a prerequisite for several other democratic rights. It is a right, but it implies responsibility and respect for the rights of others. The role of media has been changing rapidly, especially in recent times, with the advent of social media platforms where not only the news and views of the trained and well-established journalists are published, but anyone has the right reports, post a comment and be appreciative or critical of people, programs and policies for their worth.

The media is expected to be the “watchdog” of the other three branches of the government. Promoting the safety of journalists and combatting impunity for those who attack them are central elements within UNESCO’s support for press freedom on all media platforms. Media is described as the Fourth Estate after the executive, legislature, and judiciary and

However, media has been constantly criticized, intimidated and their rights taken away for being the “watchdog.’ There are many forces assaulting journalism around the world: misinformation, intimidation, pressures on revenue models, and a growing trend of autocrats attacking press freedoms. Journalists are attacked, and imprisoned and their rights to disseminate news and views taken away in numerous countries across the globe.

According to UNESCO, on average, every five days a journalist is killed for bringing information to the public. Attacks on media professionals are often perpetrated in non-conflict situations organized crime groups, militia, security personnel, and even local police, making local journalists among the most vulnerable. These attacks include murder, abductions, harassment, intimidation, illegal arrest, and arbitrary detention.”

The 2020 UNESCO Director-General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger Impunity stated that with 22 killings each, Latin America and the Caribbean, together with Asia and the Pacific, registered the highest number of fatalities among journalists.

These organized crimes and strategies to prevent journalists, media and media platforms are not unique to the Third World or autocratic/tyrant rule d states alone. They are occurring on a daily basis well-established democracies, using so called “democratic laws” as well as in those nations and their rulers who have no regards for freedom of speech and do not tolerate dissent or criticism.

It’s noteworthy, after four years of contestant attacks on the media by his predecessor, President Jose Biden of the United States has kept the media at arm’s length while being decidedly less combative than his predecessor with reporters, an approach that was on display when he attended the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner this year.  It’s an approach that administration officials say is deliberate, and that Democrats say is part of Biden’s effort to return the White House to a more normal rapport with the media.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under the Trump and Biden administrations are now going after tech giants in antitrust lawsuits, based on deals that were solidified under Obama’s watch. The FTC’s case against Facebook seeks to undo the company’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram that were approved under the former president.

Filipino American media executive and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, founder of the digital media outlet Rappler in the Philippines in 2012, has become the target of a series of attacks. Ressa has been arrested several times. This month, with the new administration of Bongbong Marcos in place, Rappler was ordered to shut down, for being the voice of the people.

Rana Ayyub, a senior journalist summarized the state of today’s journalistic fraternity: “The burden of bearing witness and speaking truth to power comes at great personal risk for journalists in many countries around the world. They live a relentless struggle, slapped with lawsuits and criminal cases for sedition, defamation, tax evasion and more. Their lives, and too often the lives of their families, are made miserable.”

Ayyub points to the heinous crimes inflicted on “Gauri Lankesh, Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jamal Khashoggi—all journalists with a profile, all brazenly killed in broad daylight. Their murders dominated the front pages of international publications. But their killers, men in power, remain unquestioned not just by the authorities but often by publishers and editors who develop a comfortable amnesia when meeting those in power. They do not want to lose access to them.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Termed the recent murders of British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous issues expert Bruno Pereira, whom police suspect were killed by people with ties to illegal fishing in the Amazon, amounted to a “nightmare” come true. “Central African Republic authorities should investigate the threats made against journalist Erick Ngaba and ensure his safety,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, in Durban, South Africa. “The security situation in the Central African Republic is worrisome enough for media professionals without additional online harassment.”

India’s record on violations against Journalists has been among the worst in recent times. A nation, said to be the “beacon of hope” and the “largest democracy” in the world dropped eight laces to 150 — out of 180 countries — on the World Press Freedom Index compiled by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) for 2022. The index’s report notes that “with an average of three or four journalists killed in connection with their work every year, India is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media.” In the current year alone, it states, while one journalist has been killed, another 13 are behind bars.

In fact in the last 20 years, India, which was ranked 80th on the index in 2002, has seen its press freedom ranking progressively plummet. The country profile by RSF on India also says that “the Indian press used to be seen as fairly progressive but things changed radically in the mid-2010s, when Narendra Modi became prime minister and engineered a spectacular rapprochement between his party, the BJP, and the big families dominating the media.”

Twitter’s latest transparency report, for July-December 2021 says that the country made the highest number of legal demands to remove content posted by verified journalists and news outlets on Twitter. Of the total 326 legal demands Twitter received globally, against 349 accounts of verified journalists, India sent in 114 legal demands. India in fact also raised the second highest number of information requests, after the US, accounting for 19% of global information requests and 27% of the global accounts specified. Information requests seek details about an account and are issued by law enforcement or government agencies.

Terming the Indian press as “a colossus with feet of clay”, RSF adds that Indian “journalists are exposed to all kinds of physical violence including police violence, ambushes by political activists, and deadly reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt local officials” by “supporters of Hindutva” with the situation “very worrisome in Kashmir where reporters are often harassed by police and paramilitaries.”

If the powerful rulers of the countries use their power to intimidate the media world, the public are not immune to such ill thought out and narrow views. For some it’s their ideology that motivates them, for others it’s the belief in their “leader” who spreads lies and the flock follow them blindly, and for some who are so called well educated and well informed, it’s their goals to attain power, position and prestige in the society.

Recently, I came across on a WhatsApp media posting, where a picture of half a dozen veteran, well respected and award-winning journalists meeting with a Justice of the Supreme Court of India were called as “traitors of India” because they criticize and point to the the ruling party for its policies that do not benefit the people of India, but the members of the ruling regime.

Speaking at a Stanford University event, former US President Barack Obama called the present as “another tumultuous, dangerous moment in history,” where social media platforms are well-designed to destroy democracies. “Disinformation is a threat to our democracy, and will continue to be unless we work together to address it,” he said.

According to analysts, while free speech is protected by both the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, these legal instruments offer governments much greater leeway than the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when it comes to defining categories, such as hate speech, that can be regulated.

Reports state. the European Union is in the midst of finalizing the Digital Services Act (DSA), an ambitious legislative attempt to create a “global gold standard” on platform regulation. After five trilogues, on April 23, the European Parliament and European Council reached a provisional political agreement on the DSA. As such, the DSA is likely to affect the practical exercise of free speech on social media platforms, whether located in Silicon Valley or owned by American tech billionaires.

Freedom of expression is a vital part of democracy, considering it does not cross the “Lakshman Rekha” of public order and morality, said former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
Gogoi, while expressing his views on action against individuals over social media posts, said, “Now on social media — is a critical part of healthy democracy, so long as it does not cross the Lakshman Rekha of public order and morality, be it against an individual or an institution. If the opinion is within the line (of public order), it should not be restrained…,” said Gogoi.

Adding that such an opinion should be based on facts and bonafide information, the former CJI said, “If it is an opinion not based on facts and disturbs public order and transgresses morality or creates distrust among the public for the institution, posing a threat to national interest, action needs to be taken. Nothing can be bigger than national interest.”

Gogoi also said that the present generation youth in the country are fortunate to have the power of social media. “It is a powerful tool, but it can be misused, which is unfortunate… Youth today, who wish to enter public life or politics must be aware that they cannot be successful unless they work hard and base their journey on facts. This is because it is very easy for misinformation to be spread…”

Media reports pointed out that in the first quarter of 2018, Facebook removed 2.5 million pieces of content for the transgression of community standards on hate speech. By the third quarter of 2021, the number had increased almost tenfold to 22.3 million. This was mainly the result of increased reliance on AI-based content-filtering algorithms. In 2018, AI caught 4 out of 10 transgressions before any user complaint, but in the third quarter of 2021, this rose to 96.5 percent.

“We’ve come a long way towards realizing freedom of expression, and other fundamental freedoms. The right to access to information is entrenched in law in over a hundred countries,” said Secretary-General Guterres of the United Nations during the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Association of UN Correspondents (ACANU). “But despite these advances, in recent years, civic space has been shrinking worldwide at an alarming rate.”

In the midst of all these, some recommend a model that would “encourage the implementation of human-rights standards as a framework of first reference in the moderation practices of large social media platforms. This would result in a social media environment that would be both more transparent and protective of users’ free speech on categories such as hate speech and disinformation. Using human rights law as the standard of content moderation would also provide platforms with norms and legitimacy to resist demands to censor dissent made by authoritarian states keen to exploit the well-intentioned but misguided attempts by democracies to rein in harmful online speech.”

Stating that Journalism and the media are “essential to peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights for all – and to the work of the United Nations,” Guterres noted, paying tribute to reporters who “go to the most dangerous places on earth, to bring us important information, to give a voice to people who are being ignored and abused, and to hold the powerful to account. Your work reminds us that truth never dies, and that our attachment to the fundamental right that is freedom of expressions must also never die… Informing is not a crime.”

Laxmi, The Leading South Asian Food Brand Celebrates 50 Years Of Bringing ‘Home’ To You

For many cultures and its people, the primary language of love is food. Mostly all immigrant families ensure their roots remain firm is by filling their dinner tables with dishes that represent their home countries Cooking ethnic foods allows them to experience a sense of comfort and belonging which is then passed down to generations keeping traditions alive!

For over 50 years  Laxmi has done just this – enabled millions of South Asian families stay connected to their roots by providing them quality ingredients to help them cook their traditional dishes and experience home away from home.

Established in 1970 in Jackson Heights, NY by G.L. Soni and his brother K.L. Soni, the impetus for their business venture , House of Spices was Mrs. Shobhna Soni who was tired of eating yogurt and potatoes as a new bride in a new country. This gave these entrepreneurs the idea to start a business that would bring Indian ingredients like daal and spices to the USA and allow the diaspora here to enjoy the taste of home. But it didn’t stop with dals and spices – their business soon expanded to include flours, rice, oil, ghee, juices and many other traditional ingredients essential for South Asian cooking. Their success was unstoppable, and the House of Spices’ flagship brand ‘Laxmi’ became a household name in no time.

As their family expanded so did their business and along with their children, the founders nurtured a growing line of products with a vast distribution network all over North America. Time flew and the torch was passed on to Neil and Amrapali Soni. They recognized the hard work and passion that built the business and decided to enhance the Laxmi brand by giving it a new look.

These exciting brand building efforts led to a logo update and the signing of Bollywood Superstar Shilpa Shetty as its brand ambassador. Ms. Shetty, who is known for her holistic approach to diet, nutrition, and fitness was the perfect choice to represent the renewed look for Laxmi, priming it for a perfect 50thth birthday celebration. The innovation continues with a new product lines that have been recently introduced on shelves throughout North America. Laxmi has now forayed into the convenience food category with a frozen range of products that includes vegetables, Samosas, Naan’s and many more items to be added to the roster in the following months.

According to Neil and Amrapali Soni, this journey to 50 would not have been possible without the support of the South Asian community. The family has never lost sight of this unwavering support and offer their utmost gratitude to the community for their loyalty over 5 decades. Many ingredients make this company special, but the one that got them to the top has consistently been their passion for providing quality products to their customers. The Soni family’s vision for their business continues to put quality at the forefront of everything they do and carry on the tradition of excellence.

To mark this legacy milestone ,Laxmi is currently Celebrating #50YearsOfLaxmi campaign. When asked about the campaign Suhasinee Patil ,VP Marketing shared that as Laxmi turns 50 we wanted to honor our consumers and our community by inviting them to share stories about their journey in US. We truly believe our success and the community success go hand in hand. Thus the next time you eat something that reminds you of someone, don’t just remember them, reach out to them.  And when you do, we would love to hear about your food memories. …

For more information on the contest and exciting prizes, please visit www.laxmihos.com and share your stories by submitting a video and using hashtags to participate: #LaxmiYadoonKiRecipe; #50YearsOfLaxmi; #ReachOutWithLaxmi

Dr. Sampath Shivangi Named Chair Of Mississippi Board Of Mental Health

The Mississippi Board of Mental Health named Dr. Sampat Shivangi of Ridgeland as Chair and Stewart Rutledge of Oxford as Vice Chair, in effect from July 1, 2022. Dr. Shivangi was first appointed to the Board in 2009 by Gov. Haley Barbour and reappointed in 2016 by Gov. Phil Bryant, the press release from MBMH said.

Dr. Shivangi currently serves on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council, in the Biden administration, “A first for an Indian American physician, as well as Chair of Mississippi state Board of Mental Health,” Shivangi noted in an email message.

During his time on the Board of Mental Health, Dr. Shivangi has previously served as Chair, as well as numerous years serving on the Patient Care Subcommittee.

“He has taken an active role in efforts to promote suicide awareness and prevention, particularly those efforts related to postpartum depression awareness and treatment,” the press release said. In addition to his time on the Board of Mental Health, Shivangi previously served on the Mississippi State Board of Health. From 2005 to 2008, he served as Advisor to the US Secretary of Health and Human Services in the President George W. Bush administration. He is the founding president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin in Mississippi and is the past president and chair of the India Association of Mississippi.

Dr. Shivangi represents the physician category on the Board of Mental Health The board is composed of nine members appointed by the governor of Mississippi and confirmed by the State Senate.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi has been a conservative life-long member of the Republican party, hailing from a strong Republican state of Mississippi.  He is the founding president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian-origin in Mississippi and is the past president and chair of the India Association of Mississippi. Advisor to US department of Health & Human Services at NHSC Washington, DC 2005-2008 President Bush Administration

A conservative life-long member of the Republican Party, Dr. Shivangi is the founding member of the Republican Indian Council and the Republican Indian National Council, which aim to work to help and assist in promoting President Elect Trump’s agenda and support his advocacy in the coming months.

As the National President of Indian American Forum for Political Education, one of the oldest Indian American Associations, Dr. Shivangi, has lobbied for several Bills in the US Congress on behalf of India through his enormous contacts with US Senators and Congressmen over the past three decades.

A close friend to the Bush family, Dr. Shivangi has been instrumental in lobbying for first Diwali celebration in the White House and for President George W. Bush to make his trip to India. He had accompanied President Bill Clinton during his historic visit to India.

Dr. Shivangi is a champion for women’s health and mental health, whose work has been recognized nationwide. Dr. Shivangi has worked enthusiastically in promoting India Civil Nuclear Treaty and recently the US India Defense Treaty that was passed in US Congress and signed by President Obama.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, an obstetrician/gynecologist, has been elected by a US state Republican Party as a full delegate to the National Convention. He is one of the top fund-raisers in Mississipi state for the Republican Party. Besides being a politician by choice, the medical practitioner is also the first Indian to be on the American Medical Association, the apex law making body.

While moderating a session on “Latte with Legislators” organized by AAPI, Dr. Shivangi lamented that there is “a new wave of Anti-Indian American sentiments especially against Indian Physician group which makes up 15% of Doctors in the US.” Dr. Shivangi feels, “It may be due to Indian Americans have the highest per capita income and highest education level in the nation.”

Calling it as “prejudicial” Dr. Shivangi, urged that “we need to resolve this prejudice against minorities. With this in mind, I requested Congressmen Jamie Ruskin from Maryland to seek his advice and possible way to resolve this. Congressman Ruskin was very supportive and offered his unconditional support.”

Droupadi Murmu Is The President Of India

Droupadi Murmu, a tribal politician from the Odisha (Orissa) state was sworn in as the 10th successive president of the Republic of India on Monday, July 25th, 2022 in the central hall of Parliament in New Delhi. The 64-year-old former teacher, the country’s first tribal leader has become the constitutional head of India. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India N V Ramana administered the oath of office to the youngest ever President of India. Murmu replaces outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind, whose term ended on July 24th. 

India, a country with 1.4 billion people and the largest democracy in the world, has a constitutional framework of India is parliamentary, which is led by the elected representative and overseen by the first person of the country, the President of India.

In attendance at the solemn ceremony were: The outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind; Vice President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Members of the Council of Ministers, Governors, Chief Ministers, heads of diplomatic missions, Members of Parliament and principal civil and military officers of the government will attend the ceremony. After the oath ceremony, the President arrived at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where an inter-services guard of honor was given to her in the forecourt.

The swearing-in ceremony was marked by pomp and grandeur. It began with the arrival of two presidents – the outgoing Ram Nath Kovind and the incoming Droupadi Murmu – in a procession from Rashtrapati Bhavan to the Parliament building. Murmu was then escorted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to the Central Hall. After the short ceremony, Murmu and Kovind were escorted out of the Central Hall amid the roll of drums and blowing of trumpets.

Dressed in a white saree with green-and-red border,  in her address immediately after she took the oath as the President of India, Murmu thanked all MPs and MLAs who elected her to the highest office. Murmu, supported by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP was elected by the members of both the houses of parliament and of the legislative assemblies of states and federally-administered union territories. “I thank all of you. Your trust and cooperation is my strength. I am the first president who took birth in independent India,” she said.

Murmu said that she started her journey of life from a small tribal village in Odisha in the eastern part of the country. From the background that she came from, it was like a dream for her to get elementary education, she said. Her election to the top constitutional post proves that in India, the poor can not only dream but also fulfill those aspirations, she added. 

“I have been elected during an important time when the country is marking 75 years of Independence,” she noted. “Reaching this office is not my personal achievement but that of all the poor people in the country,” Murmu said. It is a matter of great satisfaction that those who have been deprived for centuries and those who have been denied the benefits of development, poor, downtrodden, backwards and tribals are seeing their reflection in her, she pointed out.

Tracing her background to the humble beginning, Murmu said, “I belong to the tribal society, and I have got the opportunity to become the President of India from the Ward Councilor. This is the greatness of India, the mother of democracy. It is the power of our democracy that a daughter born in a poor house, a daughter born in a remote tribal area, can reach the highest constitutional post of India.”

This is the first time that India has a tribal — considered the most original inhabitants of the land but have been on the margins of socio-economic development — as the President. This is happening in the 75th year of Independence, which marks the beginning of the government’s celebration of Amrit Kaal.

At 64, Murmu becomes the youngest person to be the President of India. She scripted history last week, defeating joint-opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha, a former Union minister, in a one-sided contest. She polled 6,76,803 votes against Sinha’s 3,80,177 votes to become India’s 15th President.

Born in 1958 in Baidaposi village of Mayurbhanj district, Murmu belongs to the Santhal community, one of India’s largest tribal groups. Daughter of a village council chief, she studied at the Ramadevi Women’s College in the state capital, Bhubaneswar. 

Beginning her career as a clerk for the Odisha government, Murmu served as a junior assistant in the irrigation and energy department from 1979-1983. After she quit her job in Bhubaneswar and returned to Rairangpur to take care of her family at the insistence of her mother-in-law, she took up a job as a teacher at the Sri Aurobindo Integral School.

Her political career began in 1997 when she was elected as a councillor in the local polls in Rairangpur. She was often seen personally supervising sanitation work in the town, standing in the sun as drains were cleaned and garbage cleared.

As a member of the BJP, she was elected to the state assembly twice – in 2000 and in 2009 – from the Rairangpur seat. Murmu came into the limelight in 2017 when it was rrumoreded that the BJP was considering her name for the presidential election that year. She was then serving as the governor of the state of Jharkhand.

Murmu devoted her life to serving society, empowering poor, downtrodden and marginalized sections of society. She has rich administrative experience and an outstanding gubernatorial tenure in Jharkhand. Murmu has made a special identity in public life by spreading awareness about education in tribal society and serving the public for a long time as a public representative.

The Indian president acts as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces but the prime minister holds executive powers. he president, nevertheless, has a key role during political crises, such as when a general election is inconclusive, by deciding which party is in the best position to form a government. “A daughter of India hailing from a tribal community born in a remote part of eastern India has been elected our President!” PM Modi said on Twitter.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was among the world leaders to congratulate Murmu and said he was “ready to work” with his new Indian counterpart to strengthen relations, according to Chinese state media.

After Droupadi Murmu took oath as India’s 15th President in Delhi on Monday, celebrations were held at her native place – Rairangpur. To celebrate Murmu’s oath, people from her native performed tribal dance on the beats of the folk music. Notably, Draupadi Murmu is the first tribal and second woman to hold the country’s highest constitutional office.

Droupadi Murmu Is The President Of India

“India’s poor can see their reflection in me:” Murmu reflects on her own life as a lesson for the 1.4 Billion Indians, immediately after she took the oath of office to be the 15th  president of India

Droupadi Murmu, a tribal politician from the Odisha (Orissa) state was sworn in as the 10th successive president of the Republic of India on Monday, July 25th, 2022 in the central hall of Parliament in New Delhi. The 64-year-old former teacher, the country’s first tribal leader has become the constitutional head of India. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India N V Ramana administered the oath of office to the youngest ever President of India. Murmu replaces outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind, whose term ended on July 24th.

India, a country with 1.4 billion people and the largest democracy in the world, has a constitutional framework of India is parliamentary, which is led by the elected representative and overseen by the first person of the country, the President of India.

In attendance at the solemn ceremony were: The outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind; Vice President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Members of the Council of Ministers, Governors, Chief Ministers, heads of diplomatic missions, Members of Parliament and principal civil and military officers of the government will attend the ceremony. After the oath ceremony, the President arrived at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where an inter-services guard of honor was given to her in the forecourt.

The swearing-in ceremony was marked by pomp and grandeur. It began with the arrival of two presidents – the outgoing Ram Nath Kovind and the incoming Droupadi Murmu – in a procession from Rashtrapati Bhavan to the Parliament building. Murmu was then escorted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to the Central Hall. After the short ceremony, Murmu and Kovind were escorted out of the Central Hall amid the roll of drums and blowing of trumpets.

Dressed in a white saree with green-and-red border,  in her address immediately after she took the oath as the President of India, Murmu thanked all MPs and MLAs who elected her to the highest office. Murmu, supported by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP was elected by the members of both the houses of parliament and of the legislative assemblies of states and federally-administered union territories. “I thank all of you. Your trust and cooperation is my strength. I am the first president who took birth in independent India,” she said.

Murmu said that she started her journey of life from a small tribal village in Odisha in the eastern part of the country. From the background that she came from, it was like a dream for her to get elementary education, she said. Her election to the top constitutional post proves that in India, the poor can not only dream but also fulfill those aspirations, she added.

“I have been elected during an important time when the country is marking 75 years of Independence,” she noted. “Reaching this office is not my personal achievement but that of all the poor people in the country,” Murmu said. It is a matter of great satisfaction that those who have been deprived for centuries and those who have been denied the benefits of development, poor, downtrodden, backwards and tribals are seeing their reflection in her, she pointed out.

Tracing her background to the humble beginning, Murmu said, “I belong to the tribal society, and I have got the opportunity to become the President of India from the Ward Councilor. This is the greatness of India, the mother of democracy. It is the power of our democracy that a daughter born in a poor house, a daughter born in a remote tribal area, can reach the highest constitutional post of India.”

This is the first time that India has a tribal — considered the most original inhabitants of the land but have been on the margins of socio-economic development — as the President. This is happening in the 75th year of Independence, which marks the beginning of the government’s celebration of Amrit Kaal.

At 64, Murmu becomes the youngest person to be the President of India. She scripted history last week, defeating joint-opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha, a former Union minister, in a one-sided contest. She polled 6,76,803 votes against Sinha’s 3,80,177 votes to become India’s 15th President.

Born in 1958 in Baidaposi village of Mayurbhanj district, Murmu belongs to the Santhal community, one of India’s largest tribal groups. Daughter of a village council chief, she studied at the Ramadevi Women’s College in the state capital, Bhubaneswar.

Beginning her career as a clerk for the Odisha government, Murmu served as a junior assistant in the irrigation and energy department from 1979-1983. After she quit her job in Bhubaneswar and returned to Rairangpur to take care of her family at the insistence of her mother-in-law, she took up a job as a teacher at the Sri Aurobindo Integral School.

Her political career began in 1997 when she was elected as a councillor in the local polls in Rairangpur. She was often seen personally supervising sanitation work in the town, standing in the sun as drains were cleaned and garbage cleared.

As a member of the BJP, she was elected to the state assembly twice – in 2000 and in 2009 – from the Rairangpur seat. Murmu came into the limelight in 2017 when it was rrumoreded that the BJP was considering her name for the presidential election that year. She was then serving as the governor of the state of Jharkhand.

Murmu devoted her life to serving society, empowering poor, downtrodden and marginalized sections of society. She has rich administrative experience and an outstanding gubernatorial tenure in Jharkhand. Murmu has made a special identity in public life by spreading awareness about education in tribal society and serving the public for a long time as a public representative.

The Indian president acts as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces but the prime minister holds executive powers. he president, nevertheless, has a key role during political crises, such as when a general election is inconclusive, by deciding which party is in the best position to form a government. “A daughter of India hailing from a tribal community born in a remote part of eastern India has been elected our President!” PM Modi said on Twitter.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was among the world leaders to congratulate Murmu and said he was “ready to work” with his new Indian counterpart to strengthen relations, according to Chinese state media.

After Droupadi Murmu took oath as India’s 15th President in Delhi on Monday, celebrations were held at her native place – Rairangpur. To celebrate Murmu’s oath, people from her native performed tribal dance on the beats of the folk music. Notably, Draupadi Murmu is the first tribal and second woman to hold the country’s highest constitutional office.

