MSCK And MSSNY Hold Joint Legislative Meeting In Brooklyn

The Medical Society of the County of Kings (MSCK) and The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) held a joint legislative meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall on September 15, 2022. Attendees included guest of honor Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Chairman of Health Committee, NY Senator Gustavo Rivera,  NY Assemblywoman Stefani Zinerman, NY Assemblyman Michael Tannousis and NY Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz.

MSCK President Dr. Jagdish Gupta began the evening by welcoming the participants and presenting a unique opportunity for them to engage in dialogue with elected representatives. In introducing NYS Senator Hon. Gustavo Rivera, Dr. Gupta said: “Senator Rivera has made it his duty to fight the long-standing health inequalities in our communities.”

With Assembly Persons: Lisa Eng DO, Assemblywoman Stefani Zinerman, Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, Medical Society President Jagdish K Gupta, MD and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz.

Dr. Gupta thanked the Senator for his committee’s support on the following legislation:

• Telehealth payment parity
• Extension of the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program
• Increasing Medicaid Payments by Restoring Medicaid Cuts of 1.5 % of 2020 and
increasing Medicaid Physician Payment for E&M services to 70% of Medicare.
• Providing 75% increase in Loan Repayment Program to Physician Students
He went on to thank him for his efforts in passing the following:
• Requirements for same specialty Peer Review process by Health Plans
• Prohibiting Health insurers from Preventing patients from using Co-Pay cards or
Coupons
• Preventing Health insurers from imposing Step Therapy or Fail First Protocols
• For lowering the age of screening colonoscopy to age 45 years
• Providing additional due process protection to Healthcare Providers audited by OMIG

Dr. Gupta stressed that the Wrongful Death Liability Expansion Bill, if enacted into law, would be devastating to physicians and safety net hospitals and will increase liability for businesses and municipalities in New York.

“The people of New York deserve the best possible healthcare. New York trains the highest number of trainees, but they leave NY because the environment for medical practice is challenging, said MSSNY President Dr. Parag Mehta. “MSSNY is willing to discuss with all who are interested in our common goals and offer its expertise to find ways to improve our healthcare system and healthcare delivery.”

Physicians have been heroes, especially during the Covid pandemic, and many physicians lost their lives fighting the Covid crisis. “They faced the Covid crisis with courage and compassion, said Dr. Mehta. “Healthcare heroes are facing a new crisis today: the potential increase in their liability premium by 40-45% if the wrongful death bill becomes effective. We urge Governor Hochul to veto this bill.”

Panel-1: MSCK President Jagdish K. Gupta MD, Health Committee Chairman Senator Gustavo Rivera, MSSNY President Parag Mehta MD, Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, Lisa Eng DO (Standing)

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.

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.

Book On Rise Of Indian Americans Presented To Indian Minister

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal was presented a book on the phenomenal rise of Indian Americans in diverse fields by M R Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, in Palo Alto, California last week.

The book, “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans,” a first-of-its-kind anthology on the Indian American community in the US, was presented to Goyal during an interactive Indiaspora lunch event to discuss trade, regulation, tech infrastructure and diaspora issues.

Inspired by the US Vice President, the book evidences the progress and accomplishments of the Indian-American diaspora through 16 essays written by influential Indian Americans.

From politics to the new administration, entrepreneurship to technology, medicine to hospitality, science to academia, business to entertainment, philanthropy to social activism, leaders from various arenas detail their own paths to success and offer their perspectives on diasporic progress. These stories culminate in a larger narrative of the Indian-American community’s coming-of-age in the US.

Edited by the Delhi-based veteran journalist and foreign policy analyst, Tarun Basu, the book was released by New Delhi-based publisher Wisdom Tree and is available in the US via Amazon at: https://bit.ly/HarrisIA – Amazon India book link, and at https://bit.ly/HarrisIndAm – Amazon USA link.

Authors who have contributed to the Book include: former Indian ambassadors TP Sreenivasan and Arun K. Singh; Deepak Raj, chairman of Pratham USA; businessman Raj Gupta; hotelier Bijal Patel; Pradeep Khosla, Chancellor of UC San Diego; scholar-professor Maina Chawla Singh; Sujata Warrier, Chief Strategy Officer for the Battered Women’s Justice Project; Shamita Das Dasgupta, co-founder of Manavi; and journalists Arun Kumar, Mayank Chhaya, Suman Guha Mozumder, Ajay Ghosh, Vikrum Mathur, and Laxmi Parthasarathy.

UC Berkeley’s India initiatives

During his recent trip to California India’s ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, met with Chancellor Carol Christ and Dean Ann Harrison of University of California, Berkeley. He also met with Prof Solomon Darwin, director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation and the executive director of the Center for Growth Markets at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr Christ’s office told indica, “Ambassador Sandhu had a brief meeting with the chancellor on India’s educational policy, internationalization of higher education, and academic exchange between India and the US.” Later, Sandhu met with the faculty and leadership of the Haas School of Business to learn about their India-focused initiatives.

Prof Darwin, who hosted the ambassador, told indica, “We have signed a memorandum of understanding with the NITI Aayog in 2020, and the discussion was based on three main things they are doing in India.” The NITI Aayog is the Indian government’s top think tank and is the chief advisor to the Prime Minister on policy matters.

Prof Darwin and Ambassador Sandhu discussed strategies to help make India a manufacturing hub on par with China. The second project is to educate 600 million young people on digital devices and bringing India online for last mile connectivity to provide access to global markets.

“We also talked about the Smart village movement and building a scalable model so that they can sustain themselves,” said Prof. Darwin.

He said the Smart Village project is an ongoing effort with over 40 companies collaborating. In 2020 and also this year, Prof Darwin said, three-day meetings in New Delhi were attended by 28 companies. These interactions were held at Rashtrapati Bhawan and Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.

“Forty US-based companies have signed up to help make India a manufacturing hub,” he said. “You can’t manufacture in India unless the entire ecosystem comes together. For example, if you need a chip company in India you also need Dell to assemble and build a laptop. You need companies that make minerals. In short, you need an ecosystem. Our meeting at Rashtrapati Bhawan was about this.”

One of India’s biggest IT projects is to educate more than half a million youths to code in order to help them get meaningful jobs in the sector. Prof. Darwin said a whole system is available on the Cloud. “If you want to learn to code, opportunities with Khan academy, Salesforce, Dell, Amazon and similar companies exist. They not only teach, but also give a certificate if students pass the exam. It’s free.”

He added, “Many Indian kids can’t afford to pay fees to learn coding, but if they can learn to code from these outlets, they can work for Silicon Valley companies.”

Prof Darwin indicated that role of Haas Business School will be like an orchestra conductor. “We will bring resources together. We are non-political and non-commercial. UC Berkeley is a not-for-profit institution, and we are focused on societal, environmental, and people problems. This the reason that The NTI Aayog decided to work with us.”

When indica asked him about his experience of working with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, Prof Darwin indicated that he is not get anyone’s personal philosophy, but “in terms of action the government is good.” He said the Modi government is doing to right thing working with UC Berkeley. “We are only concerned with moving things forward.”

He gave an example of how India wants to build a chip manufacturing ecosystem and that this will take anywhere between five to 10 years. “To attract capital, India needs to have the right policy. And you can only attract capital when there is trust in the system.”

Trust is a major topic Prof Darwin has touched upon in his book, ‘Resetting the Jewel in the Crown: A Roadmap for Rebuilding India’. “If you don’t have trust, no one is going to invest in your country. For example, the 40 companies that Haas is working with have said they are willing to trust but India needs to demonstrate that.”

To be sure, according to data provided by India’s ministry of commerce and industry, Singapore (27.01%) and the US (17.94%) have emerged as top two nations with FDI equity flows into India in FY2021-22, followed by Mauritius (15.98%), the Netherlands (7.86%) and Switzerland (7.31%). FDI equity inflow in the manufacturing sectors increased 76% in FY 2021-22 ($21.34 billion) as compared to FY2020-21 ($12.09 billion).

“If Modi government can protect foreign investment in India, companies will come,” Prof. Solomon said. “It is about establishing trust and facilitating the ease of doing business. Since 2016, six automakers have left India. The country needs to learn from that to reduce barriers to entry and improve ease of doing business in India.”

The head chef at Cambs Bangladeshi and Indian diner won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the English Curry Awards.

The English Curry Awards are meant to celebrate amazing restaurants across the UK. Miftaur Rahman Choudhury was in attendance at this year’s event because his restaurant, Lalbagh, was short listed for their Restaurant of the Year Award. He was shocked when he won the Lifetime Achievement Award, which he did not even know that he was nominated for. “When they came to lifetime achievement award I was munching and when I heard my name I was absolutely shocked, and overwhelmed with joy,” he said. (Courtesy: Indica News)

India Urges Canada To Expedite Processing Of Student Visas

India has stepped in and urged Canada to expedite processing of student visas, as recent delays have caused serious problems for Indian families.

The average processing time of visa applications from Indian students to Canada has now increased from four weeks to 12 weeks. On Thursday, India stated that it has urged Canadian authorities to expedite the processing for Indian students. “The High Commission of India in Ottawa continue to be engaged with relevant Canadian interlocutors regarding problems faced by Indian students due to delay in issue of visas,” the India High Commission said.

Dubai has expressed its readiness to host the Asia Cup 2022 cricket games this weekend, including the India versus Pakistan game.

On Thursday, the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) made an announcement that the city was ready to “safely and securely” play host to matches throughout the tournament, which begins this weekend and will last 16 days. Dubai will be hosting 10 of this year’s 13 matches, including the eagerly awaited match between India and Pakistan on Sunday, August 28. The opening game will also be held today, August 27, in Dubai between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan Explained

What the program means for you, and what comes next

President Biden, Vice President Harris, and the U.S. Department of Education have announced a three-part plan to help working and middle-class federal student loan borrowers transition back to regular payment as pandemic-related support expires. This plan includes loan forgiveness of up to $20,000. Many borrowers and families may be asking themselves “what do I have to do to claim this relief?” This page is a resource to answer those questions and more. There will be more details announced in the coming weeks. To be notified when the process has officially opened, sign up at the Department of Education subscription page

The Biden Administration’s Student Loan Debt Relief Plan

Part 1. Final extension of the student loan repayment pause

Due to the economic challenges created by the pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration has extended the student loan repayment pause a number of times. Because of this, no one with a federally held loan has had to pay a single dollar in loan payments since President Biden took office.

To ensure a smooth transition to repayment and prevent unnecessary defaults, the Biden-Harris Administration will extend the pause a final time through December 31, 2022, with payments resuming in January 2023. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to do anything to extend my student loan pause through the end of the year? 

No. The extended pause will occur automatically. 

Part 2. Providing targeted debt relief to low- and middle-income families 

To smooth the transition back to repayment and help borrowers at highest risk of delinquencies or default once payments resume, the U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households. 

In addition, borrowers who are employed by non-profits, the military, or federal, state, Tribal, or local government may be eligible to have all of their student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This is because of time-limited changes that waive certain eligibility criteria in the PSLF program. These temporary changes expire on October 31, 2022. For more information on eligibility and requirements, go to PSLF.gov

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I know if I am eligible for debt cancellation?

To be eligible, your annual income must have fallen below $125,000 (for individuals) or $250,000 (for married couples or heads of households)

If you received a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.

If you did not receive a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $10,000 in debt cancellation. 

What does the “up to” in “up to $20,000” or “up to $10,000” mean?

Your relief is capped at the amount of your outstanding debt. 

For example: If you are eligible for $20,000 in debt relief, but have a balance of $15,000 remaining, you will only receive $15,000 in relief. 

What do I need to do in order to receive loan forgiveness?

Nearly 8 million borrowers may be eligible to receive relief automatically because relevant income data is already available to the U.S. Department of Education. 

If the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t have your income data – or if you don’t know if the U.S. Department of Education has your income data, the Administration will launch a simple application in the coming weeks.

The application will be available before the pause on federal student loan repayments ends on December 31st. 

If you would like to be notified by the U.S. Department of Education when the application is open, please sign up at the Department of Education subscription page

What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives the remaining balance on your federal student loans after 120 payments working full-time for federal, state, Tribal, or local government; military; or a qualifying non-profit. 

Temporary changes, ending on Oct. 31, 2022, provide flexibility that makes it easier than ever to receive forgiveness by allowing borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.

Enrollments on or after Nov. 1, 2022 will not be eligible for this treatment. We encourage borrowers to sign up today. Visit PSLF.gov to learn more and apply

Part 3. Make the student loan system more manageable for current and future borrowers

Income-based repayment plans have long existed within the U.S. Department of Education. However, the Biden-Harris Administration is proposing a rule to create a new income-driven repayment plan that will substantially reduce future monthly payments for lower- and middle-income borrowers. 

The rule would: 

Require borrowers to pay no more than 5% of their discretionary income monthly on undergraduate loans. This is down from the 10% available under the most recent income-driven repayment plan. 

Raise the amount of income that is considered non-discretionary income and therefore is protected from repayment, guaranteeing that no borrower earning under 225% of the federal poverty level—about the annual equivalent of a $15 minimum wage for a single borrower—will have to make a monthly payment. 

Forgive loan balances after 10 years of payments, instead of 20 years, for borrowers with loan balances of $12,000 or less.

Cover the borrower’s unpaid monthly interest, so that unlike other existing income-driven repayment plans, no borrower’s loan balance will grow as long as they make their monthly payments—even when that monthly payment is $0 because their income is low.

The Biden-Harris Administration is working to quickly implement improvements to student loans. Check back to this page for updates on progress. If you’d like to be the first to know, sign up for email updates from the U.S. Department of Education.

NY Times Rebuts Critics About Story On Delhi Govt’s Education Model

The New York Times (NYT), whose front page report lauding the AAP-led Delhi government’s much-touted education model became a major sub-plot of recent CBI raid against Manish Sisodia – Delhi’s deputy chief minister who also holds the education portfolio – dismissed allegations its report was a ‘paid article’. 

“Education is an issue that the NYT has covered over many years. Our report about efforts to improve Delhi’s education system is based on impartial, on-the-ground reporting,” the newspaper’s director for external communications, Nicole Taylor, said in an email to news agency PTI.

“Journalism from the New York Times is always independent, free from political or advertiser influence,” Taylor added. On the same story being published in the Khaleej Times as well, she said that other news outlets ‘routinely license and republish our coverage’.

The report, published on the front page of NYT’s international edition on August 18, became a major sub-plot of Friday’s CBI raid against Manish Sisodia, the deputy CM of Delhi who also holds the education portfolio.

The response by the London-based Taylor, who, according to her LinkedIn profile is responsible for the daily’s communications in global markets outside the US, came after PTI wrote to her, seeking a clarification on the matter.

On Friday, as the CBI raided Sisodia’s residence in connection with alleged regularities in the Delhi government’s excise policy, several leaders of his AAP, including the party’s national convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, described him as the ‘best education minister of independent India’.

Pointing to the NYT’s story, the party said the fact that the central agency’s action against the senior minister came just a day after the report was published, showed that the opposition BJP, to whose government at the Centre the CBI and other central agencies report, was rattled by the rise of the AAP, and, in particular, that of Arvind Kejriwal.

It also challenged the saffron party to get an article published in the NYT by paying money, if possible. The AAP’s retort came after the BJP, pointing to the same story appearing in Khaleej Times (the paper credited NYT), said this proved that the report was a ‘paid promotion’.

Impoverished But Exceptional Students From India Get Scholarships To US Schools

Four students from Shanti Bhavan, a residential school for impoverished children in India, have gotten full scholarships to top U.S. colleges. All four of these students overcame extremely tough circumstances to be where they are today, The school they attended, Shanti Bhavan, is run by a nonprofit educational trust that has earned praise for its “extraordinary commitment to enabling its students to succeed,” and was featured in the Netflix documentary series Daughters of Destiny. The school currently has 250 children enrolled, most of whom are from rural and urban slums in India. 

The mango juice tasted funny. That’s how Kusuma started her personal essay when applying to U.S. colleges this year. Kusuma was then 3 years old. She had 2 older sisters. They lived with their mother, who was raising her 3 daughters on her own. 

The family traveled from village to village in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, hiding from money lenders who often threatened them with violence. “For years, I had struggled alone, desperate to feed my kids,” says Kusuma’s mother, Yashodha. 

After a long and tiring day, her mother offered all three girls the juice. Then she drank some herself. “My sisters and I happily gulped it down, ignoring the tingling sensation on our tongues,” Kusuma wrote. “I remember my mother was crying, and after we finished our juice, she gave each of us a kiss and told us to go to bed. I woke up in a hospital bed with a tube in my throat. Later, I learned my mother had laced the mango juice with pesticide in an attempt to take our lives and her own.”

Kusuma’s mother Yashodha says their home had been robbed on that day. “The robbery just triggered within me the deepest loneliness and despair.”

Kusuma and her sisters survived. Yashodha deeply regretted the incident but says she saw it as a turning point. From then on, she was determined to give her daughters better lives. She found work at a local garment factory and took on private orders at home, working until 2 a.m. most days. Kusuma is one of four students from the Shanti Bhavan school in India who took the SATs and made it into a top U.S. university with a full scholarship. 

She enrolled Kusuma’s sisters in public schools, but a friend suggested that she take Kusuma to Shanti Bhavan, a residential school on the outskirts of Bengaluru for impoverished kids, run by a nonprofit educational trust. “I heard they take only one member from a family suffering hardships and Kusuma was at the right age. My other two daughters were older,” says Yashodha.

It’s a school that has earned praise for its extraordinary commitment to enabling its students to succeed. In 2017, it was featured in Daughters of Destiny, a Netflix documentary series that followed 5 girls over 7 years, filmed by Oscar-winner Vanessa Roth.

And this year there’s a new milestone for the school. In past years, its college applicants did not have to take the SAT. This year, for the first time, college-bound students from the school took the SAT exams, competing head-on with American and international students. Colleges waive SAT exams only in very exceptional circumstances; if students from the school are able to compete academically, that’s a promising sign.

Kusuma is one of four students from Shanti Bhavan who took the SATs and made it into a top U.S. university with a full scholarship.

There are currently 250 children enrolled in Shanti Bhavan – most from rural and urban slums. Many are part of India’s lower castes and come from families that earn less than $2 a day. In addition to social discrimination because of their caste, some of the children have had to cope with alcoholism in their family, physical and sexual abuse, and gender-based violence, says Ajit George, director of operations. And many come from single-parent households.

What makes the school stand out is the way it sets up a path for the success of its students, says Patrick Inglis, assistant professor of sociology at Grinnell College. The school not only supports the children while they are students but right up until the day they get their first job. Inglis has interviewed roughly 45 graduates to learn how the school has helped them escape poverty and transform their lives. He’s writing about their lives in a forthcoming book called Paying it Forward: The Promise and Burden of a Good Education.

It’s a daring wager, he says: What happens when you dedicate time, money, love and support to poor children from the most marginalized communities in the country — when you give as much to them and expect as much from them as you would any child from a well-off background?

Today, Kusuma, 18, is on her way to Middlebury College in Vermont after scoring 91% on her board examinations in India. She intends to major in computer science and artificial intelligence. Nicole Curvin, the dean of admissions at Middlebury, notes that “Shanti Bhavan is one of many unique high school environments that we learn about through the admissions process. Admitted students like Kusuma clearly demonstrated through their transcripts, letters of recommendation, standardized testing, interview and essay that they were ready to join and contribute to our rigorous academic programs. We also consider individual context and lived experiences, and Kusuma’s personal path has been inspirational.”

For Kusuma, reaching this milestone meant overcoming the trauma of her early years. She did this, she says, with the help of counseling she received at Shanti Bhavan — as well as emotional support from caring teachers and staff.

“As I grew older, I understood the difficulties my mother faced. It made it possible for me to forgive her, to put the incident behind me and move on,” she says.

His army stint inspired him to start the school.

The school owes its existence to Abraham George, an Indian businessman who made his fortune in software.

The desire to start Shanti Bhavan dates back to his army days in the 1960s. Traveling across India as a soldier, he says that his eyes were opened to the deep inequality and prejudice faced by impoverished communities and people considered lower caste.

“I was driven by my desire to help those in poverty to overcome their hardship in one generation, by bringing up their children to be professionally successful. This desire came about from my conviction that it is my duty to help those in need — a reverence for life,” says George, now age 75, who lives on the Shanti Bhavan campus for nine months of the year and spends the other three at his home in New Jersey.