A Senator Representing Less Than 2 Million People, Hijacks The Agenda Of 330 Million Americans Multiple Times

West Virginia’s population shrank 3.7% to 1,782,959 in 2021, from the 1.9 million people who lived there in 2010. In contrast, as per a report by The Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program, the population in the US grew 6.5% during that period to 330 Million people across all the 50 states and DC. The state of West Virginia ranks 50 out of all 50 US states in population. 

West Virginia’s gross state product (GSP) reached $72.2bn, with growth of 0.6% over the 5-years to 2019. West Virginia’s GSP growth ranks 45 out of all 50 US states. GSP is a measurement of a state’s output, or the sum of value added from all industries in the state. The state employs 0.9 million people with a growth rate of -0.2% over the five years to 2018, which ranks it 50 out of all US states.

Senator Joseph Manchin III, representing the state of West Virginia in the US Senate since 2010, is a politician and businessman. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 34th governor of West Virginia from 2005 to 2010 and the 27th secretary of state of West Virginia from 2001 to 2005. As per his website, Senator Manchin currently serves as the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and also serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs – four critical committees that tackle the important work of addressing our nation’s energy needs, overseeing discretionary spending, standing up for our Veterans, and defending our nation.

Democrats now have a thin majority in the US Senate, and passing sweeping legislation is not easy, due to a rule requiring votes from 60 of the Senate’s 100 members.  With just 50 members and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, Senate Democrats will have the power to confirm executive and judicial nominees and launch investigations in a range of areas.

The current predicament of a 50/50 split in the Senate gives the ruling Democratic party very little scope for legislating President Biden’s Agenda. And that makes every one of the 50 Democratic Senatorall a strong voice, allowing them to choose to support or reject any agenda or policy of the Biden administration. Manchin is powerful in part because of circumstance — in a 50-50 Senate, his party can pass almost nothing without him.

In order to advance any legislation, President Joe Biden’s administration may need to modify its priorities on economic relief, climate change, gun laws, electoral reforms, racial equity and immigration in order to gain support from Republicans and moderate Democrats like Manchin. 

One senator, who has exploited this position to suit his narrow political  agenda, is Sen. Manchin, who represents the less than 2 million people of West Virginia, against the well-being of the 330 million Americans. 

For instance, Manchin’s decision last week to move ahead with a reconciliation deal that doesn’t involve climate change and raising taxes on the wealthy, risks consigning the entire world to a warmer future, said scientists and advocates for a safer world, said while reacting to the news. Democrats, activists and scientists reacting to the news worried that the inability of Congress to take meaningful reaction would consign the U.S. to more heatwaves, floods, droughts and intense storms.  

 

Democratic senate leaders have been negotiating with Manchin for over a year to try to get him on board with investments that would dramatically reduce U.S. contribution to climate change.  But on Friday last week, Manchin said he’s not interested in immediately moving forward with a deal that includes those investments. Manchin, relaying a discussion he’d had telling Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) of his decision, suggested he might be able to agree to a deal at a later date. 

But those comments rang hollow with climate activists, who noted he has made similar remarks in the past. “Joe Manchin is waving the fate of human survival over our heads like a bone to hungry dogs and it’s really quite frightening,” John Paul Mejia, a national spokesperson for Sunrise Movement, told the media. 

Evergreen Action Executive Director Jamal Raad said in a statement that Manchin should not be considered a good-faith negotiator.  “Senator Manchin has lost all credibility and can no longer be trusted to prioritize the well-being of Americans and the planet over his own profiteering and political grandstanding,” Raad said.  

“Every ton matters,” said Dan Lashof, the U.S. director of the World Resources Institute, referring to tons of carbon emissions.  “Whether or not this bill gets done has a material impact on total emissions from the U.S. and that affects the magnitude of climate change that we will face,” he said.  Those who have studied the climate-saving potential of the Democrats’ climate bill agree that not passing it would likely lead to more emissions and a warmer planet.

Princeton professor Jesse Jenkins, who has modeled the potential emissions cuts of the legislation under consideration, told The Hill that based on what had been reported thus far, a climate deal would have probably cut emissions between 800 million and 1 billion metric tons in 2030. That’s the equivalent of taking between 172 million and 215 million cars off the roads for a year.  “We’re losing two-thirds to three-quarters of the progress we were hoping to make by 2030,” he said.  

Some argued that the rest of the world may be less inclined to take bold action without the U.S. participating as well.  “The U.S. is THE largest historical all-time emitter, and for that reason occupies a special role. We can’t expect other countries to act meaningfully if we fail to,” said climatologist Michael Mann.  

President Biden pledged “strong executive action” on climate change in reaction to Manchin’s move. But, with Trump appointed conservative Justices leading the US Supreme Court, Biden’s actions could be blocked and impact minimized. 

Most activists reacted in fury to the latest setback, castigating the West Virginia Democrat as potentially signing a death warrant for meaningful climate action against the backdrop of a generationally conservative court, the likely loss of a Democratic majority in Congress and the possible loss of the White House in 2025. 

“Joe Manchin has pretended to be supportive of certain investments for over a year now, and it turns out that that was bulls—,” Jamal Raad said.  “That will now be his lasting legacy — a person that tried to put his own profits and sense of his political standing over the planet.” 

This is not the first time, Manchin ditched Democrats. The 2018 confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh were tumultuous even by the standards of the Trump era. Kavanaugh, a staunch conservative nominated to replace a more centrist figure, Justice Anthony Kennedy, faced sexual assault allegations dating back four decades from Christine Blasey Ford.

Republicans had held a 51-49 majority in the Senate, but Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) would ultimately refuse to back Kavanaugh. That left Manchin and moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) as the crucial votes. Manchin was the only Democrat confirming him to the highest court. Last month, after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision, Manchin said he was “alarmed” by the actions of Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch, the other Trump nominee for whom he voted.

Again in December 2021, the West Virginia Senator’s single most dramatic intervention may have been his announcement that he would sink President Biden’s keystone legislation, the “Build Back Better” bill. The fact that he chose to announce his opposition on Fox News drove liberal Democrats to even more intense outrage.

Manchin said in a statement reiterating his opposition to the legislation, which would have extended an expanded child tax credit, helped with child care costs, taxed high earners more and taken significant action on climate change, among other things.

In June 2021, Manchin destroyed the potential party unity on ‘For the People’ voting reform legislation, one of the major goals of Democrats when they won back the White House — and control of the Senate — in the 2020 election. Many in the party see American democracy as being in existential danger. Schumer declared the protection of voting rights, and of elections themselves, to be a “top priority.” The legislation never had a clear path through the Senate, requiring 60 votes to pass in the absence of filibuster reform. But Manchin denied Democrats even the claim that they were unified behind the proposal. Manchin reiterated his opposition to filibuster reform, driving the final nail in the coffin of the “For the People” proposal.

Manchin has all along thwarted filibuster reform ever since he was elected to the Senate. Democrats often become enraged with Manchin because they believe he acts in bad faith.  In one of many statements outlining his position, Manchin’s office detailed his steady stance dating back to 2013, when he opposed such reform while Democrats held the Senate majority.

Manchin is the most conservative Democrat in the Senate — and perhaps the most controversial, at least with the rest of his party. He won reelection to a second full Senate term in 2018, just two years after President Trump carried his state by more than 40 points.

“Manchin is not particularly concerned about President Biden succeeding. He’s not particularly concerned about the needs of working people,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told SiriusXM’s “Dean Obeidallah Show” last week.  

Manchin’s refusal to back any climate proposal could doom action for years to come, given the strong likelihood of Republicans flipping the House in November. Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) independently used the same term to describe Manchin’s stance this week: “Infuriating.”

Dr. Babu Stephen Elected President of FOKANA

Washington DC based entrepreneur and leading community leader Dr. Babu Stephen has been elected as the president of the Federation of Kerala Associations in North America (Fokana) 2022-2024. Dr. Stephan defeated his opponent Leela Marret by an overwhelming two third majority, during the elections held at the annual Convention in Orlando, FL on July 8th, 2002.

Federation Of Kerala Association In North Americais in operation for the last 38 years, an umbrella organization of mostly high-net-worth diasporas of Keralites in the USA and Canada, with more than 500,000 members, engaged in a range of social and philanthropic activities, promoting rich cultural traditions in North America.

An accomplished organizer, outstanding businessman, journalist and political activist, Dr. Babu Stephen is quite well-known among the Indian American community for his social volunteering activities and organizational abilities. 

Dr. Babu Stephen is the CEO of DC Healthcare Inc., and is the President of SM Realty LLC. One of the founding members of Kairali TV, Babu Stephen started two newspapers for Indians in the United States, Express India and India This Week. He was the producer of Summer in America, a popular series directed by Shaji M and aired on Kairali TV in 88 episodes. He is also the founding producer of Darshan TV in Washington DC. 

Dr. Babu Stephen has held many leadership positions in the Indian American community. He served as President of the Indian Cultural Coordinating Committee for two years and was a member of the United States Congressional Advisory Council and Regional Vice President of the Federation of Indians in America. He has also served as President of the Association of Indians in America. He was also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Indo American Press Club and has chaired two international conventions.

Babu Stephen was honored by the Washington DC Mayor for his accomplishments in business, media and community organizationm. He was part of the Mayor’s delegation to China, which comprised the best business entrepreneurs in the US. This Thiruvananthapuram native has created such deep relationships among Americans but was never interested in holding official positions as he felt it would affect his business. 

Now that he has entrusted professionals to run his business empire which includes sixteen nursing homes and a construction company that has subleased 62 buildings, he wants to spend the rest of his life being more involved in social work. He has been running a voluntary organization, The Stephen Foundation, for the past few years. Every year a good portion of his profits is set aside for the welfare of the poor and needy around the world. The Stephen Foundation donated crores of rupees to the Kerala state government during the last floods and Covid pandemic. Dr. Babu Stephen has committed to provide $250,000 towards establishing FOKANA headquarters in New York. 

In his vision statement, Dr. Babu Stephen stated that as the president of Fokana,  he will be able to accomplish several things of things for American Malayalees, as well as for Keralites through Fokana, an organization he has been associated with for a long time in various capacities. He has served on the Board of Directors for the past two terms and has also been doing a commendable job as the Vice President of the Washington DC region. 

Dr. Babu Stephan, a winner of the NAMAM 2018 award, Dr. Stephan lives with his family, wife Gracy Stephan, daughter, Sindu Stephan, son-in-law, Jimmy George and three delightfully sweet and talented grandkids, Shriya, Pavit, and Tejas.

Rishi Sunak, A Front Runner To Be The PM Of UK

Indian Origin, Rishi Sunak, the Finance Minister of Great Britain has formerly launched his bid to be the next Prime Minister of England, reports here suggest. Sunak was until last year the favorite to succeed Johnson. While Rishi Sunak, has been praised for a rescue package for the economy during the Coronavirus pandemic, including a jobs retention program, including a jobs retention program, which prevented mass unemployment that could cost as much as 410 billion pounds ($514 billion). He quit the government on Tuesday saying “the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously”.

The son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, Sunak has faced criticism for not giving enough cost-of-living support to households, his wealthy wife’s non-domiciled tax status and a fine he received, along with Johnson, for breaking Covid-19 lockdown rules. His tax-and-spend budget last year put Britain on course for its biggest tax burden since the 1950s, undermining his claims to favor lower taxes.

Also, seeking the top jonb in UK is another person of Indian origin, Suella Braverman, the attorney general, who has signaled her intention to be the PM. In an interview with ITV, Suella Braverman had called for Johnson to quit and said that she would join a leadership race to replace him, saying “it would be the greatest honor.”

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of United Kingdom resigned on July 7th, 2022, bringing an acrimonious end to a nearly three-year premiership that has been beset by controversy and scandal. After many months of speculation, he quit as Conservative leader, saying it is “clearly now the will” of Tory MPs that there should be a new leader. And, he pledged to stay on as PM until a successor is chosen – but a growing number of Tory MPs say he has to leave now. Johnson’s decision to remain in office comes despite a clear lack of support from within his own party and a growing push across the political spectrum for him to step down immediately.

Johnson’s resignation came after Britain’s finance and health ministers resigned in quick succession on July 5, in moves that put the future of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in peril after a series of scandals that have damaged his administration. 

Speaking outside Downing Street, Johnson said the process for choosing the new leader of the Conservative Party should begin now, with a timetable to be announced next week. He said he intends to remain in place until a new Tory leader is elected. Johnson said that he was “sad to be giving up the best job in the world,” but conceded that “no one is remotely indispensable” in politics.

As per reports, Chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee Tom Tugendhat has launched his bid to become the next leader of the Conservative Party – and prime minister. In an article in the Telegraph newspaper, he stated he would bring a “clean start”. He wrote that he wants to build a “broad coalition of colleagues” to “bring new energy and ideas to government” and “bridge the Brexit divide”.

Setting out his stall, he wrote that “taxes, bluntly, are too high.” Specifically: “We should immediately reverse the recent National Insurance hike and let hard-working people, and employers, keep more of their money. Fuel tax must come down. And un-conservative tariffs, that push up prices for consumers, should be dropped.” He talks about the cost of living as an “national security issue” and says there should be more police on the streets to tackle crime.

Another leader hoping to fil the vacancy is Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, who is the darling of the Conservatives’ grassroots and has regularly topped polls of party members carried out by the website Conservative Home. Truss has a carefully cultivated public image and was photographed in a tank last year, evoking a famous 1986 image of Britain’s first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, who was also captured in such a pose.

Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary, 55, finished second to Johnson in the 2019 leadership contest is  a likely contestant. He would offer a more serious and less controversial style of leadership after the turmoil of Johnson’s premiership. Over the last two years, Hunt has used his experience as a former health secretary to chair the health select committee and has not been tarnished by having served in the current government. Recently, said his ambition to become prime minister “hasn’t completely vanished”. Hunt said he would vote to oust Johnson in a confidence vote last month which Johnson narrowly won.

Ben Wallace, UK’s Defense minister, 52, has risen in recent months to be the most popular member of the government with Conservative Party members, according to Conservative Home, thanks to his handling of the Ukraine crisis. A former soldier himself, he served in Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus and Central America, and was mentioned in dispatches in 1992. He began his political career as a member of Scotland’s devolved assembly in May 1999, before being first elected to the Westminster parliament in 2005.

Nadhim Zahawi, the current education secretary impressed as vaccines minister when Britain had one of the fastest rollouts of COVID-19 jabs in the world. Zahawi’s personal story as a former refugee from Iraq who came to Britain as a child sets him apart from other Conservative contenders. He went on to co-found polling company YouGov before entering parliament in 2010. He said last week at some stage it would be a “privilege” to be prime minister.

Yet another contented for the top job in Britain is Penny Mordaunt, the former defense secretary, who was sacked by Johnson when he became prime minister after she backed his rival Hunt during the last leadership contest. Mordaunt was a passionate supporter of leaving the European Union and made national headlines by taking part in now-defunct reality TV diving show. Currently a junior trade minister, Mordaunt called the lockdown-breaking parties in government “shameful”. She said voters wanted to see “professionalism and competence” from the government.

Meanwhile, Downing Street announced 12 new ministers, filling some of the posts left vacant by the recent wave of resignations. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – a possible leadership contender who has remained silent for days – says her party needs to keep governing until a new leader is elected by the Conservative Party MPS.

Kanchana and Jagadeesan V. Poola Honored as The South Asian Times-Couple of the Decade By Mayor Bill de Blasio

Kanchana and Jagadeesan V. Poola have been declared as “The South Asian Times-Couple of the Decade” during the 35th Annual Federation of Tamil Associations in North America (FeTNA) Convention in Queens, New York on July 2nd, 2002.  FeTNA is an umbrella organization of all Tamil Sanghams in North America.

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio presented the award and acknowledged the couple for their social, cultural, and philanthropic deeds for the larger society in the USA. 

Kanchana Poola, a community leader and philanthropist, best described as the unassuming power-house of the Indian community, along with her husband, Jagdish, a highly successful businessman, were honored for their accomplishments, and service to the larger Indian American community. 

During the solemn ceremony attended by community leaders, diplomats, political leaders and hundreds of community members, including the President of FeTNA V. Caldwell, President-elect Bala Swaminathan, NYTS President Ram Mohan, NYTS leaders Ranga Purushothaman, K Kumaraja, The SA Times-Person of the year 2020 Ravi Bhooplapur, Eric Kumar, Anusuya, Amudha, and Anand Poola along with Nimmi and Kamlesh Mehta on the glittering stage of St. John’s University. The guest also includes Members of Parliament in India from Tamil Nadu. Over 1700 delegates attended the convention.

Kanchana Poola, who had served as the President of New York Tamil Sangam (NYTS) for several years, currently serves as an advisor of the decades old Tamill Sangam. She is a Life member of FeTNA and has been associated with American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association. 

Among the several philanthropic initiatives, Kanchana and Jagadeesan Poola have contributed generously to the Harvard Tamil Chair Fund.  They are Co-Chairs of The Asian Era and Aksharam magazines. In her acceptance speech, Kanchana Poola said her father instilled in her the value of giving —  for education, for the poor and the needy. The Poola couple were also honored by the NYTS.

“We are pleased to announce Smt. Kanchana and Shri Jagadeesan V. Poola as “The South Asian Times-Couple of the Decade” recognizing and honoring their exemplary and significant contributions to the community at large over the years. This week the South Asian Times also came up with a Special Section featuring the ‘Couple of the Decade’,” Kamlesh Mehta, Publisher of the South Asian Times said.

Nimmi Mehta presented flowers and Rajasthani bandhej saree to Kanchana Poola, and Kamlesh Mehta presented a shawl and flowers to Jagadeesan Poola as they welcomed them for the honor. Ex-Mayor De Blasio presented the plaque to Couple of the Decade. Mr. and Mrs. Poola gracefully accepted the recognition thanking The South Asian Times, FeTNA, New York Tamil Sangham, and Ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Kamlesh Mehta, in his vote of thanks, appreciated FeTNA for providing the facility, Ex-Mayor DeBlasio for taking the time out, Eric Kumar and Mrs. Totee for extending the help in organizing the event and the Founding Editor Parveen Chopra for the special feature and profiling the Couple of the Decade.

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

After Boris Johnson Quits, Who Will Replace Him As PM of UK?

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of United Kingdom resigned on July 7th, 2022, bringing an acrimonious end to a nearly three-year premiership that has been beset by controversy and scandal. After many months of speculation, he quit as Conservative leader, saying it is “clearly now the will” of Tory MPs that there should be a new leader. And, he pledged to stay on as PM until a successor is chosen – but a growing number of Tory MPs say he has to leave now. Johnson’s decision to remain in office comes despite a clear lack of support from within his own party and a growing push across the political spectrum for him to step down immediately.

Johnson’s resignation came after Britain’s finance and health ministers resigned in quick succession on July 5, in moves that put the future of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in peril after a series of scandals that have damaged his administration.

Johnson survived a vote of confidence on June 6 this year, but more than 40% of Conservative lawmakers declared that they had lost confidence in his ability to govern. And, in the intervening month, those who most wanted to see his downfall have been jockeying for his job.

According to media reports, after the partygate scandal over illegal gatherings held at Downing Street in defiance of coronavirus lockdowns, several senior members of Johnson’s cabinet began quietly preparing for a future leadership contest, courting influential members of parliament and dining with donors who could fund their campaigns.

A dramatic cascade of nearly 60 resignations by lawmakers and government officials followed, ultimately forcing Johnson to begrudgingly announce on Thursday that he would step down. Johnson’s decision to step down as the leader of the ruling Conservative Party will trigger a leadership race, with the winner set to become the United Kingdom’s fourth prime minister in the six years since the June 2016 Brexit referendum.

Indian Origin, Rishi Sunak was until last year the favorite to succeed Johnson. While Rishi Sunak, UK’s Finance Minister has been praised for a rescue package for the economy during the Coronavirus pandemic, including a jobs retention program, including a jobs retention program, which prevented mass unemployment that could cost as much as 410 billion pounds ($514 billion). He quit the government on Tuesday saying “the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously”.

The son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, Sunak has faced criticism for not giving enough cost-of-living support to households, his wealthy wife’s non-domiciled tax status and a fine he received, along with Johnson, for breaking Covid-19 lockdown rules. His tax-and-spend budget last year put Britain on course for its biggest tax burden since the 1950s, undermining his claims to favor lower taxes.

Speaking outside Downing Street, Johnson said the process for choosing the new leader of the Conservative Party should begin now, with a timetable to be announced next week. He said he intends to remain in place until a new Tory leader is elected. Johnson said that he was “sad to be giving up the best job in the world,” but conceded that “no one is remotely indispensable” in politics.

Referring to members of his own ruling party who turned against him, Johnson said, “At Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves.” Johnson thanked his wife Carrie Johnson, his children, the National Health Service, armed forces and Downing Street staff. “Above all, I want to thank you, the British public, for the immense privilege that you have given me.” He concluded his roughly six-minute speech by seeking to strike an upbeat tone. “Even if things can sometimes seem dark now, our future together is golden.”

Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer was among those calling for Johnson to go now, saying the Tory leader “cannot cling on for months.” “If the Conservative party do not get rid of him, then Labour will act in the national interest and bring a vote of no confidence,” Starmer said via Twitter.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivers a statement at the House of Commons in London, Britain May 26, 2022. UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. IMAGE MUST NOT BE ALTERED.

UK’s former PM Sir John Major says Johnson should go now for the good of the country. Johnson assured cabinet this afternoon he would only act as a caretaker PM while remaining in position, new Welsh Secretary Robert Buckland says

As per reports, Chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee Tom Tugendhat has launched his bid to become the next leader of the Conservative Party – and prime minister. In an article in the Telegraph newspaper, he stated he would bring a “clean start”. He wrote that he wants to build a “broad coalition of colleagues” to “bring new energy and ideas to government” and “bridge the Brexit divide”.

Setting out his stall, he wrote that “taxes, bluntly, are too high.” Specifically: “We should immediately reverse the recent National Insurance hike and let hard-working people, and employers, keep more of their money. Fuel tax must come down. And un-conservative tariffs, that push up prices for consumers, should be dropped.” He talks about the cost of living as an “national security issue” and says there should be more police on the streets to tackle crime.

Another leader hoping to fil the vacancy is Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, who is the darling of the Conservatives’ grassroots and has regularly topped polls of party members carried out by the website Conservative Home. Truss has a carefully cultivated public image and was photographed in a tank last year, evoking a famous 1986 image of Britain’s first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, who was also captured in such a pose.

Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary, 55, finished second to Johnson in the 2019 leadership contest is  a likely contestant. He would offer a more serious and less controversial style of leadership after the turmoil of Johnson’s premiership. Over the last two years, Hunt has used his experience as a former health secretary to chair the health select committee and has not been tarnished by having served in the current government. Recently, said his ambition to become prime minister “hasn’t completely vanished”. Hunt said he would vote to oust Johnson in a confidence vote last month which Johnson narrowly won.

Ben Wallace, UK’s Defense minister, 52, has risen in recent months to be the most popular member of the government with Conservative Party members, according to Conservative Home, thanks to his handling of the Ukraine crisis. A former soldier himself, he served in Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus and Central America, and was mentioned in dispatches in 1992. He began his political career as a member of Scotland’s devolved assembly in May 1999, before being first elected to the Westminster parliament in 2005.

Nadhim Zahawi, the current education secretary impressed as vaccines minister when Britain had one of the fastest rollouts of COVID-19 jabs in the world. Zahawi’s personal story as a former refugee from Iraq who came to Britain as a child sets him apart from other Conservative contenders. He went on to co-found polling company YouGov before entering parliament in 2010. He said last week at some stage it would be a “privilege” to be prime minister.

Yet another contented for the top job in Britain is Penny Mordaunt, the former defense secretary, who was sacked by Johnson when he became prime minister after she backed his rival Hunt during the last leadership contest. Mordaunt was a passionate supporter of leaving the European Union and made national headlines by taking part in now-defunct reality TV diving show. Currently a junior trade minister, Mordaunt called the lockdown-breaking parties in government “shameful”. She said voters wanted to see “professionalism and competence” from the government.

Suella Braverman, the attorney general has signaled her intention to run in a future contest. In an interview with ITVSuella Braverman called for Johnson to quit and said that she would join a leadership race to replace him, saying “it would be the greatest honor.”

Meanwhile, Downing Street announced 12 new ministers, filling some of the posts left vacant by the recent wave of resignations. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – a possible leadership contender who has remained silent for days – says her party needs to keep governing until a new leader is elected by the Conservative Party MPS.

Focusing On ‘Heal The Healers,’ AAPI’s Historic 40th Convention Concludes In San Antonio

The historic 40th annual convention organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) concluded at the world-famous Riverwalk Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio in Texas on Saturday, June 25th, 2022 with a Gala Bollywood Nite, during which a new Leadership Team led by Dr. Ravi Kolli assumed charge of the four decades old premier Medical Organization, representing the strong and powerful 120,000 physicians of Indian heritage. 

The four days long annual convention and scientific assembly, attended by over 10,000 AAPI delegates, while celebrating the achievements of the Indian American Physicians, focused on the theme, “Physician Heal Thyself” with several unique and first-of-a-kind opportunities to help AAPI members self-care, especially in the context of Covid related physicians burn out, paid tributes and celebrated freedom and democracy, honoring India and its  75 years of Independence Day celebrations- co-sponsored by the Embassy of India & the Consulate General of India (CGI) – Houston.

“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 immediately after he assumed charge as the 41st President of AAPI. “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 AAPI delegates and distinguished guests who had packed the Ball Room at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center during the Presidential Gala. 