In 1997, he decided to create a school with the goal of lifting its graduates – and their families – out of poverty. 48 children were accepted the first year — 24 for pre-kindergarten and 24 for kindergarten. The idea was to eventually run a K-12 school for ages 4-17. He picked the name “Shanti Bhavan” because it meant “haven of peace” in Sanskrit.

“I am happy about what I have accomplished but wish that I could have done more,” he says. “But the financial setbacks I encountered in 2008 didn’t permit that. I am indeed very proud of the accomplishments of our graduates but more so about the type of young adults they are — with character and values.”

For the first 12 years, the school was funded entirely from his father’s savings, says Ajit George, who divides his time between Seattle and India. The first class of students graduated in 2010. “At the time we were recovering from the financial crisis and were almost forced to close down,” he recalls.

Because the family hadn’t reached out to other organizations for support, that personal financial setback meant that the school suffered too. Today, the family money is still a source of support, adding up to over $20 million in contributions over the years, says Ajit George. But they’re no longer the sole funder. “Our current funding is a mix of grassroots and individual donors, corporations, partner non-profits.” The school has partnered with many non-profit organizations, including She’s the First, Broadway for Arts Education, McKinsey for Children and investment firms such as Baleen Capital.

As word spread in local communities, the school began to receive hundreds of applications — but they could only take on 26 students each year — equally divided between boys and girls.

“It’s always a challenge — there’s no shortage of needy, deserving children,” says Ajit George. So in 2017, they started raising funds to build a second school in the village of Chikkahosahalli, about an hour away Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) in the South Indian state of Karnataka. Construction will soon be underway.

A new start, new toys

For the students, their new life is a dramatic change from the poverty they have known. The four students interviewed for this story all said they loved the school, their accommodations, the meals and the perks (like a basketball and volleyball court on the 30-acre campus as well as fountain pond to splash in). There’s even a community garden where they grow their own vegetables.

“I fell in love with all the toys at Shanti Bhavan when I first arrived as a 4-year-old and was especially fond of a huge white teddy bear,” says Kusuma. “My mother said it made her so happy to see me play — she felt that she’d made the right decision, even though it meant parting with me for a while.”

The school wasn’t an instant success. In the early years, Shanti Bhavan had a significant dropout rate. Parents would often pull children because they wanted them to work or help out in the household “but also because they didn’t know us well or believe in the program,” says Ajit George.

“We started with 24 kids [per class] and would only graduate with a class of 14 or 16.” Today, the school is better at communicating with families, and there are only 2-3 dropouts in a year, he says.

The rigorous curriculum is also an obstacle for some, he says. “Now, we’ve gotten a lot better at giving the academic support necessary to keep up.”

Finding qualified teachers who’ll work in the school’s rural area is another challenge. Shanti Bhavan is located in the village of Baliganapalli, an hour and a half from Bengaluru, the nearest big city. In 2004, the school began offering accommodations to teachers’ families, hoping that this perk will keep them longer.

Despite these concerns, the school has established a great track record of getting its students into university. Every graduate is admitted to a college in India or another country – and true to its mission, Shanti Bhavan continues to support them, paying college tuition fees and living expenses.

“Our commitment to our children is from the first day of school to the first day of work. It’s the only way to ensure they break out of poverty permanently,” Ajit George says.

To achieve that goal, students are encouraged to study STEM or business, the Grinnell professor Patrick Inglis has found. These are high-paying fields in India, and administrators want to ensure that the graduates make enough money to help lift families out of poverty. There are graduates working in business, medicine, engineering and computer science.

In the years ahead, the school could encourage a broader set of careers and interests, says Inglis, including those in the arts and humanities.

The numbers are small … but there’s more to the story

How do you assess the impact of the school? When you look at numbers, it’s fairly small, says Amit Basole, head of the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University in Bengaluru. Basole, who is not affiliated with the school, points out that there are millions of children, particularly first generation learners — the first in their families to go to school — who don’t get the education and support they need in India.

But there’s a greater context to consider, he says: The school’s graduates serve as role models, giving hope to other children who have watched their parents suffer from caste-based discrimination, with lower caste people facing threats and violence in their communities.

The U.S. class of 2025

Naveen’s biggest dream is to be financially independent — and to provide for his family. He plans to major in business management at Duke. 

In addition to Kusuma attending Middlebury, Naveen, 19 is in the freshman class at Duke University, Vel, 19, is at Stanford and Samuel, 18, has found a place at Dartmouth — all on full scholarships. The rest of the graduating class has found a place in colleges in India.

Naveen says that his father works as a driver and his mother is a farm laborer. When he was a child, they lived in a one-room hut with no running water or electricity.

In his college essay, Naveen wrote: “Dalits are the poorest of the poor, only allowed to perform the most menial of jobs. Food, housing, clothing, school, health-care, debt, teenage marriage — these are the daily challenges of a Dalit family. It’s an overwhelming burden, and with no help and no escape.”

Today, Naveen’s biggest dream is financial freedom: to be able to protect his family from the social abuse that is often related to caste and to provide for them. At Duke, he plans to major in business management, he says, and hopes to become an entrepreneur.

Vel’s family sold pani puri, an Indian street food, in a pushcart. He’s now attending Stanford and plans to get his degree in chemical engineering. Whenever he was home for the holidays, he would take over, plying the cart through the streets. Now a Stanford freshman, he says he will pursue a degree in chemical engineering.

Environmental concerns are important to him, he says, and his dream is to find a way to effectively repurpose plastic. He helped with Shanti Bhavan’s solar panel installation and encouraged students to pay attention to recycling and composting for the school’s organic garden.

Like Naveen and Vel, Samuel shouldered responsibilities at a young age. At 14, he was helping neighbors fill out resumes and assisting his father in negotiating interest rates on bank loans. His mother was Hindu and his father Christian, he says. They fell in love and their interfaith marriage caused tensions. Their families were opposed to it. The couple struggled, even battled homelessness, as their friends and relatives ostracized them. 

Samuel joined the Shanti Bhavan school at the age of 4 and recalls how his parents missed the bus that was supposed to take them there. “My father carried me and walked the 10 miles to the school because he didn’t want me to miss our interview,” he says. Samuel is now a freshman at Dartmouth, where he plans to study computer science. 

Samuel joined Shanti Bhavan at the age of 4 and recalls how his parents missed the bus that was supposed to take them there, after traveling for hours by another bus from their native village in Tamil Nadu. “My father carried me and walked the 10 miles to the school because he didn’t want me to miss our interview. We still talk about that day,” he says. He is now a freshman at Dartmouth with plans to study computer science.

All four are excited about experiencing life on campus in the U.S. “The first thing I want to do is visit Walmart,” says Kusuma with a laugh. “I’ve heard so much about it.” (Courtesy: NPR)

Harvard, Yale Investigated Over Alleged China, Saudi Arabia Funding

The Education Department opened investigations into Harvard and Yale as part of a continuing review that has found U.S. universities failed to report at least $6.5 billion in foreign funding from countries such as China and Saudi Arabia, according to department materials viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The investigations into the Ivy League schools are the latest in a clash between U.S. universities and a coalition of federal officials including law enforcement, research funders such as the National Institutes of Health and Defense and Energy Departments, and a bipartisan group in Congress that has raised concerns about the reliance of higher-education institutions on foreign money, particularly from China.

A Harvard spokesman said the university is working on a response. A Yale spokeswoman didn’t immediately have a comment.

The Education Department described higher-education institutions in the U.S., in a document viewed by the Journal, as “multi-billion dollar, multi-national enterprises using opaque foundations, foreign campuses, and other sophisticated legal structures to generate revenue.”

Officials accused schools of actively soliciting money from foreign governments, companies and nationals known to be hostile to the U.S. and potentially in search of opportunities to steal research and “spread propaganda benefitting foreign governments,” according to the document.

In addition, while the department said it has found foreign money generally flows to the country’s richest universities, “such money apparently does not reduce or otherwise offset American students’ tuition costs,” the document said.

U.S. officials say China uses a variety of means to target academia, including government-funded talent recruitment programs such as the Thousand Talents Plan. The arrest last month of the chairman of Harvard’s chemistry department on federal charges of lying about receiving millions of dollars in Chinese funding through the program while the U.S. shelled out more than $15 million to fund his research group catapulted the issue into the spotlight.

In a letter to Harvard dated Feb. 11 and posted on the Education Department website, officials cited the recent Justice Department case and asked the school to disclose records of gifts or contracts involving the governments of China, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran. It also requested records regarding telecommunications giants Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. of China; the Kaspersky Lab and Skolkovo Foundation of Russia; and the Alavi Foundation of Iran, among others.

The Education Department said Yale had failed to disclose at least $375 million dollars in foreign funding after filing no reports from 2014-17, according to a document viewed by the Journal. The department, in a Feb. 11 letter to the university, sought records regarding contributions from Saudi Arabia, China and its telecom giants, Peking University’s Yenching Academy, the National University of Singapore, Qatar and others. It also asked the university to detail foreign funding of Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center and the new Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs.

If the schools refuse to disclose the information, the Education Department can refer the matter to the Justice Department, which could pursue civil or criminal actions.

Australia’s Deakin University Announces Scholarships To Honor 75 Years Of India’s Independence

Deakin University, Australia, has announced its Research Scholarships Program 2023, which offers 100% tuition fee waiver to twenty high-achieving Indian students for the full duration of their onshore higher degree by research studies at the university. Among the top 1% universities for global research impact and a 100% Excellence in Research Australia (ERA), Deakin University remains committed to partnering with India and giving back to Indian students to open a world of opportunity with a research scholarship.

The scholarship recipients will receive a 100% tuition fee waiver and an annual stipend of up to INR 15 lacs for full-time, on-campus study for up to three years. Additionally, students will also be eligible to receive a one-time relocation allowance of up to INR 1.5 lacs and health insurance cover for the duration of their student visa. Through these scholarships, students will be able to re-imagine their careers, connect with industry, and create an impact alongside world-leading researchers at Victoria’s number one university for overall employment.

Deakin’s strategic research and innovation centers help to solve global challenges guided by the five impact themes of advancing society and culture, building safe and secure communities, improving health and wellbeing, enabling a sustainable world, and designing smarter technologies. With a diverse range of research areas, close links with industry, and first-class facilities, Deakin’s research create a real-world, far-reaching impact. In recent times, Deakin’s Recycling and Renewable Energy Commercialization Hub (REACH), Australia’s largest recycling and clean energy advanced manufacturing ecosystem, was awarded a $50 million Australian government Trailblazer Universities Program grant to facilitate research that will play a crucial role in driving Australia’s green manufacturing revolution.

Professor Julie Owens, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Deakin University, said, “At Deakin, we focus on promoting research that will have a positive impact on our local and global communities. Through the Research Scholarships Program, we will provide passionate students with the opportunity to focus on making an original and significant contribution in their chosen area of research.”

Professor Bas Baskaran, Pro Vice – Chancellor International Research Partnerships, Deakin University, added, “We have had deep connections with India for almost three decades and our collaborations with eminent institutes in the region have led to exceptional innovation and research over the years. In recognition of India’s 75th year of Independence and 28 years of Deakin University’s presence and engagement in India, Deakin’s Research Scholarships Program aim to provide Indian students with an opportunity to study with our vibrant research community in Australia and pursue meaningful research that can provide solutions to global challenges.” .

Applications for the scholarship are open for students meeting the below eligibility criteria:

  • A Master’s degree with at least two-thirds of the degree comprising a thesis graded at 80% and above
  • A Master’s degree by coursework or graduate diploma, which includes a research project or thesis of 10,000 to 20,000 words, and 80% and above standard and research methodology units
  • Relevant postgraduate research experience
  • Independently refereed journal articles, publications, or conference papers
  • Professional reporting or prior learning
  • Research-related awards or prizes
  • IELTS/TOEFL scores are mandatory

About Deakin University

Established in 1974, Deakin University successfully combines excellence in teaching, research and effective partnerships with industry and government to deliver high quality courses and undertake research that makes a difference to the domestic and international communities it serves.

Deakin’s South Asia operations commenced in 1994 at New Delhi, India, making it one of the first overseas education providers to establish operations in this region. Across India, Deakin engages with the government, industry, and academia to share its vibrant culture of education and research.

The last date to submit the application is 15th October 2022. For more information about Deakin University Research Scholarships Program 2023, please visit https://deakinuniversity.in/research/.  You can also email [email protected] or call the Deakin South Asia Office, New Delhi at +91-(0)11-26544766.

India Uniquely Placed To Take Advantage Of Phenomenal Changes In Tech, Trade, Skilled Manpower: Bimal Jalan

Very few developing countries are as well placed as India to take advantage of the phenomenal changes that have occurred in production technologies, international trade, capital movement and deployment of skilled manpower, former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan writes in a new book “From Dependence To Self-Reliance – Mapping India’s Rise As A Global Superpower” (Rupa) that builds on his three earlier books on the same theme.

“In view of these advantages, India is in a position to accelerate the growth rate of the economy to 7-8 per cent per annum over the next 25 years. The higher the growth of the economy, the greater is the capacity of the government to finance expenditure for essential social services.

“The combination of higher government expenditure on the provision of social services will provide higher growth in employment opportunities which will have a decisive impact in reducing poverty levels,” asserts Jalan, a former Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, a nominated Member of Parliament from 2003-2009 and India’s representative on the Boards of the IMF and the World Bank.

The conditions for this are extremely favourable for the first time in almost 40 years as with a single-party majority in Parliament the government’s political profile has undergone a major change as it can now launch political reforms without relying on the discretionary powers of members belonging to other parties.

In recent years, Jalan writes, “an even more phenomenal change from India’s point of view is the growing role of skills-based services in determining the comparative advantage of economies. The development of certain services is now considered as one of the preconditions for economic growth, and not one of its consequences. The boundary between goods and services is also gradually disappearing, as services of various kinds are delinked from the manufacturing process and have become essential elements of the productive structure”.

This change has been brought about by unprecedented and unforeseen advances in computer and communication technology in the last four decades, Jalan writes, adding that an important aspect of the ‘services revolution’ is that geography and levels of industrialisation are no longer the primary determinants of the location of facilities for the production of services.

“As a result, the traditional role of developing countries is also changing – from mere recipients to important providers of long-distance services. India, too, has participated in this scenario, and exports of certain services (for example, software) are expanding faster than the overall trade. The potential for expansion of jobs and incomes in the services sector is truly immense,” Jalan maintains.

From India’s point of view, some of the recent global developments which provide opportunities for substantial growth are:

The fastest-growing segment of services being knowledge-based, such as professional and technical services, India has a tremendous advantage in the supply of such services because of the highly developed structure of technological and educational institutions, and lower labour costs.

Progress in IT is making it increasingly possible to unbundle the production and consumption of information-intensive service activities. Outsourcing of these activities has become feasible.

Unlike most other prices, world prices of transport and communication services have fallen dramatically as provided by the Internet, which now links millions of computers across the world.

Technological innovation is expanding opportunities for services to be embedded in goods that are traded internationally. Thus, India does not necessarily have to be a low-cost producer of certain types of goods (such as computers or discs) before it can become an efficient supplier of service embodied in them (such as software or music).

There is also a structural shift in the pattern of demand in industrial countries in favour of services. This means that in the future, the growth in exports of developing countries will depend less on natural resource endowments and more on efficiency in, providing services and service-intensive goods.

Against this backdrop, the book is divided into 10 chapters in three sections – Economy, Governance and Politics.

The first chapter on ‘Current Situation and Future Prospects’ notes that on any global indicator of economic well-being – be it adult literacy, infant mortality, life expectancy or gender bias – India’s actual performance remains among the bottom one-third among developing countries and that a lot remains to be done before India is able to exploit the new opportunities to realise its full potential in the future.

The next chapter on ‘Science and Development’ notes that India has come a long way in its quest for scientific pursuit, both in the material and intellectual spheres and now has the talent, the skills and the resources to be at the forefront of the technological revolution taking place in the new growth sectors of the global economy.

The third chapter on ‘Information Technology and Banking’ notes that while there are new opportunities for savers and investors to deal directly with each other rather than through the banking system, this poses a challenge, particularly for public sector banks.

The last chapter in Section 1 – ‘India’s Stand in the 21st century – focuses on the prospects for India’s balance of payments and how resources for greater investment in social sectors can be generated by substantially raising literacy rates and healthcare.

Chapter 5 in Section 2 focuses on the role of ‘The Public Sector’, noting that the government should set standards of service, monitor performance of public enterprises and ensure access to the poor. A reduction in the role of the public sector in the economy is also desirable.

Chapter 6 is on ‘Goods and Services’ and outlines a number of issues that need to be tackled to improve agricultural growth and the income of farmers over time while the last chapter in this section is titled ‘Finance and Development: Which Way Now?’ and discusses in detail the shifting paradigm of finance and development and how it has affected the past, present and future of the nation.

Section 3 on ‘Politics’ has three chapters: ‘The Politics of Power’ (Chapter 8), ‘Political Opportunism’ (Chapter 9) and ‘Politics and Economics’ (Chapter 10). It discusses issues like centralisation of political power and public dissavings (spending that is greater than income), the bias among elected representatives at different levels to divest resources under a government programme to their own villages, constituencies and States, and practical and pragmatic core changes to help bridge the gap between politics and economics so that India can realise its full potential for the benefit of all its people.

It also suggests changes in parliamentary procedures to enable the two Houses more effectively discharge the functions assigned to them by the Constitution – for instance, the ad hoc and sudden suspension of rules of business, as was done on August 26, 2004 to pass the budget must be eschewed, except in an emergency.

Also, a vital political imperative for the future is to reduce the role of small parties in Parliament and legislatures and their influence in determining the government’s economic agenda.

“The only constraint in our country’s economic future is the lack of a strong political will to move ahead decisively to overcome the shortcomings in the policies and administrative practices of the past. It is to be hoped that such a consensus will emerge, and India can take its rightful place as one of the leading economies in the world in the twenty-first century,” Jalan writes. (IANS)

India-US Collaboration To Transform India’s Higher Education

The Higher Education Foundation recently held its Visioning Workshop, 2022 in Washington DC in the presence of education leaders and academicians from India and the Indian Diaspora in the USA. 

A brainchild of Rahul Karad, executive president of MIT World Peace University, Pune, the foundation aims to bring together higher educators and researchers of Indian origin to organize the World’s largest multidisciplinary convention for strategizing and transforming Higher Education in India and beyond. 

The Higher Education Foundation is envisaged to be an association of Indian universities, AICTE, UGC and NAAC, and USA’s NSF, with eminent education leaders and academicians from India and the Indian Diaspora in the USA.

The foundation desires to create a unique platform to bring together Higher Educators and Researchers of Indian origin and wishes to organize the World’s Largest Multidisciplinary Convention for Strategizing and Transforming Higher Education in India and beyond.

In the opening address, Dr. Suresh Garimella, President of University of Vermont, expressed hope and opportunity among the group for collaboration and progress and said, “Hundreds of millions of students must be upskilled in India and the quality of education of India is uneven and variable. Indian research, in my opinion, is primarily supported by the government while the US has a more robust system. We have to keep in mind the differences of the systems in the two countries as we discuss how to partner, there is a lot of experimentation and innovation needed. The greatest thing about the US education system are the Land-Grant acts and I am thinking, is there a version of it that can be applied in India?”

He laid emphasis on the primary function of the meeting which was partnership. He added, “As we consider opportunity today and remain cognisant to the necessary scale, the matter of achieving quality at that scale is a daunting challenge. Here’s where a truly effective deployment of distance education, in my opinion, may provide some answers, both for continuing in professional education and also for full-scale degrees.”

According to him, “India could do this better than any other country if you implement it well. We are here to spend a day to fundamentally seek to find ways of improving the quality of education and the excellence of research. We envision this discussion is directed towards planning a broad and inclusive platform where real issues are targeted, complimenting government efforts, where available and forging new ones, where needed.”

By means of the foundation, the platform will facilitate an intense and ongoing interaction between the eminent academicians and thought leaders of Indian origin in the US and academic and scientific leadership of India. Through the discussions, they can continue to work on the principle of osmosis to enrich and transform the Indian Higher Education System by drawing on the best practices in education in the US and vice versa.

The workshop had noted panelists, 18 Indians and 10 from the USA, and they discussed innovative partnerships, entrepreneurship and commercialization, the research ecosystem and pedagogical innovations in higher education.

The panel, through discussions, explored the possible partnerships that can be implemented at scale in areas of undergraduate studies, study abroad or PHD programs, early-career faculty development, networked centers and others.

Opportunities for India-US collaboration on innovative ideas and business opportunities were also discussed along with the needs and support required by the research ecosystem. Need for innovation in teaching modalities was also talked about at length.

 Ambassador of India to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, said, “Within the large canvas of India-US partnership, the knowledge space has limitless potential. As the world faces multiple challenges including health care, clean energy, climate change, supply chain issues cyber threats etc. India and the United States have unique synergies, combining Indian talent and US technology that can address them.”

He pointed out the efforts made by US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to develop government partnership and emphasized on the higher education opportunity for the two nations. “Today’s spirit is for innovativeness. Anything where we can come together, create new avenues in which our institutions can connect, we’ll be happy to do that,” he added.

The Higher Education Foundation will facilitate collaborations with foreign universities, educationists and regulators abroad to gain insights about improving our educational environment. The aim is to enhance and impart knowledge through the process of deliberations, invited talks, research and thought leadership.

 Executive President of MIT World Peace University, Pune, Shri. Rahul Karad expressed his wish to make the use of the Indian diaspora for transformation of Indian higher education and said, “Institutions in the US allow students to flourish and grow and the research is also strong. We want to look at the governance of the institutions and the policy issues. I’m sure we are going to have concrete and outcome-based discussions here.”

He added, “Usually such collaborations happen only between premier institutions but with this project, we want to penetrate deeper with opportunities to collaborate for tier 2 and 3 universities as well.”

The program aligns with the objective of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas of the Government of India and expects to build the most comprehensive database of global academicians of Indian origin.

NSF Director Dr. Sethuraman Panchnathan laid emphasis on multilateral partnerships for finding the best solutions to global challenges. He said, “There are three pillars to an innovative partnership – advancing frontiers of research into the future to meet the speed and scale requirements, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity and securing global leadership.”

Canada To Provide Work Permits For Some International Graduates

Canada is offering work permit extension to international students who no longer have it or are set to have it expired between September 20, 2021 and December 31, 2022. According to Sean Fraser, Canada’s minister of immigration, these students will be granted an additional 18-month open work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

Sean Fraser, Canada’s minister of immigration, said the students would be granted an additional 18-month open work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

More graduates will be able to settle in Canada due to this special provision, which he said indicates economic growth potential. An extension of post-graduate employment permits for some international graduates has been announced by Canada.

Students from abroad whose visas have expired or will expire between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022 are eligible for the new extension. The second open work permit for these students will be valid for 18 months.

As Canada’s economy continues to recover, “there remain hundreds of thousands of jobs waiting to be filled,” Canada’s immigration minister Sean Fraser tweeted. “Hard-working international graduates make enormous contributions to their communities and our economy.”

“We’re now extending post-graduate work permits to international graduates whose permits expired or will expire between September 20th, 2021 and December 31, 2022.”

US Embassy in India Announces New Tranche Of Student Visa Interview Slots

International students who will be joining their American universities by the middle of August can now schedule appointments at the US Embassy in India. The US has opened the first tranche of interview slots, for dates in June and the first half of July 2022 in May.

Due to COVID, last year, the US Embassy in Delhi and the consulates in India had opened student visa interviews on June 14.

Many students who were planning to attend US universities and who had already received their student I-20 documents from US universities were waiting for their interviews.

After starting student visa interviews earlier this year, US authorities plan to grant more student visas than the record 62,000 that were granted last year to students enrolling in American universities in the fall of 2021, as per reports.

The students with an I-20 (A form that proves that you are legally enrolled in a program of study in the United State) and applications in process for visa categories F, M, and J may schedule their interview times. Interviews after August 14 will be conducted at consulates, the embassy tweeted.

The US embassy said that the interview slots are now open for students having I-20 who need to apply for visa categories F, M and J at the Embassy and Consulates for interviews taking place after August 14.

“If you need to arrive at school by mid-Aug, book an appointment now,” it said. In a tweet, the embassy announced, “Student visa appointments are available on our website. If you have an I-20, don’t wait! Future F, M, and J appointment openings at the Embassy and Consulates will be for interviews taking place after Aug 14, so if you need to arrive at school by mid-Aug, book an appointment now!”

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

“AAPI’s Strength Is Its Numbers And Members:” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President Of AAPI Says In His Inaugural Address In San Antonio, TX

“AAPI’s strength is its numbers and members. Our Sakthi is in our Samkhya and our Sabhyas,” Dr. Ravi Kolli stated in his inaugural address in San Antonio, TX immediately after he assumed charge as the 41st President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) on the concluding nite of the  40th annual Convention on June 25th, 2022. “You are that powerful threads of this colorful and strong fabric, and your participation and contributions are essential for its continued success. So, thank you all,” Dr. Kolli told the over 1,000 AAPI delegates and distinguished guests who had packed the Ball Room at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center during the Presidential Gala.

The growing influence of physicians of Indian heritage is evident, as increasingly physicians of Indian origin hold critical positions in the healthcare, academic, research and administrative positions across the nation. Serving 1 in every 7 patients in the US, AAPI members care for millions of patients every day, while several of them have risen to hold high flying jobs, shaping the policies and programs and inventions that shape the landscape of healthcare in the US and around the  world. AAPI, representing the interests of the 120,000 physicians of Indian Origin, is the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, a Board-Certified Psychiatrist with specializations in Addiction, Geriatrics, and Forensic Psychiatry, serving as the Psychiatric Medical Director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services, was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University. Dr. Kolli has over four decades of experience in the healthcare field. He graduated from Rangaraya Medical College, NTR University of Health Sciences Medical School in 1981. He is affiliated with medical facilities at the Washington Health System Greene and Washington Hospital.

Under his leadership, Dr. Kolli has Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect; Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President; Dr. Meherbala Medavaram, Secretary and Dr. Sumul Raval, Treasurer of AAPI for the year 2022-23. Dr. V. Ranga will serve as the Chair, AAPI Board of Trustees. Giving representation and strengthening the voice of young physicians of Indian origin, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala will serve as the President, AAPI Young Physicians Section (YPS) and Dr. Ammu Susheela is the President of AAPI- Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section (MSRF). Dr. Anupama Gotimukula will serve as the Immediate Past President of AAPI.

Accepting the Presidency, Dr. Kolli told the more than 1,000 AAPI delegates and distinguished guests: “Tonight, I bow with gratitude and humility for the trust and faith you have in me to be the steward and servant  of this esteemed and illustrious  organization for the  next one year. “

While declaring that “The physician wellness shall be the front and center of our organization’s focus and our foremost priority,” Dr. Kolli said, “We will work to build strategic partnerships and relationships with other stakeholders and professional groups to find solutions and remedies cohesively, comprehensively, and competently. I humbly seek your continued guidance, support, and good will.”

Recognizing that this new role as the President of AAPI comes with greater role to serve the members and the larger society with diligence, Dr. Kolli quoted the “ancient as well as eternal facts and values: Uncle Ben’s advice to Peter Parker “With great power comes great responsibility,” and quoting the Bible,   “To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.” Our Dharma says “Karmanye Vadika raste mapaleshu Kadachana.”

Describing the story of Lord Hanuman, who needed to be reminded of his immense potential, Dr. Ravi Kolli said, “AAPI is that such powerful organization. As we recognize and unleash our full potential, we can literally cross oceans, which we already have done and even move the mountains.”

Quoting Alvin Toffler, the famous author and Futurologist who had said, “The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn,” Dr. Kolli said, “It is essential we as individuals, organizations and societies must reinvent and repurpose themselves constantly and continuously to stay relevant and impactful.”

Giving a glimpse into his style of functioning, Dr. Kolli a Psychiatrist, whose goal has been to unite and strengthen AAPI, said, “Leadership is all about reconciling conflicting ideas and the cognitive dissonances and finding solutions collaboratively without compromising our core values and relationships. Old style command and control and top-down transactional leadership styles are no longer as effective as collaborative leadership with mutual respect and shared knowledge and participation from center to periphery.:

Dr. Kolli assured that “We will work together to promote our values of professionalism, collegiality, excellence in patient care and enhance AAPI’s reputation as a premier professional organization offering educational programs and advocacy. I will work hard to keep AAPI focused on its core mission and conduct all of its activities and business beyond reproach in a transparent, accountable and responsible manner.”

Dr. Kolli offered his respects to every one of the past 40 presidents and the leadership teams for their service to AAPI. “I know what personal sacrifices you all have made to the success of this organization,” he said.

Dr. Kolli said, he believes “in humility and not hubris, reconciliation and not recrimination, vision and not division. Being empathic is as important as being emphatic and being compassionate as much as passionate. When we join for a cause, we achieve justice and when we unite with a vision we are in unison. We all will and only succeed together.”

Recalling how his association with AAPI and leadership responsibilities started in Pittsburgh with the TAPI team a couple of decades ago, Dr. Kolli said, “It has been an exciting experience as well as an enriching one, as I traveled all over the USA attending the events of many chapters of our AAPI and had the privilege of meeting so many brilliant and wonderful leaders and members of AAPI across the length and breadth of this great and beautiful country. I thank all my friends, colleagues, leaders and mentors for your constant love and encouragement. I could not have been here without you.”

He called upon everyone to work towards ending “the unabating and senseless mass shootings and gun violence incident are a recurrent nightmare that needs to be addressed from a public health as well as civil societies perspectives honestly and forthrightly. The challenges of misinformation affecting the health and safety of our communities and children need to be called out.”

Mental Health has been an area that has been closer to his heart. Under his presidency, Dr. Kolli has made it a priority to address “the  stigma and barriers affecting access to mental health treatments need to be challenged and dismantled.”

With gratitude he lauded the understanding and cooperation of his wife Latha, “without whose unconditional support and love, I will not be who I am today and my children, Vickranth and Priyanka’s understanding for not always being there with them and for them.}

Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, Dr. Kolli’s mission for AAPI, as he stated during the address is: “To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.” For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Celebrating The Achievements Of Indian American Physicians, AAPI’s Historic 40th Convention Concludes In San Antonio

(San Antonio, Tx. June 26, 2022) 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

Rachna Nath Recognized As TIME’s Innovative Teachers Of 2022

Assam-born Rachna Nath, a science teacher at Arizona College Prep High School in Chandler, Arizona, was recognized for the way she has inspired her students in their research, and helped them pitch their inventions to potential investors. Nath states that as a teacher, she became the person she was looking for when she was in high school herself.

In the latest issue, TIME has highlighted educators in the U.S. who are “improving their field and making a difference for their students in a unique way.”

Rachna Nath often felt like the “weird child” at school growing up in India, asking lots of questions and looking for unusual ways of doing things. Now that she’s a teacher herself, she wants to cater to that kind of student.

“I came here and I saw the way I can contribute,” says Nath, a science teacher at Arizona College Prep High School in Chandler, Ariz. “I literally became the person I was looking for when I was in my high school.”

Nath has been working with students in the after-school hours to develop solutions for real-world issues. The students were taught to think of solutions and to research patents to find grants that would allow them to create prototypes.

The class started out as an after school program for three students. It will be extended to a year for around 30 students this fall. “They can feel free to fail and make mistakes,” says Nath, 45. “By the end of the year, they will be presenting to stakeholders and doing pitch competitions.” It’s this real-world experience of pitching and prototyping products that sets Nath’s program apart.

Her students have so far worked on a device that amplifies Wi-Fi signals even in dark areas, created a hat to detect heat stress and studied how mealworms digest styrofoam for pollution reduction.

Omina Nematova, who was in Nath’s freshman biology class, says she learned pretty quickly that if she had a creative idea, Nath was the teacher she should talk to. Nematova is now an 18 year old senior and was part of a group that created a hydrothermal cap to prevent heatstroke. Sensors on the hat measure a person’s temperature and pulse and can detect if they faint. The hat sends alerts to an app, which notifies the person to “go inside and drink water” or dials an emergency contact when necessary.

“We realized that this was a problem that we should solve,” says Sohani Sandhu, 18, another student who worked on the hat. “And it was something that a lot of people hadn’t really worked on solving either.”

The students applied to patent the device, and they won a $50,000 grant from Arizona State University’s Healthy Urban Environments Initiative in 2020 to build a prototype and test it on student athletes.

Nath hopes her research class can help strengthen students’ creativity and problem-solving skills before they enter college, citing a 2015 survey showing that most college instructors think high school graduates weren’t adequately prepared for critical thinking, problem-solving and research.

Nath says that’s a sign something needs to change. “I think it’s our social responsibility … to motivate these students to do more, and bridge that gap,” she says. “Are we ensuring true lifelong learning? I don’t think so.” Sandhu intends to pursue a degree in biomedical or biology engineering at college.

“When I was a freshman, I didn’t really think I’d be the type of person to do an engineering project, create a new innovation that could help hundreds of people,” she says. “Back then, I thought the extent of research was just a science fair, or working at a university lab for a couple years and publishing a paper.”

However, she now plans to major in engineering. She credits Nath for this change. “With all the things that she’s taught me related to research over the past four years,” Sandhu says, “my life definitely would not be the same without her.”

AMA Unveils Recovery Plan For America’s Physicians

Telehealth, Medicare payments, scope creep, prior authorizations and burnout are keys to a new roadmap to renew the nation’s commitment physicians, said American Medical Association President Gerald E. Harmon, M.D. in a speech to physician and medical student leaders from across the country. Described as an ambitious roadmap to renewing our country’s commitment to physicians—and ensuring their needs are met, AMA’s plan is to ensure that patients can receive the high-quality care they deserve.

Envisioned and built against the backdrop of COVID-19 challenges that stretched our health care system to the brink, including increased physician burnout, unabated and onerous prior authorization requirements, and no permanent fix to ensure telehealth coverage for patients, the Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians focuses on five key goals to re-build health care so that it works better for physicians and all those they serve:

Citing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence and government interference in medicine, Harmon emphasized how physicians “are rising to this moment. Day after day. Hour after grueling hour.”

There are five priority areas AMA will focus on.

Telehealth

Telehealth boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic. “And then a funny thing happened: Doctors and patients discovered that this wasn’t such a bad idea in many circumstances,” Harmon said.

The method is not appropriate for suturing a wound or setting a broken bone, but it is “hugely beneficial” in areas such as chronic disease management, care coordination and psychiatry, Harmon said. The nation needs updated laws and regulations once the COVID-19 public health emergency is over.

Medicare

Medicare payment reform is needed because physician payments have fallen by 20%, adjusted for inflation, since 2001, Harmon said. AMA pressured Congress to avert a 10% cut in Medicare payments this past January, but a permanent solution is needed.

Scope creep

Teamwork is necessary for quality, affordable health care, Harmon said, and he credited the work of nurses, physician assistants and office workers. But physicians must lead those teams.

Harmon compared the situation to the airline industry – ground crews and flight attendants are critical to get airplanes off the ground and safely landed. “But no one suggests they fly the planes or that we use them to fill the expected shortage of airline pilots,” he said.

Prior authorizations

Harmon cited an AMA survey that found 93% of physicians reported hurdles with prior authorization for medication, tests and procedures resulted in care delays for patients. In the survey, four out of five doctors said those processes led patients to abandon treatments.

Health insurers have done little to comply with improvements they agreed to four years ago in the “Consensus Statement on Improving the Prior Authorization Process,” which AMA developed. “It’s time to hold them accountable,” Harmon said.

Burnout

Harmon praised the federal Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, named for the physician who took her own life during the pandemic. Breen was concerned the stigma of reaching out for mental health help, would damage her career.

Physicians must be able to address mental health needs without fear of negative repercussions, Harmon said. AMA supports reforms to outdated language on applications for medical licensing, employment and credentials, he said.

Finding new doctors

Focusing on the recovery plan will make it easier to bring talented young people to avoid a predicted physician shortage looming in the United States, Harmon said. He called for removing barriers for new physicians, especially from underrepresented communities, by:

  • Reducing medical school debt
  • Expanding the number of residency training slots
  • Creating new schools and programs in historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges and universities

“It’s physicians our nation turns to. For answers – for treatment – for help,” Harmon said in his prepared remarks published by AMA. “You’ve taken care of our nation – at great personal sacrifice … and it’s time our nation renews its commitment to you.”

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.

IISc Is Top Indian University In Global Rankings, Overtakes IITs

Rising 31 places in a year, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru has emerged as the highest ranked Indian institute in the 2023 edition of the QS World University rankings, pushing IIT-Bombay to the second position, followed by IIT-Delhi.

The report shows that India’s presence in the top 500 category is also IIT-driven. Apart from IISc, eight IITs (Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Roorkee, Guwahati, Indore) are ranked among the top 500 globally.

The total number of Indian institutes among the top 1,000 globally has risen to 27 from 22.  Apart from IISc at 155, IIT-Bombay (IIT-B) and IIT-Delhi (IIT-D), which have risen five and 11 places to rank 172 and 174 respectively, are the only other Indian institutes in the global league of top 200, in continuation of a trend since 2017. The total number of Indian institutes among the top 1,000 globally has risen to 27 from 22.

Speaking to the media, QS spokesperson William Barbieri attributed the remarkable rise of IISc, which is one of the eight public Institutes of Eminence (IoE), to improvement across four out of six parameters based on which the rankings are prepared.

These parameters are — academic reputation (AR), employer reputation (ER), faculty-student ratio (FSR), citations per faculty (CpF), international faculty ratio and international students ratio.

Barbieri said: “IISc has had an exceptional year across QS indicators. Remarkably, its strongest performing metric, Citations per Faculty, in which it is the world leader, has not changed year-on-year and it remains at the top of the table. It is the improvements across QS’s other criteria to which it owes its impressive performance. IISc achieves gains in 4/6 metrics, most notably, it has drastically expanded its number of International Faculty. However, significant improvements in Academic and Employer Reputation alongside teaching capacity have all combined to propel IISc to the peak of India’s educational hierarchy.”

Among the eight public IoEs, five (IISc, IIT-B, IIT-D, IIT-Madras and IIT-Kharagpur) improved their rankings, while the University of Delhi and University of Hyderabad slipped from band 501-510 to 521-530 and 651-700 to 751-800, respectively.

According to the CpF indicator of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which is a London-based higher education analytics firm, when universities are adjusted for faculty size, IISc Bengaluru is the world’s top research university, achieving a perfect score of 100/100 for this metric. “Furthermore, IISc Bengaluru is the fastest rising South Asian university among the QS World University Rankings top-200,” said a QS statement.

Overall, Indian education institutes, 41 of which made it to the rankings, have performed poorly across many key metrics. For instance, 30 out of 41 ranked universities have suffered declines in the FSR indicator, with only four recording improvements.

“However, on an encouraging note, now two Indian universities rank among the top 250 for Faculty/Student Ratio, compared to none in previous editions. The highest performing in this metric is Savitribai Phule Pune University (225 th for FSR) and O.P. Jindal Global University (235 th for FSR), followed by IISc Bengaluru (276 th for FSR),” QS noted.

Globally, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was declared the best university for the 11th straight year. The second place went to the University of Cambridge, followed by Stanford University. China has 28 universities among the top 500, including six in the top 100 with Peking University getting rank 12 and Tsinghua University placed 14th.

Notably, all the IITs, barring one, which feature in the rankings have improved their standing. In fact, IIT-Indore made the highest-ranking debut in the list, securing the 396th slot globally, while IIT-BHU made its maiden appearance in the 651-700 band.

The report shows that India’s presence in the top 500 category is also IIT-driven. Apart from IISc, eight IITs (Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Roorkee, Guwahati, Indore) are ranked among the top 500 globally. No other Indian university, public or private, has found a place in this category, five years into the launch of the Institute of Eminence scheme.

One of the objectives of the IoE scheme was to help ten public and as many private Indian higher education institutions break into the top 500 of reputed rankings such as QS within a decade, and in the top 100 “over time”. The scheme continues to languish in the absence of an empowered expert committee which is meant to drive it.

Among the eight public IoEs, five (IISc, IIT-B, IIT-D, IIT-Madras and IIT-Kharagpur) improved their rankings, while the University of Delhi and University of Hyderabad slipped from band 501-510 to 521-530 and 651-700 to 751-800, respectively.
Banaras Hindu University, the only other public IoE, has been ranked outside the top 1,000, in the 1,001-1,200 band.