Dr. Kolli  will work with 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. 

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the Immediate Past President of AAPI said, “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. 

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the covid 19 pandemic. The 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr.  Jayesh Shah, Chair of AAPI Convention 2022. Dr. Shah praised the dedication and generosity of each member for giving their best, to make this Convention truly a memorable one for every participant.

Put together by a highly talented and dedicated team of Convention Committee members, the convention was filled with programs and activities that cater to the body, mind and soul. The Convention was a unique experience for everyone, Dr. Sathessh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said. 

During the BOT luncheon chaired by Dr. Kusum Punjabi, the youngest ever to hold the position, handed over the office to the new Chair, Dr. Vishweshwar R. Ranga. In her address, Dr. Punjabi highlighted the many initiatives under her leadership. She said, “The Board of Trustees this year has launched the AAPI Medical Project Grant (MPG). The purpose of this grant is to financially support AAPI medical students/residents/fellows/young physicians in various medical projects such as observerships, community service projects, entrepreneurships, innovation developments, etc.:

Dr. V. Ranga in his address he said, “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.”

Dr. Surender Purohit, Chair of AAPI’s Charitable Foundation provided a brief summary of the many initiatives AAPI has undertaken in recent years, especially benefitting the remotest villages in the country.

Welcoming AAPI delegates to San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio, declared June 24th as AAPI Day and International Yoga Day in the City of San Antonio. While praising AAPI and its members for their contributions, Nirenberg said, “We are honored to host the largest gathering of Indian American physicians in our vibrant city, home to some of the best healthcare facilities in the nation.”

AAPI delegates had a rare glimpse to the rich cultural heritage of India through a video presentation depicting the unique diversity of India and a variety of mesmerizing performances of Indian/Mexican Fusion Dances, ranging from Bharatnatyam, folk dances, and the traditional Indian dances in sync with Mexican pop dances, which were a treat to the hearts and souls  of everyone. National Spieling Bee Champion 2022 Harini Logan was recognized during the convention Gala. 

In his keynote address, Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu lauded the several initiatves of AAPI over the past four decades and said, “Over the past four decades, AAPI has been doing an outstanding job in advocacy and health education. You play an important role, especially during the Covid Pandemic/” Speaking at length on the growing Indo-US relationship, the veteran diplomat said, “Over the last two decades, India and the United States have overcome the hesitations of history and fashioned a remarkable partnership, built on a bipartisan consensus in the U.S. and cross-party support in India.” Elaborating on the collaboration between India and the US, he said, “From the provision of active pharmaceutical ingredients to generic medicines that have lowered drug prices and created jobs and investments, India has demonstrated its reliability as a supply chain partner, especially as de-risking from single country supplies has become a priority.”

Aseem Mahajan, Consul General of India in Houston, referred to the significance of “India and the United States, the two most vibrant democracies, representing two great multicultural societies with shared values, who are natural partners” working together in several areas of interest to both the nations.

Dr. Jack Resneck, President of American Medical Association praised the contributions and achievements of Indian American physicians, who serve and provide best healthcare to every 7th patient in the United States. “It’s time our nation renews our commitment to you for the incredible services you provide to our nation,” he said. During a Plenary session, he provided a detailed description of the many steps AMA has been undertaking to root out the causes for physician burn out and enhance healthcare delivery in the nation through education and advocacy at the state and national levels. 

Keynote speaker, Little Master Sunil Gavaskar was introduced by Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention. Gavaskar, a record holder of numerous international Cricket matches, in his address said, “Yours is the greatest of all professions in the world. You have put your lives at risk during the Pandemic to save the lives of others. Yours is the noble profession that I have admired always.” 

Dr. Rahul Gupta, the nation’s “drug czar” and top drug policy official, while conveying the greetings from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris praised the contributions of Indian American Physicians. “The role of the Drug Czar has never been as critical as it’s today,” he told the AAPI delegates, who have been advocating for prize control of drugs to contain overall healthcare costs. “AS physicians of Indian Origin, we have learnt  to find simple solutions to complex problems. We need 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.” And he encouraged his colleagues to think and find ways to make a difference in the healthcare delivery in the country. 

Others who addressed the Convention included Dr. Bobby Mukamala, Chair of BOT at American Medical Association, Congressman Joaquin Castro from Texas, and Peter Jay Hortez,, who was part of the plenart session on “Covid Vaccination Globally and Vaccine Hesitancy.” 

In her spiritual discourse, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author, while pointing to how we are creating a vicious negative health through fear, stress and anxiety in this country, her message today was to focus on the Synonym for HEALTH: Health, Embrace, Allow, Love, Time for yourself, and Help others. 

In his live video message, Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga, told AAPI leaders as to how “each of you have sacrificed your life. I congratulate the organizers for focusing on heal the healers and using Yoga our traditional method to help us in our daily lives.” Referring to the 7th anniversary of India’s Independence he said, “It must help us transcend all that divide us on the basis of caste, creed and status.” 

The much anticipated wellness package in collaboration with all the 10 City Council Districts of San Antonio, TX and Mayor Ron Nirenberg and iDoYoga San Antonio organized its flagship Free Yoga Classes and Education on the benefits and ways to make yoga a part of one’s daily life during the course of the entire convention. The convention was focused 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. 

Led by internationally famed yoga gurus, including  Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author; Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga; and, Eddie Stern, Yoga teacher, speaker and author, the highly anticipated and popular Yoga on the famous Riverwalk was part of the global celebration of the 8th International Day of Yoga (IDY).

Some of the major themes at the convention included: Yoga and Meditation practices, Welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, A Personal Reflexology Session, Take home wellness routine, Ailment based yoga therapy sessions, Workshop on Spiritual well-being, Book talk with Yoga Gurus, including on the science of Yoga & Lifestyle medicine. Yoga gurus and experts leading the wellness sessions include Paramguru Sharatha Jois, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Saraswati Eddie Stern, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Dilip Sarkar, Dr. Pankaj Vij, and Dr. Param Dedhia.

Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect , pointed out: “There was a sense of joy and relief on the faces of the over 1,000 physicians who have come together to celebrate their achievements, contributions, and to network and deepen their relationship even as the Covid Pandemic is waning and people are able to mingle freely and interact with one another cautiously.” 

 AAPI delegates attended a multidisciplinary CME conference that allowed specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers discussed gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions. 

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI said, as many as CME credit hours have been provided by outstanding speakers all year and provided cutting edge CMEs to members. He thanked the Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Vemuri Murthy, Dr. Amit Chakraborty, CME Chair  and Dr. Sagar Galvankar, & Co-Chair for their diligent efforts all the prominent speakers who shared their expertise with AAPI delegates. 

Dr. Meherbala Medavaram said, some of the major events at the convention included: Workshops and hands-on sessions on well-being, 10-12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, AAPI Got Talent, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Poster/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

According to Dr. Sumul Raval, the convention offered a venue for Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally to convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

The panelists at the prestigious Women’s Forum included: Dr. Juby A. Jacob-Nara, a Public Health Physician, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Respiratory Allergy & Gastroenterology (Sanofi-Genzyme); Dr. Kalpalatha Guntupalli, Endowed Professor for Pulmonary Disorders, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Sowjanya Mohan, Group Chief Medical Officer, Texas Group/Tenet Health; and, Ms. Rosemary Hickman, Semmes Foundation Education Manager at the Mcnay Art Museum.

The CEOs Forum moderated by Dr. Joseph Chalil had a panel of Industry Leaders including: Dr. Juby A Jacob-Nara, Vice President, Head of Global Medical- Sanofi-Genzyme; Robert Mattchione, from NOVA; Dr. Monika Kapur; Ms. Rebecca Seidel. Medtronix; and Mario Ball. A pioneering AAPI Medical Leadership Council is being formed to collaborate with Industry leaders and to be the voice of healthcare providers, said Dr. Chalil. 

Mehfil gave AAPI members to showcase their skills. Dr. Satheesh Kathula in the incoming Vice President of API was declared the winner of the contest. During the popular Fashion Parade presented by world renowned fashion designer Archana Kochar had beautiful and handsome young men and women wearing handmade colorful apparel made by villagers in Madhya Pradesh, cat walked on the ramp.     

Dozens of local children from ages 8 to 16, trained by Yoga Masters in San Antonio by presenting and demonstrating multiple Yoga Aasanas to the tune of Vande Mataram provided valuable education on Yoga and its importance in life. Every evening the popular AAPI Got Talent and each day of the convention had a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates showcased one’s own state dress code. Heritage India was the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus was on the much loved Bollywood with special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, The cuisine served each will day match the theme chosen for each day.

Dr. Jagan Ailinani was honored with Life Time Achievement Award. The Distinguished Physician Award was given to Dr. Vijay Yeldandi and AAPI’s Most Distinguished Award was given to Dr. Ravindra Nathan.  AAPI’s Most Distinguished YPS Award was given to Dr. Sejal Hathi and the AAPI’s Most Distinguished MSRF Award was given to Aaiswariya Gulani. r. 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.

“Welcome to Philadelphia for the 41st annual convention which will provide you all with extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the al and evening social events,” Dr. Ravi Kolli announced. For more details, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

 

By, Ajay Ghosh

Khushi Patel From UK Is Crowned Miss India Worldwide 2022

Khushi Patel, a biomedical student from England was crowned Miss India Worldwide 2022 during a glittering ceremony of the longest-running Indian beauty pageant outside of India, on Sunday, June 25th, 2002 at the Royal Alberts Palace in New Jersey, organized by the India Festival Committee (IFC), which has been running the competition for the past 29 years.

Vaidehi Dongre of Michigan was declared the first runner-up, while the second runner-up title went to Shrutika Mane of Australia. The top 12 competitors at the pageant were the champions of other international competitions.

Patel, a biomedical sciences major with a psychology minor, expressed her happiness at having won the Miss India Worldwide 2022 competition. The model, who also has a clothing company, intends to participate in numerous charity events and support developing nations throughout the course of the upcoming year.

The Miss Teen India Worldwide 2022 title went to Roshani Razack from Guyana, while Navya Paingol, a University of Michigan, Ann Arbor student was the first runner-up. The second runner-up award went to Chiquita Malaha of Suriname. School teacher Swathy Vimalkumar of Connecticut won the Mrs. India Worldwide title.

Patel, who is majoring in biomedical sciences and minoring in psychology, expressed her happiness at winning the Miss India Worldwide 2022 competition. The model also has a clothing company, and “intends to participate in numerous charity events and assist third-world countries over the next twelve months,” as reported by the Press Trust of India. Over the next one year, the model, who also owns a clothing store, plans to do a lot of charity events and help third-world countries.

This year’s pageant was hosted three years after the last one, which was held in September 2019 at the Leela Hotel in Mumbai. “Pandemic has changed the way we think and live,” said IFC chairman Dharmatma Saran.

Dharmatma Saran, chairman and founder of the New York based India Cultural Festival (IFC) that organizes the trail blazing Miss India Worldwide, is a pioneer in entertainment, holding Indian pageants and fashion shows in the USA and worldwide.

In 1990, DharmatmaSaran, decided to take the pageant one step further to an international level and started The First Miss India Worldwide Pageant to identify and honor beauties of Indian origin the world over and the show graduated to become the top most international Indian pageant on the earth. “For the first time ever, Asian-Indian communities from all over the world came together in New York for this event,” says Saran with a sense of pride. “To the best of our knowledge, no other ethnic organi¬zation has ever conducted a pageant of this magnitude on an international level.”

The pageant was an instant success and was acclaimed as “the most glamorous Indian function in the world.”

The annual pageants started in a basement in New York in 1980 with the first ever Miss India New York and Miss India USA, has evolved and expanded, nowincorporating and having membershipfrom over 40 countries, that promote Indian heritage and providing a platform for people of Indian origin to unite and showcase their talents, skills and beauty.

The pageants aim to honor achievement, to celebrate our culture in many ways, among them, the ability to meet people, make friends, to respect and be respected, to continually strive to improve standards, and to live a life as close to the laws of nature.

The IFC selects distinguished local organizations in various parts of the world and authorizes them to conduct national pageants in their respective countries. The India Festival Committee, started in 1974 in a most humble way, has come a long way. While seeking to collaborate with internationally reputed groups, Saran joined hands with the Times of India group’s Femina that runs the beauty pageants in India until 1997.

Most of these women have set their sights on professions like medicine, public relations and the law. The contest gives them a chance to take a detour and explore their Indian identities through colorful Indian attire and dance. Many of them have set their eyes on Bollywood and Hollywood, and participating in the pageants is a stepping stone for many to climb up the ladder in the world of fashion, silver screen, politics and charity.

Saran has become an internationally well-known leader in promoting pageantry around the world. Support came from most unexpected quarters. Noted actress, social worker, feminist and leader, Shabana Azmi, who is known to blast all beauty pageants, endorsed Saran’s show as noble as it helped funds for the deserving children.

The IFC motivates andguides its winners and contestants to take up charitable causes. Many of our past winners have raised substantial amount of money for various charities, especially for handicapped children,” says Saran.

Saran and the pageant are “very proud of the fact that we have been able to provide a common platform for the international Indian community through pageantry. We are equally proud of the fact that we have been able to imbibe Indian values, traditions and culture among the youth of Indian origin around the world. We have also been successful in promoting Indian performing arts in the world.”

“AAPI has created a great track record, initiating several programs benefitting AAPI members and the larger community,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, Declares in Her Farewell Address

(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

Pamela Kwatra From New Jersey Honored With The Lifetime Achievement Award

Pamela  Kwatra, a trailblazer and the only Indian American woman recipient of the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor award in 2008, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during a solemn awards ceremony jointly organized by The Consulate General of India in New York and The Indo-American Press Club (IAPC), the largest organization of Indian descent journalists operating in North America , at the Indian Consulate, New York, NY on Saturday, May 21st, 2022.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was the guest of honor at the IAPC Induction Ceremony and the Awards Nite Gala presented the award at the Grand Ballroom of the Consulate in New York, which was attended by several community leaders, elected officials, diplomats, media personnel and professionals.

Calling her a “highly accomplished leader” Mayor Bill de Blasio praised her contributions to the larger American society and to the Indian American community. Mayor Bill de Blasio showered praises on Ms. Kwatra for taking up on herself a key role in his election campaign that no other individual has been able to do.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, while congratulating Pam Kwatra on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, described her as “a trailblazing businesswoman, a community leader, and a political force with executive chops. No wonder she worked on important projects in my administration at my request. I also came to know that her involvement with the community spans across culture, art & literature – preserving and promoting abroad the rich and varied culture of India.”

While extending his greetings to IAPC, the Mayor said, “Congratulations are due to IAPC for doing a good job, to Kamlesh Mehta, its new Board Chairman, new committee members and all the honorees. We will continue to support this media organization.”

Eric Kumar, a major supporter to IAPC introduced Mayor Bill DeBlasio. In his address, he described how closely Mayor Bill DeBlasio worked with the Indian American communities and made a law to support Ethnic Media.

Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India, who was the chief guest presented the award to the other awardees with the Lifetime Achievement Award, including  Dr. Thomas Abraham, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, and Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI.

The awards ceremony was part of the Induction Ceremony of IAPC’s new office bearers, including Chairman Kamlesh C Mehta and Secretary Ajay Ghosh of IAPC Board of Directors, and members of the IAPC National Executive Committee led by President Aashmeeta Yogiraj and General Secretary CG Daniel.

In her acceptance Speech, Ms. Kwatra said, “I am truly honored to be chosen by the Indo-American Press Club for the Life Time Achievement Award. Your presence and this special occasion, receiving this honor makes its truly a memorable moment and I want to thank Kamlesh ji and the entire IAPC office bearers for bestowing this honor on me today, and wishing you, all the very best.”

While urging the media to a more active role, Ms. Kwatra said, “While the political and racial differences divide us, the role of the media is all the more important in keeping us all aware of and educating us about the need for a just and equitable world.”

While commenting on one of the hot button issues that is deeply diving the nation, Ms. Kawatra said, “We are concerned about the media reports about the Supreme Court draft to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, based on the Constitution that protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose abortion without excessive government restriction. We are worried about women being denied the right to her own health needs.”

She called upon Media to play a very critical role, “especially in these challenging timers, as the world is faced with the once in a century health crisis with the ongoing pandemic.  Organization such as the IAPC can play a major role in helping heal and unite the nation. Wishing you all the very best. Congratulations to all honorees today and best wishes to the new leadership of IAPC.”

Pam Kwatra has a proud record of civic-social and professional accomplishments and recognition. She was the first woman to launch an Indian American advertising, marketing and PR company, Kripari Marketing in 1992. Pam always keeps the interest of the community and society above personal interest. She has supported numerous community projects for decades and has personally supported many Indian victims of domestic violence in the US.  A member of and leader of several Indian American organizations,  active in politics and grass root organizations, Ms. Kwatra is a graduate of Delhi University.

Under “South Asians 4 Better New York” (SA4BNY) founded by her, she has held fundraisers for Gov. Cuomo, Public Advocate “Tish” James, Congresswoman Grace Meng, District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, John Liu, and NYC Council candidate Ali Najmi. Her involvement with the community also spans across culture, art & literature – preserving and promoting the rich and varied culture of India, abroad.

Ms. Kwatra has served on NYC boards like Mayor’s Fund, City Center of Music & Drama Inc., New York City Ballet, David H Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. She was also nominated to the NYC Democratic National Committee 2016 Convention. Pam has launched several successful cultural programs and dance dramas at the United Nations. She also organized two book reading events at the UN – Kiran Bedi’s biography and Kathleen Kennedy’s “Failing America’s Faithful”.

She is the recipient of “Mother Teresa Award” in 2011 in India. Special Recognition at the event was given to: Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York for his vision, dedication and community service; Mayor Bill De Blasio, Former Mayor Of New York City, for Excellence in Public Service and Leadership; Dr. Prabhakar Kore, Member of Parliament, India, for his distinguished services in Education and Public Services; and Kevin Thomas, New York State Senator For excellence in Community Service and leadership.

The induction ceremony was attended by elite members and community leaders, including, Padma Shri Dr. Nori, Kenny Desai of FIA,  Girish Patel of BAPS, Girish Shah of Jain Samaj, Babu Stephen, former Chairman of IAPC, Shashi Malik of Long Island Association. Harish Thakkar of the American Indian Association, Ravi Bhooplapur of Xavier University,  Dr. Neeta Jain, Nilima Madan, Darshan Singh Bagga, Arvind Vora of Shanti Fund,  and Vipul Dev, the Consular  at CGI.

Dr. Jagdish K. Gupta, President of Medical Society of County of Kings, NY Leads Year-Long Bicentennial Celebrations

“I am very humbled, truly privileged, and extremely honored to welcome you all to our 201st Bicentennial Stated Meeting by the Medical Society of The County of Kings and the Academy of Medicine of Brooklyn,” said Dr. Jagdish K. Gupta, a committed and highly regarded physician with a history of professional achievement and humanitarian philanthropy, who was inducted as the 174th President of the Medical Society of County of Kings (MSCK) on May 25th, 2022.
Dr. Gupta was addressing the delegates at the 201st Annual Stated Meeting of MSCK as a Bicentennial Event in person, after two years hiatus due to COVID Pandemic at El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn, NY with full regalia. “The COVID-19 pandemic upended the rhythms of our personal and professional lives. Traditional workings of our medical society came to a screeching halt,” Dr. Gupta pointed out. “However, as an organization, we persevered, reimagined our operations, and implemented new strategies.  Overall, the organization was renewed and brought into the 21st century.”
Dr. Gupta expressed gratitude to “Dr. Valluru, Dr. Prasad Gudavalli & Dr. Larry Melniker, and everyone in our leadership team for all their hard work during possibly the most challenging time in our organization’s history.”
Dr. Gupta on behalf of the Team 2022-2023,  promised “to continue this progressive transformation. The central focus during my presidency will be to bring harmony to our efforts, empower ourselves to increase membership, enhance membership benefits, create programs for wellness, end disparities inpatient care, and bring equity in healthcare to all, irrespective of caste creed or financial status.”
Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, Professor of Medicine and the past Faculty Dean for Continu­ing Medical Education at Harvard Medical School for 12 years, serving as a Marshall Wolf Distinguished Clinician Educator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the author of more than 170 publications and ten books to his credit, was the keynote speaker at the gala. In his address, he pointed out to “The Two Most Important Days: Reflections on Lasting Happiness and Living with Purpose.”  He received a full-throttled standing ovation from the audience. Dr. Chopra is Editor-in-Chief of the Hepatology Section of “UpToDate”, the most widely used electronic textbook in the world subscribed to by more than 1.5 million physicians in 195 countries.
He is a sought-after inspirational speaker across the United States and abroad, addressing diverse audiences on topics related to medicine, leadership, happiness, and living with purpose.
Recognizing the contributions and accomplishments of the Medical Society of the County of Kings, the New York State Assembly commemorated the Bicentennial Stated Meeting of the Medical Society of the County of Kings on May 25, 2022 with a Proclamation sponsored by Assembly Woman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and Co-sponsored By Assemblyman Michael Tannousis.
Among the several distinguished guests who joined in and addressed the celebrations were Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez who spoke passionately about the need for Gun Control and on ways to prevent the violence in the City. Messages and proclamations were sent in by New York City Council Woman Ms. Mercedes Narcisse 46th Council District; Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis from 11th District; President of SUNY Downstate Medical School, Dr. Wayne Riley who spoke about the contribution of Medical Society of County of Kings and Long Island College over 200 years; State Assemblyman Michael Tannousis; Dr. Ravi Kolli, President Elect, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin- the largest ethnic physician organization in America; and, Multiple Citations for 50 years Medical School Graduates serving the Brooklyn Community.
The annual event also highlighted and honored the achievements and outstanding contributions of an impressive and inspirational set of honorees representing 50 years of continuous, diligent, and impartial services to the Brooklyn community. “These 12 esteemed honorees have distinguished themselves in the fields of community service, patient advocacy, medical innovation, and clinical practice. These honored physicians have saved countless lives and brought relief to thousands of patients over the last 50 years.
Their influence extends far beyond those in their direct care.  They have served as role models for numerous students, residents, and fellows for over five decades,” Dr. Gupta pointed out. Reflecting on the last 200 years of the most prestigious professional organization, Dr. Gupta said, “I am amazed at the caliber, intelligence, and forward-thinking ideas of all my great predecessors. They left indelible marks with their achievements and accomplishments in the fields of research, education, innovation in medical and surgical technology, and patient care. I am humbled to follow in their footsteps and am grateful to each of them.”
The Medical Society of the County of Kings (MSCK), the oldest scientific organization in Brooklyn, New York was established on March 2nd, 1822 by a group of doctors gathered at Auld Lang Syne Tavern on Fulton Street in Brooklyn Heights, with the lofty mission  “to foster progress in the science and art of medicine and to promote, preserve and enforce the highest of standards of ethical and proficient medical care”. In 1900, the Society opened its grand new colonial revival building at 1313 Bedford Avenue, the geographical center of Brooklyn and It was headquartered there until 1996.
The Society had hosted numerous Scientific Conferences at the McNaughton Auditorium where local, national, and international luminaries in medicine presented important and often original scientific works. The Medical Society grew exponentially to more than 3,500 members by the mid-20th century and according to the Directing Librarian for the Society, for some time boasted as the 5th largest medical library in the country.
The concept of Continuing Medical Education (CME) was developed in Brooklyn in 1922 and the Society published the Brooklyn Medical Journal from 1888 until it was succeeded by the Long Island Medical Journal in 1907. The Medical Society continues to serve the people of Brooklyn through the thousands of practicing physicians in the borough. MSCK through its various committees and in collaboration with other specialty organizations have been supporting Brooklynites for their healthcare needs uninterrupted — through political, economic, and various health crises — over the past 200 years.
MSCK represents the most populous County in the New York State and as such has the largest delegation to the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY). It continues to provide leadership to organized medicine. Following the footsteps of its great predecessors, more than 11 Kings County leaders, who became President of the MSSNY, a matter of great pride for all members of the Society, its past president and current member, Dr. Parag Mehta, has become the first Asian American President of MSSNY on May 21st. 2022.
Born and raised in Hissar, Haryana, India, Dr. Gupta graduated from All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi in 1972 with distinction, and after coming to the United States, had his residency and fellowship at Long Island College Hospital (LICH). A diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Gastroenterology, Dr. Gupta is an Assistant Clinical Professor at SUNY Health Science Center in Brooklyn, and has served as a role model and a mentor for a generation of young physicians who aspire to combine his clinical excellence with sensitivity and compassion towards patients and their families.
Dr. Gupta has been serving the Brooklyn Community for the last 45 years. He has been actively involved in Organized Medical Societies leadership at the Kings County and New York state Medical Society level for a long time. Through innovative research exploring the links between gastrointestinal and neurological diseases, Dr. Gupta has made his mark upon medical literature. In addition to his many contributions to peer review journals, he has co-authored chapters in many medical textbooks. As a researcher dedicated to the detection, prevention and treatment of GI disorders including cancer, he has been recognized and awarded numerous teaching awards. He has been on the TOP DOCTORS list of Castle Connolly for more than twenty years, consecutively and also has been designated as SUPER DOC by New York Times magazine for three years.
Dr. Gupta has served as President of the Medical staff of LICH and as a member of its Board of Regents. For his commitment to teaching, professional achievements, community services and leadership, the Long Island College Hospital bestowed the Spring Ball Honoree 2002 Physician of the Year Award upon him. He is currently serving as the Chairman, Board of Trustees of AAPI-QLI, and is very active in National AAPI and AAPI Charitable Foundation and serves on the Board of Trustees and is the Treasurer.