Also, one of the three private IoEs, OP Jindal Global University, with a rank in the 651-700 band, is the highest-ranked private university in the country, according to QS. The other two private IoEs — Manipal Academy of Higher Education and BITS-Pilani — were placed in the 751-800 and 1,001-1,200 bands, respectively, same as last year.

The report was prepared on the basis of responses from 1,51,000 academics and 99,000 employers across the world.

Ben Sowter, QS Senior Vice President, said: “This edition of the QS World University Rankings reflects the excellent work that several Indian universities are doing to improve their research footprint, with positive consequences for their reputation on the global stage. Conversely, our dataset also suggests that the Indian higher education sector still struggles to provide adequate teaching capacity.”

O.P. Jindal Global University Ranked India’s No.1 Private Varsity

O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has emerged as India’s No. 1 Private University for the third year in a row, according to the QS World University Rankings 2023 that was released in New York.

London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has ranked a total of 41 institutions from India this year, including seven new entrants.

JGU has retained its No. 1 position among the Indian private universities despite the rise in the number of ranked institutions. For the 2023 edition, QS analysed a total of 2,462 institutions and ranked 1,422 institutions in the world. JGU is ranked in the 651-700 band this year, making it the only private university from India, which has found a place among the world’s top 700 universities.

JGU is also India’s No. 1 ranked university with a focus solely on social sciences, arts and humanities, as per the influential QS World University Rankings 2023. Out of the 41 institutions which have beeed from India, 11 are IITs.

Remarkably, JGU is also the only Indian non-STEM and non-Medicine university to have found a place in the QS World University Rankings 2023.

. JGU is India’s No. 1 ranked university with a focus solely on social sciences, arts and humanities.

. JGU is the only Indian non-STEM and non-Medicine university to have found a place in the QS World University Rankings 2023.

. Globally, JGU has been ranked in the 651-700 band of the QS World University Rankings 2023.

. This is the third year in a row that JGU has been the highest ranked Indian private university in the QS World University Rankings.

. In faculty-student ratio, JGU is the second highest-ranked university from India.

. In international faculty ratio, JGU is the third highest-ranked university from India.

. JGU is ranked among the top 250 universities in the world in faculty-student ratio.

. JGU is ranked among the top 450 universities in the world in employer reputation.

Reacting to the performance of Indian universities in the QS World University Rankings 2023, the Founding Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University and its benefactor, Naveen Jindal, said, “It is a remarkable day for Indian higher education as the QS World University Rankings 2023 have shown that the numbers of Indian institutions which have found a place in the global rankings have grown.

“Out of the 41 institutions from India which have been ranked this year, seven are new entrants. It indicates a conscious effort by Indian higher education institutions to improve the quality of teaching and research to a level that matches global standards. If this trend continues, Indian universities will soon bring greater glory to the nation through global recognition.”

Speaking of JGU’s accomplishment, Jindal remarked, “To be recognised as India’s No. 1 private university for the third year in a row by the prestigious QS World University Rankings is quite an achievement for JGU. The fact that a non-STEM and non-Medicine university has emerged as India’s top private university year after year proves that the study of humanities and social sciences has tremendous relevance for employment generation as well as for creation of knowledge needed for solving the complex problems that the world faces today.

“I wish to congratulate the Vice Chancellor, faculty, and staff of JGU for their commitment to making world-class education in India possible for our students.”

Welcoming this exciting development, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice-Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University said, “The QS World University Rankings provide millions of students around the world with a benchmark for choosing higher education institutions.

“To be featured among the top 700 best universities around the world in this prestigious list that covers 100 locations and over 40,000 universities in the world is a matter of tremendous significance for JGU as the university has emerged as a top destination for world-class education in India within just 12 years since its founding. The fact that JGU has maintained its position as the No. 1 Private University in India for three years in a row amid the extremely challenging circumstances of the devastating global pandemic exhibits the resilience of the university’s strong foundations designed to foster academic excellence and create exciting new opportunities for our students”.

“JGU has improved its global rankings this year on the back of its excellent faculty-student ratio, employer reputation and international faculty ratio. The performance of JGU in the QS Global University Rankings 2023 underlines the importance of providing a global learning experience that caters to the aspirations of today’s youth. Internationalisation has at the very core of JGU’s mission to create open spaces for research, dialogue and innovation through interdisciplinary education and hands-on learning.

“It is this mission that has driven JGU to hire full-time faculty members from over 40 countries and collaborate with over 350 leading institutions spread across 65 countries around the world. We remain committed to further increasing international collaborations and improving the quality of teaching, research and learning outcomes,” Professor Raj Kumar said.

For the QS World University Rankings, universities are evaluated on the basis of academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio and international students ratio. QS analysed 151,000 responses from academics around the world and 99,000 responses from employers worldwide for this year’s rankings. In faculty-student ratio, JGU, which received a score of 63, is the second highest-ranked university from India. In international faculty ratio, JGU, which received a score of 22.6, is the third highest-ranked university from India. In employer reputation, JGU scored higher than 31 of the 41 institutions ranked from India.

Providing a closer analysis of the rankings, Professor Arjya Majumdar, Dean, Office of Rankings, Benchmarking and Institutional Transformation (ORBIT), O.P. Jindal Global University observed, “As per the QS World University Rankings 2023, JGU is ranked among the top 250 universities in the world in faculty-student ratio, among the top 450 universities in the world in employer reputation, and among the top 550 universities in the world in international faculty ratio.

“Overall, JGU ranked higher than such internationally acclaimed universities as the City University of New York, University of South Carolina, University of Bradford, Kagoshima University, University of Westminster and Beijing University of Technology, among others. The results show that JGU is now in the same league as some of the leading international universities, including Drexel University (US), University of Plymouth (UK), University of Southern Queensland (Australia), University of Manitoba (Canada), Kumamoto University (Japan), Abu Dhabi University (UAE), Chongqing University (China), Coventry University (UK) and Istanbul Technical University (Turkey), among others. This is a significant development for India and for JGU as it demonstrates what a young university in India can achieve in a relatively short span of time with the right combination of ideas, people and resources.”

In the QS World University Rankings 2023, 16 of the 20 institutions selected for granting “Institution of Eminence” (IoE) status by the Government of India have found a place. These include 4 IITs, Indian Institute of Science, Delhi University, Anna University, University of Hyderabad, Jadavpur University, Banaras Hindu University, O.P. Jindal Global University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, BITS Pilani, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Vellore EnvironmeInstitute of Technology (VIT) and Jamia Hamdard. Out of those 16 institutions, 7 institutions, including O.P. Jindal Global University, moved up in the rankings, 4 went down and 5 remained in the same positions as last year.

Commenting on the accomplishment, Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Registrar, JGU, said, “As only those universities which shine on teaching and research quality make it to the QS World University Rankings, being recognised as one of the world’s Top 700 universities by QS puts JGU in a distinguished league of internationally acclaimed universities. The high employer reputation score of JGU also signifies that the university has been successful in providing our students with the necessary preparations needed for securing gainful employment.

Moreover, it underlines that the graduates produced by JGU have been competent, innovative and effective. What makes JGU an incredible institution that it is today is the spirit of public service with which it functions. We remain committed to
continue this tradition of institutional excellence in the coming years and decades.”

Osmania University Foundation Day Celebration Planned In Chicago

“Osmania University Alumni of Chicago” is organizing “Foundation Day  Celebrations of Osmania University” on June 14th, 2022- Tuesday, 6:00 pm at Mall of India, 776 Il Rte 59, IL 60540.

Prof D. Ravinder, Vice Chancellor, Osmania University will be the Chief Guest. His Excellency Amit Kumar, Consul General of India, Chicago will preside.

Established over 100 years ago, Osmania University is the seventh oldest in India and the third oldest in South India. It is a multi-faculty and multidisciplinary university, offering rich and varied courses in the faculties of Arts, Sciences, Social Sciences, Law, Education, Engineering, Technology, Commerce, Management, Informatics, Pharmacy, and Oriental Languages.

With over 300,000 students and 5000 Staff members, Osmania University is one of the largest Universities across the Globe.

The Alumni of University living in Chicago are requested to attend this historic event, along with their families and friends. They may confirm their participation by sending an email to Ashfaq Syed ([email protected]) on or before June, 12th, 2022.

The host committee of the Osmania University Foundation Day Celebrations  comprises Ashfaq Syed, Vinoz Chanamolu, Dr. Tajammul Hussain, Shaik Anwar Ahmed, Zaki Basalath, Mohammed Saleem, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Moiz Uddin, Srini Paltepu, and Adil Syed. The celebrations will be followed by dinner.

Harini Logan Is Spelling Bee Champion 2022

Fourteen-year-old Harini Logan spelled a total of 21 confirmed correct words in 90 seconds to take home the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee title on Thursday night.

The San Antonio, Texas, native joined “Good Morning America” on Friday following the historic spell-off — the first in the competition’s history — to share how she made those crucial moments look so effortless.

“For me it was really just getting into that mindset where I could have that just calmness so I could focus on the words rather than getting stressed out,” she said. “I was a little tense and it definitely was a bit difficult but I think I just decided to focus on the words and just plow through.”

Although she missed a few words, Harini said she knew all the ones she spelled correctly.  As for her speedy spelling strategy, she said she “did practice for the spell-off a bit,” but in the end the secret to her success was to “go in fast would [and] really just be focusing on the word, just reading all of the information as quick as I could and keep on going.”

“It definitely takes a lot of dedication and commitment and like so much hard work, and at my house my mom is sort of my coach,” Harini added. “It takes a lot of commitment … and, of course, a passion for the spelling bee.”

The eighth grader still has plenty of ambitious plans ahead: She heads to high school next, where she said she wants to write a book.

UK Offers New “High Potential” Visa Plans

Graduates from the world’s top 50 non-UK universities, including Indian students, can now come and work in Britain through a new High Potential Individual (HPI) visa route launched in London on Monday.

In a joint announcement, Indian-origin UK Cabinet ministers Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel said the new “exciting” category under the post-Brexit points-based system is aimed at attracting the “best and brightest” talent from around the world, regardless of nationality.

Successful applicants will be given a two-year work visa to the United Kingdom, with a three-year visa offered to those with a PhD, without the need for a specific job offer in hand.  “This new visa offer means that the UK can continue to attract the best and brightest from across the globe,” said Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

“The route means that the UK will grow as a leading international hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. We want the businesses of tomorrow to be built here today – which is why I call on students to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to forge their careers here,” he said.

“The UK is already home to some of the most ground-breaking start-ups, on the forefront of R&D and an incredibly diverse and exciting place to live – come and join in,” added UK-born Sunak, himself an MBA from Stanford University in the US.

Under the new route, the world’s top graduates in subjects such as science, engineering and medical research will be encouraged to bring their skills to the UK after graduating from prestigious universities such as Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

“I am proud to be launching this new and exciting route as part of our points-based immigration system which puts ability and talent first – not where someone comes from,” said UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. “This government is delivering for the British people by bringing in the high skills and talent our country and businesses need,” she said.

The top 50 list of universities has been identified from the rankings lists produced annually by ‘QS’, ‘Times Higher Education’ and the ‘Academic Ranking of World Universities’ and covers universities from the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, France, Sweden and Switzerland.

Dr. Joseph M. Chalil Donates $100,000 In Honor of, Rev. Dr. Mathew M. Chalil to Nova Southeastern University in Support of International Medical Students

Dr. Joseph M. Chalil, a Best-Selling Author and the Chief Medical Officer of Novo Integrated Sciences, Inc., has donated $100,000 towards establishing a Scholarship Fund in honor of his mentor and uncle, Reverend Dr. Mathew Chalil, a Catholic Priest, based in Kerala, India. The scholarship fund donated to the prestigious Nova Southeastern University will help needy and deserving international medical students at the University.

“Congratulations Fr. Mathew Chalil for being inducted into Nova Southeastern University Cornerstone society today,” a statement issued by the University stated. “We have created a scholarship fund of 1 Lakh Dollars (77 Lakhs Indian Rupees). The $100,000 scholarship will be earmarked for international medical students at NSU MD with significant financial needs.”

Rev. Dr. Mathew M. Chalil, CMI, MSc, Ph.D. is a Catholic Priest belonging to the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), who dedicated his life to education and the environment. Rev. Chalil completed his Master’s Degree in Mathematics from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Chennai) and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Perdue University in 1982. He returned to India and was appointed as the Professor of Mathematics at Devagiri College, India, and had served as its Principal until 1994. He was appointed as the CMI General Councilor for Education in 1996 and he oversaw all the CMI Provinces in South India, as well as the CMI Activities and Personals in the USA, Canada, and South America.  CMI Congregation owns and manages hundreds of schools, over 30 higher education institutions, and one deemed University in India.

In addition, Rev. Chalil held several additional positions, including as Vice-Chancellor of Dharma Deepti University and as the Registrar of Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram.  His research interest was using mathematical formulas in solving environmental pollution issues. He was a World Health Organization consultant and an advisor to the Government of India and the Kingdom of the United Arab Emirates.

Publisher of The Universal News Network (www.theunn.com), Dr. Chalil is a veteran of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. Board-certified in healthcare management, Dr. Chalil has been awarded a Fellowship by the American College of Healthcare Executives, an international professional society of more than 40,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems, and other healthcare organizations. Dr. Chalil has held roles of increasing responsibility at DBV Technologies, Boehringer Ingelheim, Abbott Laboratories, and Hoffmann-La Roche.

Additionally, Dr. Chalil is the former Chairman of the Indo-American Press Club. He is an expert in U.S. healthcare policy and a strong advocate for patient-centered care. A strong proponent of providing healthcare access to everyone, Dr. Chalil’s new book, Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: Envisioning a Better World by Transforming the Future of Healthcare, is on Amazon’s Best Sellers List.

Describing these as critical times, Dr. Chalil, endowed with the vision to support noble causes, believes that “Medical Education is most needed, especially as the world is continuing to be under the impact of the Covid Pandemic. Health care professionals dedicate their lives to the greater well-being of human beings. Supporting the upcoming generations of Medical students in their mission to help people live healthier lives is very fulfilling.”

Dr. Swati Kulkarni, Consulate General of India in Atlanta, while praising Dr. Chalil’s generosity and contribution to support the needy medical students at the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine (NSU MD), said, “Dr. Joseph Chalil, one of the distinguished Indian American, has attained significant goals in his career and has been at the forefront of helping the needy, especially students. India has a large number of bright students pursuing higher studies in the United States.

Dr. Chalil has donated generously to help these International Indian students at Nova Southeastern University in fulfilling their mission to be the healers of the world. I am certain that Dr. Chalil shall also extend similar monetary help to Medical Colleges in India and brighten the future of aspiring students studying there.  May the generosity of Dr. Chalil inspire many more successful Indian Americans to come forward and donate towards the education of students who seek knowledge and skills at the universities in India and abroad.”

The CORNERSTONE SOCIETY at Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine
Nova Southeastern University was developed to recognize and pay tribute to individuals, foundations, and corporations whose cumulative commitments to NSU MD reach $100,000 by the time the Charter Class graduates. NSU MD is one of approximately 155 M.D. degree-granting institutions in the U.S. The college received Preliminary Accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) on October 10, 2017, to become the eighth M.D.-degree medical school in Florida and the only one in Broward County.

AAPI Convention Teaser Offers Glimpses of 40th Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX Focus On “Heal The Healers: Rejuvenate And Rekindle Your Mind And Your Spirits”

“It is with great pleasure that we want to welcome you to the 40th Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions of American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI), which will be held from June 23-26, 2022 in the historic city of San Antonio, Texas,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said during the much anticipated Convention Teaser organized virtually on Sunday, May 15th. “We are  planning a historic convention in San Antonio to celebrate 40 years of AAPI that coincides with 75 years of India’s Independence, with excellent educational sessions and other programs.”

Dr. Gotimukula, the 4th woman President of AAPI in the history of AAPI, who has been leading AAPI to newer heights with her dynamic leadership, while thanking the Organizing Committee led by Dr. Jayesh Shah, praised the dedication and generosity of each member for giving their best, to make this Convention truly a memorable one for every participant.

“Bienvenidos a San Antonio, Tejas!” Dr. Jayesh Shah, Convention Chair and past President of AAPI said in Texan style. “It is with great pleasure that I, along with the San Antonio -2022 Convention Team, welcome you to the 40th AAPI Annual Convention in San Antonio, the 8th largest city in the US. I still have vivid memories of inviting you to San Antonio in 2014. This is going to be the 4th convention in Texas.”

The Convention Teaser provided a glimpse of the 40th annual Convention  with its theme, “Heal the Healers — Rejuvenate And Rekindle Your Mind And Your Spirits.” “Our physician members have worked very hard during the Covid 19 pandemic as the 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr. Jayesh Shah.

Put together by a highly talented and dedicated Team of Convention Committee members, the 4 days long event will be filled with programs and activities that cater to the body, mind and soul. The Convention is going to be a unique experience for everyone, he added.

Dr. Jayesh Shah introduced the strong and dedicated team of Convention Committee members, including Mr. Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention; Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Convention Treasurer; Dr. Vijay Koli, Past President of AAPI & Convention Advisor; Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Convention Advisor; Chief Operating Officers, R. Reddy Yeluru and Ram Joolukuntla; Dr. Rajeev Suri, President of TIPSSW  & Co-Chair of the Convention, and the other Co-Chairs of the Convention, including Dr. Shankar Sanka, Dr. Hetal Nayak, and Dr. Kiran Cheruku.

Honoring India, as she celebrates 75 years of India’s Independence is part of the convention, being co-sponsored by the Embassy of India & the Consulate General of India (CGI) – Houston.

Each day of the convention will have a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates will showcase one’s own state dress code. Heritage India is the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus is on the much loved Bollywood with a special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, followed by Mehfil. The food served each will match the theme chosen for each day, he added.

Some of the major events at the convention include: 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, Abstract Posters/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

The convention will be held at the newly renovated Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio, TX located on the colorful and vibrant River Walk. This world-class facility will afford an intimate setting that will facilitate one’s ability to convey cutting-edge research and CME, promote business relationships, and display ethnic items. Vendor satisfaction and comfort are our top priorities.

Giving an overview of the programs for each day, Venky Adivi said, ““It takes a whole village to put together a fabulous convention, I am grateful to committee members, Chairs and Advisors. Special thanks to Ms.Vijaya Kodali for her expertise and skills.”

According to Dr. Rajeev Suri, President, TIPS SW, and Convention Co-Chair, Please get your Sombrero (Mexican Hat) ready for a special evening organized by Texas Indo- American Physician Society (SW Chapter) and culminate with Bollywood Dandiya Night,

Saturday Evening will begin with the Presidential Banquet, which will be followed by a live show by Bollywood’s one of the best “Shaan” Night. Sunday, we bid you “Hasta la Vista” with a closing ceremony,” said Dr. Vijay Koli, Advisor to the Convention.

Dr. Kiran Cheraku, Co-Chair of the Convention said, “On Friday, a popular Fashion Show, Abby V show and colorful Rajasthani dance is awaiting you.”  “On Saturday with the Celebration of International Day of Yoga on Riverwalk, imagine 100’s of people doing Yoga all around the Riverwalk,” pointed out Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Advisor for the Convention.

AAPI delegates will have a multidisciplinary CME conference that allows specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers will discuss gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions.

Dr. Shankar Sanka, Co-Chair stated: “The 2022 exhibit hall is the vibrant nerve center of the convention. The unique layout offers maximum exposure to the pharmaceutical and commercial booth.”

Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Treasurer of the Convention added: “The exhibition stage will have the performance to keep our audience in the exhibit hall to keep our booth supporters happy. The research pavilion will enable you to view the outstanding works of our students, residents, and fellows.”

Dr. Hetal Nayak stated, ‘the most unique part of the convention is our Yoga-based Wellness Package which is thoughtfully created with world-renowned speakers. The experience can transform and inspire you.” In addition to colorful entertainment, exquisite authentic Indian cuisine, esteemed yoga gurus and experts, who will share their wisdom and lead 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.

“Our speakers are some of the best names in Wellness and Yoga- Dr. Akil Taher, Eddie Stern, Dr. Kaushik Reddy, Dr.Ajeya Joshi, Yog Guru Sharath Jois, Drs. P Vij & P. Dedhia, Sadhvi Saraswati, Dr, Smita Mehta, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa. And do not miss the world-famous yoga workshop by Yog Guru Sharath Jois,” said Dr. Kiran Cheruku, Convention Co-Chair.

The confirmed Plenary Speakers are Dr. Jack Reseneck, AMA President, and Dr.Peter Hotez, Nobel Prize Nominee. Other confirmed guests are legendary Sunil Gavaskar and Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director, National Drug Control Policy, World-renowned spiritual leader Sadhvi Saraswati and Dr. Prem Reddy, CEO of Prime Health Services.

For the first time ever, AAPI is planning to organize an In-Person Plenary Session on India-USA Healthcare Partnership with the Health Minister Of India, Mansukh Mandaviya (invited but awaiting confirmation from his office) during the Convention on Saturday, June 25th.

“Little Master” Sunil Gavaskar praised AAPI members for being part of the “greatest profession in the world.” He said, “It’s a unique honor to be part of the important AAPI convention in Texas. I am looking forward to meeting you all in Texas.” Mr. Gavaskar referred to his association with the “Heart to Heart Foundation” and how the Foundation is touching many hearts around the world.

“Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and from around the world will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio!” said Dr. Gotimukula. For more details, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

MPs From India Visit Chicago University To Discuss Energy And Environment

A delegation comprising nine MPs from different states and various parties is visiting University of Chicago scholars, policymakers, and opinion leaders in Chicago currently for a knowledge exchange programme on energy and environment.

The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) India is hosting the delegates at the University of Chicago “with an aim to augment the capacity of India’s political leadership in advancing policies that provide lasting environmental benefits” between May 8 and 12.

“Some MPs reached on May 7 and some on May 8. Their formal engagements start on Monday Chicago time,” an EPIC official told IANS here on Monday.

This is the third edition of the Legislator’s Programme. The MPs include Rajya Sabha members Amar Patnaik (Biju Janata Dal), Priyanka Chaturvedi (Shiv Sena) and C.M. Ramesh (Bharatiya Janata Party), and Lok Sabha members Brijender Singh, Shivkumar Udasi , Rahul Kaswan, Heena Gavit (all Bharatiya Janata Party), Kotagiri Sridhar (YSR Congress Party), and Ritesh Pandey (Bahujan Samaj Party).

“Innovative policies work when policymakers are ready to experiment. From our working for several years in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Bihar, and other Indian states, we know that Indian lawmakers have been at the forefront of trying groundbreaking policies to balance India’s growth story and environmental concerns. Therefore, we are thrilled to learn and share best practices with Indian MPs and join them in accelerating positive change for citizens across India,” Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and director of EPIC, said.

The Indian MPs would interact with the University of Chicago faculty and experts on wide-ranging policy areas, including climate policy, carbon markets, air pollution, and water quality. They will also have an interaction with young minds studying at the University of Chicago.

“As we learn from the experiences of our MPs, we are also trying to share EPIC’s global and India-specific research findings to co-identify priorities and solutions that may be implemented in individual constituencies. The goal is also to carry out groundbreaking research that addresses global and local challenges,” EPIC India’s Executive Director, Sidhartha Vermani said.

Deepening The Educational Ties Between India And The United States

This week I visited Howard University to talk about how to deepen the educational ties between India and the United States. As I have come to learn throughout its history, Howard University has played an important role in building bonds between our countries. And really, it’s hard to overstate the importance of those bonds not just as we look back but, I believe, as we go forward.

Let me tell you about one key figure from what has been already a very storied past. Howard Thurman, former dean of Rankin Chapel here at Howard. Going back to September of 1935, Thurman led a four-member delegation on what was a monthslong pilgrimage to India. He was trying to find lessons from the country’s independence movement that might be relevant to the racial justice movement in the United States.

Near the end of the trip, Thurman met with Mahatma Gandhi. They talked, the books record, for about three hours, covering a wide range of issues: segregation, faith, nonviolent resistance. The conversation and the trip made a lasting impression on Thurman. So when he came back to Howard, he developed his interpretation of nonviolence – not as a political tactic, but as a spiritual lifestyle. He shared his views with sermons, speeches, and eventually what came to be an incredibly influential book, Jesus and the Disinherited.

Gandhi’s views and Thurman’s interpretation of those views – of nonviolence – would influence one of the greatest figures in our nation’s journey, Martin Luther King, Jr. As he traveled the country laying bare the sins of segregation, Dr. King carried two books with him. One was the Bible, the other – Jesus and the Disinherited.

These connections and so many others across our shared history make clear that our people do share a special bond, and that as the world’s oldest and largest democracies, our countries always have something to learn from each other.

That’s why we see our cultural and educational ties continue to grow every single year. We’re incredibly fortunate in the United States to have 200,000 Indians studying at our universities, enriching our campuses, enriching our fellow citizens. And we see many American students studying and working in India through programs like Fulbright, the Gilman fellowships, including some who are here today.

To make it easier for people to continue learning from each other, Indian Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar and I announced yesterday the Working Group on Education and Skill Training, which will bring academic institutions in the United States and India together to develop new joint research programs. The group will also focus on creating more opportunities for universities to partner on exchange programs that the Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield runs so that ultimately more of our people can learn alongside each other.

I know the importance of building stronger bonds between U.S. and Indian higher education systems. Many students have benefited from studying in both countries. Students are using that knowledge now to teach in the United States and Indian respectively. That’s a very powerful thing. Students are developing recommendations on how India and the United States can support each other’s clean energy transitions. They are promoting trade between our countries and more equitable opportunities that flow from that trade. And that’s just to name a few examples of the things that people are working on.

So in foreign policy, one of the things we talk a lot about is the importance, the strength, the imperative of people-to-people ties. We do a lot of work as diplomats between our countries, but ultimately what really matters are those bonds between our people – between students, between businessmen and women, between academics, between tourists and others. This is what really brings us together.

And when we’re talking about that, in effect we’re talking about students: those who do the daily work of sharing their perspectives, sharing their knowledge with each other, and in so doing, building what are really lifelong personal and professional relationships with one another. That’s what makes all the difference because these kinds of connections, the people-to-people connections, many of them fostered by the exchange programs that we run, they actually build lifelong connections and a lifelong appreciation for each other’s countries, cultures, histories, and futures. And as a result, we are better able to take on shared challenges together.

I believe firmly that the United States and India need continued collaboration, hard work, and leadership for the biggest challenges both countries face, whether it’s combating COVID, whether it’s building a more inclusive global economy, whether it’s tackling the climate crisis.

To put it another way, the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership, I am convinced, is absolutely crucial, essential, for addressing the problems of the 21st century, and the work of students at institutions like Howard University, is at the heart of that relationship.

I’m looking forward to staying connected in the months to come. And I’d love to hear your thoughts – please share them by writing to me and my team at [email protected]

(Secretary Anthony Blinken is the 171st Secretary of State and delivered this speech at Howard University where he was joined by India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar April 12, 2022, in a discussion on U.S.-India higher education development)

Biden Admn. To Decide On Student Loans In Months

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week that President Biden’s use of executive action to cancel some federal student loan debt is “still on the table” and that a “decision” could be made in the coming months.

Psaki made the comments during an appearance on “Pod Save America” after being pressed about past comments by White House chief of staff Ron Klain. “Yes, still on the table, still on the table,” Psaki could be heard saying to apparent cheers from the audience attending the live podcast, which was released by the platform on Friday. She then pointed to the Aug. 31 deadline for when the freeze on student loan debt payments and interest accrual is set to lapse, saying: “We have to then decide whether it’s extended.”

“Nobody’s had to pay a dollar, a cent, anything in student loans since Joe Biden has been president,” Psaki said. “And if that can help people ease the burden of costs in other parts of their lives, that’s an important thing to consider. That’s a big part of the consideration.”

Between now and the end of August, Psaki said the moratorium is “either going to be extended or we’re going to make a decision, as Ron referenced, about canceling student debt.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said President Biden’s use of executive action to cancel some federal student loan debt is “still on the table” and that a “decision” could be made in the coming months.

Between now and the end of August, Psaki said the current moratorium on student loan payments is “either going to be extended or we’re going to make a decision, as [White House chief of staff Ron Klain] referenced, about canceling student debt.”

Biden last extended the pause earlier this month amid mounting pressure from advocates, borrowers and members of his own party to provide further relief.

Biden during his campaign called for federal student loan debt cancellation, and supported forgiveness of at least $10,000 per borrower. However, some top Democrats have pushed for him to go beyond that, canceling up to $50,000 per borrower or wiping out federal student loan debt entirely.

The White House called on Congress to send legislation canceling debt to Biden’s desk, but Democrats are not optimistic about their chances of doing so in the 50-50 Senate given staunch GOP opposition. Sixty votes would be needed to overcome procedural hurdles.

The background: The current pause on federal student loan payments was first implemented under the Trump administration at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. It has since been extended six times.

Biden last extended the pause earlier this month amid mounting pressure from advocates, borrowers and members of his own party to provide further relief.

10 Facts About Today’s College Graduates

Having a bachelor’s degree remains an important advantage in many sectors of the U.S. labor market. College graduates generally out-earn those who have not attended college, and they are more likely to be employed in the first place. At the same time, many Americans say they cannot afford to get a four-year degree – or that they just don’t want to.

Here are key facts about American college graduates.

How we did this

Nearly four-in-ten Americans ages 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree, a share that has grown over the last decade. As of 2021, 37.9% of adults in this age group held a bachelor’s degree, including 14.3% who also obtained a graduate or professional degree, according to data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. That share is up 7.5 percentage points from 30.4% in 2011.

An additional 10.5% had an associate degree in 2021. About four-in-ten Americans ages 25 and older had a high school diploma with no further education (25.3%) or completed some college but didn’t have a degree (14.9%).

In a reversal, women are now more likely than men to graduate from college, according to the Current Population Survey. In 2021, 39% of women ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or more education, compared with 37% of men in the same age range. The gap in college completion is even wider among adults ages 25 to 34: 46% of women in this age group have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 36% of men.

In an October 2021 Pew Research Center survey of Americans without a degree, 34% of men said a major reason why they have not received a four-year college degree is that they just didn’t want to. Only one-in-four women said the same. Men were also more likely to say a major reason they didn’t have a four-year degree is that they didn’t need more education for the job or career they wanted (26% of men said this vs. 20% of women).

Women (44%) were more likely than men (39%) to say not being able to afford college was a major reason they don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Men and women were about equally likely to say a major impediment was needing to work to help support their family.

Rohun Reddy Is Winner Of ABA Annual First Amendment And Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition At Northwestern

Rohun Reddy, a 2L JD-MBA student at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law / Kellogg School of Management and the son of Leela and Dr. Suresh Reddy, former President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) won the Best Brief overall in the competition, one of the top three prizes of the day at the American Bar Association’s 14th Annual First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition.

Rohun, whose interest has been about the intersection of technology, media, and law won the prize along with the co-participant, Michael Choi (JD-MBA ’23) at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.” “The ABA First Amendment and Media Law moot court provided me an opportunity to hone my advocacy skills in an area of law that I am deeply passionate about,” Rohun said after winning the competitive award. “I believe that our brief has been so strong because of the natural passion that Michael and I have for First Amendment law and the mentorship that our coach, Leita Walker, provided us through each step of the process.”

Expressing grateful “for the unwavering support that my parents have provided me not just in this competition but throughout my academic career,” Rohun said,  “I appreciate that competitions such as this one are available to help introduce other students from underrepresented backgrounds in law to careers in First Amendment and media law.”

At law school, Rohun serves as Co-President of the Arts and Entertainment Law Society and is an editor on the Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property. Rohun spent his 1L summer externing for the Honorable David O. Carter of the Central District of California and will be spending his 2L summer at Paul, Weiss in New York. Before law school, Rohun interned at several entertainment companies, such as Viacom and FilmNation Entertainment, and spent several years as a technology and media consultant at Activate Consulting in New York. Rohun holds a B.F.A. in Film/Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.”

The annual competition at Northwestern was designed primarily to introduce minority law students to the practice of media law and to lawyers active in the communications law bar. The competition offered cash prizes for superior performance in appellate briefing and oral argument. The hypothetical case at the center of the competition involved timely issues of national significance in the areas affecting communications law. Briefs were judged blindly by a panel of experienced media-law practitioners. Choi and Reddy wrote the highest-scoring brief and each team member received $1,000.

Held via video conference, the Moot Court finals were conducted by three distinguished jurists: Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Justice Carla Wong McMillian, Georgia Supreme Court; and Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

“This award means a lot to me because it is proof that the experts in the field have recognized the hard work that Rohun and I put into understanding the complex sphere of First Amendment and media law and structuring our legal arguments in a persuasive manner,” Choi said. “I am also interested in eventually pursuing a career in media and entertainment law, so this unique moot court experience was an important stepping stone towards my long-term aspirations as an attorney.”

Their mentor, Leita Walker, is a litigator and trial lawyer at Ballard Spahr’s Media and Entertainment Law Group. Other winners of the competition included Amanda N. Marino, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, who won best oralist; and Alexandria Faura and Charles Lam, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, who were awarded the winning team.

Summarizing the experiences of the efforts, collaboration and the success, Rohun exclaimed: “I learned so much from my mentor-coach, the other competitors, and our highly accomplished judges, and I am so grateful for the connections I made throughout the process. [It] has definitely been one of my favorite law school experiences!”

US Colleges See International Applications Surging

Prominent U.S. colleges and universities are reporting a surge in international applications over the past two years, fueled by the easing of pandemic travel restrictions and new policies that allow potential students to apply without SAT or ACT scores.

The Common Application, an online platform for hundreds of schools, found that as of March 15 the number of international applicants had grown 34% since 2020. That far exceeded the 12% rate of growth for U.S. applicants.

The data reveals a tantalizing source of potential students as colleges nationwide grapple with significant enrollment losses since the pandemic. However, those applicants are often chasing big-name schools that are not hurting for students.

“It’s obviously a huge population of young people around the globe who could potentially pursue education here,” said MJ Knoll-Finn, senior vice president for enrollment management and student success at New York University. “There’s a lot of strength in the U.S. market.”

For prospective international students, the past two years have posed intense challenges. The public health crisis disrupted travel worldwide in 2020 and 2021 and threw college enrollment plans into chaos.

The recent growth in applications is uneven. At public Indiana University, international applications for freshman admission were up 11% over two years. At the public University of California system, they were up 17%. Some big-name private schools revealed huge increases: Dartmouth College, up 71%; Yale University, up 99%.

At Yale, one of the world’s most selective universities, applications from all locations, foreign and domestic, topped 50,000 this year for the first time. That’s up 42% from the total the university received in 2020. Yale’s admissions rate, which was 6.5% that year, sank to 4.5% this year.

″More than half of the total increase in the applicant pool over those two years has come from international applicants,” Jeremiah Quinlan, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid, wrote in an email.

Yale is a special case because it is one of a handful of schools that pledge to review international applications without regard to financial need and meet the full need of those who are admitted. Others are Harvard and Princeton universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Amherst College. Dartmouth announced in January that it is joining this group.

But the growth in international applications appears to be about more than financial aid. Soon after the pandemic emerged, Yale (like many selective colleges) suspended its admissions testing requirement. It will not require SAT or ACT scores through at least the next admissions cycle. That has lured potential students from around the world who otherwise might have hesitated to apply. “The shift to test-optional has definitely played a role in this increase,” Quinlan wrote.

The pandemic imposed major hurdles in access to testing for students around the world. The College Board, which owns the SAT, found that about 122,000 international students in the high school Class of 2021 took the admissions test. That was down 23% compared with the previous class.

Test access wasn’t the only problem. Health, financial and travel worries have also plagued international students. The Institute of International Education, which tracks enrollment, found the number of international undergraduates in the United States plummeted 14% in the 2020-2021 school year. That exacerbated major domestic recruiting problems. U.S. colleges and universities have shed more than 5% of their enrollment since fall 2019 – nearly 1 million students – amid the pandemic and economic upheaval.

Now, colleges and universities are hoping that the volatility in global higher education is easing. “The pandemic just blew up everyone’s enrollment models and projections,” said John Wilkerson, associate vice president for international services at Indiana University. Wilkerson said he sees signs of a return to normalcy. Some of the international application growth, he said, is due to pent-up demand. Many potential students want to hit the road after not being able to travel for a couple years.

The Common App’s data shows that the top suppliers of international applicants this year, in descending order, are China, India, Canada, Pakistan and Nigeria. Admissions experts point to India as a key source of growth.

Federal data show that a little more than 3% of the 16.5 million undergraduates in fall 2019 were international students. During the Trump administration, colleges worried that hard-line federal policies on immigration and travel from certain countries could drive away international students. “There was huge concern,” said Angel B. Pérez, chief executive of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. With President Joe Biden in office, he said, it appears those questions have receded.

“There is a little bit more optimism from enrollment managers,” Pérez said. As the pandemic eases, he said, “the infrastructure to get students to the United States is also coming back.”

Natalie Bitton, president of the International Association for College Admission Counseling, which is affiliated with the association Pérez leads, said she sees the beginnings of a rebound in demand for U.S. higher education. “Two major barriers have been lifted,” Bitton said. “One is the ability to leave their country and get visas. And the second is the testing requirement changes.”

For the University of California at Los Angeles, international applications for freshman admission have risen more than 30% since 2020 – to about 23,600. The surge coincides with the elimination of test scores as a factor in admissions. The UC system’s shift to a “test-free” policy, said Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, vice provost for enrollment management at UCLA, “has attracted applicants who may have had challenges accessing one of those exams.”

For NYU, international applications are part of its lifeblood. About a quarter of its 27,000 undergraduates in New York are international. The private university also has campuses in Shanghai and the United Arab Emirates. This year, international applications to NYU’s main campus in New York were up 15%, said Knoll-Finn, the NYU enrollment chief.

Like other universities, NYU stepped up its virtual recruiting during the pandemic because admissions officers were unable to travel much in person. Knoll-Finn said that has helped NYU draw a more diverse group of potential students. A more lenient admissions-testing policy was also a factor, she said. “We do think that being test optional has probably lowered a barrier for many students who might have a harder time getting to those tests,” Knoll-Finn said.

First Post-Covid Convention With Fashion Show, Dandiya Night, Rajasthani Dance, Celebration of International Day of Yoga on Riverwalk, To Make AAPI’s 40th Convention In San Antonio Unique

“Bienvenidos a San Antonio, Tejas!” Dr. Jayesh Shah, Convention Chair and past President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) welcomes the over 1,000 AAPI delegates in Texan style. “It is with great pleasure that I, along with the San Antonio -2022 Convention Team, welcome you to the 40th AAPI Annual Convention in San Antonio, one of the top 8th largest cities in the US, with a population of 1.3 million. I still have vivid memories of inviting you to San Antonio in 2014. This is going to be the 4th convention in Texas.”

Describing that the Convention is unique in many ways, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said, “This is going to be the first AAPI convention post-Covid Pandemic (Optimistic view from my vantage point). All of you are aware of the challenges of doing a Convention during Covid Times. But our convention team is working very hard to make sure that event is enjoyable and safe at the same time. The registration is happening as per expected. Alumni and specialty groups are encouraged to come. Besides cutting-edge CME by outstanding speakers, there are various non-CME lectures. Enjoy Tex-Mex and Indian Cuisine.”

“The Convention this year is one day short. It begins on Thursday, June 23rd with the Texas Style boots and belts with TexMex Theme,” informed Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer. “Please get your Sombrero (Mexican Hat) ready for a special evening organized by Texas Indo- American Physician Society (SW Chapter),” said Dr. Vijay Koli, Advisor to the Convention.

Dr. Kiran Cheraku, Co-Chair of the Convention says, “On Friday, a popular Fashion Show, Bollywood Dandiya Night, and colorful Rajasthani dance is awaiting you.”  “On Saturday with the Celebration of International Day of Yoga on Riverwalk, imagine 100’s people doing Yoga all around the Riverwalk,” pointed out Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Advisor for the Convention.

According to Dr. Rajeev Suri, President, TIPS SW, and Convention Co-Chair, “Saturday Evening will begin with the Presidential Banquet, which will be followed by a live show by Bollywood’s one of the best “Shan” Night. Sunday, we bid you “Hasta la Vista” with a closing ceremony.”

Dr. Shankar Sanka, Co-Chair stated: “The 2022 exhibit hall C is the vibrant nerve center of the convention. The unique layout offers maximum exposure to the pharmaceutical and commercial booth.” Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Treasurer of the Convention added: “The exhibition stage will have the performance to keep our audience in the exhibit hall to keep our booth supporters happy. The research pavilion will enable you to view the outstanding works of our students, residents, and fellows.”