In his desire to serve the Indian American community Dr. Gupta has been a member of the Board of Nargis Dutt Memorial Foundation and has been privileged to serve as its President, fundraising large amounts during his tenure to sponsor many charitable projects in India. He was recognized  for his contributions with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. He has been very actively involved with many community organizations in Long Island. He has served as President of India Association of Long Island (IALI) in 2010. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Hindu Center. He has been recognized several times for his outstanding services to the community. Most recently he was appointed an Honorary Police Surgeon for his patriotic dedication to the New York’s finest.  Above all, Dr. Gupta is a loving husband to his wife Meena and father of three children, Drs. Anu, Srishti and Vishal and grandfather to Sia, Kabir, Som and Sai.

IAPC Organizes Induction Of The New BOD And National EC And Awards Ceremony At Indian Consulate In New York

The Indo-American Press Club, the largest organization of Indian descent journalists and media persons working across North America, organized the swearing-in ceremony and inauguration of new office bearers on Saturday, May 21st during a solemn induction ceremony, organized at the Indian Consulate in New York.

Kamlesh C. Mehta was administered the oath of office as the Chairman of the IAPC Board of Directors by Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York, while Ginson Zachariah, Founding Chairman of IAPC administered the oath to IAPC’s new President Aashmeeta Yogiraj, while IAPC General Secretary CG Daniel and several others were given the oath virtually.

Four distinguished and accomplished community leaders/professionals were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Awards for their accomplishments and contributions to the larger society.

Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General, was the chief guest, while New York Mayor De Blasio was the Special Guest of Honor during the ceremony. Mayor De Blasio presented award to Pamela Kwatra, a trailblazer and the only Indian American woman recipient of the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor award in 2008, Pam Kwatra. She has a proud record of civic-social and professional accomplishments and recognition.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the only 4th Woman elected to be the President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin in its nearly four decades-long history was honored fgor her visionary leadership of AAPI benefitting AAPI members and the larger societies in India and the United States.

Dr. Thomas Abraham, who has been honored with the Bharatvanshi Gaurav Award of Anthar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman for his services to the NRI/PIO communities for the last 49 years since he moved to New York as a graduate student at Columbia University, was another awardee whom IAPC honored today.

The other honoree whom IAPC recognized today was Sudhir M. Parikh, M.D., a physician by profession and currently the Chairman and Publisher of Parikh Worldwide Media Inc., the largest Indian-American publishing group in the United States, and Chairman of ITV Gold, a 24×7 TV news channel, and is one of the most honored Indian Americans with Padma Shri and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Special Recognition at the event was given to: Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York for his vision, dedication and community service; Mayor Bill De Blasio, Former Mayor Of New York City, for Excellence in Public Service and Leadership; Dr. Prabhakar Kore, Member of Parliament, India, for his distinguished services in Education and Public Services; and Kevin Thomas, New York State Senator For excellence in Community Service and leadership.

In his address, while highlighting the many recent initiatives of the Government of India to lead India to prosperity and strength, Ambassador Jaiswal praised IAPC for its “significant contribution to promoting India-US friendship and the welfare of Indian diaspora in the United States. It has brought together people from the diaspora media fraternity under a cohesive umbrella so that the voice of the community could be heard in a meaningful manner.

We look forward to their continued support to bring developments from India to the readers in the US and carry all the excitement from the United States to the people of India. I invite Indo American Press Club to join hands with us in celebrating [email protected], our Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. I wish the Club steady growth, progress and success,” he said.

Former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, while congratulating Pam Kwatra on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, described her as a trailblazing businesswoman, a community leader, and a political force with executive chops. No wonder she worked with elan on important projects in my administration on my request.

I also came to know that her involvement with the community spans across culture, art & literature – preserving and promoting abroad the rich and varied culture of India.” While extending his greetings to IAPC, the Mayor said, “Congratulations are due to IAPC for doing a good job, to Kamlesh Mehta, its new Board Chairman, new committee members and all the honorees. We will continue to support this media organization.”

In his acceptance speech, Kamlesh Mehta said,  “These are unprecedented times for journalists and the media, when many have sacrificed their lives in the pandemic. At IAPC, we salute these brave men and women who risk their lives to bring to the world accurate reporting and being an effective voice of the media world.

IAPC envisages its vision through collective efforts and advocacy activities through its nearly one thousand members across the US and Canada, by being a link between the media fraternity and the world at large. We will work together with dedication to enhance the working conditions of our journalists, exchanging ideas and offering educational and training opportunities to our members, aspiring young journalists and media professionals around the globe.”

In her presidential address, Aashmeeta Yogiraj, Director – Programming & Marketing, JUS Broadcasting Corporation said, “I t is said that the media is the fourth pillar of democracy. Never was that statement truer than in the times we live in now. While media as an entity has certainly evolved to fit modern times, its invaluable service to society persists. As a member of the media, it is my honor to serve as President of the Indo-American Press Club. I look forward to furthering the principles of democracy alongside the rest of the IAPC leadership and team.” By becoming a member IAPC , she said,  You gain “access to a unique professional network, exclusive events with high-profile global influencers, cutting-edge Newswire services and an opportunity to network with others in the media industry.”

Ginsmon Zachariah, Founding Chair of IAPC BOD said, “Our homeland India is known to have a vibrant, active and free media, which plays a very vital role in the functioning and growth of the largest democracy in the world. And we recognize that as members of the media we have an important role to play in our adopted land. We are aware of our call to be a source of effective communication around the world. We as members of the media realize that we have a role to play in shaping our world to be a just and equitable place where everyone enjoys freedom and liberty.”

Providing the background to the formation of IAPC, Akay Ghosh, Founding President of IAPC  said, “We as individuals and corporations that represent the media world, consisting of print, visual, electronic and online, realize that we have a greater role to play. We have been working in this field for decades and often stand alone in a large media world. As individual members of the media, our voice is often drowned in the very large world of multi-media. We lack a collective voice to raise our voice, to pool our talents together and work as a cohesive group to reflect and respond to the challenges of the modern world. IAPC was  (IAPC), formed to fill this vacuum, and is committed to strive to be a common platform to raise the voice and explore the possibilities of helping shape the world to be a world that is fair, just and equitable for today and future generations.”

Eric Kumar, a major supporter to IAPC introduced Mayor Bill DeBlasio. In his address, he mentioned how closely Mayor Bill DeBlasio worked with the Indian American communities and made a law to support Ethnic Media. Famous Punjabi Singer Malkit Singh could not attend the event for delays in flight, he sent his gratitude for honoring him and best complements to IAPC for continued success.

The induction ceremony was attended by elite members and community leaders, including, Padma Shri Dr. Nori, Kenny Desai of FIA,  Girish Patel of BAPS, Girish Shah of Jain Samaj, Babu Stephen, former Chairman of IAPC, Shashi Malik of Long Island Association. Harish Thakkar of the American Indian Association, Ravi Bhooplapur of Xavier University,  Dr. Neeta Jain, Nilima Madan, Darshan Singh Bagga, Arvind Vora of Shanti Fund,  and Vipul Dev, the Consular  at CGI.

Parveen Chopra, past president of IAPC welcomed the audience. A souvenir with colorfully designed pages, depicting the history and objectives of IAPV, edited by Parveen Chopra and Dr. Mathew Joys was released.

A visual presentation of the Nine Years of IAPC history beautifully presented by Dr. Mathew Joys, IAPC BOD member from Las Vegas and Shan Justus from Texas provided a glimpse of the trajectory of IAPC’s growth since its inception in 2013. The closing ceremony included scintillating dances traditional folk dances and fast moving Bollywood dances by The Arya School of Dance and was followed by a sumptuous dinner. The hybrid event was also streamed simultaneously on social media platforms and watched live on YouTube by several members and supporters of IAPC.

Dr. Vishweshwar R. Ranga Elected Chair, AAPI Board of Trustees

A practicing Internal Medicine Specialist from Las Vegas affiliated with multiple local area hospitals, Dr. Vishweshwar R. Ranga has been elected Chairman of Board of Trustees of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin for the year 2022-23.

Dr. Ranga with more than 35 years of experience in the medical field, 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.

“My initiation into the Association of Physicians of Indian Origin to work on the membership drive and its directory during my residency at Mount Vernon Hospital in New York helped me understand more deeply the importance of community involvement and practices dear to this noble profession,”  Dr. Ranga says, who has worked hard towards the growth of this organization under the leadership of various presidents.

A medical degree holder from the Medical Academy of Sofia, Bulgaria, 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.”

Dr. Ranga, who is known for his organizational skills helped to put together various national and regional AAPI events.

He has worked on several AAPI Committees including: AAPI Bylaws Committee, Membership Committee, Awards Committee, and Publications Committee.

Dr. Ranga has been recognized for his kindness, medical skills and going beyond the call of duty. “I was in good hands with him. I almost died from a car hitting me in a crosswalk. This man visited me every single day for one month. That is something I will never forget. Thank you, Dr. Ranga. Mom misses you,” Mike Cappello, a former patient of Dr. Ranga wrote on Social Media.

A visionary, Dr. Ranga began to work closely and encourage the second-generation Indian American physicians to be an active part of AAPI. In appreciation of his efforts, contributions and enormous support, YPS/MSRF recognized Dr. Ranga by making him the mentor of the group.

“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, says.

Jaishankar’s Tough Talk On India’s Foreign Policy Priorities

Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has had geopolitical, military, and economic consequences for every nation on earth. The economic consequences is impacting every market and causing disruptions that will take time to recover. More than anything else, the invasion is causing a massive humanitarian crisis. Over two months into the war, with no end to the war in sight, the impact of the war has been felt in every corner of the earth.

As in any war, uncertainty of the outcome of this violent conflict is high. The escalation of conflict has triggered an immediate and steep rise in humanitarian needs as essential supplies and services are disrupted and civilians flee the fighting. The UN estimates that 12 million people inside Ukraine will need relief and protection, while more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees may need protection and assistance in neighboring countries in the coming months.

“I am here to focus on ways on how the UN can expand support for the people of Ukraine, saving lives, reduce suffering and help find the path of peace. I want the Ukrainian people to know that the world sees you, hears you, and is in awe of your resilience and resolve, UN Secretary-General António Guterres in remarks at a press encounter with the President of Ukraine in Kyiv, said on April 28th.

Countries across the globe have reacted to this situation in ways that suit their interests, based on their long standing relationship with Russia and the Western Alliance led by the United States. The message of the United Nations General Assembly is loud and clear:  End hostilities in Ukraine — now. Silence the guns — now. Open the door to dialogue and diplomacy — now.

President Joe Biden has condemned Russia for an “unprovoked and unjustified attack” on Ukraine while promising that his country and its allies “will hold Russia accountable”.

The Group of Seven industrialised nations strongly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said they would bring forward severe and coordinated economic and financial sanctions against Moscow.

“This crisis is a serious threat to the rules-based international order, with ramifications well beyond Europe,” the G7 leaders said in a joint statement, adding Russian President Vladimir Putin had re-introduced war to the European continent.

A majority of the nations at the United Nations were  unanimous in their condemnation of Russia’s unprovoked invasion and the implications of its war crimes on the innocent. However, India, the rising power on world stage, abstained on all the 12 United Nations resolutions condemning the invasion. Its initial statements at the UN Security Council were decidedly mild, while the Indian ambassador did not even mention Russia by name, and avoided criticizing Russia for the invasion. Another major world player, China rejected calling Russia’s moves on Ukraine an “invasion” and urged all sides to exercise restraint.

There has been mounting pressure on India to condemn Russia. The Western nations have implied that there could be consequences for India’s ambivalence. Shortly after the invasion, U.S. President Joe Biden warned, “Any nation that countenances Russia’s naked aggression against Ukraine will be stained by association.” During a virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in early April, Biden pressed India to align itself with the Western nations in condemning Russia. Despite leaders from several Western during their recent visits to New Delhi expressing understanding for the Indian position, India has not heeded to the wishes of the West.

India has been focused on seeking to establish itself as a major player on the world stage, trying to be a moderate voice on international affairs, responding to the new realities of the world, establishing friendship with the US, sometimes in its own terms, less reliant on Russia and diversifying its dependence for military needs and trade with multiple nations.

India’s career diplomat turned politician, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has been talking tough on India’s position on Russia-Ukraine conflict. While responding to questions from world leaders on the crisis Jaishankar pointed to challenges in Asia and India’s neighborhood — in Afghanistan, and from China — and said it was a “wake-up call” for Europe to look at these instances where “problems have been happening”.

For instance, in response to Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi last week, Jaishankar said, “You talked about Ukraine. I remember less than a year ago what happened in Afghanistan, where the entire civil society was thrown under the bus by the world. We in Asia face our own sets of challenges, which often has an impact on the rules-based order.”

“For India, the past week, without a doubt, belonged to external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. It is hard to recall another foreign affairs minister who articulated India’s views so firmly and well in international for a,” Sandipan Deb  wrote in the popular magazine, The Mint.

“In recent weeks, Jaishankar has been sharp in his comments on Europe. In Washington DC, he said India’s total purchase of Russian energy for the month was “less than what Europe does in an afternoon”. Days earlier, speaking on the issue of sanctions as British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss listened, he said “it looks like a campaign,” Deb pointed out.

According to Jaishankar, India is prepared to take a much bigger role in global affairs and would help the world with more supplies of wheat to tame food inflation if WTO rules allow. He asserted the West has been oblivious to the pressing challenges facing Asia including last year’s events in Afghanistan and the continuous pressure on the rules-based order in the region.

However, while refraining from condemning Russia and not offering to mediate in the conflict just as some other neutral nations have done, it has been noted by analysts on foreign policy that  India is abdicating its rising role as a model democracy and world leader.

“Despite the rhetorical care the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has adopted to appear neutral, the time may have come for India, in its own interest, to rethink its stance,” Shashi Tharoor, an opposition member of India’s Parliament, a former Undersecretary General of the United Nations, who has served as Minister of the Government of India and Chair of the Indian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote in “Foreign Affairs.”

In recent days, India, still without naming Russia has criticized what is being done in Ukraine, in an effort to uphold the principles of international law India has traditionally upheld, especially, respect for the UN Charter and the sovereignty of states, the inviolability of borders, and opposition to the use of force to resolve political issues.

While pointing to the remarks by diplomat Shivshankar Menon, who stated, “Asia’s sense of its own difference—its focus on stability, trade, and the bottom line that has served Asian countries so well in the last 40 years,” Tharoor rightly says, “But it would be wrong to look at the reluctance to take sides that India and other developing countries in Asia have shown and conclude that a faraway war in Europe simply does not matter to the rest of the world. India’s dilemma is more complicated than its repeated abstentions on the Ukraine question imply, and it illustrates why the world order cannot simply remain what it was before the invasion.”

While describing India’s growing importance on world stage, Tharoor pointed out how in recent years has gained prominence and admiration. Tharoor wrote, India became a founding member of the G-20 when that organization was established in 1999; concluded a nuclear deal with the United States in 2005 that was portrayed as enshrining an “Indian exception”; took over the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2006, dubbing itself “the world’s fastest-growing free market democracy”; won then President Barack Obama’s endorsement of India’s claims to a permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2010; got the UN to adopt an International Day of Yoga in 2015, showcasing its cultural soft power; and joined the quadrilateral security dialogue with the United States, Australia, and Japan known as the Quad.

With India’s recent stand in failing to condemn and isolate Russia, there are fears that India may face consequences for its ambivalence. Shortly after the invasion, U.S. President Joe Biden warned, “Any nation that countenances Russia’s naked aggression against Ukraine will be stained by association.”

“India’s lack of influence on Russia and failure to take a clear stand on the war have also undermined its case for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council,” Tharoor writes.

One way for India to salvage its reputation in the West would be to leverage its nonaligned position to play peacemaker on Ukraine. Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba had asked “India to use all influence in its relations with Russia to force it to cease military aggression against Ukraine.”

I am reminded of what Jaishankar elaborated in what has come to be called the “Jaishankar doctrine” in his 2020 book The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World. “Asserting national interests and securing strategic goals through various means is the dharma of a state,” he wrote. India must discard “political romanticism” and think in realpolitik terms. There are no true friends or allies; the world is a “transactional bazaar”, a fact that India has long been in denial of. In this marketplace, India must advance and maximize its “national interests by identifying and exploiting opportunities created by global contradictions,” he wrote.

If that principle “no true friends or allies” in the world market place, it is time for India to come out of the shadow of past dependence on Soviet Union and show the world that India stands with truth, condemn aggression, deny autocracy and tyranny, respect true freedom, human rights and true democracy, and stand with and lead by example in India and around the world, India respects and appreciates freedom and democracy in letter and spirit.

“India And Indian Americans Need To Think About The Possibility Of A Reduction In Defense Supplies From Russia:” Dr. Sampat Shivangi

The world order has changed since the Ukraine war, said Dr. Sampat Shivangi, National President of Indian American Forum and a past Legislative Committee Chairman of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) after he attended a breakfast meeting last week with Senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican Senator from Mississippi.

“Here is a great opportunity for India that Senator Roger Wicker who is a great friend of India can help India in providing the defense needs of the country and with better technologies than Russia, even though Russia has been a steady partner of India,” said Shivangi, after his 1:1 meeting with the Ranking Member of the Senate Arms Services Committee last week.

“In a changing world order, post-Ukraine invasion, India and Indian Americans think about the possibility of reduction in defense supplies from Russia to India a steady friend and partner of India for many decades,” the veteran AAPI leader told this writer. “With plummeting and devastating effects of war, can Russia provide assured suppliers to India especially possible ban of Western digital supplies to Russia in their defense production?” Dr. Shivangi, a physician, and an influential Indian-American community leader asked.

The ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia has exposed the vulnerabilities of Russia made weapons and their effectiveness. While India has been a long-time friend and defense purchaser of Russia. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, since 2010, Russia has been the source of nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of all Indian arms imports and India has been the largest Russian arms importer, accounting for nearly one-third (32 per cent) of all Russian arms exports.

Between 2016 and 2020, India accounted for nearly one-quarter (23 per cent) of Russia’s total arms exports and Russia accounted for roughly half (49 per cent) of Indian imports, the CRS report said.

Dr. Shivangi is of the opinion that “It is apt time India should think alternative suppliers source. What can be a better source than US? We have a great opportunity here as our Senior Senator from Mississippi has been elected as a Ranking member of the US Armed Service Committee of the US Senate.  With his assistance and good offices, especially after 2+2 summit, I hope and look forward to such increased collaboration with the successful Indo pacific QUAD treaty.

With India being in a tough neighborhood, Russia will not be able to provide or be a major supplier to India as with its war with Ukraine it has lost an enormous amount of its war machinery and a Western ban on high tech imports. As a result, it will be tougher for Russia to provide its arms and technology to India, Shivangi said in a statement after his meeting with Wicker. It’s noteworthy that during Monday’s 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, India and the US have agreed to step up military-to-military cooperation.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi has been a conservative life-long member of the Republican party, hailing from a strong Republican state of Mississippi.  He is the founding president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian-origin in Mississippi and is the past president and chair of the India Association of Mississippi. Advisor to US department of Health & Human Services at NHSC Washington, DC 2005-2008 President Bush Administration

A conservative life-long member of the Republican Party, Dr. Shivangi is the founding member of the Republican Indian Council and the Republican Indian National Council, which aim to work to help and assist in promoting President Elect Trump’s agenda and support his advocacy in the coming months.

As the National President of Indian American Forum for Political Education, one of the oldest Indian American Associations, Dr. Shivangi, has lobbied for several Bills in the US Congress on behalf of India through his enormous contacts with US Senators and Congressmen over the past three decades.

A close friend to the Bush family, Dr. Shivangi has been instrumental in lobbying for first Diwali celebration in the White House and for President George W. Bush to make his trip to India. He had accompanied President Bill Clinton during his historic visit to India.

Dr. Shivangi is a champion for women’s health and mental health, whose work has been recognized nationwide. Dr. Shivangi has worked enthusiastically in promoting India Civil Nuclear Treaty and recently the US India Defense Treaty that was passed in US Congress and signed by President Obama.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, an obstetrician/gynecologist, has been elected by a US state Republican Party as a full delegate to the National Convention. He is one of the top fund-raisers in Mississipi state for the Republican Party. Besides being a politician by choice, the medical practitioner is also the first Indian to be on the American Medical Association, the apex law making body.

Days after the high-profile visit to India and the remarks by Mr. Daleep Singh, Deputy National Security Advisor to President Joe Biden at the White House recently, Dr. Shivangi hoped that this would not have a major impact on the Indo-US ties. “Many in India and many Indian Americans felt that Daleep Singh’s remarks were abrasive, coming from a fellow Indian American. Hopefully, his remarks have not muddled the water as reported in Indian media,” Mississippi-based Shivangi said in a statement. “India is a major QUAD partner of the US and will continue to have strong ties and mutual respect and friendship in the coming days,” he added.

Singh got front-page attention as the architect of economic sanctions against Russia in its war against Ukraine, he said. During his visit to India, Daleep Singh, in his interaction with reporters, cautioned India against expecting Russia to come to the country’s defense if China were to violate the Line of Actual Control as the two countries are now in a “no limits partnership”.

While moderating a session on “Latte with Legislators” organized by AAPI, Dr. Shivangi lamented that there is “a new wave of Anti-Indian American sentiments especially against Indian Physician group which makes up 15% of Doctors in the US,” Dr. Shivangi, feels, “IIt may be due to Indian Americans have the highest per capita income and highest education level in the nation.”

Calling it as “prejudicial” Dr. Shivangi, urged that “we need to resolve this prejudice against minorities. With this in mind, I requested Congressmen Jamie Ruskin from Maryland to seek his advice and possible way to resolve this. Congressman Ruskin was very supportive and offered his unconditional support.”

After meeting with the top Republican Senator, Dr. Shivangi thanked the Senator Roger Wicker for advocating that the US should help India address its defense needs so as to reduce its dependence on Russia. Recently, Wicker introduced a Bill in the US Senate to cut the backlog of thousands of Indians who are waiting on their Green Cards for decades. “He was gracious enough to introduce this Bill at my request, which was a great honor for me and many Indian Americans. He continues to fight for the cause of Indian Immigrants,” Dr. Shivangi said.

New York & SIAEA With the Consulate General of India In New York Celebrate Culture of India at Virtual Holi Festival GOPIO

Holi is the national festival of colors, celebrated across India in different forms and traditions. The celebration of this colorful festival brings people of different faiths with diverse socio-political ideologies closer.

This message of unity in diversity was shared by the Chief Guest, India’s Consul General in New York, Randhirkumar Jaiswal during the annual Holi celebrations organized by GOPIO New York Chapter in collaboration with the Society of Indo-American Engineers Architects (SIAEA) in collaboration with the Consulate General of India In New York on Sunday, March 20th, 2022.

Chief guest and honored distinguished guests speakers of the event:

In his eloquent address to the Diaspora community, Ambassador Jaiswal greeted the participants from around the world on the occasion of Holi Festival, who had joined from all major continents on Earth, as hundreds of Indian Diaspora members came together virtually to celebrate the Festival of Holi. While describing the historical and symbolic traditions of the festival of Holi, the veteran diplomat said, “Holi is a very beautiful festival of color. A festival that helps us welcome spring. Holi has several connotations, social, religious, political, and rhythmic with nature. Holi is about togetherness, unity and oneness, and holding hands together, celebrating the goodness and kindness of humanity,” he said. He urged the participants to take a moment out to pray for peace.

Congressman Tom Suozzi of Long Island, NY greeted the community with “Holi Mubarak” to all. Describing Holi as an exciting time for all, a great friend of India and the Indian American community, Rep. Suozzi said, “It’s great to be with you all to celebrate the festival of Holi, which reminds us of all that Spring is in the air as the flowers start blooming and we await new life and happiness. Thank you for your continued support, and I will do everything in my power to represent the Indian American community in Long Island at the US Congress and the interests of India.” Recalling his childhood as a first generation Irish American, he was taught to remember the 3 Is, Ireland, Italy, and Israel, and now, “There are for Is: Ireland, Italy, Israel and India.”

In her message, NY Senator Ana Kaplan, greeted the Indian community in New York a very Happy Holi. She praised the contributions and achievements of the Indian American community. She recalled how in her own tradition; her community celebrates the arrival of the Spring. “New York is a melting pot that brings people of all faiths and of all backgrounds,” she said, and wished, May all of us experience peace, overcoming all hurdles on the way.”

New York Senator Kevin Thomas shared with the audience how he has made it a point to bring Holi and other Indian festivals to the New York State Chambers, distributing Samosas and sweets to the members of the elected officials in Albany. He invited GOPIO to join him and other elected officials in Albany to celebrate Holi in person, after having to celebrate Holi virtually in the past 2 years due to Covid. “We hope, this is the last of all virtual celebrations,” he said, and hoped that “From now on, we can celebrate the festivities in person, meeting one another, joining our hands together,” he said.

The colorful Holi celebrations depicting the rich cultural heritage of India, organized by the GOPIO New York, the first Chapter of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, showcased the rich, colorful, and vibrant traditions of India, bringing them at the doorsteps of every household, as the audience from around the world were entertained with mesmerizing music, scintillating dance performances, and inspiring speeches.