Dr. Hetal Nayak stated, ‘The most unique part of the convention is our Yoga-based Wellness Package which is thoughtfully created with world-renowned speakers. This will be equally valuable for an advanced practitioner of yoga as well as a novice!!. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the theme of “Heal the Healers,” Convention Committee noted.

“Our speakers are some of the best names in Wellness and Yoga- Dr. Akil Taher, Eddie Stern, Dr. Kaushik Reddy, Dr.Ajeya Joshi, Yog Guru Sharath Jois, Drs. P Vij & P. Dedhia, Sadhvi Saraswati, Dr, Smita Mehta, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa. And do not miss the world-famous yoga workshop by Yog Guru Sharath Jois,” said Dr. KIRAN CHERUKU, Convention Co-Chair.

The confirmed Plenary Speakers are Dr. Jack Reseneck, AMA President, and Dr.Peter Hotez, Nobel Prize Nominee. Other confirmed guests are legendary Sunil Gavaskar and Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director, National Drug Control Policy, World-renowned spiritual leader Sadhvi Saraswati and Dr. Prem Reddy, CEO of Prime Health Services.

“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to my Co-chairs, Kiran Cheraku, Shankar Shanka, Rajeev Suri, and Hetal Nayak, and unwavering administrative support from Venky Adivi, Convention CEO, Reddy Yelaru, and Ram Joolukuntla, Convention COO and Vijaya Kodali in AAPI office. My admiration and thanks to Anupama Gotimukula whose vision, engagement, and enthusiasm kept the team going. It was indeed a team effort by many more, to all, my heartfelt gratitude,” added Dr. Jayesh Shah.

“Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio!” said Dr. Gotimukula. For more details, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

Gupta-Klinsky India Institute At Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University’s India Institute has been renamed to honor a transformational gift.

Noted businessmen and philanthropists Raj Gupta and Steven Klinsky made a joint $10 million gift to the multidisciplinary India Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Thus, the Institute will be renamed as The Gupta-Klinsky India Institute at Johns Hopkins University, or GKII. The purpose of GKII is to “mobilize Hopkins faculty, staff, students, and alumni in their research and partnership with government, academia, the private sector, and NGOs across India to advance human knowledge and develop bold, world-changing ideas.”

Indiaspora member Raj Subramaniam will be replacing FedEx founder Fred Smith as the company’s new CEO. Currently, Raj is the President and COO of FedEx. He will assume his new role as the CEO after Fred Smith steps down on June 1. According to the company, Raj will serve as both CEO and president, and Smith will become executive chairman. Smith stated that for the past several years, he recommended to FedEx directors that in the event that he died or was no longer able to continue as CEO, Subramanian should be named CEO. Raj is an Indiaspora Benefactor member.

The Gupta-Klinsky India Institute at Johns Hopkins University! Housed within the University’s Office of the Provost, GKII brings together the Johns Hopkins community – faculty, staff, students, and alumni – and a diverse range of Indian partners to improve society in India and beyond through research, education, policy, and practice.

According to statement by the duo on the website, “Our faculty comprise experts in medicine, public health, education, arts & humanities, business, economics, public policy, engineering, data science, and artificial intelligence.” And they went ton to add: “We work with India’s experts across government, academia, civil society, and the private sector to advance human knowledge and develop bold, world-changing ideas. Our current efforts are rooted in a rich history of impactful collaborations with Indian partners that’s nearly century old.”

INANY Invites Essays And Scholarship Applications

Indian Nurses Association of New York (INA-NY), the voice and representative organization of professional nurses of Indian origin and heritage in New York State is inviting participation in its annual essay competition, scholarship and nursing excellence awards.

The essay contest is open for all nurses of Indian origin or heritage in New York state.  The theme for this year is “Nurses make a difference”.  Grace Alexander, the chair of the Awards and Scholarship Committee said that the essay must not be longer than two pages, must be double spaced and without any identifiable information of the author.  A separate cover page with author’s name, credentials, contact phone number(s) and email address is to be submitted with the essay.  The submission is to be sent to [email protected].  The winner will be honored at the Nurses’ Day celebration of INANY on May 7th.

The Association also invites application for Undergraduate Scholarship from student members of INANY that reside in New York state.  Students must be enrolled in a basic nursing program with at least one more semester to complete.

Nominations are invited for Annual Student Scholarship for undergraduate and Associate degree nursing students of Indian origin.  The student must be a member of INA-NY. Application form for Graduate Nursing Student Scholarship can be obtained from inany.org.

Nominations for ‘INA-NY Nurse Excellence Award 2022’ are also accepted from INANY members.  The selected candidate will exemplify the very best attributes of Nursing profession, excelled in giving high quality patient care and demonstrated a commitment to professional nursing practice.

Dr. Anna George, the president of INANY cited that the Nurses’ Day celebration provides a forum for promoting and celebrating the nursing profession, nurses, higher education, health and wellness of individuals, families and the community.  She noted that the Association’s leadership and members have been vibrant in its mission through engagement in promoting continuing education, organizing community events and community services, as well as local and international charity initiatives.

Application forms for Scholarship and Nurse Excellence Award can either be obtained from [email protected] or from its website inany.org. For details, please contact: Paul D Panakal at: 347 330 0783.

Global Jobs Attract Indian Students To Foreign Varsities

Foreign universities, technical institutes and B-schools not only provide world class education to students, but also prepare them for high-paying global jobs which the Indian youth see as an easy way to fast-tract their career growth.

While countries like Russia, China and Australia are a popular choice for technical courses among the Indian students, a large number of them have also turned to universities in the US, the UK and Canada for programmes that will fetch them work permit for global technical jobs.

According to Canada’s Immigration Refugee and Citizenship data, the number of Indian students studying in the country has increased by a whopping 350 per cent between the 2015-16 and 2019-20 academic years.

As per data by the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the number of Indian students enrolling to universities every year has increased by 220 per cent. However, the percentage of Indian students in the US has declined by 9 per cent between 2015-16 and 2019-20.

Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP), America’s Optional Training Program (OPT) and Britain’s New Graduate Pathway (GR) offer opportunities for good placements after postgraduation which are a major attraction among Indian students to advance their career.

Notably, Indian applicants have an excellent track record in approval rates for work permits abroad. In Canada, there has been an approval rate of over 95 per cent for the PGWPP in the past five years.

International education expert Karunn Kandoi told IANS that the US, the UK and Canada are the most popular destinations for Indian students for studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) or business management programmes.

“While 44 per cent of Indian students in the UK and 37 per cent in Canada have opted for business studies, the US is the first choice to study STEM courses. In 2020-21, 78 per cent of Indians studied STEM programmes in the US. It was the third highest rate among the top 25 countries to study,” he said.

According to a former professor of Delhi University, D. Sharma, universities in the US, Canada and Australia are not only providing modern education and global culture to its students but also excellent employment opportunities.

He also pointed out: “India has been leading the way in global talent development over the past 10 years and the trend of studying abroad remains more relevant than ever in the past two years, despite the constraints caused by the pandemic.”

An Indian student from a reputed B-school in Canada, Bhaskar Sharma, said: “Getting a permanent residency here is also a big goal for many Indian students after admission to an international university. Students sometimes also find it easier to achieve their goals abroad on the basis of their merit, especially when there is a need for special kind of technical knowledge in one field.

“For example, Canada’s health sciences and skilled trades are facing a significant labour shortage, while in the UK, the information and communications sector has the highest vacancy rate at 5.5 per cent.”

Indian students are also now turning to foreign countries to study medicine. However recently, due to the Russia-Ukraine war, around 18,000 students had to return to the country before the completion of their course.

Pawan Chaudhary, President of India’s Medical Technology Association, said: “Due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Indian students will find options to complete MBBS in any other countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Spain, Germany, Kyrgyzstan and the UK, where the cost of the course is low.”

Talking To Maya

Maya Varadaraj and Maya Shah will discuss Varadaraj’s latest solo exhibition, Accident Of Birth  on Saturday, April 9th, at 4:00 PM, at the Aicon Gallery and live on Instagram.

Varadaraj’s exhibition explores experiences as a South Asian woman brought up in a Hindu family, and how various biologies, societies, histories, and families inform womanhood.

Maya Varadaraj is an interdisciplinary artist, receiving her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design before completing a Master’s Degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Varadaraj’s work has been exhibited internationally at Vitra Design Museum, Museo Del Disseny Barcelona, Nature Morte, Sapar Contemporary, Salone De Mobile, Mana Contemporary, and Medium Tings among others. She has been featured in publications such as Juxtapoz, Platform Magazine, and We Make Money Not Art.

Maya Shah is an art advisor, curator, and cultural producer based in New York City. Trained as an architect, her collaborative design work as Project Director for the International Design Clinic, has been exhibited in the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale and the Museum of Modern Art as part of “Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanism for Expanding Megacities”.

As a specialist in Modern, Contemporary, and Emerging Art, Maya has held leadership roles at auction houses and art advisory firms in Philadelphia and New York City. She currently works with a vetted team of specialists in direct support of artists, collectors and institutions, providing a wide range of management, advisory, and curatorial services.

According to Maya Varadaraj, “This exhibition is a love letter to myself, my life, my family, and the moments that have led me here.  My work is analytical, though in this case, I’ve turned my focus inward. Experiencing all the aspects of womanhood, its glory, and its upset, has me analyzing the characteristic pain and tribulations tied so critically to being female. As women, our intense ordeals could, perhaps, be explained by our biologies, societies, histories, and families. In my particular case as a South Asian woman brought up in a Hindu family, a lot of my experiences can be made reasonable through philosophies from Eastern thought. Karma, for example, the belief that actions from the past or ancestral baggage lead to present experiences.

“An unexpected event last year shrouded my life in loss. This event was not the hardest loss I’ve ever felt, but it was certainly the most unique. Looking for solace, I recalled moments of joy, comedy, and memories that might give meaning to this inexplicable loss. These intangible moments became intertwined and indistinguishable from my reality – this occurrence of loss then, as a consequence, was not unimaginable. It became a sequential part of my life, my family history, and the culmination of this series of work.

“I mined my family photographs, selecting moments that could have been catalysts for my present life – a visualization of my karma if you will. Images of my parents as children, a survey of female family members, my grandfather active and alive. I pull these characters out of their setting and reposition them to serve me in my search for meaning. I use text to communicate with versions of these characters that no longer exist, but still play a vital role in shaping my identity. In these images, histories emerge in clothes, hairstyles, gestures, and habits. To determine the reasons and circumstances that have come to be. So here it is, an analysis of my Accident of Birth…”

12 CME Credit Hours On Healthcare Issues & Advances In Med Technology During 40th Annual AAPI Convention

“During the 40th American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions planned to be held from June 23-26, 2022 in the beautiful city of San Antonio, Texas, AAPI delegates will have a multidisciplinary CME conference that allows specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers will discuss gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI announced here today. 

The annual convention this year is being organized by AAPI’s Texas Chapter, headed by Dr. Jayesh Shah, who said, “The 2022 AAPI Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly offers an exciting venue to interact with leading physicians, health professionals, experts in healthcare, academicians, and scientists of Indian origin. The CME Committee, chaired by Dr. Shweta Bansal with Dr. Deepak Kamat, Dr. Dharam Kaushik, and Dr. Jayasree Pillarisetti as members have done an excellent job in putting together an expert panel of speakers for the CME program.” 

“The CME sessions will provide 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. Bansal. “At the end of the activity, it is expected that attendees will gain an understanding of the causation, diagnosis and the best clinical practices for the management of the diverse group of diseases discussed during this program.”

Dr. Rajeev Suri, Co-Chair of the Convention explained the planning and preparations being done by the committee.  “San Antonio has a rich tradition in AAPI Convention history of amalgamating academia with fun and wellness. Our CME committee has strived hard to plan an exceptional series of topics presented by leaders in the academic arena. We invite you to San Antonio to rejoice, to learn, to rejuvenate and rekindle your mind and your spirits.”

Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Chair, AAPI CME Committee, said, “While providing physicians of Indian origin an opportunity to come together in an atmosphere of collegiality, it will enable them to retrace and appreciate their common roots, culture and the bond that unites them as members of this large professional community.”

“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,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect said.  

“Many of the physicians who will attend this convention have excelled in different specialties and subspecialties and occupy high positions as faculty members of medical schools, heads of departments, and executives of hospital staff,” Dr. Kusum Punjabi, Chair of AAPI BOT.

“AAPI Convention offers an opportunity to meet directly with these physicians who are leaders in their fields and play an integral part in the decision-making process regarding new products and services,” Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention added.

At the Plenary sessions, Dr. Jack Reseneck, President of American Medical Association will address the audience on “How to prevent Physician burnout – AMA STEPS Program,” while Dr. Peter Hotez, a pioneer in inexpensive Covid vaccine program will speak on “COVID 19 Vaccination Globally and Vaccine Hesitancy.”

“Healthcare Equity and Ethics” will be the major theme on the inaugural day of the Convention. Dr. Sivashanker will share his thoughts on “How to make health equity a routine practice and process”. Chiquita Collins, PhD will discuss on “Achieving equity by diversity in workforce.” Colleen Bridger, MPH, PhD will shed her insights on “Improving child health addressing inequities/disparities.” At the end of this session. Dr. Courand guide us with  “Developing resilience in current environment of inequities.”

Latest in The Chronic Diseases Management is yet another major topic that will be extensively covered during the discussion.  “New horizons for DM and cardiorenal medicine” will be covered by Dr. Eugenio Cersosimo. It’s a well-known fact that people of South Asian origin are more prone to cardiac disease. Accordingly, Dr. Alka Kanaya will share her expertise on “South Asian cardiometabolic health: New findings from the MASALA Study.” Dr. Eric Lawitz will address the delegates on “Fatty Liver Disease: A silent epidemic.” In addition, light will be shed on: “Chronic pain management during opioid epidemic.”

Contemporary/Digital Medicine will be covered during the CME on Friday. “Telemedicine: novel practices and policy changes” will be the topic led by Dr. Zeke Silva, while Dr. Satish Misra will enlighten the delegates about “Are we ready for Smart Apps assisted care.” “Artificial intelligence in Medicine” will be covered by Dr. Rajendra Singh, and Dr. Zeke Silva will educate the participants on “Reimbursement/Approval challenges with digital medicine.”

Breakthroughs in Medicine is other major area that the AAPI delegates will learn from the experts. Dr. Poonam Malik will enlighten the participants on “Gene editing and therapy: Success story for Hemoglobinopathies.” Dr. Sudha Sheshadri will focus her discussions on “A step forward in Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis care.” “Lipid management: present & future” will be discussed by Dr. Anand Prasad. “Immunologics in cancer and beyond” will be the topic covered by Dr. Shanmuganathan Chandrakasan.

Covid has brought the world to a standstill, impacting almost all areas of human life, and just as humanity is emerging out of this major health crisis, our CME session called “Aftermath of COVID Pandemic” is designed to help AAPI delegates prepare for uncertain future.  Dr. Thomas Patterson will discuss “Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID/Long COVID- what we need to know” while Dr. Theresa Barton will speak about “Long COVID in children.” The delegates will also be educated on crucial topics such as “Impact on future health care system and delivery” and “Preparing for future pandemic” by Dr. Ruth Berggren.

With the ever-changing trends in healthcare, AAPI delegates will be provided with education in the session called “Navigating Successful Medicine Practice in the US.” This session includes topic like “Physician Employment Contracts and Non-Competes: What you really need to know”. “Navigating ACOs: Regulations, Payment and Compliance” will be covered by Dr. Jay Bhatt. “Crucial conversations: supervising midlevel providers” will be addressed by Dr. Robert Leverence.

It’s a well-known fact that physicians of Indian origin excel in their respective areas of work and continue to play key roles in patient care, administration, academics, and medical research.  “The essence of AAPI is educational,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI, while describing the purpose of CME said. 

According to Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI, “That translates into numerous Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields.” Dr. Krishen Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI, “Giving them a platform to celebrate their accomplishments, to be attended by over 1,000 physicians of Indian origin, the Convention will also provide a forum to renew their professional commitment through continuing medical education.”

AAPI represents more than 100,000 Indian American Physicians, who represent the range of physician specialties seen in the physician community at large with 61% in Primary Care, 33% in Medical sub-specialties and 6% in surgical sub-specialties. Medical specialty representation includes pediatrics, psychiatry, anesthesiology/pain management, cardiology, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, oncology, gastroenterology, pathology, endocrinology, nephrology, rheumatology along with many other fields.

AAPI is an umbrella organization that has nearly 200 local chapters, specialty societies and alumni organizations. For nearly 40 years, Indian physicians have made significant contributions to health care in this country, not only practicing in inner cities, rural areas and peripheral communities but also at the top medical schools and other academic centers. Almost 10%-12% of medical students entering US schools are of Indian origin. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, AAPI represents the interests of all Indian American physicians, medical students, and residents of Indian heritage in the United States. It is the largest ethnic medical organization in the nation. For more details and registration for the convention, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org and www.aapiusa.org

“Master of Arts in Happiness Studies” Announced By Centenary University In New Jersey

Centenary University in the state of New Jersey is launching what it called the world’s first “Master of Arts in Happiness Studies.” The first ever such program at the University level will “explore the implications of happiness for individuals, the workplace, and our broader society,” according to the college’s announcement. It’s set to launch virtually in the fall and will cost students $17,700.

Centenary, a private college in Hackettstown, New Jersey, with about 1,100 students, teamed up with the Happiness Studies Academy to create the happiness program. University President Bruce Murphy told the media that a variety of professionals could benefit from the program, such as human resource employees creating trainings for staff or CEOs incorporating lessons into their organizations.

Murphy said in his March 18th announcement: “This online, 30-credit graduate degree is an interdisciplinary program designed for leaders who are committed to personal, interpersonal, organizational, and societal happiness. Grounded in science and research, this new degree will study happiness and resilience to prepare graduates to make an impact in a wide range of fields.”

“We were thrilled when Centenary University President Murphy and his colleagues were willing to take the leap, so to speak, and create and an academic field out of the fields of happiness, which is sorely needed in our world,” Ben-Shahar, who co-founded the Happiness Studies Academy, is quoted to have said.

The academy’s mission “is to lead the happiness revolution by educating leaders who are themselves dedicated to personal, interpersonal and communal flourishing,” according to its website.

“When we’re talking about happiness, we’re talking about cultivating resilience, the ability to deal with hardships, with difficulties, and there’s plenty to go around today,” Ben-Shahar told Fox News. “Whether you’re talking pandemic, whether you’re talking war, uncertainty, whether it’s on the economic level, the emotional level.”

“We need some practical advice, evidence-based advice to help people deal with difficulties,” he continued. The degree will incorporate aspects of various disciplines ranging from psychology, philosophy and neuroscience to finance and business to literature, religion and music.

“This fully online accredited MA in Happiness Studies focuses on educating leaders who are committed to the cultivation of wellbeing in themselves and others, to the fulfillment of society’s potential for both happiness and goodness,” the program’s website states. “Regardless of your area of interest and action … the rigorous ideas and evidence-based interventions that are part of the MA in Happiness Studies will help you bring out the best in your family, colleagues, clients, students and yourself.”

“Whatever profession you identify, there is a place – a very important place for happiness studies – for the science of well-being,” Tal Ben Shahar, a happiness expert and the director of the program, told the media. “The degree in happiness studies is relevant for essentially every field of practice,” Ben-Shahar said. He said the Happiness Studies Academy receives students from a variety of professions, including lawyers, doctors, therapists, teachers, coaches and managers.” 

Centenary has received 38 applications for the program since it was announced at the March 18 World Happiness Summit in Miami, Murphy was quoted to have said. “I see a lot of opportunity for individuals to be engaged, to take this master’s degree program, to get the certification and to go forth and do great things with it,” Murphy said. 

Indian American Kids-Led Trumbull Robotics Team Makes it to World Championship

Robolution 18366 is going to worlds! Team Robolution 18366 from Trumbull, CT is a robotics team is now all set to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge. FIRST Robotics is a worldwide robotics organization that inspires people to join STEM and pursue robotics in the future.