Lal Motwani, Chairman of GOPIO New York and Executive Trustee of GOPIO International, and former president of the SIAEA, in his address, greeted Honorable India’s Consul General of New York, RandhirKumar Jaiswal and officials, members and the leaders of GOPIO from around the world who have joined virtually to celebrate the colorful festival of Holi.

“The vibrancy of colors is something that brings in a lot of positivity in our lives and Holi being the festival of colors is actually a day worth rejoicing,” Motwani said. “Holi is considered as one of the most revered and celebrated festivals of India and it is celebrated in almost every part of India, transcending every region, and people of all faiths, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsees, Buddhists, and Jains. It represents the uniqueness of Indian culture as we, from all backgrounds stand united to welcome Spring, as Mother Nature breathes freshness into our lives and that of every living creature on Earth. Welcome to each and every one of you and wishing you and your families A VERY HAPPY HOLI!”

Ketan Shah, President of SIAEA served as co-emcee and introduced the speakers, executive team of GOPIO and SIAEA boards at the event and thanked the several sponsors who made the event successful by their financial support. Major sponsors among all are ICC (Grand Sponsor), Monpat Construction and Nadiad Construction (GOLD Sponsors), Amil Patel, SIAEA president-elect, Gary Wowk Founder of K Construction, Bina Sabapathy, Navneet Kothari, Dhiraj Ahuja were among the SILVER sponsors. Swathi and Aaishwariya Gulani, Miss India USA 2020 were master emcees who gracefully presented the cultural part of the program. Dharmatma Saran of the Miss India Worldwide Pageants coordinated the cultural extravaganza. Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International in his greetings to the community on the occasion of Holi, complemented GOPIO New York and SIAEA for hosting the Holi celebrations.

Second-generation Indian Americans, including a 16-yr old Aditi shared with the audience their perspectives, experiences of celebrating Holi and what it meant for them.  A beautiful Hindi poem on Holi composed and narrated by Anju and Sneha Singhi, a young artist was appreciated by one and all. Members of the dance troupe led by Staya Narayn Charka of the Ananda Ashram performed Kathakali, reliving the stories from the Indian Epic, Mahabharat. Navya Paingoal, Renu Kundem, and Michelle Sadat a fine vocalist also delighted the event with their beautiful singing.

A live Bollywood medley by Anwar Hussain and friends from Jaipur, India representing a family of 12 generations serving the royals, was much appreciated, and loved by all. Begum of Bollywood Maharaja from Jaipur, a famous singer who is the 1st woman from her community to perform publicly, mesmerized the audience with her beautiful voice. She was recently honored by the President of India for her contributions to art and culture.

Miss Teen India Sidhya Ganesh from the state of Washington delighted the audience with a live Holi Dance. The Chander family consisting of Anil, Harish, Gopi Arti Raj presented a Bollywood Medley, mesmerizing the audience with their beautiful voice singing some of the very popular numbers from the evergreen Hindi movies.  Dinesh Mirchandani, a founder, and CEO of Sargam Music Academy delighted the occasion with his classical vocal singing.

Anindita Nanda, a classical dancer and choreographer, who has presented and produced over 500 shows in the past two decades and a scientist in Pharma from Danbury CT presented Ganapathi Stothram and a Bharatnatyam Pallavi. A much sought-after touring artist, Anindita is regularly presented by Embassies, Museums, Universities, Libraries, Schools and Cultural Institutions across the United States, Europe, South America, and India. She is the founder and director of Sur-Taal, and She teaches in CT, NYC, Boston, West Coast, Germany, and Rome.

Beena Kothari, a prominent community leader and GOPIO – NY President poetically described the importance of Holi and served as an emcee of the event. Holi has become known as India’s most vivid, joyous festival.  Holi is being celebrated in the Indian subcontinent for centuries, with poems documenting celebrations dating back to the 4th century CE. It marks the beginning of spring after a long winter, symbolic of the triumph of good over evil. It is celebrated in March, corresponding to the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna. On the eve of the festival, large pyres are lit in many parts of India to signify the burning of evil spirits.

Talented Performers of the event:

In the end, Ketan Shah, Co-host and president of SIAEA thanked all Honorable guests, dignitaries, Performers, Participants, Viewers, Sponsors, and executive committees of both GOPIO-NY and SIAEA.

Shree Saini Crowned First Runner-Up At Miss World Pageant

Shree Saini, a former Miss India USA and Miss India Worldwide, has been crowned as the first runner-up at 70th edition of the Miss World 2021 pageant held in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Coca-Cola Music Hall, on Wednesday, March 16th, 2022. The 26-year-old Ludhiana-born Indian American represented the United States at the beauty pageant.

Karolina Bielawska of Poland was crowned Miss World 2021, which was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Karolina is currently pursuing her Master’s in Management and hopes to get a PhD too, according to the Miss World organization.

Introducing the winners, Miss World organization tweeted: “Our newly crowned Miss World Karolina Bielawska from Poland with 1st Runner Up Shree Saini from US 2nd Runner up Olivia Yace from Côte d’Ivoire.”

Toni-Ann Singh, Miss World 2020, also graced the event by performing a special number ‘The Prayer’ to show her support for Ukraine in the midst of its conflict with Russia. “Our current Miss World Toni-Ann Singh performs ‘The Prayer’ as we light candles around the world to stand with Ukraine. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house #mwcandlesforukraine.” tweeted from Miss World’s handle.

Beautiful, compassionate, talented, ambitious, gentle, humble, determined and dedicated to achieving the lofty goals in life, she has set before herself at a very young age, Shree Saini is a woman with a golden heart.

Shree Saini is from Punjab’s Ludhiana, but moved to Washington, DC with her family when she was five. Shree grew up in Moses Lake in Washington state, has been living with a pacemaker since the age of 12. With a heartbeat rate of 20 per minute, doctors ruled her out for her first love — ballet. But, literally dancing against all odds, Saini became a trained ballerina and has been accepted as a trainee by the prestigious Joffrey Ballet, based out of Chicago.

The story of Shree is one of resilience over adversities that would daunt even the sturdiest individuals. In October 2019, Saini collapsed right before the final night of the Miss World America competition, where she eventually got to wear the crown, which she accepted from Miss World 1997 Diana Hayden.

Taking to Instagram that evening, Saini’s mother, Ekta Saini, said that doctors had kept her daughter on “cardiac arrest watch” because just 1 per cent of individuals around the world get a pacemaker implant. Undeterred by the episode, Saini went on to be crowned Miss World America 2020.

Before she left for Miss World earlier this month, Saini shared a “global message of hope and resilience” in which spoke about how she survived a “major rollover car accident that left my face with bleeding wounds” while she was still in university.

Recalling that horrific episode, Saini wrote: “I no longer had my face. I couldn’t even recognise myself. I couldn’t even cry because my tears would burn as they would pass down my wounds. It was the most excruciating pain I had ever endured.”

The Instagram post, which went viral after Saini became the first runner-up at Miss World 2021, concluded with her urging her social media followers “to keep being solution-oriented … to never lose sight of hope … to have a possibility mindset … and to apply solutions to everyday difficulties”.

Shree was crowned Miss World America 2021 in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, October 2nd, 2021. Diana Hayden crowned Shree Saini, who is also the first Indian-origin contestant to represent America on a global stage. “I am happy and quite nervous. I can’t express my feelings (in words). All the credit goes to my parents, especially my mother because of whose support I am here. Thank you Miss World America for this honor,” Shree Saini said in her statement, after the crowning moment. Saini wrote on her Instagram, “I am the first American of Indian origin and first Asian to be crowned Miss World America.”

An advocate for heart health, Saini has had a permanent pacemaker since she was 12 and overcame a major car accident which left her with burns all over her face. But she rarely if ever lets any of that hold her back or define her.

Shree Saini, who has been recognized by several organizations and states and world renowned persons for her work and is aspiring to be an actor, told this writer during a recent interview “I am now “Miss World America Washington,” which is preliminary to Miss World America and Miss World! Miss World Titles have been won by Aishwarya Rai and Priyanka Chopra. It’s the largest and the most philanthropic pageant, having raised 1.3 billion dollars for charities around the world. And I want to promote the many charitable initiatives this noble organization does all around the world.”

The official Instagram handle of Miss World America shared the news with a caption that read as, “Shree, who is currently Miss World America Washington, also holds the prestigious position of “MWA National Beauty with a Purpose Ambassador,” a position she earned by working tirelessly to help those less fortunate and in need. Among her many accomplishments, her work has been recognized by UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, Susan G Komen, and many others. We are certain Shree will continue to immaculately embody Beauty With A Purpose, and no doubt will be successful in raising awareness and attention to the Miss World America mission. Stay tuned and follow the Miss World America 2021 journey!”

Shree Saini has also been crowned Miss India Worldwide 2018 at a pageant held in the Fords City of New Jersey. “My dance journey began when I was only 3 years old, but a substantial part of my dance journey was filled with both physical and emotional hardships. When I was 12, I was diagnosed with a complete heart block. I had to get a pacemaker surgery. The average age of a pacemaker recipient is age 80. Cardiologists told me I could never dance again,” Shree had noted on her social media.

Instead of giving up, Shree Saini went back to dance class with her left arm tied up in a cast and practiced up to 6 hours a day in order to regain her strength. Saini noted on media that even though “dance is a very competitive, cut-throat, high stakes sport”, she wants to “encourage teachers, students, parents to always be uplifting, emphatic, especially when it’s difficult. Real Love takes courage.”

Saini, who has studied at Harvard, has been trained in acting at the Yale actors conservatory. The Punjab native, who moved to Washington State when she was seven, experienced hardships while in high school, where she was bullied. For years, she said, she felt like an outcast at school for being a person of color. Shree has created an app on emotional heath at Stanford University. She has given hundreds of presentations in over 80 cities and six countries and written about 400 articles in newspapers on emotional fitness, via her non-profit shareesaini.org.

Shree says, “The best award is knowing that YOU made a POSITIVE difference in someone else’s life. A girl recently approached me after a talk and started crying. She mentioned that she had followed my journey for a while and felt encouraged to pursue her dreams, despite obstacles. I gave her a big HUG and started to tear up as well. WOW. Your positive words and actions do make a positive difference. Keep being EXTRA LOVING AND ENCOURAGING.

Being uprooted from one’s culture and dear ones was undoubtedly a major challenge. She had to experience hardships while in high school, where she was bullied. Young Shree fought bravely a heart ailment which required her to use a pacemaker. Shree, who had a pacemaker implanted at the age of 12 and was told that she would never be able to dance, is an inspiration for all. “I practice dance almost every day for several hours,” Shree says, pointing to the pacemaker she carries with her all the time.

After doctors diagnosed her with a congenital heart defect at the age of 12, Saini recalls how she struggled to adapt to the life-changing situation of needing a pacemaker while still in middle school, especially when other students did not treat her kindly as a result. “I truly believe your legacy is defined by how you make others feel and the positive difference you make in your lifetime,” said Shree, who started her non-profit organization, when she was 15. Shree said it was her dream to compete for a world title, which was started when she was in the elementary school.

“I have been the target of brutal emotional bullying. I was ridiculed in the most subtle ways, which is why I so often talk about ‘nonverbal’ bullying. For example, there were many instances where I was left out of events or edited out of pictures, and daily ‘whispered about’ by others. As a result of this treatment, there were many times when I would cry in my school’s restrooms or come home in tears after dance class… yet I persevered.

“My family helped me endure,” she explains. “My mom said, ‘the way people treat you has nothing to do with you, but has everything to do with them.’ She empowered me to step up and be even more compassionate towards those who hurt me, and to never give up on my true belief in always being kind.”

In order to reprogram her brain towards more positive thoughts and reach an understanding of how she could find inner peace in spite of all the negativity, she read extensively. “I read books and essays on achieving a more powerful mindset, responding to acts of hate with compassion, and the true value of emotional fitness and what can be done to address the lack of education around it. From what I have learned, I have formed my personal mantra: ‘Giving powerful responses to life’s struggles while being a positive contributor to every situation.’”

After dealing with her own personal experiences, Saini penciled her thoughts in a journal, which she said helped change her from a victim to an empowered young woman. The journals in her diary turned to newspaper clippings in local papers in Washington. “In a society mainly obsessed with physical fitness, emotional problems are dismissed,” noted the young activist. “Emotional well-being is necessary to have a healthy body and mind,” she says.

These experiences did not deter young Shree from pursuing her life’s mission.  “My journey went from a silent sufferer to a bitter person and finally an enabled victor,” she says. “If anything, the physical challenges and social pressures fueled her – all the way to the Joffrey Ballet and beyond, including winning the title of Miss India USA.”

Shree gives credit to her parents, Sanjay and Ekta Saini, who have not only supported her dreams, but have gone beyond to help her succeed at every step of the way. Pointing to her mother, Ekta, Shree says, “My mother is my role model, who has been with me, supported me and have encouraged me to work hard and realize my dreams.”

Regarding her future goals and ambitions, Shree is candid about her choices. If good offers come her way, Shree is open to acting in movies, whether it be in Bollywood or Hollywood. Another effective way to showcase her talents and still more importantly, another way to champion and spread her message for a better, just and peaceful world. “Meanwhile, I want to continue working on my nonprofit and become an ambassador of emotional health by continuing to visit as many places as possible, spreading my positive message of hope,” Saini says.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im7eb8b68Ek

Rev. Thomas J. Netto Consecrated As Archbishop Of Trivandrum Latin Archdiocese

Rev. Fr. Thomas J. Netto, born on December 29th, 1964 was installed as the Archbishop of the Latin Archdiocese of Trivandrum during a solemn episcopal ordination ceremony, attended by tens of thousands of devotees, religious, community, and political leaders at St Sebastian’s Church Grounds, Chreuvettukadu, Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala on Saturday, March 19th, 2022.

Archbishop  Netto, 58, is the second Archbishop of the Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram. Addressing the attendees at the conclusion of the ceremony, Archbishop Netto said the responsibility bestowed upon him was challenging but one he accepted with utmost humility.

Known among his priest friends and the larger Catholic community in Kerala, the state with the maximum number of Christians in the country, having as many as 20% of the state’s population being Christian, the newly consecrated Archbishop Netto is known for his simplicity, goodness at heart, down to earth approach and cordial relationship with one and all.

Archbishop Thomas J Netto was appointed as the archbishop of Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram during the Holy Mass at St Joseph’s Cathedral at Palayam over two months ago. He is known for his oratory and writing skills and had a key role in the publication of diocesan mouthpiece Jeevanum Velichavum.

The nearly four hours long liturgical and felicitation ceremony began with a reception accorded to the Archbishop-designate who was led to the venue in the accompaniment of nearly 20 Metropolitans representing various dioceses and denominations and several clergy members. M. Soosa Pakiam, the Apostolic Administrator of the Thiruvananthapuram Archbishop, was the chief celebrant for the episcopal ordination. He presented the episcopal ring along with the staff and miter to the newly-ordained Archbishop.

Both the Latin and the Malayalam translation of the Papal order appointing Msgr. Netto as the Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram was read out at the ceremony that was attended by Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the Vatican’s Apostolic Envoy to India. In his message, the Vatican ecclesiastical diplomat said he viewed Kerala to be known for its religious places of worship, Carnatic music that combines both Indian and Dravidian culture, the Periyar river that is its ‘lifeline’ and its highest literacy level in the country, among other unique features.

The archbishop was anointed with the oil of sacred chrism, ring placed on his finger, the miter on his head, and given the pastoral staff. Thereafter, the ‘Laying on of Hands’ ceremony was held followed by the Prayer of Ordination. Earlier, the installation commenced with the Archdiocesan Chancellor Monsignor C. Joseph making the customary request to ordain Monsignor Netto. The co-celebrants included Varappuzha Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil and Neyyattinkara Bishop Vincent Samuel.

Delivering the benediction, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, Major Archbishop-Catholicos of Malankara Syrian Catholic Church, called upon the new Archbishop to lead the coastal population from the front for their rights and betterment. The benefactors of such efforts must not be the parishioners alone, but the entire community in the region. He also recounted the selfless deeds of the fisher-folks in rescuing those stranded in the floods of 2018.

Elected representatives from the Kerala state, including Transport Minister Antony Raju, Shashi Tharoor, MP, Kadakampally Surendran, M. Vincent, several MLAs, were among those who turned up to witness the ceremony.

The new archbishop was appointed, after the retiring Archbishop Soosapakiam, who turned 75 last March, 2021, had submitted his resignation as per the Canon Law. His Holiness Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Most Rev. Maria Callist Soosa Pakiam (75) on February 2nd, 2022. Archbishop Pakiam, who was born on March 11th, 1946 at Marthandumthurai, Tamilnadu was ordained a priest on December 20th, 1969. At the age of 43, he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Trivandrum Diocese and ordained Bishop on February 2nd, 1990. He was succeeded Bishop of Trivandrum on January 31st, 1991 at the age of 44. When the Trivandrum diocese was elevated as the Archdiocese on  June 17, 2004 he became the first Metropolitan Archbishop and was installed as the Archbishop of Trivandrum on August 23rd, 2004.

Rev. Fr. Thomas J. Netto was born to Jessayan Netto and Isabella Netto on December 29, 1964.An alumnus of St. Xavier’s College, Thumba, he attended the St. Vincent’s Minor Seminary at Palayam. After attending St. Vincent’s Minor Seminary in Trivandrum (1980-1983), he studied Philosophy at St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Carmelgiri, followed by Theology at St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Mangalapuzha, Alwaye.  Archbishop Netto holds a M. A. Degree in Sociology from the University of Kerala and, in 1999, he obtained a Doctorate in Dogmatic Theology (Ecclesiology) from the Pontificia Università Urbaniana.

During his long pastoral ministry, serving the Church, Archbishop Netto has held the following offices: He was the parish vicar in Peringamala (1990-1991) and of the Cathedral of Palayam (1991-1995) and executive secretary for ecumenism and interreligious dialogue (1994-1995).  He then served as parish priest in Pettah (1999-2003), and executive secretary for the Basic Christian Communities (2000-2004) and rector of Saint Vincent’s Minor Seminary in Trivandrum (2003-2010).

Since 2007, he has served as a member of the College of Consultors, director of the Board for Clergy and Religious Life (2008-2010), chargé at Saint Anthony’s Forane Church in Valiayathura (2009-2010), parish priest in Thope, coordinator (2010-2014) and episcopal vicar of Ministers (2014-2018).  From 2018 to the present, he served as parish priest of Saint Augustine’s Church, Murukumpuzha, vicar forane of Kazhakkuttom and editor of the diocesan journal Jeevanum Velichavum.

Christianity claims its presence in Kerala since the 1st century itself. Its inception was supposed to be by 52 AD with the arrival of St. Thomas, the Apostle, in this land. However, Christianity in the Latin archdiocese of Trivandrum dates back to the time of the arrival of the Portuguese in India and perhaps earlier. With the arrival of the Portuguese but especially with the advent of the pioneer missionary, St Francis Xavier, Christianity spread far and wide in these parts with the result that by the close of the sixteenth century there were well-established Christian communities along the Trivandrum coast.

The saintly Bishop Benziger who became coadjutor Bishop of Quilon in 1900 and Bishop in 1905 was the apostle who propagated Christianity in the Diocese through the fragrance of his saintly life, wise leadership and unceasing assistance to his missionary priests. In 1931 when he retired to the Carmel Hill Monastery, Trivandrum, there were Christian communities established in almost all places of the interior region .As early as 1919, Bishop Benziger recommended the establishment of the Diocese of Trivandrum, but it materialized only after his retirement.

The diocese of Trivandrum was established by His Holiness Pope Pius XI on July 1, 1937 through the Bull “In Ora Malabarica” with the four taluks of Neyyantinkara, Nedumangad, Trivandrum and Chirayinkeezh bifurcated from the diocese of Quilon.

The Diocese is bounded on the north by the Diocese of Quilon, on the east by the Ghats, on the west by the Arabian Sea and on the south by the Dioceses of Kottar and Kuzhithurai. The Archdiocese of Trivandrum is one of the largest dioceses of Kerala, having a Catholic population of over 250,000 Catholics, with a majority of the 90 percent of the faithful belonging to the traditional fishing community, who are among the lowest ranks of the ladder of the social strata in India, but are rich in faith and customs/traditions.

In the year 2004 Pope John Paul II was pleased to elevate Trivandrum diocese as an Archdiocese with Alappuzha, Kollam, Punalur and Neyyatinkara as its suffragent dioceses. Bishop Soosa Pakiam was elevated as the first Archbishop of this ecclesiastical region.

The Archdiocese celebrated its platinum jubilee in 2012, marking the entry into the adult age of diocesan activities. A new diocese of Neyyattinkara was bifurcated from Trivandrum on June 14th, 1996 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II through the Apostolic Bull ‘Ad Aptius Provehendum.’  Trivandrum was raised to the status of Archdiocese on June 17th, 2004 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. The archdiocese now comprises of a large part of the Trivandrum district and a section of the costal parishes in the district of Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.

Previous Ordinaries, who had led the strong Latin Catholic community of Trivandrum archdiocese were:  Archbishop Maria Calist Soosa Pakiam (31 Jan 1991 Succeeded – 2 Feb 2022 Retired); Archbishop Jacob Acharuparambil OFM Cap (1979-1991); Archbishop Peter Bernard Pereira (1966-1978); and, Bishop Vincent Dereira OCD (1937-1966).  On February 2nd, 2016 Rev. Fr. Christudas Rajappan was appointed as the auxiliary bishop of the diocese and will continue to serve as the auxiliary bishop under the dynamic and talented leadership of the newly ordained Archbishop Thomas J. Netto.

Narendra Modi Invites Pope Francis To Visit India During Meeting With Pope At The Vatican

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Pope Francis at the Vatican Saturday in his first meeting with the head of the sovereign of the Vatican City State on Saturday, October 30, 2021. The meeting between the Hindu nationalist party leader and Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, assumes significance as it comes at a time when Christians in many parts of India have been complaining of harassment and attacks on the community and its institutions.

The two leaders discussed with Pope Francis issues covering a range of areas of interest, including COVID-19, general global perspectives and maintaining peace and tranquility. After the meeting, Modi tweeted, with pictures of him embracing the Pope, “Had a very warm meeting with Pope Francis. I had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with him and also invited him to visit India.”

A Vatican source has told the media that Vatican officials were “happily surprised” by the invitation, as they had no advance notice from either the government or from the Catholic Church in India that Mr. Modi would invite the pope to visit the country. Because Pope Francis and the Catholic Church and Christians in India consider the visit very important, it is likely to be given priority in Vatican scheduling; it could even take place in the second half of next year, according to reports.

The meeting took place in the pope’s private library on the second floor of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. Pope Francis, the leader of more than 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide, and Mr. Modi, who governs the world’s largest democracy of almost 1.4 billion people, sat at a table and talked together with the aid of interpreters for 55 minutes.

The meeting was long by Vatican standards. The Vatican issued a very brief statement that revealed almost nothing of the content of their conversation except to say that they acknowledged the good relations that exist between India and the Holy See. The Holy See and India established diplomatic relations in 1948, soon after the country gained its independence.

After their private conversation, Mr. Modi presented his five-person delegation, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs, S. J. Jaishanakar, the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, and India’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Jaideep Mazumdar.

Pope Francis and the Prime Minister then exchanged gifts. Modi gave the Pope a silver candlestick and a copy of The Climate Climb. Pope Francis gave Modi a bronze plaque with the inscription “the desert will become a garden,” and copies of the pope’s writings, including his encyclicals “Laudato Si’” and “Fratelli Tutti,” as well as the “Document on Human Fraternity” and his message for the 2021 World Day of Peace.

Pope Francis would be the third pope to visit India. Paul IV traveled to Mumbai in 1964 to attend the International Eucharistic Congress, while John Paul II visited India in February 1986 and again in November 1999, the latter time for the presentation of his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Asia.”

Modi is the fifth Indian Prime Minister to have visited the head of Roman Catholics, the largest religious denomination in the world. Before Modi, Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, I K Gujral, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had met the then Popes in the Vatican. It is not just Prime Ministers who have paid a visit to the Holy See. Communist veteran and former Chief Minister of Kerala E K Nayanar presented a Bhagavad Gita to Pope John Paul II in 1997 and he kept a rosary presented by the Pope throughout his life. Nayanar was accompanied by current Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who was then a minister in his government. When he visited Pope Francis in October 2019, Union Minister V Muraleedharan also gifted a Bhagavad Gita to him.

The Prime Minister’s meeting with the Pope has been welcomed by the Church. Major Archbishop Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, who was the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) and who had requested Modi to invite the Pope to India in 2014, saw it as a fresh opportunity for dialogue between the government and the community. “This has a historical importance,” Cardinal Cleemis said.

“The meeting should not be seen merely as the one between two country heads, rather it was the head of the largest democracy and an ancient culture of the world meeting the head of the largest religious community in the world. This brings in hope for enhancing human fraternity and caring for the poor, because that’s what Christianity stands for. It would bring in positive efforts in India for a mutual trust and collaboration between people of different religious groups. It would also contribute to the very need for dialogues. We are very delighted that the Prime Minister has opened ways for a Papal visit to India,” the Cardinal Cleemis told the media.

Modi’s visit has been excitedly welcomed by the Catholic Church. Even before the government officially announced the visit, the president of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference, Cardinal George Alenchery, issued a statement that it would “add more energy and warmth to the relations between our country and the Vatican and the Catholic Church”. According to media reports, the welcome note by Cardinal Cleemis and earlier by Cardinal George Alencherry, President of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (KCBC), have rekindled the BJP’s hopes on building confidence in the community towards the party, leaders said.

Christians account for some 2.3 percent of India’s population, behind Hindus who make up 79.8%, and Muslims are 14.2%. of the total Indian population. With over 28 million Christians living across India, including 20 million Catholics, the Catholic Church plays a significant social role in India—especially in the fields of education and health care.

One contentious issue between Christians and Modi’s political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is Christian proselytization in India, which Hindu fundamentalists and some politicians in the BJP have accused Christians and the Catholic Church of in the past. Pope Francis has stated clearly that the church has no intention of proselytizing in India.

A joint fact-finding team of non-governmental organisations, including the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights, United Against Hate and United Christian Forum, recently presented a report – after visiting Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand – which pointed out a series of attacks against Christians and churches in these states. Sources in the Catholic Church in the national capital said the influential Kerala Church has been ignoring the attacks against the community in northern parts of the country.

With Christians being a community that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to establish as its support base to retain power in poll-bound Goa and Manipur and to emerge as a formidable electoral force in Kerala,  Modi’s meeting with Pope Francis, and his invitation to the Pontiff to visit India assumes much significance, sources in the BJP said.

While Christians in Kerala comprise 18.38 per cent of its population, in Goa it is 25.1 per cent while the figure is 41.2 per cent in Manipur. Both Manipur and Goa are headed for polls early next year. Despite its desperate attempts, the BJP’s vote share has gone down from 15.53 per cent (2019) to 12.47 per cent in the Assembly elections held on April 6 this year. Political observers pointed out that the fall in vote share indicated that there was no overwhelming support for the party’s candidates from the Christian community.

Pointing out that minorities, both Christians and Muslims, have been the “subject of consistent attacks” by right-wing forces since the BJP came into power in 2014, Father Suresh Mathew, editor of church publication Indian Currents said, “BJP has spared no efforts and even supported every attack and hate speech against Christians. Several states have enacted anti-conversion laws which are in violation of the Constitution. Time has come for the Church leadership in India to shed diplomacy and express their concern for religious freedom and human rights protection,” Fr Mathew said.

The Prime Minister, who is in Italy to attend the G20 Summit, briefed the Pope about the ambitious initiatives taken by India in combating climate change as well as India’s success in administering one billion Covid-19 vaccination doses. Prime Minister Modi will also attend the Climate Summit to be held in Glasgow from Sunday. His Holiness appreciated India’s assistance to countries in need during the pandemic, the release said. At the end of the audience, Pope Francis escorted Modi to the door and said, “I am happy, very happy. Pray for me!” Mr. Modi responded, “I hope to see you in India.”

Dr. V. K. Raju Receives Excellence in Medicine Award from GOPIO – Virginia Launches UK Chapter of The Eye Foundation To Prevent Childhood Blindness

Dr. Vadrevu K. Raju, a renowned ophthalmologist, president and founder of the Eye Foundation of America was awarded with the Excellence in Medicine Award by GOPIO – Virginia on Sunday October 3rd, 2021.

Dr. V.K. Raju, who was born in Rajahmundry, AP, India, is a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at West Virginia University, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Director of the International Ocular Surface Society, Director of the Ocular Surface Research and Education Foundation, Chairman of Goutami Eye Institute in Rajahmundry and is the President and Founder of the Eye Foundation of America, a non-profit organization dedicated to realizing a world without childhood blindness.

Dr. Raju who was recently appointed to the Faculty of Department of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University recently, traveled to London last month to chair the first Board Meeting of The Eye Foundation of America (UK).

Dr. Raju said, “A new beginning has been done in UK for the Eye Foundation. During a dinner meeting with the Board of Directors and the friends of The Eye Foundation of America (UK), I was encouraged by the warmth and enthusiasm shown by many about the nature and extent of the work the Eye Foundation has been carrying on across the globe, working tirelessly to make the world without childhood blindness.

The Foundation was fortunate to have Uzbekistan Ambassador, H.E Said Rustamov as an hnored guest. Dr. Raju was a special guest at the Embassy of Uzbekistan and had attended Uzbekistan’s 30th Independence Day celebrations at Lords.

Dr. Raju expressed gratitude to all the Board members of the Foundation in UK, particularly, Ashwini Misro, Radhika Misro, and Raj Koppada for their enthusiasm and generosity in helping realize the mission of the Eye Foundation in preventing and treating childhood blindness and beyond in Uzbekistan.

Dr. V.K. Raju’s crusade for the past four decades has been to achieve his vision of a world without avoidable blindness. Since 1979, the Eye Foundation of America has expanded its reach to over 25 countries, screened millions of patients, and provided hundreds of thousands of surgeries. As Dr. Raju points out, prevention is more beneficial than disease management, and lifestyle changes can be preventive. His organization’s programs, which aim at prevention through education and lifestyle modifications, include the 100,000 Lives campaign in India and the WV Kids Farmer’s Market Program in West Virginia.

In 1977, he began traveling home to India to offer his services as an ophthalmologist to those who could not afford, or access, desperately needed eye care. The Eye Foundation of America founded by an Indian-American physician, is entering a new phase in its mission of ending avoidable blindness by collaborating with GAPIO (Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) and AAPI (American Association of Physicians of India Origin).

These preventive services and medical and surgical interventions were delivered in the form of eye camps in the early days, and the EFA was initially founded to allow for easier transfer of state-of-the-art equipment and medicine from the United States to India. As the Foundation matured, it became so much more. The EFA is now a global organization responsible for treating millions of patients, performing hundreds of thousands of surgeries, and training hundreds of eye care professionals to join in the global fight against preventable blindness.

The EFA’s work spans 30 countries over several continents. One focus of current outreach efforts is in the prevention of diabetes. Diabetes-related complications typically strike during the prime of life and include the development of cataracts at an earlier age than normal, a two-fold increased risk of glaucoma, and small blood vessel damage (i.e., diabetic retinopathy). Retinopathy can cause blindness; however, early detection and treatment can prevent blindness in up to 90% of cases. The International Diabetes Foundation estimates that 20% of the diabetic world population resides in India, approximately 61.3 million diabetics.

In 2018, 34.2 million Americans had diabetes. There are 229,000 people with diabetes in West Virginia and 8.3% of adults are borderline diabetic. West Virginia is ranked the #2 state for deaths involving diabetes. According to Dr. Raju, the prevalence of diabetes among Indians in India and West Virginians in the United States continues to rise rapidly, and in many ways, the diabetes epidemic in West Virginia is similar to that of India, as the populations share similar characteristics: they tend to be rural, poor, and underserved. Born in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, Raju earned his medical degree from Andhra University and completed an ophthalmology residency and fellowship at the Royal Eye Group of Hospitals in London.

Dr. VK Raju was among the class of 2017 inductees into the University of Toledo Global Medical Missions Hall of Fame, the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North America Telegu Society. Dr. Raju has published two books, seventeen chapters, and over 100 publications in scientific journals.

Dr. Raju has received numerous awards, including the AMA Foundation Nathan Davis Excellence in Medicine International Award, Four Time Awardee by The American Academy of Ophthalmology, Martin Luther King Jr Achievement Award from WVU, Distinguished Community Service Award from AAPI (American Association of Physicians from India), Pride of the Pride Award from Lions International District 29, Vaidya Ratna (conferred by Shankaracharya of Kanchi), Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Ophthalmologists of Indian Origin, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the WV State Medical Association.

Heart Disease Among South Asians Is Focus of AAPI Webinar

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and the nation spends over $500 billion on cardiovascular disease each year. Studies have shown that immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal are experiencing a dramatic rise in heart disease. South Asians make up 25 per cent of the world’s population but they contribute 50 per cent to global cardiovascular deaths.

In this context, as part of an ongoing awareness and education campaign about high risk heart disease in South Asians, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States presented two eminent speakers and experts, Dr. Enas Enas and Dr. Amit Kera, discussing ways to create awareness on Heart Disease Among South Asians during a webinar on Saturday, October 16th, 2021.

In her welcome address, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI, said, ” Today is World Restart a Heart Day. Today’s conference is being organized to educate and create awareness about the major health issue faced by South Asians and offer ways to mitigate Heart Disease.” Referring to the American Heart Association, Dr. Gotimukula pointed out that approximately 70 percent of Cardiac arrests occur outside the hospital. “Sudden Cardiac Arrest could be due to multiple reasons. Today’s CME is focused on Recent Advances in South Asian Heart Disease by 2 eminent Indian Americans who are in the forefront of research on this deadly disease.

In his lengthy and detailed presentation with anecdotes from his personal experiences in studying and treating patients with cardio issues, Dr. Enas Enas, provided a broader perspective on the “History and Magnitude of Heart Disease Among South Asians.” Sharing with the audience, how, during his early practice of Medicine, his personal experiences inspired him to get engaged in the research, treatment and prevention, dedicating his life for the cause of heart disease.

Dr. Enas referred to several research/studies around the world, showing high prevalence of CAD among Indians. “Indians have a big problem with premature heart disease,” Dr. Enas said and pointed out that 185,000 people of South Asian origin die of heart disease per year as against 15,000 Whites die of the same health issue. While referring to Mitigating Risk Factors, Dr. Enas recommended Indians to follow the American Heart Association developed Life Simple 7 with additional requirement for exercise and maintaining sugar level below 140.

Dr. Enas Enas, a cardiologist from Chicago and also Director of CADI  Coronary artery disease in Indians ) presented a historical perspective as to why the south Asians and especially, Indians have such high risk for heart disease, starting at very young age. Dr. Enas emphasized that traditional factors do not capture the entire risk and suggested that genetics especially LPA plays equally important role and advised all south Asians to get measurement of LP (a) at least once  in their life starting at young age.

A true pioneer, Dr. Enas is the first cardiologist to sound the alarm on the strikingly high rates and malignant nature of heart disease among Indians in the US and around the globe Dr. Enas is the first cardiologist to sound the alarm on the epidemic of coronary artery disease among Indians worldwide. As the principal investigator of the landmark CADI Study, he scientifically proved a 3-4 fold high rate of coronary artery disease among immigrants from India to the United States. He is also the first physician to identify and report a genetic predisposition to CAD in Asian Indians, mediated through lipoprotein(a) – a genetic variant of LDL cholesterol.

Dr. Amit Kera, a new rising star in Preventive Cardiology, built on that argument and presented genomic data to fill the gap and also pointed out that usual risk scoring has been done on Caucasians and cannot be extrapolated to south Asians. He advocated for the need for our own data  base and especially genomic data to go beyond coronary calcium score and use “ Polygenic score,” which can predict even  more accurately the risk of heart disease individually what he calls “Precision Medicine,” a futuristic concept, which he is working on as Associate Director at prestigious Broad institute affiliated with MIT and Harvard. Pointing to international studies that point to prevalence of Cardiovascular diseases high among South Asians, he said, Diabetes is diagnosed four times more among the Asians in comparison with Europeans.

Dr. Khera is a physician-scientist with expertise in epidemiology, clinical medicine, and human genetics. Among his scientific contributions, he developed a new approach to quantify genetic risk for common diseases, as well as the biomarkers that provide new biologic insights, and analyzed large-scale gene sequencing data to highlight key pathways underlying risk for coronary artery disease. His research program uses genetic variation as a tool to uncover new biology and enable enhanced clinical care informed by inherited susceptibility. He serves as the Associate Director, Precision Medicine Unit, Center for Genomic Medicine, MGH; Associate Director, Cardiovascular Disease Initiative, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Instructor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; and, Cardiologist, Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, MGH.

Dr. Brahma Sharma, Senior Faculty at the University of Pittsburgh affiliated Medical Center,  a co-host and moderator of the event, said, “While we are still trying to figure out different mechanisms for this enigma, that should not prevent but rather motivate to follow more aggressively life style modifications and pre-empt and prevent this silent epidemic that is taking a toll on young Indians and South Asians globally.” Dr. Sharma who is serving as the Chair of AAPI South Asian Heart Disease Committee and as the Chair AHA/ AAPI Liaison.

Dr. Amit Chakrbarty, who was a co-host and moderated the discussions, said, “In addition to educational webinars, we also plan to take this knowledge to grass root level via conducting mini- health screening camps across different cities with help of local AAPI chapters throughout USA and invite Global South Asian diaspora to join hands in this mission to prevent heart attacks and save lives.”

In her concluding remarks, urging the need for “Prevention is better than cure,” Dr. Gotimukula said, “Heart disease is the number one Global Public Health problem. South Asians are at a four-times greater risk of heart disease than their western counterparts and have a greater chance of having a heart attack before 50 years of age. Heart attacks strike South Asian Men and Women at younger ages, and as a result, both morbidity and mortality are higher among them compared to any other ethnic group. They tend to develop heart disease ten years earlier than other groups. Efforts to raise awareness of heart disease and promote “Healthy Heart” lifestyles is essential.”  For more information on AAPI and its programs, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI’s Panel Discussion Explores Ways To “End Domestic Violence”

An international web-conference on Ways to Prevent Domestic Violence, with renowned speakers from across the United States and India was organized by the Women’s Committee of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) on Sunday, October 17th, 2021.

Describing Domestic Violence as “a serious public health concern” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI, in her welcome address said, “October is Domestic Awareness Month. Nearly one in four women and one in seven men in the U.S. have experienced physical violence at the hands of their domestic partners, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The very important discussion today with an experts panel is aimed at helping AAPI members and the larger society to learn on ways to help promote healthy, respectful and nonviolent relationships.”

Dr. Seema Arora, past AAPI BOT Chair and currently serving as AAPI Women’s Committee Chair, introduced the panelists, and explained the significance of the Color Purple, which is a symbol of courage. Setting the stage and the context for this very important area of concern, Dr. Arora said, “October is ‘Domestic Violence Awareness’ month.  AAPI women’s physicians committee is trying to increase awareness towards this very prevalent but subdued age old problem that can affect any gender, race, region & socio-economic strata in a panel discussion with renowned panelists from around the world.”

Lata Rao, a Domestic Violence Survivor and Domestic Violence Advocate, referring briefly to her life in the past, focused more on her efforts to prevent domestic violence.  Describing her past and the “most dreadful events” she had experienced in her life, impacting her physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, she said, “I wanted to do something for myself” starting her own business which was resented by her ex- spouse.  “I encourage women not to be what I went through” but to be more independent. She told the audience how meeting with mentors and having a support system gradually changed her life, while forgiving and staying positive helped me start a new phase in her life. “Today, I use my experiences as a tool to support and educate other women,” Ms. Rao said.

Dr. Preeti Saran, Domestic Violence Survivor and currently practicing Family Medicine & Obesity Specialist at RNJ Barnabas Hospital, New Jersey, pointed out that Domestic Violence is prevalent in all parts of the world. Sharing her own life’s challenges and abuses, Dr. Saran said, “Coming from very traditional society back in India, initially I thought it was happening to me because of my background.” Married to a dominant person, who was demanding, but suspicious and with trust issues, she had suffered immensely with insecurity and complexities of married life with intimidation and fearful for her own life. But she was able to turn her life around and has made a positive impact in the society. “Now, I am to reach out to other women who need support,” she said.

Dr. Meher Medavaram, a member of AAPI’s Women’s Committee introduced Deanne Mazzochi, Illinois State Representative, Attorney Life Science Law.  Rep. Mazzochi shared with the audience about her work as a state legislator and as an attorney who works with women and families, ensuring the safety of those in DV situations. She described the many laws and legal systems that are available to victims of DV in the state of Illinois. She advocated that one should “ensure that you have a safe place to live,” if and when you want to leave an unhealthy relationship.

Dr. Manju Sheth, an Internist, practicing Medicine at Beth Israel Lahey, MA, Chair and Advisory Board Member at SAHELI, Member of Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, President of “Women Who Win,” urged fellow physicians “to stay vigilant and collaborate” and look for signs/red flags to identify violence “as the patients can present with a multitude of unrelated symptoms that only compassionate questions can reveal clearly.”

“Women are very reluctant to speak to you and we often notice PTSD, trauma, depression and anxiety.” She told the Fellow physicians to be prepared to collaborate with: Medical, Psychological professionals and refer for services. Dr. Sheth pointed to SAHELI, a very well known organization for its work, providing psychiatric and other services to victims of DV in the Boston region.

Dr. Saraswati Muppana while introducing Dr. Eshita Chakrabarti wanted to know the role of media in supporting survivors of DV. Dr. Eshita Chakrabarti, drawing from her own personal experiences told about the powerful medium of the Media, which has been instrumental and can be used an effective tool to educate the society about the impact of and to prevent Domestic Violence.

Dr. Malti Mehta, who has worked with “Battered Women” introduced Dr. Nandita Palshetkar Chair of GAPIO Women’s Forum and Medical Director, IVF & Infertility Centers, India and serving as the President of Federation of OB/GYN Society of India. Dr. Palshetkar shared her insights and offered a global perspective and how the pandemic has contributed to increase in incidents of Domestic Violence. “Nearly one third of women across the world face Shadow Pandemic Domestic Violence.”

Dr. Udhaya Shivangi, AAPI Mississippi Chapter president, in her remarks said, “The best way to fight this issue is to talk about it, create awareness and share resources to recognize the signs and take steps for prevention and protection. ASHIANA is one such organization that helps empower domestic violence survivors to achieve self sufficiency with a culturally sensitive approach for the past 25 years helping South Asians in USA.

“The best way is to create awareness and provide resources and help lead the victims of Domestic Violence to be strong and independent and safe,” said Jaya Nelliot, a Board Member and Outreach Director of ASHIANA has been passionate about serving the community, and been actively involved with ASHIANA since 2009. Describing DV as a “pandemic,” she provided an introduction to the mission of and the broad spectrum of work ASHIANA does among South Asians in the North America.

Dr. Hetal Gor, a member of AAPI Women’s Committee  introduced Navneet Bhalla, International Human Rights Law, UK and the Executive Director of Manavi Women’s Organization, NJ. Bhalla spoke about the legal support with an in-house staff attorney being provided by MANAVI to victims of Domestic Violence in its 35 year long history in the United Kingdom. Drawing from personal experiences, how often abusers frame and falsely charge victims as criminals and threaten deportation. “MANAVI supports such victims and help them gain justice and needed services. We take a survivor-center approach to understand and to provide support them holistically,” she said. For more information on AAPI and its programs, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Governor Kathy Hochu Leads Diwali Celebrations In New York

Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York, joined by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, kick started Diwali celebrations in the state of New York while joining the South Asian community at the World’s Fair Marina Restaurant in Corona, Queens on October 11, 2021.

Governor Hochul delivered remarks and presented a Proclamation to celebrate the Indian festival of Diwali, one of the most significant festivals is Diwali, or the Festival of Lights. It’s a five-day celebration that includes good food, fireworks, colored sand, and special candles and lamps.

In her remarks, Governor Hochul said: “Thank you for allowing me the chance to share in the tradition of lighting the candles, to participate here tonight, to meet so many of you who have been my friends a long time on this journey, and your support means the world to me and I’ll never take that for granted.”

The first female governor of the great state of New York thanbked the organiZers and leaders of the Indian American community: “I want to just thank Uma SenGupta for all you’ve done for us, and to your family, your mother, and the influence of your late father – you are the reason why we celebrate today, people like you who came to this country humbly, not sure of what the future would bring, but you always had that deep rooted faith in your traditions and to know that Diwali followed you to this country, that you had this light within your heart that you could bring to America and let shine and let all of us gather here in honor of the Goddess Lakshmi. Many of the traditions honor the male gods but this is one that’s dedicated to women so I think this is particularly special as well. Dr. Sumita Sengupta, I want to thank you as well. Randhir Jaiswal, the Consul General, is here as well. Dr. Hari Shukla, I want to thank him for making me feel so welcome, the founder of South Asians of New York.”

“New beginnings, new endeavors and an opportunity to renew ties with family and friends” is what Diwali brings to people around the world who celebrate the Festival. Like food, fashion, and faith, Indians carry with them their beloved festivals wherever their livelihood takes them. It’s no different in the US where people of Indian origin have been living since the 1820s.

Governor Kathy Hochulm, who is seeking to be elected as the Governor in the polls next years, is leading in a new poll of likely Democratic candidates for the state’s top seat ahead of next year’s primary and election season, and the vast majority of New Yorkers don’t want disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo to run again. Hochul got 44% support from New York State residents, with State Attorney General Letitia James coming in second at 28% and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams at 15%, with 13% unsure, according to the Marist Poll released Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Hochul added, “This occasion celebrates the eternal hope of human kind that guides all of our communities, and as Diwali inspires a spirit of festivity, New Yorkers extend appreciation to our Indian and South Asian communities for their contributions and commitment to upholding and sharing our wonderfully rich heritage story and time-honored traditions, and we extend the warmest wishes for joy and peace and prosperity in the future.”

Over the years, a growing Indian immigrant population has been celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, going all out to replicate the massive festivities from their motherland. The scale of celebrations has become such that popular US tourist spots like Disneyland in California and New York’s Times Square get painted in vibrant Indian colours. Even the White House has been celebrating the festival for many years. After all, the 3.1 million Indian-Americans form one of the most successful immigrant communities in the US.

Need For Management Of Perception About India:” V. Muraleedharan Tells Diaspora

“India is fully democratic. Judiciary is independent. Media is free. There is no substance to the claims that the media is controlled by the government,” declared India’s Minister of State for External Affairs Shri V. Muraleedharan on October 12th at the Mill River Hotel in Stamford, CT.

The visiting Indian leader from the ruling BJP Party was responding to a question raised by this writer about the “intimidation, influence and control” on the media by the government and about the negative image portrayed by the Western media due to the short-sighted and communalistic policies and programs of the ruling BJP.

Shri Muraleedharan urged for a “management of perception” to change the way India is being portrayed by the Media and appealed to the NRIs to be the “ambassadors of India” to help reshape the image outside of India. “I am here to listen to you. Want to make sure your suggestions are heard and implemented,” Muraleedharan said.

The young leader from the state of Kerala and elected from to India’s Upper House of Parliament from the state of Maharashtra was addressing the representatives of the Diaspora during a Reception and Interactive session organized by the Consulate of India in New York and the GOPIO – CT Chapter. Stating that the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi calls himself a sewak of every Indian, Muraleedharan said, “The role of the Ministry of External Affairs is to care for the Diaspora. And my visit today is for the purpose of benefitting the Indian Diaspora,” he told the audience.

Shri Muraleedharan, who officially took charge as Minister of State for External Affairs and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs in May 2019, is visiting the United States to address the United Nations. He took the opportunity to travel to Connecticut to “listen” directly to the Diaspora and address their concerns. “I’ve been in charge of the External Affairs Ministry for the last 2 years. I was feeling that there is a need for interaction with the Diaspora. And this forum is a place where people have an opportunity to share their problems and concerns,” he told the audience. While assuring the community that he has listened to the concerns of the Diaspora, he will address each one of them and find an amicable solution.

On Press Freedom in India, the Minister categorically denied that Government is interfering with or “controlling” the media. “Allegations that the Indian media is controlled by the government doesn’t have any substance to it,” he said. Pointing to the fact that there are several media who are openly critical of the government, he asked the audience, “If the freedom for the media is restricted, how can the media be allowed to be critical of the Government? How could the media publish the stories of the bodies floating in the Ganges during the peak of the Pandemic, even though the situation is far from what was reported?” He described such allegations as totally false and there is a need for the “management of perception.”

The event was led by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chair of GOPIO International and GOPIO – CT leadership including President Ashok Nichani, Exec. VP Prasad Chintalapudi, Secretary Prachi Narayan, Treasurer Biru Sharma, and Joint Secretary Meera Banta. Several past presidents Sangeeta Ahuja, Shailesh Naik, Shelly Nichani and Anita Bhat.

Among others who attended the Reception and the Interactive Session with the Honorable Minister Shri V. Muraleedharan, included, Deputy Consul General of Indian in New York, Dr. Varun Jeph; Consul for Community Affairs at the Indian Consulate Mr. A.K.Vijayakrishan; CT Assemblyman Harry Arora, several community organizations including Milan cultural Association President Suresh Sharma; Past President of the Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and CT, Andy Bhatia; CT Tamil Sangam President Shivakumar Subramaniam and past president Uma Sekhar; CT Telugu Association Past President Rao Yelamachali; Malayalee Association of Southern Connecticut President T.P. Sujanan; GOPIO Media Council Chair Nami Kaur; Sabinsa Corporation President Dr. Asha Ramesh; and former Provost and Vice President of Academic affairs of GOPIO, Dr. Rupendra Paliwal.

In his introductory remarks by Dr. Thomas Abraham, welcoming Minister V. Muraleedharan said, “After the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was merged with the External Affairs Ministry, Cabinet Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and his associate Minister Shri Muraleedharan have been dealing with Diaspora affairs. Minister Muraleedharan, we are so pleased that you took some time off your busy schedule at the UN to join us and interact with us.”

Dr. Abraham provided a brief history of GOPIO International, which was formed at the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in 1989 in New York, which has now grown into  a Pan-Indian community organization for NRIs and PIOs with over 100 chapters spread in 35 countries. “We at GOPIUO are a partner with Indian missions abroad to protect India’s interest around the world.