Incorporated in 1797, Trumbull town was named after Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Lebanon, Connecticut. Located 5 miles north from the Long Island Sound, among the most virant towens in the Fairfield County in the state of Connecticut, this vibrant community offers New England charm with extensive retail, outdoor recreation, and dining options. Known for its diversity, Trumbull has a fast growing Indian American community, which excels in academia with the students of Indian American parents rank among the highest in educational achiements.

The Trumbull Robotics Team is only an example of how the Indian American kids excel and exhibit their leadership and STEM skills, making Trumbull proud. The team consists of Aarav Parekh, Saihari Kota, Ayush Puthiyavettle, Tejas Puthiyavettle, Yash Permalla, Rithik Gunda, Pranav Kodakara, Chandini Kalidindi, Richard Xiong, Arnav Dadarya, and Sharvi Kulkarni. It’s of immense significance that of the 11 team members, 10 of them are of Indian origin.

Trumbull Robotics Team won the 1st 1st place at Connect Award, which “is given to the team that most connects with their local science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) community. We were recognized for helping our local community connect with STEM and actively helping our local community explore opportunities available in STEM.”

The Team won 2nd place at the Inspire Award, which is “given to the the team that best represents what the FIRST tech challenge is about, and is a role model for other teams competing. We were recognized for being strong contenders for several awards as well as having a detailed and informative engineering portfolio, which clearly explains our creative and thoughtful design process.”

Trumbull Robotics Team came 1st at Promote Award, “given to the team that is most successful at creating a video message for the public designed to change culture and celebrate Science, Technology, and Math. We were recognized for creating a unique and engaging video message about the topic: “what I would tell younger self about FIRST.”

Aarav Parekh of the Trumbull Robotic Team has the distinction of being on the Deans List Finalist. This award is given out to a student who are great examples of leaders who have led their Teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission. Aarav Parekh was one of two students from across Connecticut to be selected as a Dean’s List Finalist. As a finalist, he has shown leadership within the team and community to increase awareness of STEM and robotics while displaying technical expertise.

“Team Robolution had a very successful day at the CT State Championship on February 26th, 2022, winning first place for both the Connect and the Promote Award and second place for the Inspire Award. In addition to the team’s achievements, junior Aarav Parekh was one of two individuals in the state nominated as a 2022 Dean’s List Finalist. Robolution’s success has qualified them as one of the two teams to represent the state of Connecticut at the FTC World Championship in Houston this April,” the Team’s website stated.

The Goals of the Team as outlined on the website includes: “Competitive engineering process; Improve outreach; Help people around the world; and, Efficient and reliable design with industrial engineering.  The Team of 11 members wants to “Prioritize learning, sharing our knowledge and experience with others.”

Reporting on the Outreach of the Team, the website states: “Impacted 300+ students in outreach events, including offering Online Java programming sessions; FLL team mentoring- T-MECHS; Discord collaboration with FIRST Teams; Trumbull Tutors; Teaching students how to use CAD; and Tutoring students about robotics and engineering.”

Why Your Student Loan Payments May Be Delayed

Federal student loan payments are supposed to resume in May, more than two years after they were paused because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the Education Department recently emailed unusual guidance to the companies that manage its $1.6 trillion student loan portfolio, throwing that timing into doubt.

Don’t reach out to borrowers about that May 1 deadline, the guidance said.

President Biden extends student loan payment freeze through May 1

The email, obtained by NPR and first reported by Politico, did not explain why servicers should go quiet about the deadline, nor did it say the deadline would change. But the order suggests that the Biden administration is considering another extension of the student loan payment freeze.

The department has a legal obligation to reach out to borrowers at least six times before the return to repayment, so telling servicers not to do this outreach, at a moment when legally it should be happening, means the administration can delay this decision only for so long.

That email comes just a few days after White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain hinted that the repayment pause could be extended, in an appearance on the podcast Pod Save America.

“The president is going to look at what we should do on student debt before the pause expires, or he’ll extend the pause,” Klain said.

There’s pressure from the left to cancel student debt

Klain’s words — “what we should do on student debt” — are a clear reference to the elephant in the room for Biden: He pledged, as a presidential candidate, to cancel at least $10,000 in student debt per borrower, but his reluctance, so far, to do so has frustrated many in his party.

Biden now faces increasing pressure from his own left flank, with Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., recently tweeting, “Student debt cancellation is a racial & economic justice issue” and “@POTUS must #CancelStudentDebt” — a tweet that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., shared, adding, “Grateful to be in this fight by your side.”

Even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made things uncomfortable for Biden. After Klain’s comments became public, Schumer tweeted: “Today would be a great day for President Biden and Vice President Harris to #CancelStudentDebt.”

This pressure from fellow Democrats contributed to Biden’s last-minute decision in December to extend the repayment pause from Jan. 31 to its current date, May 1, even though the Education Department had already begun sending notices to borrowers.

In fact, over the past two years, the department has sent nearly 385 million emails alone to borrowers alerting them to approaching deadlines, only to see those deadlines evaporate half a dozen times when the Trump administration and then the Biden administration announced another extension. The result: confusion for borrowers.

Now comes this email to loan-servicing companies that appears to be an effort to prevent another raft of confusing borrower notices around another deadline that could evaporate.

There are risks to resuming repayment in May

There are big logistical and political risks to requiring tens of millions of borrowers to resume repayments in May.

Logistically, two mammoth student loan servicers, Navient and FedLoan, are winding down their federal contracts, leaving the Education Department to shift millions of borrowers to other servicers. That could make it harder for some to get the help they’ll need changing repayment plans or monthly payments — not the kind of frustration Democrats want lingering into an election season.

Which is the biggest problem with May, as anyone with a calendar will tell you: It is dangerously close to the midterm elections in November. Asking borrowers to resume repaying student loans ahead of those elections offers little political upside for Democrats.

Biden pledged to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt. Here’s what he’s done so far

What’s more, liberal Democrats who have been pushing for debt cancellation may see a return to repayment as Biden abandoning his campaign pledge, because it makes little sense to force borrowers — and the government — back into debt repayment and collection if cancellation is on the way. If, instead, Biden extends the deadline, even if he continues to avoid a decision on cancellation, the pandemic pause becomes an election-season asset for Democrats, rather than a liability.

“Joe Biden is the only president in history where no one’s paid on their student loans for the entirety of his presidency,” Klain said on the podcast, clearly test-driving a talking point for borrower voters.

And some borrower advocates who have pushed Biden hard on cancellation are already throwing their support behind another extension of the repayment pause.

“This is one of the rare cases where economics, politics, policy and common sense all push in the same direction,” said Mike Pierce, executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center, in a statement to NPR.

“When every other aspect of American life is more expensive in the wake of the pandemic, student loans don’t need to be. It appears that President Biden and Vice President Harris recognize this and will once again step up to protect people with student debt,” Pierce said in response to news of the department’s email to loan servicers.

Biden’s conservative critics argue enough is enough

When student loan interest and payments were first paused in March 2020, as part of the CARES Act, borrowers were in the vise grip of the pandemic and the pause enjoyed bipartisan support — as did moves to extend it, at least long enough for the economic effects of the pandemic to recede and for borrowers to get back on their feet.

Despite inflation hitting another 40-year high, hiring is rebounding. Critics of another extension also point out that the pause on interest and payments has cost the federal government, along with taxpayers, at least $95 billion.

This rumored extension “makes clear that the President is comfortable using the narrative of a permanent pandemic to advance [his] policy preferences behind closed doors,” Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina said in a statement to NPR. She’s the top Republican on the House Education Committee.

“Hardworking taxpayers are tired of having their backs broken by this President. Another repayment freeze only begets unfairness that is inevitably leveled at both taxpayers and responsible borrowers alike,” Foxx said.

In a statement to NPR, an Education Department spokesperson would not confirm that the repayment pause would continue beyond May 1, but wrote, “from Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has been committed to providing meaningful relief to student loan borrowers including the 41 million borrowers who have saved tens of billions as a result of the extended student loan payment pause. The Department will continue communicating directly with borrowers about federal student loan repayment by providing clear and timely updates.”

And yet borrowers eager to know when, exactly, they’ll be expected to resume repaying their student loans will have to wait a little longer.

Amrita University Is Now The 5th Best In India & Awarded With An A++ NAAC Grade

Amrita University is hogging the headlines. Yet again. This time, it has been for the A++ accreditation the highest it has received from NAAC, the national body that assesses Higher Education Institutions in India. Amrita is the youngest in the club. This recognition follows close on the heels of several others. In 2021, it was ranked the 5th best Indian university in the NIRF rankings. Additionally, the university was ranked 81st worldwide in the Impact rankings for the same year. And besides, in the QS rankings, Amrita has been rated as among the best universities in the world consistently over the years.

It’s interesting to see why the university has continually been grabbing the limelight since its inception eighteen years ago and why it has emerged as one of the most sought-after institutions within what certainly is a short span of time. In addition to the two more universities that are coming up in Faridabad and Amravati, six campuses, each in a different setting, now comprise Amrita University. One of them the headquarters in Coimbatore – is backdropped against the stately hills of the Western range. While the mirror-still backwaters of Kollam surround the campus at Amritapuri. The campus at Mysuru perches itself on the foothills of the Chamundi hills. And those at Kochi, Chennai and Bengaluru are framed by the silhouetted skylines of these cities in the distant horizon.

But if you step inside these campuses and peer into the minds of the people who work, teach and learn here, there is something that is distinctly common running through all of them. It is a set of values, beliefs, and practices, all at once.

You pick this up from what you see, whom you meet, and what you hear from the conversations you hold with them. “At Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, what we aim to produce is the synthesis of the education for life with the education for living,” points out Dr Venkat Rangan, Vice-Chancellor of the university. “We strive to bring the two together, to shape our students into people who balance competence in their profession with purpose in their lives,” he adds.

Such vision is brought alive through numerous on-ground practices. Take their Live-in Labs, for instance. In this program, the students choose to live in rural communities for a period of time typically several months to first identify and then understand the villagers’ problems, and later, to work with them, eventually arriving at solutions that are both innovative and sustainable in equal measure.

The result has not just been an experience that brings about a powerful transformation in the perspective that each participating student holds of the world. It has also been the lasting transformation of the lives of over two hundred thousand people in more than a hundred villages of India. Notably, over 400 international students from more than 40 international partner universities have participated in this program thus far.

Or consider another custom that sets this university apart compassion-driven research. “At Amrita, compassion is not a mere emotion. It is a path of action,” says Dr Raghu Raman, Dean, School of Business. “It is a theme that is driven by our Chancellor, and in turn, one that drives the vision and practices of the university. The objective is single-minded: social impact. And it runs through all our thrust areas of research in Science, Technology, Medicine, Ayurveda, Humanities and Social Sciences. Interestingly, it also aligns with several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the world at large,” Dr Raman explains.

Over 1000 scholars in more than 30 research centres at Amrita synergise diverse disciplines in their effort to develop solutions with real-world applications. From 2016-2021, around 59800+ citations and 12050+ publications were published. The payoff has been enormous.

The Wireless Sensor Network for Landslide Detection, for example, is a low-cost system that integrates knowledge from multiple domains earth science, communication & networking, analog and digital circuits, to name a few. The system has been designed to detect landslides twenty-four hours ahead of time. It has received a U.S patent, and the university, as a result, is now officially recognized as a World Centre of Excellence for Disaster Risk Reduction.

There’s more!

OceanNet offers low-cost internet connectivity for fishermen at the sea, even if they are 60 kilometres away from the shore. Multiple drug-embedded Nano Polymer Wafers have been developed and successfully deployed to treat brain cancer. Cocobot -the coconut harvesting robot has helped farmers with timely yield as much as it has helped regulate the price of the nuts. Amrita Virtual Interactive E-Learning World (A-VIEW) is a multi-modal, e-learning platform built to provide an immersive e-learning experience that emulates a real classroom experience.

Further, The Amrita Center for Research in Analytics, Technologies & Education (Amrita CREATE) is an affordable educational technology initiative pioneered by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, exclusively focussing on UN SDG 4. Digital learning solutions like Online Labs, which use interactive simulations and animations, have benefitted more than 50000 teachers and 4 lacs learners, reaching over 12000 schools in 21 states. During the pandemic, when students could not access physical labs due to school closure, Online Labs to practice lab experiments was used by more than 34 lacs users. Also, to provide cost-effective diabetic care to the masses of India, which is witnessing a massive spurt in cases of diabetes, Amrita’s School of Biotechnology has developed a cost-effective insulin pump and non-enzymatic glucose sensors with US patents licensed to Wipro Technologies.

AMMACHI Labs conceived to impart vocational skill training for the rural Indian woman integrates advanced technologies like haptics into their courses, empowering those less privileged with better livelihood and greater dignity. The center has earned India’s first UNESCO Chair in Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality.

It is also notable that among the private players in the educational sector, Amrita has the largest number of collaborations with the leading universities around the world, continually attracting reputed faculty from among them, including from the envied Ivy League, and, as a result, reversing a brain-drain into a brain-gain for the country. Unsurprisingly, those who graduate from the university turned out to be among the most wanted in the areas they specialise in.

Top corporate houses of the world, including Google, Cisco, Microsoft and SAP, train their sights on Amrita when they scout for resources. As a result, 95% of the students are placed in leading MNCs, luring them with compensation packagesas high as Rs 65 lacs per annum.

“The world’s best companies look for the world’s best resources to populate them,” says Thejas Menon, alumnus and now employed as Production Manager at Tesla Inc. at Nevada in the US. “These are the days when employers look beyond the depth of your proficiency and into the breadth of your worldview,” Menon adds.

Amrita University is more than an Institution of Eminence. It is a 50,000-strong community of scholars, teachers and alumni that power social change.

And if you are looking for their collective motivation, it is easy to find it in the words of the Chancellor, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi: “Life and living are not the same. For living, we may need a job, money, a home, a car and other creature comforts. But for life, a complete life, you also need love, compassion, and maturity both in thought and in action.”

Click here to read more on programs, faculty competence, global university partnering, campuses, student community and Amrita University initiatives.

Maneesh Media, International University of Vedic Wellness Present Book Launch At Women’s Day Celebration

Maneesh Media along with International University of Vedic Wellness unveiled a spectacular event to commemorate the International Women’s Day celebration and the launch of Maneesh Media’s new book, “India Calling 2022” on March 8th, 2022 at the Marriot in Hoffman Estates, IL. India Calling 2022 is a new book celebrating India’s Prime Minister, Modiji’s mother Heeraben Modi who is 102 years of age! This book also depicts the 113 magnificent foreign trips of the Indian Prime Minister Modiji and the outcome of those trips during his leadership

The International Women’s Day is celebrated across the world to honor the remarkable hard work and achievements of women in every field. This extraordinary event also acknowledged women’s empowerment by honoring the significant efforts of women to make the world a better place to live in. A life of dignity is the birthright of every woman. Women’s empowerment is key to advancing the development of every country. Empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of whole families and communities and improved prospects for the next generation.

Dr. Mrs. Santosh Kulshrestha Kumar – Founding Executive Director, of Metropolitan Asian Family Services, Universal Metro Asian Services, and International University of Vedic Wellness, along with Mr. Chandmal Kumawat – Chairman of Maneesh Media partnered and made possible this historic event. Dr. Mrs, Kumar was named as “Mother Theresa of Chicago” for her dedication to fulfilling the needs of the downtrodden and her selfless community service for more than 40 years. Through her organizations, Dr. Mrs. Kumar has Established a proven successful multi, disciplinary pathway to the empowerment of Seniors Citizens over the past 30 years.

Mrs. Kumar has provided a broad framework for collective action for senior citizens to nurture their innate talents, enrich their groundbreaking ideas and engage in innovative experiences which has become a global model. She has achieved this by providing critically needed services to multiethnic senior citizen population especially the Indian diaspora with employment opportunities, creating more than 10,000 jobs per year, homecare services to over 10,000 homebound seniors mostly Indian diaspora every year by integrating state of art technology with a human touch in this digital age. Her model of service is being replicated in several parts of the world including India.

Mrs Santosh Kumar who established a global network and a functional platform, took painstaking efforts to propagate and promote India’s Prime Minister Modi New India in USA and India. Mrs Santosh Kumar motivated and sensitized the Indian Americans and the gatekeepers of minority communities in India to Prime Minister Modis Vision for Development of all. Mrs Santosh Kumar is a beacon of hope and lighthouse of service and care to the vulnerable Indian American Senior Population during this COVID 19 Pandemic.

International University of Vedic Wellness Center’s mission is to provide wisdom, peace, and stability through ancient knowledge, consequently, leading to a stress-free and pain-free lifestyle for all. Attaining this kind of lifestyle will aid in sustaining a more stable and peaceful world and avoid wars in the present time like the Russia/Ukraine War!!!

The event commenced with the lighting of the lamp by Dr. Mrs. Santosh Kumar, Mr. Neil Khot, Mr. Kishor Mehta, Acharya Rohit Joshi, Dr. Rakesh Asthana, Mr. Chandmal Kumawat and Ms. Marta Pereya. Roshita Pandey and Radhika Subramanian did a great job of compering. Dr. Mrs. Santosh Kumar began her welcoming speech by shedding light on the importance of women and encouraged every woman to stand for her rights. She soulfully thanked Mrs. Heeraben Modi for providing to the world such a treasure, Prime Minister Modiji! She praised Modiji for he lives the philosophy of ancient Vedas which believes that the whole world is one family living in Peace, Harmony, and Prosperity!

India To Get WHO Global Center For Traditional Medicine

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the establishment of the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (WHO GCTM) in Jamnagar, Gujarat. This would be the first and only global outposted Centre (office) for traditional medicine across the globe.

The cabinet signed the Host Country agreement between the Central government and the World Health Organization (WHO) to approve the establishment of GCTM.

The WHO GCTM will be established in Jamnagar under the Ministry of AYUSH. A Joint Task Force (JTF) is constituted for coordination, execution and monitoring of activities for the establishment of this Centre.

JTF comprises representatives from the government of India, Permanent Mission of India, Geneva and the World Health Organization.

Under the ambit of this, an interim office is being established in Jamnagar to execute the identified technical activities and planning of fully functional WHO GCTM.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghbereyesus, WHO Director General, had announced the establishment of WHO GCTM in India on the occasion of 5th Ayurveda Day on November 13, 2020.

“WHO GCTM would emerge as a centre of global wellness, bolster evidence-based research, training and awareness for Traditional Medicine,” said Modi.

The WHO GCTM would provide leadership on all global health matters related to traditional medicine as well as extend support to member countries in shaping various policies related to traditional medicine research, practices and public health.

The Ministry of AYUSH has collaborated with WHO on many fronts including developing benchmarks documents on training and practice of Ayurveda and Unani System, introducing a second module in the Traditional Medicine Chapter of the International classification of Diseases-11, developing apps like M-yoga, supporting the work of International Pharmacopeia of Herbal Medicine (IPHM) and other research studies etc. (IANS)

Engineers’ Organization And Northwestern University Host Event For Students

Northwestern University’s Master of Engineering Management Student Advisory Board (SAB) and the American Association of Engineers of India Origin (AAEIO) hosted an event on “How to Navigate your career in the post digital world.”

Prof. Mark Werwath, Northwestern University, along with  Azgar Ali, president of MEM Student Advisory Board (SAB) welcomed all guests, AAEIO board members and the distinguished panel. They talked about the need for increased collaboration between students, engineering communities and employers, according to a press release from Asian Media USA.

Gladson Varghese, founder and president of AAEIO detailed how important it was for young engineers to work together and collaborate with other universities, startups and corporate and get experiential learning. He also asked students to join the mission of bringing all engineers under one umbrella and asked them to join the Engineering Student Chapter. This event was the first of its kind for AAEIO collaborating with a university.

Consul General of India, Chicago, Amit Kumar was the chief guest for the event. He spoke of the need for increased global collaboration and some of the recent innovations that are transforming the world. For example, in India, Aristech is leading a revolution on how food storage can be improved, he noted.

Mohanbir Singh Sawhney, PhD, Associate Dean of Digital innovation, Kellogg School of Management was the keynote speaker for the event. He is also an Advisory Board member of the AAEIO. His talk was on “Product Strategy” where he informed the students about the need for product management and its interaction with engineers and how one should think about Product Management, its different career prospects, and how a student can be successful in this field.

Prof. Vinayak P. Dravid, Material Science and Engineering, talked about how research collaboration has made a difference. He also emphasized the need for more AAEIO kind of partnership.