Drawing the attention of the Minister to some of the issues faced by the NRI/PIO community, Dr. Abraham said, “We campaigned for Dual Nationality and the govt. came up with PIO Card and later on with the OCI card. We asked for voting rights for Indian citizens living outside India. Although voting rights are given, there has been very little participation because of the requirements of physical voting in India. The Election Commission has recommended Proxy Voting, but not implemented yet.”

He urged the government of India to appoint at least two Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, representing the 32 million people of Indian origin living outside India, more than half of them Indian citizens.

Other issues raised during the meeting included, violence against Indians in South Africa; post pandemic issues of Indian workers in the Middle East; Challenges for NRIs to open and operate banking accounts in India and the technical problems faced while submitting application for OCI Cards, removing travel restrictions to India for people of Indian origin who are citizens outside India and issues relating to OCI card holders doing business in India, but are treated as foreigners in some areas where changed government rules such as the Biodiversity Act are affecting them. “We also suggest some initiatives through ICCR for sending cultural troupes to PIO countries for India’s 75th Celebration next year.”

Dr. Abraham introduced Deputy Consul General at the Indian Consulate Dr. Varun Jeph, whom he described as a medical professional, “Dr. Jeph, and has joined the mission only last month and has already reached out all community organizations.”

The ministry of external affairs wants to offer opportunities for every Indian abroad the right to vote, the Minister Muraleedharan said. However, the practical aspect of this major issue has several challenges. Pointing to the fact that Indians are spread over more in almost all 193 countries and coordinating the efforts and ensuring that all those who are eligible are given the opportunity to vote has been a major challenge, while assuring the Diaspora that he will address the issue and follow with the concerned officials.

On Cronoa related travel restrictions, the Minister said, the situation is evolving. We want that every Indian should be given the opportunity to travel to India.  However, it’s based on international civil aviation authority and that commercial flight operations have not started to the full yet. In order to attract foreign tourists to India, the Government has announced that the there will be no charges for visa for the first five lakh Visa applicants to India, Muraleedharan said.

Responding to a question of NRIs not being allowed to own properties in India, he assured “you need not be worried” and said that he is not aware of any law in any state, including in the state of Andhra Pradesh that the properties of NRIs are going to be taken away by the state.

Muraleedharan said, the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence is “a celebration of Indians across the globe so I don’t think that you need to come to India to participate in that. All our Missions are organizing the events and I urge every Community organization to take the lead so that every Indian is involved in the celebration of the 75th year of India’s Independence.”

“I am here to listen to you. Want to make sure your suggestions are heard and implemented” V. Muraleedharan Tells Community Representatives During Interactive Session In Connecticut

“I am here to listen to you. Want to make sure your suggestions are heard and implemented,” India’s Minister of State for External Affairs Shri V. Muraleedharan during a Reception and Interactive session with the Indian Diaspora on October 12th at the Mill River Hotel in Stamford, CT. Stating that the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi calls himself a sewak of every Indian, Muraleedharan said, “The role of the Ministry of External Affairs is to care for the Diaspora. And my visit today is for the purpose of benefitting the Indian Diaspora,” He told the audience.

“India is fully democratic. Judiciary is independent. Media is free. There is no substance to claims that the media is controlled” by the government, declared Shri V. Muraleedharan, who is visiting the United States to address the United Nations.

Muraleedharan, who officially took charge as Minister of State for External Affairs and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs in May 2019, took the opportunity to travel to Connecticut to “listen” directly to the Diaspora and address their concerns. “I’ve been in charge of the External Affairs Ministry for the last 2 years. I was feeling that there is a need for interaction with the Diaspora. And this forum is a place where people have an opportunity to share their problems and concerns,” he told the audience. While assuring the community that he has listened to the concerns of the Diaspora, he will address each one of them and find an amicable solution.

The event was jointly organized by the Consulate of India in New York and GOPIO – CT, led by GOPIO-CT President Ashok Nichani, Exec. VP Prasad Chintalapudi, Secretary Prachi Narayan, Treasurer Biru Sharma, and Joint Secretary Meera Banta. Several past presidents including Sangeeta Ahuja, Shailesh Naik, Shelly Nichani, and Anita Bhat joined in at the reception.

Among others who attended the Reception and the Interactive Session with the Honorable Minister Shri V. Muraleedharan, included, Deputy Consul General of Indian in New York, Dr. Varun Jeph; Consul for Community Affairs at the Indian Consulate Mr. A.K.Vijayakrishan; CT Assemblyman Harry Arora, several community organizations including Milan cultural Association President Suresh Sharma; Past President of the Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and CT, Andy Bhatia; CT Tamil Sangam President Shivakumar Subramaniam and past president Uma Sekhar; CT Telugu Association Past President Rao Yelamachali; Malayalee Association of Southern Connecticut President T.P. Sujanan; GOPIO Media Council Chair Nami Kaur; Sabinsa Corporation President Dr. Asha Ramesh; and former Provost and Vice President of Academic affairs of GOPIO, Dr. Rupendra Paliwal.

In his introductory remarks by Dr. Thomas Abraham, welcoming Minister V. Muraleedharan said, “After the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was merged with the External Affairs Ministry, Cabinet Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and his associate Minister Shri Muraleedharan have been dealing with Diaspora affairs. Minister Muraleedharan, we are so pleased that you took some time off your busy schedule at the UN to join us and interact with us,” Dr. Abraham said.

Dr. Abraham provided a brief history of GOPIO International, which was formed at the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in 1989 in New York, which has now grown into  a Pan-Indian community organization for NRIs and PIOs with over 100 chapters spread in 35 countries. “We at GOPIUO are a partner with Indian missions abroad to protect India’s interest around the world.

Drawing the attention of the Minister on some of the issues of the NRI/PIO community, Dr. Abraham said, “We campaigned for Dual Nationality and the govt. came up with PIO Card and later on with the OCI card. We asked for voting rights for Indian citizens living outside India. Although voting rights are given, there has been very little participation because of the requirements of physical voting in India. The Election Commission has recommended Proxy Voting, but not implemented yet.”

He urged the government of India to appoint at least two Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha, representing the 32 million people of Indian origin living outside India, more than half of them Indian citizens.

Other issues raised during the meeting included, violence against Indians in South Africa; post pandemic issues of Indian workers in the Middle East; Challenges for NRIs to open and operate banking accounts in India and the technical problems faced while submitting application for OCI Cards, removing travel restrictions to India for people of Indian origin who are citizens outside India and issues relating to OCI card holders doing business in India, but are treated as foreigners in some areas where changed government rules such as the Biodiversity Act are affecting them. “We also suggest some initiatives through ICCR for sending cultural troupes to PIO countries for India’s 75th Celebration next year.”

Dr. Abraham introduced Deputy Consul General at the Indian Consulate Dr. Varun Jeph, whom he described as a medical professional, “Dr. Jeph, and has joined the mission only last month and has already reached out all community organizations.”

The ministry of external affairs wants to offer opportunities for every Indian abroad the right to vote, the Minister said. However, the practical aspect of this major issue has several challenges. Pointing to the fact that Indians are spread over more in almost all 193 countries and coordinating the efforts and ensuring that all those who are eligible are given the opportunity to vote has been a major challenge, while assuring the Diaspora that he will address the issue and follow with the concerned officials.

On Cronoa related travel restrictions, the Minister said, the situation is evolving. We want that every Indian should be given the opportunity to travel to India.  However, it’s based on international civil aviation authority and that commercial flight operations have not started to the full yet. In order to attract foreign tourists to India, the Government has announced that the there will be no charges for visa for the first five lakh Visa applicants to India, Muraleedharan said.

On Press Freedom in India, the Minister categorically denied that Government is interfering with or “controlling” the media. “Allegations that the Indian media is controlled by the government doesn’t have any substance to it,” he said. Pointing to the fact that there are several media who are openly critical of the government, he asked the audience, “If the freedom for the media is restricted, how can the media be allowed to be critical of the Government? How could the media publish the stories of the bodies floating in the Ganges during the peak of the Pandemic, even though the situation is far from what was reported?” He described such allegations as totally fals and there is a need for the “management of perception.”

Responding to a question of NRIs not being allowed to own properties in India, he assured “you need not be worried” and said that he is not aware of any law in any state, including in the state of Andhra Pradesh that the properties of NRIs are going to be taken away by the state.

Muraleedharan said, the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence is “a celebration of Indians across the globe so I don’t think that you need to come to India to participate in that. All our Missions are organizing the events and I urge every Community organization to take the lead so that every Indian is involved in the celebration of the 75th year of India’s Independence,”

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Shree Saini Is Crowned Miss World America 2021

Indian-American Shree Saini from Washington State was crowned Miss World America 2021 at a glittering pageant held at Miss World America headquarters in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, October 2nd, 2021. Diana Hayden crowned Shree Saini, who is also the first Indian-origin contestant to represent America on a global stage.

“I am happy and quite nervous. I can’t express my feelings (in words). All the credit goes to my parents, especially my mother because of whose support I am here. Thank you Miss World America for this honor,” Shree Saini said in her statement, after the crowning moment. Saini wrote on her Instagram, “I am the first American of Indian origin and first Asian to be crowned Miss World America.”  An advocate for heart health, Saini has had a permanent pacemaker since she was 12 and overcame a major car accident which left her with burns all over her face. But she rarely if ever lets any of that hold her back or define her.

Saini, who has been recognized by several organizations and states and world renowned persons for her work and is aspiring to be an actor, told this writer during a recent interview “I am now “Miss World America Washington,” which is preliminary to Miss World America and Miss World! Miss World Titles have been won by Aishwarya Rai and Priyanka Chopra. It’s the largest and the most philanthropic pageant, having raised 1.3 billion dollars for charities around the world. And I want to promote the many charitable initiatives this noble organization does all around the world.”

The official Instagram handle of Miss World America shared the news with a caption that read as, “Shree, who is currently Miss World America Washington, also holds the prestigious position of “MWA National Beauty with a Purpose Ambassador,” a position she earned by working tirelessly to help those less fortunate and in need. Among her many accomplishments, her work has been recognized by UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, Susan G Komen, and many others. We are certain Shree will continue to immaculately embody Beauty With A Purpose, and no doubt will be successful in raising awareness and attention to the Miss World America mission. Stay tuned and follow the Miss World America 2021 journey!”

Shree Saini has also been crowned Miss India Worldwide 2018 at a pageant held in the Fords City of New Jersey. “My dance journey began when I was only 3 years old, but a substantial part of my dance journey was filled with both physical and emotional hardships. When I was 12, I was diagnosed with a complete heart block. I had to get a pacemaker surgery. The average age of a pacemaker recipient is age 80. Cardiologists told me I could never dance again,” Shree had noted on her social media.

Instead of giving up, Shree Saini went back to dance class with her left arm tied up in a cast and practiced up to 6 hours a day in order to regain her strength. Saini noted on media that even though “dance is a very competitive, cut-throat, high stakes sport”, she wants to “encourage teachers, students, parents to always be uplifting, emphatic, especially when it’s difficult. Real Love takes courage.”

Saini, who has studied at Harvard, has been trained in acting at the Yale actors conservatory. The Punjab native, who moved to Washington State when she was seven, experienced hardships while in high school, where she was bullied. For years, she said, she felt like an outcast at school for being a person of color. Shree has created an app on emotional heath at Stanford University. She has given hundreds of presentations in over 80 cities and six countries and written about 400 articles in newspapers on emotional fitness, via her non-profit shareesaini.org.

Shree says, “The best award is knowing that YOU made a POSITIVE difference in someone else’s life. A girl recently approached me after a talk and started crying. She mentioned that she had followed my journey for a while and felt encouraged to pursue her dreams, despite obstacles. I gave her a big HUG and started to tear up as well. WOW. Your positive words and actions do make a positive difference. Keep being EXTRA LOVING AND ENCOURAGING.

Beautiful, compassionate, talented, ambitious, gentle, humble, determined and dedicated to achieving the lofty goals, she has set before herself at a very young age, Shree Saini is a woman with a golden heart. Shree from the state of Washington was born in India. She immigrated to the United States as a toddler.

Being uprooted from one’s culture and dear ones was undoubtedly a major challenge. She had to experience hardships while in high school, where she was bullied. Young Shree fought bravely a heart ailment which required her to use a pacemaker. Shree, who had a pacemaker implanted at the age of 12 and was told that she would never be able to dance, is an inspiration for all. “I practice dance almost every day for several hours,” Shree says, pointing to the pacemaker she carries with her all the time.

After doctors diagnosed her with a congenital heart defect at the age of 12, Saini recalls how she struggled to adapt to the life-changing situation of needing a pacemaker while still in middle school, especially when other students did not treat her kindly as a result. “I truly believe your legacy is defined by how you make others feel and the positive difference you make in your lifetime,” said Shree, who started her non-profit organization, when she was 15. Shree said it was her dream to compete for a world title, which was started when she was in the elementary school.

“I have been the target of brutal emotional bullying. I was ridiculed in the most subtle ways, which is why I so often talk about ‘nonverbal’ bullying. For example, there were many instances where I was left out of events or edited out of pictures, and daily ‘whispered about’ by others. As a result of this treatment, there were many times when I would cry in my school’s restrooms or come home in tears after dance class… yet I persevered.

“My family helped me endure,” she explains. “My mom said, ‘the way people treat you has nothing to do with you, but has everything to do with them.’ She empowered me to step up and be even more compassionate towards those who hurt me, and to never give up on my true belief in always being kind.”

In order to reprogram her brain towards more positive thoughts and reach an understanding of how she could find inner peace in spite of all the negativity, she read extensively. “I read books and essays on achieving a more powerful mindset, responding to acts of hate with compassion, and the true value of emotional fitness and what can be done to address the lack of education around it. From what I have learned, I have formed my personal mantra: ‘Giving powerful responses to life’s struggles while being a positive contributor to every situation.’”

After dealing with her own personal experiences, Saini penciled her thoughts in a journal, which she said helped change her from a victim to an empowered young woman. The journals in her diary turned to newspaper clippings in local papers in Washington. “In a society mainly obsessed with physical fitness, emotional problems are dismissed,” noted the young activist. “Emotional well-being is necessary to have a healthy body and mind,” she says.

These experiences did not deter young Shree from pursuing her life’s mission.  “My journey went from a silent sufferer to a bitter person and finally an enabled victor,” she says. “If anything, the physical challenges and social pressures fueled her – all the way to the Joffrey Ballet and beyond, including winning the title of Miss India USA.”

Shree gives credit to her parents, Sanjay and Ekta Saini, who have not only supported her dreams, but have gone beyond to help her succeed at every step of the way. Pointing to her mother, Ekta, Shree says, “My mother is my role model, who has been with me, supported me and have encouraged me to work hard and realize my dreams.”

Regarding her future goals and ambitions, Shree is candid about her choices. If good offers come her way, Shree is open to acting in movies, whether it be in Bollywood or Hollywood. Another effective way to showcase her talents and still more importantly, another way to champion and spread her message for a better, just and peaceful world. “Meanwhile, I want to continue working on my nonprofit and become an ambassador of emotional health by continuing to visit as many places as possible, spreading my positive message of hope,” Saini says.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal Keeps Progressive Voices Together To Obtain Equity For All Americans

The strong group of Progressives in the US House of Representatives, led by the lone Indian American Congresswoman wants assurances that the spending plan, is certain to be supported by the entire Democratic caucus both in the Senate and the House

On Friday, October 1st, after President Joe Biden met with the Democratic lawmakers on the Hill, Representative Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), highlighted her group’s growing prominence and leverage in Capitol Hill politics: “In the House,” she said, “everybody is a Joe Manchin.”

Progressives claimed victory after a planned infrastructure vote was delayed following their united front to oppose the $1 trillion bill without assurances about the fate of the accompanying Democratic spending plan last week. The move highlighted the growing power of leftwing Democrats, and sent a strong message to the rest of their party: You can’t get one bill without the other. West Virginia senator Manchin and his fellow holdout Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona might hold the cards in the 50-50 US Senate, but in the lower chamber at least the progressives were in the driving seat.

The strong group of Progressives in the US House of Representatives, led by the lone Indian American Congresswoman want assurances that the spending plan, which forms the core of Biden’s domestic policy agenda, includes ambitious spending on universal pre-K, childcare funding, tuition-free community college, home health care, and climate change prevention, is certain to be supported by the entire Democratic caucus both in the Senate and the House. Despite Democratic leadership’s attempts to push through the infrastructure bill alone, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) vowed to withhold their votes unless they got assurances about the larger spending bill.

For weeks, progressive lawmakers in Congress have been threatening to sink the bipartisan infrastructure bill if they were not given certain guarantees about a larger social spending bill. And for weeks, many of their colleagues thought they were bluffing. “The progressive movement has not had this type of power in Washington since the 1960s,” says Joseph Geevarghese, Executive Director of Our Revolution, a political group that grew out of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ first presidential campaign.

The move illuminated how the newly powerful progressive movement can shape the way Biden’s agenda moves through Congress, with the power to delay or even block some moderate priorities. The progressive movement has been building in influence and organizing capacity since 2016, when Sanders’ insurgent presidential campaign breathed new life into the grassroots left. The progressive caucus has frequently threatened to withhold votes over ideological differences with more moderate Democrats, but usually failed to actually stop a major agenda item. Now, the once-fledgling progressive wing of the Democratic party has become a political force strong enough to resist the will of moderates and its own party’s leaders.

The CPC is larger and stronger than ever before, emboldened by an organized network of leftwing organizations like Our Revolution that have been creating outside pressure on all lawmakers in the party. But CPC members were also in sync with the President, who supported the goal to pass the Build Back Better plan alongside the infrastructure bill. Aides to influential progressives said they had not been pressured by either House leadership or the White House to support infrastructure without the spending bill.

The fact that the progressive position is in line with Biden’s agenda strengthened the caucus’s resolve. That unity comes after a concerted effort by both sides during the 2020 Democratic primary to bridge the party’s internal divisions: Biden moved to the left on some issues like climate and childcare, while progressives accepted that he would never support Medicare for All. That hard-won alignment, progressives say, is why they’re fighting so hard to protect the President’s Build Back Better Plan, which includes ambitious spending on many of their longstanding policy goals.  “This is not a progressive agenda. We are fighting for the ‘build back better’ agenda, which is the President’s agenda,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, the whip of the CPC, told reporters on Thursday.

Senate Democrats could, in theory, pass the bill without any Republican support due to a legislative loophole allowing them to advance budgetary issues with a simple majority. But garnering support from all 50 Democratic Senators depends in large part on the votes of the two most moderate Senate Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, both of whom have said that the $3.5 trillion spending framework is too high. Politico reported on Thursday that Manchin told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer this summer he wouldn’t support a reconciliation bill exceeding $1.5 trillion—news that could mean that Democrats have to shave roughly $2 trillion in spending from the existing package.

Acknowledging that her party held the House by only a small margin, Jayapal noted that every member wielded make-or-break powers. And by flexing their muscles and forcing House speaker Nancy Pelosi to push back a planned vote on the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, the group was signaling it was no longer on the fringe of the Democratic caucus, but front and center, guiding its direction.

Jayapal, who was born in India and immigrated to the US four decades ago at the age of 16, has been a key architect in the rise of the progressives during Biden’s presidency. The unofficial coach to the so-called “Squad” of neoteric young women elected to Congress in 2018, including its most prominent members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, she has spent much of the summer defending the administration’s ambitious infrastructure and social agendas.

At the same time she made it clear that the 96-member CPC would hold firm in the face of pressure from Manchin and other Senate and House moderates to reduce the price tag of the agenda, as proved when Thursday’s vote was delayed. It is that tenacity that has helped her emerge as a key player in the infrastructure and $3.5tn social package negotiations, and by extension an influential figure in the future successes or failures of Biden’s wider manifesto.

She said on Friday she had been in almost constant contact with the White House and Democratic congressional leaders. “We are making sure we’re holding up the women who need childcare, the families who need childcare, unpaid leave, the folks who need climate change addressed, housing, immigration,” she told reporters.

The congresswoman released the following statement following her meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House last week: “I want to thank President Biden for inviting us to the White House and for continuing to fight for his visionary Build Back Better agenda that people throughout this country want, need, and deserve. We had a very productive and necessary conversation about the urgent need to deliver long-overdue investments — not only in roads and bridges, but also in child care, paid leave, health care, climate action, affordable housing, and education.

“As I did yesterday with Speaker Pelosi, I reiterated what I have consistently said: progressives will vote for both bills because we proudly support the President’s entire Build Back Better package, but that a majority of our 96-member caucus will only vote for the small infrastructure bill after the Build Back Better Act passes. This is the President’s agenda, this is the Democratic agenda, and this is what we promised voters when they delivered us the House, the Senate, and the White House. We agree with President Biden that, ‘We can do this. We have to do this. We will do this.’ We remain strongly committed to continuing these discussions so we are able to deliver these two important bills to his desk.”

Jayapal’s supporters credit her communication skills combined with a hard-nosed determination for maneuvering her caucus into its new authoritative role. She told reporters last week that her message for anybody doubting that the group would block the infrastructure bill unless the social package passed was: “Try us.”

“Pramila has turned the CPC into a strong political force by keeping everyone informed, having people talk through the issues and then make real commitments,” the Massachusetts senator and fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren told the New Republic. “That force is now being felt when the leadership promised that all the pieces would move together. The CPC is holding that leadership accountable.”

“There’s sometimes frustration, but we’re all part of the Democratic party, this is the Democratic agenda, it’s the president’s agenda and we’re excited to be fighting for the same thing. I’ve been here four and a half years. I still find it strange, but things only happen here when there’s urgency and some reason for people to be at the table. We’ve seen more progress in the last 48 hours than we have seen in a long time.”

Tata Group Is Frontrunner To Acquire Air India

The new owners of Air India will be decided in the next few days as the financial bids for India’s flag carrier, AIR INDIA are being scrutinized. The Tata Group, which was the original founders of the now largest air carrier in India, is one of the bidders, and is said to be the frontrunner to get hold of the carrier.

Tata Group and SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh in his private capacity had bid for debt-laden state-run airline Air India earlier this month. Accordingly, sources said that the two bids are being scrutinized against a reserve price set for the airline. The process will not go ahead if the bids come in short of the reserve price. Reports stated, a panel of ministers accepted a proposal from bureaucrats, who recommended the conglomerate’s bid ahead of an offer from Ajay Singh, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified as the decision isn’t yet public.

On the official front, DIPAM Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey on Friday tweeted: “Media reports indicating approval of financial bids by Government of India in the AI disinvestment case are incorrect. Media will be informed of the Government decision as and when it is taken.” The tweet comes after a media report indicated that the Centre has selected a winning bid.

Furthermore, sources said that at present senior government officials are conducting separate meetings with the two bidders regarding other aspects of the sale such as the indemnity clause and carry over debt levels of the airline. More or less, the final decision can be made within the next few days by the AISAM (Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism).

The AISAM headed by Home Minister Amit Shah is an empowered GoM, which has the authority to take the final call on the matter, without the need of a Cabinet approval. The AISAM is scheduled to meet after all its members are back in the country.

After the announcement of the winning bid is made, the process of a complete handover is expected to take place within three-four months time. The Centre on September 15 had received multiple financial bids for divestment of Air India. The government has of late taken several steps to fast-track the much-delayed privatization of the national carrier.

Recently, the Centre decided to waive taxes on the transfer of assets from the national carrier to Air India Assets Holding Ltd, a special purpose vehicle (SPV). During the Budget speech for FY22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that all the proposed privatization process would be completed by the end of the fiscal, including the much-delayed strategic disinvestment of Air India.

This is the second attempt of the current Central government to divest its stake in the airline. In the pre-pandemic era, the airline, on a standalone basis, operated over 50 domestic and more than 40 international destinations. Besides, it operated over 120 aircraft prior to the Covid pandemic. During that period, the airline had over 9,000 permanent and 4,000 contractual employees.

Headquartered in Bombay (Mumbai), AIR INDIA’s first ever scheduled air service was inaugurated in 1932 by J.R.D. Tata, flying mail and passengers between Karāchi, Ahmadābād, Bombay, Bellary, and Madras. By 1939 routes had been extended to Trivandrum, Delhi, Colombo, Lahore, and intermediate points. After World War II, in 1946, Tata Airlines was converted into a public company and renamed Air-India Limited. Two years later, to inaugurate international services between Bombay (Mumbai) and Cairo, Geneva, and London, Air-India International Limited was formed.

In 1953 India nationalized all Indian airlines, creating two corporations—one for domestic service, called Indian Airlines Corporation (merging Air-India Limited with six lesser lines), and one for international service, Air-India International Corporation. The latter’s name was abbreviated to Air-India in 1962. In the following decades as India’s flag carrier, the airline extended its international routes to all continents except South America and Australia, and it expanded its cargo operations. To gain a competitive advantage in computerized reservation searches, the airline removed the hyphen from its name in 2005 to become Air India.1946 R. D. Tata founded Tata Airlines in 1932 as a division of Tata Sons Ltd. (now Tata Group). After World War II, regular commercial service in India went back to normal, Tata Airlines changing its name to Air India and becoming a public limited company on the 29th of July 1946.

On June 9th, 1948, Air India introduced a regular service from Bombay to London, and two years later, AIR INDIA started regular flights to Nairobi. In 1993, AIR INDIA’s first Boeing 747-400, named Konark, operated the first non-stop flight between New York City and Delhi. In 1996, Air India started using its second US gateway at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. Services to Air India’s third US gateway at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark were introduced in the year 2000.

In October 2016, AIR INDIA changed the Delhi – San Francisco route previously operated over the Atlantic Ocean to flying over the Pacific Ocean, in order to take advantage of jet stream winds and use less fuel. With the total flown distance being over 15,200 kilometres (9,400 miles), AIR INDIA operated the world’s longest non-stop regular scheduled commercial flight.

In December 2020, the government had invited expression of interest for the divestment of Air India. Four bidders had entered the race to take over the beleaguered airline, but Tata Group and Spicejet CEO Ajay Singh were the only ones to make it to the final stage. The Centre had made an unsuccessful attempt to sell the ailing airline earlier in March 2018. However, its expression of interest to sell 76 per cent stake in Air India had no takers at that juncture due to concerns regarding the airline’s burgeoning debt. Top sources from the Ministry of Civil Aviation said all formalities for the Air India disinvestment process will be completed by December 2021.

Onam Celebrations By MASCONN Held In Trumbull, CT

Men, women, children and youth dressed in traditional attire, from across the state of Connecticut came together to celebrate their culture, traditions, and fellowship during the annual Onam celebrations organized by Malayalee Association of Southern Connecticut (MASCONN) at Madison Middle School, Trumbull, CT on Saturday, September 18th, 2021.

The long awaited Onam celebrations, especially during the Coid pandemic, began with the lighting of the traditional Nailavilakku or lamp by honored guests of MASCONN and the executive committee members. The chief guests who graced the event and shared their Onam greetings and message included, several members of FOMAA, including the Treasurer, Thomas T Thomas; Vice President of Pradeep Nair; and Joint Treasurer, Biju Thonikkadavil.

A colorful Pookoalm and the traditional lamp with a sandalwood tilak on forehead at the entrance of school, giving them a warm traditional Indian welcome. Legendary King Mahabali was given a traditional welcome as he mingled with the participants showering his blessings.

 

“MASCONN an offshoot of the natural growth of the Indian-American especially Malayalee Community in the southern Connecticut region,” said Sujanan Nair, President of MASCON, in his welcome address.

“In a very short period, we have grown by leaps and bounds and we strive to meet the growing needs of our community. He praised the Masconn Youth group and the executive committee and the members for their dedication.

“Onam awaits one very special visitor, Kerala’s most loved legendary King Maveli. He is the King who once gave the people a golden era in Kerala. The King is so much attached to his kingdom that it is believed that he comes annually from the nether world to see his people living happily.

It is in honor of King Mahabali, affectionately called Onathappan, that Onam is celebrated,” Sujanan Nair explained the story behind this cultural festival of Kerala, a southern Indian state.

The whole ambience was filled with nostalgia since it was an occasion for all the Malayalees in Connecticut to cherish their childhood memories, especially everyone enjoyed the sumptuous Onam Sadhya (meal), the most important and main attraction of the day with different traditional dishes and ”payasam” that was served on banana leaves. Participants were dressed in their traditional attire. The most traditional costume for the men of Kerala is the “Mundu” which is mostly white in colour. It is worn tightly at the waist with a knot and comes down till the feet. Women following Hinduism wear a blouse and mundu known as “Mundu neriyathu.” Children were seen elegantly in mundus, shirts, sarees and salwar.

In his Onam message, Mahabali told the audience that the “beauty of the festival lies in its secular fabric. People of all religions, castes and communities celebrate the festival with equal joy and verve. Onam also helps to create an atmosphere of peace and brotherhood by way of various team sports organized on the day,” he added.  Tijo Josh proposed vote of thanks, while thanking all the organizers for the great event they had worked so hard to put together.

Living in countries that are far away from their homeland, in the midst of different cultures, busy with the day-to-day mundane work and home tasks, the Non Resident Indian (NRI) community made this “land of opportunities” their home, have brought with them these cultural traditions and have sought to pass them on to their children, who are often born and raised here. Onam is a festival celebrated in the south-western state of Kerala, India. The Keralites or the Malayalees, the illustrious people of the beautiful state are known around the world, celebrate the festival of Onam wherever they are.

The celebration of Onam festival provides them with a perfect opportunity to encourage the new generation of children of Indian origin to witness, learn and appreciate these rich traditions, even while it offers the first generation NRIs to stay connected and cherish the rich cultural heritage they hold so dear to them Malayalee Association of Southern Connecticut (MASCONN) which was formed less than ten years ago, the cultural extravaganza was in many ways “reliving the culture and traditions” and “cherishing the past with a view to pass it on to the future generation.”

 

 

Dr. Bellamkonda K. Kishore-Led Team Releases Summer Edition of JAAPI

The summer edition of the peer-reviewed scientific Journal of the AAPI (JAAPI) has been released in September 2021. Dedicated to Edward Jenner, FRS, Father of Immunization, the 2nd ever issue of JAAPI, has been acclaimed as among a leading journal with a variety of articles benefitting the larger section of physician community around the world.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI while congratulating the Editorial Team of JAAPI said, “This is the fruit of our teamwork and it’s a good opportunity for the members of AAPI to contribute scientific articles, and make it better as we move on. JAAPI is a peer-reviewed medical and health journal published by the AAPI. In line with the vision and mission of AAPI, JAAPI is dedicated to facilitate physicians to excel in patient care, teaching and research, and thus pursue their aspirations in professional and community affairs. JAAPI is open to contributions from physicians and scientists of all backgrounds and from all over the world.” In his introductory note, the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed JAAPI, Dr. Bellamkonda K. Kishore, who is an outstanding academician, innovator, and entrepreneur, writes, “ We are pleased to present you the Summer issue of peer-reviewed JAAPI. It is made possible with the unconditional support of AAPI President Dr. Anupama Gotimukula and the Executive Committee Members, the relentless work of Members of the JAAPI Editorial Board, Editorial Advisors, and Reviewers as well as Ms. Vijaya Kodali, the Chief Operations Officer of AAPI.”

The summer issue of JAAPI has “excellent contributions by eminent physicians and scientists, and has come out in an outstanding manner. We are committed to maintain the same standards in the future. Excellence and thoroughness are our motto,” says Dr. Kishore. Acknowledging that JAAPI has only made a small beginning, Dr. Kishore says, “Our goal is to make JAAPI as the passport of AAPI, and thus to elevate AAPI on par with other premier medical associations such as AMA, AHA, ASN, ADA, ACP etc.”

“This is a historical milestone in the annals of AAPI. The foundation for this milestone was laid one year ago in February 2020 by our visionary leaders, Drs. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda and Suresh Reddy,” said Dr. Kishore, said.  Describing the vision and the efforts that have given shape to the launching of JAAPI, Dr. Kishore said, “A Peer Review Journal needs group synergy and cultivation of the culture of peer-review process and publication. It is like agriculture – crop after crop. But the very fact that we are able to assemble a passionate and diligent team of editorial board members, and developed the required group synergy and culture bringing out the journal as planned, itself is a sign that AAPI has reached a level of academic maturity, capability and perfection.”

Describing the importance of JAA{I, Dr. Kishore says, “The doctors who save lives of their patients are not always made in medical schools. They often create themselves through diligent practice of Evidence-based Medicine in the community. The real test a doctor faces is not the one administered in the medical school, but the one s/he has to face when standing between the life and death of patients. What empowers a doctor in those critical moments is right knowledge, despite technological superiority of modern medicine – Knowledge is Power of the Noble Profession that has the potential to elevate a
Nation.”

JAAPI has already found recognition among leading physicians community. “The American Association of Nephrologists of Indian Origin (ANIO) has shown interest in using JAAPI as a platform for publishing synopsis of their webinar on Kidney Disease and Vascular Risk in South Asian Populations. Like wise JAAPI has the potential to cater publication needs of the specialty societies of Indian American physicians,” Dr. Kishore points out.

After one or two years of publication, JAAPI will be registered with MEDLINE so that it will be indexed in PubMed and other databases. JAAPI is a fully Open Access journal with no manuscript submission or publication charges. And we welcome articles by authors from all over the world without any restrictions. We are also open to eminent academicians wishing to join the editorial board. Details are provided in the journal. JAAPI follows next generation peer-review model by which it discloses the identity of editors and reviewers after publication, but the review process itself is blind. This will give due credit to editors and reviewers, and also ensures fair review process. The cover page is designed to reflect the heart of AAPI, an association of Indian American Physicians – with colors of the flag of India, our motherland, on top and the red and white stripes of American flag, over which the AAPI emblem rests, indicating the way we adopted this Great Land.

In order to achieve the lofty goals, on behalf of Editorial Advisors, Deputy Editors, Editorial Board Members of JAAPI, Dr. Kishore urges the AAPI fraternity to help and support JAAPI by doing one or more of the following. (1) Submit your own articles or solicit articles from experts in your field and circle; (2) Promote JAAPI by forwarding its PDF copies and sharing them with your colleagues and friends; (3) Display hard copies of JAAPI at your meetings and conventions (contact us for hard copies); (4) Submit synopsis of your CME programs to JAAPI; and (4) Solicit advertisements from the pharma industry or organizations and businesses that cater the interests or needs of physicians. “Together we can reach new heights,” he promises AAPI members. For more information on AAPI and to read, contribute and sponsor JAAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Dr. Vemuri S. Murthy: A Global Champion Of Resuscitation Medicine

World Heart Day is being observed on September 29th this year with the objective of raising awareness of heart disease and promoting “Healthy Heart” lifestyles. “Human heart disease is the number one Global Public Health problem,” says Dr. Vemuri S. Murthy. He is an advocate of Community and Physician resuscitation education. And training for more than three decades in the USA and India. “It is disheartening to see patients with reversible health conditions die suddenly due to lack of both Community Health Awareness and Timely Emergency Care based on Evidence-based Resuscitation Practices”.

An alumnus of Guntur Medical College, Guntur and All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi (General Surgery), and a former Chairman of Anesthesiology Department at West Suburban Medical Center, Oak Park, Illinois, as a “Pioneer of Resuscitation Medicine in India” Dr. Murthy hailed. Also the reputed leader of organized medicine in the USA, Dr. Murthy has served as the President of the Chicago Medical Society and the Indian American Medical Association, Illinois.

Heart disease Indian CPR ProjectAffiliated with various US medical organizations and institutions, the soft-spoken Dr. Murthy is a Resuscitation Educator and Researcher, Advisor to Resuscitation Training Centers, Champion of Community Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and a Leader of US Organized Medicine.  His Mission has been “Saving Lives” in Sudden Cardiac Arrests and common heart issues.

Global evidence-based and heart disease newspaper articles information has proven that Bystander CPR is life-saving in sudden cardiac arrest. The latter can be recognized by the sudden collapse of the person without any breathing, pulse, or consciousness.   According to the articles about the heart of the American Heart Association, there are more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually in the U.S. Nearly 90% of them are fatal. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival. Heart attack news articles say that in the majority of cases, immediate Hands-only CPR may have similar survival outcomes. And it is comparable to the conventional CPR performed with both chest compressions and breaths.

Dr. Murthy is a guide and co-investigator of a ground-breaking Indian Resuscitation Research Project and Cardiac Arrest Registry, Warangal Area Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Registry 2018, based on an international format. He contributed to “CPR” and “Women’s Heart Health” videos and educational articles in news media and actively involved with Indo-US collaborated comprehensive Cardiac Care Projects.

Quoting evidence-based studies done, Dr. Murthy, a past President of the Chicago Medical Society and current adjunct faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, points to the fact that South Asians are at a four-times greater risk of heart disease than their Western counterparts and have a greater chance of having a heart attack before 50 years of age. Heart attacks strike South Asian Men and Women at younger ages. As a result, both morbidity and mortality are higher among them compared to any other ethnic group. They tend to develop heart disease ten years earlier than other groups.

Heart disease Dr. VemuriThe Founder of Chicago Medical Society’s Community CPR Project Saving More Illinois Lives through Education (SMILE,) Dr. Murthy, takes upon himself the life-long mission of saving lives through effective preventive measures. He says, “Almost one in three among South Asians may die from heart disease before 65 years of age.”

What causes heart problems in India? Heart disease remains the number one cause of death. Common risk factors are smoking and a diet high in sugar, salt, refined grains, and fat. A large number of South Asians appear to have “insulin resistance”, a condition in which the body does not utilize insulin efficiently, resulting in Diabetes, which leads to a significant number of heart-related problems and serious heart conditions. Lack of adequate exercise, stress, and genetic predisposition are also contributing factors,” adds Dr. Murthy, a distinguished Chicago Physician.  Illinois offers Project SMILE programs at various community events. International dignitaries, Members of the US Congress, Illinois Governor, and Legislators, and Indian Consul Generals commend it by.

A Visiting Professor of Indian Medical Universities, Dr. Murthy has been promoting resuscitation courses for nearly three decades in India. Indian Instructor Faculty trains thousands of physicians, medical students, and nurses with his guidance. He pioneered an “Indian Medical University Resuscitation Education and Training Model” at Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences, Andhra Pradesh (2012). He conducted simulation-based advanced Resuscitation Workshops with international faculty and guided mass community CPR events. He chaired several Resuscitation Conventions in India and organized workshops at prestigious Indian Medical Institutions such as AIIMS, New Delhi.

Heart disease Vemuri S MurthyDr. Murthy served the American Heart Association in different capacities. Such as National and International Faculty, Member of the International Committee, and Advisor to AHA International Training Centers, Also as  AHA Liaison to Medical Organizations in the USA too. He co-chaired programs at the AHA Scientific Sessions and delivered Resuscitation-based lectures at prestigious US medical institutions.

He also contributed to AHA’s “Saving Children’s Lives” project in Gujarat, India.  AHA leadership recognized his decades of service: “For Volunteer Leadership in Support of Lifesaving Mission of the AHA and its Emergency Cardiovascular Care Programs”. Dr. Murthy has been actively involved with AAPI as the Chairman of the “AAPI-AHA Liaison Committee”, “Global Resuscitation Committee”, and “Editorial Board Advisor” of the peer-reviewed Journal of AAPI (JAAPI). He also initiated an International AAPI Webinar Continuing Medical Education (CME) program (2020), an IAMA, IL Community CPR Project (2015), and an Indo-US CPR Research Project involving Resident Physicians from US Medical Universities (2016).

In a recent interview for a heart health article 2020, Dr. Vemuri Murthy shared his thoughts and concerns regarding the current status of the out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and diminishing bystander resuscitation help during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Bystander CPR with Defibrillation is a Blessing of Contemporary Medicine enhancing the survival of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Victims. Saving Lives with Best Practices should be the top Healthcare Priority for every Nation,” says Dr. Murthy, who hails from the state of Andhra Pradesh. He has devoted his entire life towards learning and sharing his knowledge and expertise with the noble cause of Heart Education.   Dr. Vemuri Murthy’s contributed to Global Health, Resuscitation Medicine, and Community Service. And this have been widely recognized through the numerous awards and recognitions that have been bestowed on him.

Dr. Murthy was honored with a Medal from US Congressmen as “Global Champion of Resuscitation,” “Lifetime Achievement Award” and “Distinguished Physician Award” from the Indian American Medical Association, Illinois.”

Chicago Medical Society gave the “Henrietta Herbolsheimer Public Service Award” and “Leadership Award” to Dr. Murthy. Also, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin bestowed on him the “Pioneer of Resuscitation Medicine in India” and “Most Distinguished Service” Awards. And, he received the “Global Champion of Health Award” from the Global Health Consortium, USA and the “Paul Harris International Service Award” from the Rotary Club and “Global Humanitarian Award” from The Institute of Medicine of Chicago “for providing voluntary, longstanding, and International Humanitarian Health Services” along with commendations from Indian Medical Universities and Medical Societies such as Indian Medical Association and Cardiological Society of India.

Indeed, Dr. Vemuri S. Murthy is truly a “Global Champion of Resuscitation Medicine!”

Assemblyman Sterley Stanley, First South Asian From Middlesex County In The New Jersey General Assembly

New Jersey’s Asian population has experienced remarkable growth within the last decade. According to census data released earlier this month, about 1.05 million New Jersey residents, slightly more than 11% of the state’s population, identified as either partially or entirely Asian. This striking 44% increase from the 725,726 who identified as Asian in the 2010 census prompts the question of whether the state government has changed to reflect new demographics. In fact, Asian candidates would need to win seven more seats in the Assembly and two or three more in the Senate for their representation to align with the state’s demographics. Nonetheless, there are those in the state government already leading the way to greater representation. Most recently, Assemblyman Sterley Stanley (D-Middlesex) joined State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) as the third Indian American to be elected to the state legislature.

Stanley won his 18th District Assembly seat in a Special Election in January 2021, becoming the first South Asian to represent Middlesex County in the New Jersey Legislature. Stanley defeated fellow Democrat, Edison Councilman Joe Coyle by a vote of 189-136, a 58%-42% margin, according to the Middlesex County Democratic Organization. The seat became vacant when former Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin resigned after being sworn in as the new Middlesex County Clerk.Endorsed by the Middlesex County Democratic Organization, Assemblyman Stanley was sworn in on January 27th, 2021. Stanley serves as a member of the Assembly Committee On Law And Public Safety and as a member of the Assembly Committee On Health. “I am honored to serve the residents of the 18th district and eager to roll up my sleeves to address the needs of our wonderful, diverse district and state,” Stanley said in a statement after being sworn in as an Assemblyman. “The events of the past year have shown us the danger of divisive forces, but they have also shown us the strength and necessity of collaboration. Truly listening to one another will allow us to better understand the issues and each other and to develop and implement nuanced, detailed solutions that reflect every community’s situation.”

Prior to being selected to fill the seat, Stanley served two terms as an East Brunswick Councilman. While on the East Brunswick Council, he advocated for fiscal responsibility, economic redevelopment and community building programs. The 54-Year-old Stanley was re-elected to his East Brunswick Council seat by 5,137 votes in 2020 against Republican Suzanne Blum and served as Council President in 2019 and 2020. During his time as councilman, the council and mayor’s administration “stabilized East Brunswick taxes without a reduction in services; re-established the East Brunswick Regional Chamber of Commerce; strengthened community relations with law enforcement; maintained a strong relationship with the public school district; and focused on delivering ratables through redevelopment.” Stanley won the Democratic primary this past June and will run in the general election in November 2021 for a full two-year term. The 18th District has the highest percentage of Asian Americans of any legislative district in the state, and Middlesex, Stanley’s home county, has the largest Asian population in the state, at 237,945 residents. In addition to East Brunswick and Edison, the 18th District includes Helmetta, Highland Park, Metuchen, South Plainfield And South River – all Middlesex municipalities. NJ State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, while welcoming Stanley into the Assembly Democratic Caucus, stated, “Sterley is a true and dedicated public servant who distinguished himself as a two-term East Brunswick Councilman and he makes history as the first South Asian Assemblyman from Middlesex County. I look forward to working with Assemblyman Stanley as we seek to advance our shared priorities of protecting the middle class and our most vulnerable residents.”

Stanley was born in the State of Karnataka, India and immigrated to Brooklyn, NY at a young age.  For the last 21 years, he has called East Brunswick his home. While living there, he has worked in the finance industry as a title and life insurance agent, as well as a mortgage broker. Stanley is a proud father of three children and has been actively involved in the Middlesex County community, previously serving as a Trustee of the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Church in East Brunswick and as President of the Fox Meadow Condominium Association. State Sen. Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield) was among those who had supported the then East Brunswick Councilman Sterley Stanley for the Assembly Seat. “I’m supporting Sterley Stanley,” he said. “He’s a good guy and he works with me all the time.” At a February 8th meeting, the East Brunswick town council honored Stanley’s four years of local service. At the meeting, Stanley stated that one of his proudest achievements as Council President was helping to ensure that the governing body functioned as a cohesive unit. “We might have had differences of opinion and we have differences in the way we solve things, but at the end of the day, we all got together and did what was best for the Township,” Stanley said. “I feel honored now to not just represent East Brunswick, but the whole 18th District, and all seven towns that are there,” he said.

Stanley said he looks forward to applying everything he has learned in the last four years on the council and everything he has achieved in the township and bring it to the State level. “It is a true privilege to represent the people of District 18 and The State Of New Jersey,” said Stanley.  “I am committed to serving the residents and I look forward to working with my Assembly colleagues to best address the needs of this wonderful, diverse district and state. It is important, to me, to ensure all voices are heard so that we can work together in harmony and maintain a strong, united community.” During his time as Councilman, Stanley’s efforts to help establish a redevelopment agency were well received by the public.  Through town halls and other outreach efforts, he has always encouraged residents to actively participate in the process and prioritized working with them. In another collaborative initiative, he worked with the East Brunswick Police Department to strengthen dialogue around cultural diversity within the community. Stanley is generally committed to “establishing open lines of communication” and to strengthening the relationships between state legislators and each town’s administration, municipal chairs and committee persons. He intends to “always be available to listen to their issues and provide support,” hoping to “work at the state level to promote transparency and community engagement.”

“Our main streets are the backbone of our community and I will work to move past the current economic crisis to ensure that local businesses thrive,” Stanley declared. “I will help with identifying areas in need of redevelopment and take action to bring more responsible economic growth to create local, sustainable, good-paying jobs, while ensuring the same access to opportunity for all by enacting legislation that builds bridges for all.” “The issues we confront are not simple, but I deeply believe that they are not insurmountable if we understand their complexity and commit to respecting the perspectives that our fellow community members and leaders bring to the table.”

“Food Without Fear,” A Book By Dr. Ruchi Gupta Presents A Groundbreaking Approach To Food Allergies And Sensitivities

One in five people in the United States have food intolerances or sensitivities, and while these can be debilitating, they are chronic and can also be life-threatening in the long-term. Every day, more than five hundred people in the US go to the emergency room following a bad allergic reaction to food; 1 in 10 people have food allergies — and they are acute, alarming, and can be life-threatening. These are just a few of the statistics that prove what most of us know anecdotally. Food allergies are on the rise. But allergy itself is just the tip of the iceberg — and it’s not just a problem for kids. There is a whole spectrum of food-related conditions, including sensitivities, intolerances, and challenges.

The spectrum of these ailments is wide and deep, with many tricky “masqueraders” in the mix creating confusion, potential misdiagnoses, and faulty or poor treatment, and causing immeasurable suffering for millions of people. Dr. Ruchi Gupta, a world-renowned researcher and physician on the front lines of this silent epidemic, in her first book, shares revolutionary research from her lab to address the entire spectrum of food-related health conditions.

“FOOD WITHOUT FEAR: Identify, Prevent, and Treat Food Allergies, Intolerances, and Sensitivities,” a newly released book by Dr. Ruchi Gupta, an young and talented Indian American, illuminates what she has coined the food reaction spectrum—a revolutionary way to look at food-related conditions—and offers a new approach to managing adverse responses to food with a practical plan to end the misery and enjoy eating with ease.

Considered as the very first book to identify the entire spectrum of food-related health conditions, from allergy to sensitivity, and what we can do about it, Dr. Gupta, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a clinical attending at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, promises hope, help, and food freedom to the individuals and their families who so need it. In FOOD WITHOUT FEAR you’ll learn the STOP method, a way for families to track their symptoms and gain the tools to identify, manage, and treat their unique condition to prevent future reactions.

With more than 17 years of experience as a board certified pediatrician and health researcher and currently serving as the founding director of the Center for Food Allergy & Asthma Research (CFAAR) at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Dr. Gupta known to be a curating revolutionary researcher, this young Indian American’s panoramic view debunks common myths, such as the misconception that an allergy and an intolerance are the same thing, but both can have life-threatening consequences, and she empowers you to know what questions to ask your doctor to get the correct diagnosis. In the book, Dr. Gupta details: The differences between an allergy and an intolerance or sensitivity; What “masqueraders” are and how to identify them; Which health conditions are mistaken for food allergies—or can be triggered by them; The surprising allergies on the rise (think red meat and exercise; and, The issues with allergen labeling on food and drugs FOOD WITHOUT FEAR’s assessments, information on the most up-to-date treatments, and practical tips will help welcome anyone suffering from food-related health conditions back to the table.

The book has won excellent reviews from well-known authors. David Perlmutter, MD, Fellow, American College of Nutrition, author, #1 New York Times bestseller Grain Brain and Brain Wash, wrote of the book:  “Food Without Fear explores how our individual uniqueness plays into how we respond to the information that our food choices purvey. And the dichotomy between “good” and “bad” foods is explored through the lenses of both leading edge science as well as our food-related responses. Both these data sets empower the reader with tools to optimize food choices and pave the way for a healthier life.”

Dr. Gupta is world-renowned for her groundbreaking research in the areas of food allergy and asthma epidemiology, most notably for her research on the prevalence of pediatric and adult food allergy in the United States. She has also significantly contributed to academic research in the areas of food allergy prevention, socioeconomic disparities in care, and the daily management of these conditions. Dr. Gupta is the author of The Food Allergy Experience, has written and co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed research manuscripts, and has had her work featured on major TV networks and in print media. Kristin Loberg has a lengthy list of successful collaborations with multiple New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers to her credit. Kristin earned her degree from Cornell University, and lives in Los Angeles. She is a member of the Author’s Guild, PEN, and teaches an intensive proposal-writing workshop at UCLA annually.

Published by Hachette Books, (ISBN-13:92 78030684650) “FOOD WITHOUT FEAR: Identify, Prevent, and Treat Food Allergies, Intolerances, and Sensitivities” is available on all major bookstores and online, including at Amazon and Barnes And Nobles. For more details, please visit: https://foodwithoutfearbook.com/