Nitin Maheshwari, vice president, AAEIO, also a Northwestern graduate from Kellogg School of Management and an entrepreneur of Artificial Engineering (AI) based consulting, moderated a highly coveted and diverse panel of distinguished guests on the topic of “How to Navigate your career in post digital world.”

Other discussants included Nag Jaiswal, AAEIO Chair of Membership, Principal Architect, Salesforce and Rajinder Mago, ex-Navistar.

The AAEIO announced a Leadership Excellence Webinar to be held March 19. There was also a ribbon-cutting ceremony to symbolize increased partnership between AAEIO and Northwestern.

Upakar Foundation Inviting Student Scholarship Applications For 2022

Upakar Foundation based in Washington, D.C. has announced applications for its 2022 scholarships for citizens and permanent residents of Indian descent to help them attend higher education institutions.

According to 2015 data collected by the Pew Research Center, approximately 7.5% of Indians in the US live in poverty.  US Census Bureau data for 2018 set the poverty threshold for a family of four at $25,465, the Foundation said in a press release.

To date Upakar has awarded 179 scholarships for more than $700,000 to students who meet the criteria of being born in India or who have at least one Indian-born parent.

Upakar opened its application window this year’s Upakar Scholarships on March 1, 2022.  Applicants wishing to apply for a scholarship must submit their applications no later than April 30, 2022.  Full application criteria can be found on the Upakar website at upakar.org.

Upakar Scholarships are $2,000 per year for Scholars attending a 4-year undergraduate program, and $500 per year for Scholars attending a community college program.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Financial need is determined by the family’s adjusted gross income. Scholars must have attained a raw high school GPA above 3.6.  As long as a scholar’s GPA exceeds 3.3 in college, Upakar will renew the $2,000 annual scholarship for up to four years.  Upakar Community College Scholarships provide $500 per year for up to two years; and if the Scholar transfers to a 4-year program, Upakar will increase its commitment to $2,000 annually until the Scholar has received a total of four years of scholarship support.  Upakar Textbook Scholarships are one-time awards of $250.

Upakar has 24 Scholars attending their respective colleges in the 2021-2022 academic year, at various stages in their undergraduate degree programs.

Founded in 1997, the Foundation aims to  provide highly qualified college-bound Indian-American students with need-based tuition assistance so that they could graduate without a crushing burden of college debt, the organization said.

.India Is Deeply Disturbed And Anguished Over The Deteriorating Situation And Humanitarian Crisis In Ukraine: Consul General Dr. Swati Kulkarni

With Russia intensifying its offensive in its war against Ukraine, evacuation efforts by Indian authorities are underway to help Indian students and other Indian citizens stranded in Ukraine and nearby countries. On March 1, the Consul General of India in Atlanta, Dr. Swati Kulkarni, on a virtual briefing with Indian-American community leaders, said that “India is deeply disturbed and anguished over the deteriorating situation and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.”

While informing community leaders about India’s efforts in Ukraine and in its neighboring countries, Dr. Kulkarni stressed that India wants its citizens to escape the conflict zone.  She appealed to Indian citizens to move to the Western border of Ukraine, stay put in shelters, and contact India’s local team to provide location details and coordinate on an evacuation plan. She expressed her deep condolences to the family of a 21-year old Indian Medical student, Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagoudar, who was killed in Ukraine.

Community leaders during the meeting appreciated India’s efforts, but also raised questions and concerns including why India has yet to take a firm position on the Ukraine issue. They raised questions around India’s decision to abstain from voting at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), lack of initiating a mandatory evacuation of its citizens prior to the start of the war, discrimination and harassment faced by Indian students at Ukraine’s borders citing media reports and social media posts, role of community leaders in assisting India respond to the crisis, India’s role in de-escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, and how to respond to members of US Congress and local US officials about India’s stand on the issue of Ukraine. Community leaders have also requested Dr. Kulkarni to convey their concerns to the Indian Government to ensure the protection of Indian citizens.

Responding to their reactions, Dr. Kulkarni maintained that it is an evolving situation and that the Indian Government is currently undertaking various efforts to safeguard Indian citizens on the ground. According to Dr. Kulkarni, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been frequently chairing high-level meetings with Cabinet Ministers, and has already deputed four senior Ministers as his Special Envoys to various nations to oversee and escalate evacuations efforts. They include Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia, to Romania and Moldova, Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, and Civil Aviation, Gen. V K Singh, to Poland, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri, to Hungary, and Minister of Law and Justice, Kiren Rijiju, to The Czech Republic.

When asked about India’s stand at the United Nations, Dr. Kulkarni told News India Times, “India has taken a stand at the UN, when the UNSC moved resolution on the situation in Ukraine, and decided to abstain. Currently, humanitarian necessity for us is really paramount. The Government of India under ‘Operation Ganga’ is working relentlessly to ensure safety of every Indian national. Indian teams are working on the ground round-the-clock to oversee the evacuation efforts of Indian citizens in coordination with local authorities. India supports diplomacy and dialogue as the way out. India is ready to contribute to de-escalation efforts.”

During the call, she mentioned that Operation Ganga is being monitored closely by PM Modi, and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. The Ministry of External Affairs, which is consistently closely monitoring the situation on the ground, and through helplines and social media platforms, has so far handled over 8,000 calls and 6,000 emails. So far, the Indian Government has sent nine evacuation flights and has evacuated around 8,500 Indian citizens, mostly students. The evacuation efforts are still underway, it is expected that India will evacuate about 12,000 additional Indian citizens who are stranded.

She further informed that PM Modi has spoken with PM of Slovak Republic, PM of Romania, PM of Poland, President of Ukraine, and President of Russia in the last few days. He has also been in discussions with the President of the European Council, and President of the French Republic. During his calls, PM Modi thanked these countries for their assistance in permitting special evacuation flights from India, in addition to allowing Indian citizens to enter these countries without visas. The Indian Embassy in Ukraine, and neighboring Indian Missions in Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, and Hungary, have also been instructed to work round the clock to safely bring Indian citizens home.

Meanwhile, a representative of Sewa International, which is helping citizens on the ground, requested community members and organizations to join hands with them to raise funds, and help spread the word through social media platforms. He said that SEWA International has already helped 500 people return to India, and as many as 120 volunteers are flying into the zone to help out with relief and humanitarian efforts.

Sundar Pichai Unveils $100 Million Google Career Certificates Fund

Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced a new $100 million Google Career Certificates Fund to prepare a skilled workforce for high-paying, high-growth jobs in fields like data analytics, IT support, project management and user experience design.

The goal, he said, is to enable ‘Social Finance’ to reach more than 20,000 American workers.

“This investment in America’s future has the potential to drive $1 billion in wage gains,” Pichai said in a statement late on Thursday.

Nearly 70,000 Americans have completed Google Career Certificates to date. “They are available to anyone, no college degree required. Seventy-five percent of graduates report seeing a positive impact on their career within six months, including a raise or a new job,” Pichai added.

He announced the fund at an event with US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Alejandra Castillo, and the CEOs of Social Finance, Merit America and Year Up.

“A sense of purpose and optimism is what brought me to America nearly 30 years ago. And it’s what drew me to Google and its mission to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” said Pichai.

Google’s digital skills program has also helped train 8 million Americans in all 50 states in the US. “We’ll invest Google capital and Google.org grants and provide our Career Certificate program. We’ll connect students to an employer consortium of more than 150 companies who are looking to hire workers with these skills,” Pichai noted.

It’s all designed around student success and they will receive all of this at no upfront cost, “and will only pay it back once they find a job earning at least $40,000 a year”. (IANS)

Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, Scientist, Researcher, Author, & Science Explainer To Deliver Keynote Address During AAPI’s 40th Convention In San Antonio, TX

“We are excited and honored to have Dr. Peter J. Hotez, an internationally-recognized physician-scientist in tropical diseases and vaccine development will deliver the keynote address during the 40th American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions planned to be held from June 23-26, 2022 in the beautiful city of San Antonio, Texas,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI announced here today.

Millions of doses of a new, cheap coronavirus vaccine will soon be available in India, thanks to the efforts and generosity of Dr. Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also the Co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pedi, and his team of researchers, who have made the new CORBEVAX inoculation, which was developed in Texas with decades-old technology and little support from the U.S. government, received emergency use authorization last month from India’s drug regulation agency.

Unlike other vaccines in the market, Dr. Hotez and his team “don’t own any intellectual property.” While describing it the “World’s Coronavirus Vaccine” Dr. Hotez and colleagues say CORBEVAX is cheap and stable and could be relatively easy to scale — will be key to addressing global equity gaps. “That’s all we know how to do is make durable, low-cost vaccines for global health,” Hotez said.

“The presence of Dr. Hotez, a University Professor at Baylor University, Fellow in Disease and Poverty at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy,  Senior Fellow at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University, Faculty Fellow with the Hagler Institute for Advanced Studies at Texas A&M University, and Health Policy Scholar in the Baylor Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and a True Friend of India at the AAPI Convention is a way for us, Physicians of Indian Origin to honor a legendary and celebrated champion of vaccines, who has developed vaccines for tropical diseases that afflict the world’s poorest people as he has devoted his skills, knowledge and experiences to help the world defeat COVID-19,” said Dr. Jayesh Shah, past President of AAPI and Chair of AAPI Convention 2022.

“AAPI is planning a historic convention in San Antonio to celebrate 40 years of AAPI that coincides with 75 years of India’s Independence. Excellent sessions and programs are planned!,” said Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention.

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the Covid 19 pandemic, and the 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr. Vijay Kolli, Advisor for the Convention. Accordingly, “some of the major themes at the convention include: 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, as well as a unique opportunity to visit first of its kind in San Antonio, Aum Ashram as part of the Wellness session,” said Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Advisor for the Convention.

Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Convention Treasurer pointed out: “In addition to colorful entertainment, exquisite authentic Indian cuisine, esteemed yoga gurus and experts, who are planned to share their wisdom and leading the Wellness Sessions include: Paramaguru R. Sharath Jois, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Saraswati Eddie Stern,  Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Dilip Sarkar, Dr. Pankaj Vij, and  Dr. Param Dedhia.”

Dr. Hotez has authored more than 600 original papers and is the author of five single-author books, and has served previously as President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In 2011, he was awarded the Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Leadership in Inter-American Health by the Pan American Health Organization of the WHO.  In 2017, he was named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the 34 most influential people in health care, while in 2018 he received the Sustained Leadership Award from Research! America.   In 2019 he received the Ronald McDonald House Charities Award for Medical Excellence.

An ardent champion of vaccines going up against a growing national “antivax” threat, in 2019, he received the Award for Leadership in Advocacy for Vaccines from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.  In 2021 he was recognized by scientific leadership awards from the AAMC and the AMA. Dr. Hotez appears frequently on television (including BBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC), radio, and in newspaper interviews, including the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

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.

Planned to have a limited number of attendance due to the ongoing Covid pandemic and taking into account the safety of the participants, including Physicians, Academicians, Researchers, and Medical students, “The annual convention offers extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the alumni and evening social events,” Dr. Gotimukula added.   For more information, please visit: www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

As 3 Canadian Colleges Shut Down, Indian Students Stranded

The abrupt school closures prompted scores of students to flock to the Indian High Commission in Canada for assistance, as many of them had been forced to pay up thousands of dollars in fees without warning, only to have their education halted.

Following the abrupt closure of three colleges in Canada’s Quebec that has left thousands of Indian students in a major predicament, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa has issued an advisory for Indian students affected by the sudden change in the status of their educational institutions.

The three colleges — M College in Montreal, CDE College in Sherbrooke, and CCSQ College in Longueuil — soon after pushing up deadlines for tuition fees and requiring students to pay up hefty quantities all of a sudden, issued a notice to students earlier this month that they were closing altogether.

Canada’s CBC News reported that all three colleges — run by the same recruiting firm, Rising Phoenix International (RPI) Inc. — have filed for bankruptcy. The request for creditor protection comes a little over a year after Quebec began to investigate several private colleges, including M College and CDE College, for “questionable” recruitment practices for students in India.

The abrupt school closures prompted scores of panicking international students from India to flock to the Indian High Commission in Ottawa for assistance, as many of them had been forced to come up with thousands of dollars in fees without warning, only to have their education halted.

“The High Commission has been approached by several students from India who were enrolled in the three institutions,” said the High Commission of India, in an advisory released on Friday.

“In the event that they find any difficulty in reimbursement of their fees or transfer of fees, they may file a complaint with Ministry of Higher Education, Government of Quebec,” stated the advisory, assuring students that there were avenues through which they could attempt to recover their lost money.

The advisory noted that the High Commission has been in close contact with Canada’s federal government, Quebec’s provincial government, as well as elected representatives from Canada’s Indian community to provide support to the affected students.

The students were also informed that they are free to approach the Education Wing of the High Commission in Ottawa or the Consulate General of India in Toronto if they require immediate assistance regarding the issue.

In addition, the advisory warned against making payments to any institutions that don’t have their credentials in order. “Students should not make any payments or reveal their personal information to any unverified person/institution offering students visa on payment,” cautioned the advisory.

Comments According to the application for creditor protection by the RPI Group, unpaid tuition fees and refund claims from 633 students against the company are estimated at nearly $6.4 million.

US House Passes Bill With More Measures For Immigrants In STEM Fields Forbes

Amendments to a recently passed House bill will expand immigration opportunities for foreign-born scientists and engineers. If retained during negotiations with the Senate, the measures in the bill could become the most significant on legal immigration to pass Congress in more than 30 years.

Supporters of the provisions will argue that no bill promoting innovation can justify not including improved ways to attract and retain foreign-born talent. More than 70% of the full-time graduate students at U.S. universities in electrical engineering, industrial engineering and computer and information sciences are foreign nationals. Members of Congress have recognized that other countries are doing a better job than the United States attracting and retaining such talent.

House Bill: On February 4, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act 222 to 210 with only one Republican vote. In June 2021, the Senate passed a similar bill. There are enough differences between the two bills to make final passage uncertain.

Significant Immigration Provisions: On January 25, 2022, the House Rules Committee added Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s (D-CA) LIKE Act to create an immigrant startup visa and also an exemption from annual green card limits and backlogs for foreign nationals with a Ph.D. in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Because of the potential to provide new opportunities for entrepreneurs and top researchers around the world, these two additions, in the long run, might produce more innovations in the United States than all the other sections of the nearly 3,000-page bill. Both measures fund additional scholarships for U.S. students in STEM fields by charging $1,000 supplemental fees for those receiving a green card or status under the legislation.

As discussed here, the bill creates a temporary visa for foreign-born entrepreneurs who qualify and “Allows the founder to apply for and receive lawful permanent residence if the startup entity meets certain additional benchmarks.” The lack of a startup visa disadvantages the U.S. compared to other nations like Canada in retaining and attracting foreign-born entrepreneurs. The absence of a startup visa and the per-country limit caused Jyoti Bansal to wait 7 years for a green card before he could start AppDynamics, which grew to employ over 2,000 people and was valued at $3.7 billion when Cisco acquired it in 2017.

Exempting individuals with Ph.D.s in STEM fields from annual green card limits would relieve many from long wait times for permanent residence and (indirectly) reduce the decades-long waits for other highly skilled immigrants. The provision would allow U.S. employers to gain a significant competitive edge by offering the chance at permanent residence to outstanding researchers from around the world, including those early in their careers and engaging in cutting-edge work. (See here.)

Katalin Karikó, who produced the underlying research breakthrough that made messenger RNA possible for life-saving vaccines, could have benefited from a special green card provision for Ph.D.s. Karikó earned her Ph.D. in Hungary and toiled for years in America, first as a postdoctoral researcher, before her work became recognized as life-saving. Approximately 56% of postdoctoral researchers work on temporary visas, with many in biological sciences, medical sciences, engineering and research and development. The new measure would allow many more an opportunity to stay in and contribute to the United States.

“The America COMPETES Act also helps build our domestic STEM workforce and encourages start-up companies to establish roots here,” Rep. Lofgren said in a statement. “Individuals who earn STEM doctoral degrees from top research universities in the U.S. will be able to quickly obtain permanent residence and founders of start-up companies will have a chance to grow their companies here. These measures will help ensure that America is once again the number one destination for the best and brightest innovators and the next generation of entrepreneurs worldwide.”

Does The House GOP Understand Its Position On Immigration Aligns With The Chinese Communist Party’s Leadership?: If the Chinese Communist Party lobbied in Congress, it likely would have applauded a statement issued by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) that called for removing the bill’s provision to bring more Ph.D.s in STEM fields to the United States.

Analysts who have studied China and its technology plans understand that the country’s leadership fears a more open U.S. immigration system able to attract high-level science and engineering talent. It would welcome removing from the bill measures to attract STEM talent to America.

“Chinese leaders understand the extent to which the United States benefits from international talent inflows,” writes Remco Zwetsloot in a report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They therefore celebrate America’s flawed immigration system and fear reforms that would improve U.S. talent attraction and retention. Commenting on U.S. retention of Chinese STEM students, the head of the CCP’s Central Talent Work Coordination Group has complained that ‘the number of top talents lost in China ranks first in the world.’”

Zwetsloot cites a Chinese artificial intelligence white paper that found U.S. immigration restrictions “have provided China opportunities to bolster its ranks of high-end talent.” Moreover, “The deputy editor of China Daily USA, a government newspaper, said that expansion of the U.S. employment-based immigration system ‘would pose a huge challenge for China, which has been making great efforts to attract and retain talent.’”

The evidence indicates removing the provision to provide more green cards for Ph.D.s in STEM fields would please the leaders of China and hurt the ability of U.S. companies to compete globally.

Ross Amendment Adds Health Professions: An amendment at the Rules Committee sponsored by Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC) added “health professions and related programs” to the STEM fields for which Ph.D.s are eligible under the bill to be exempt from the annual limit on employment-based green cards. The bill already covered physicians with a medical residency.

In a press statement, Rep. Ross elaborated on who would be added under “health professions and related programs” in her amendment by including a link to the Classification of Instructional Programs covered: “Expand the bill’s green card cap exemption for individuals with doctorates in STEM fields to include individuals with doctorates in these health care fields.”

Foster Amendment Adds Dual Intent For Many International Students: An amendment sponsored by Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) provides international students on F visas in STEM fields with “dual intent.” That means a consular officer no longer will need to be convinced a student in a STEM field will not seek permanent residence in the United States. The Biden administration recently reversed restrictive guidance in the Foreign Affairs Manual—added during the Trump administration—that would have a similar effect to the Foster amendment. However, a law is more difficult than guidance for a new administration to change.

Manning Amendment Expands Eligibility For STEM Green Card Exemption: An amendment sponsored by Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) expanded the exemption from the annual numerical limit for green cards for Ph.D.s in STEM fields to include individuals with a master’s degree “in the case of an alien who works in a critical industry.”

What is a critical industry? “The term ‘critical industry’ means an industry that is critical for the national security or economic security of the United States, considering key technology focus areas and critical infrastructure,” according to the America COMPETES Act. The term “critical infrastructure” under 42 U.S.C. 5195c “means systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.”

In sum, like most new laws, regulation will define the scope of the provision, but it is likely to include several technology specialties.

E-4 Visas For Specialty Occupation Professionals From South Korea: An amendment by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) would add South Korea as a country from which the United States can accept, on a reciprocal basis, specialty occupation professionals in a new E-4 status. The annual limit is 15,000, though the experience with Australia is far fewer visas likely would be used each year.

The bill also includes immigration and human rights measures for Uyghurs and residents of Hong Kong.

Challenges in the Senate: Before the House-passed immigration provisions become law, they must overcome three challenges in the Senate. First, the bill will require 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, meaning a compromise with Republicans in the Senate is necessary.

The Senate’s version of the bill passed 68-32 in June 2021, so there has been bipartisan support for the legislation. “Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), who was a lead proponent of the Senate bill, said the House measure would have to undergo large changes for a deal to be struck,” reported the Washington Post. “[Commerce Secretary Gina] Raimondo said that the most contentious of the numerous partisan disagreements over the House package concerned its trade-policy changes,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Second, it is unclear if there are Senate Republicans who will oppose the House-passed immigration provisions, but given Rep. McCarthy’s statements, that is a possibility. Third, it is unknown whether Senate Democrats will fight to keep the immigration measures. In the past year, most of the immigration energy among Senate Democrats has focused on legalizing individuals here without lawful status.

An optimist would say the time has come for change. The year 1990 was the last time Congress passed legislation that included legal immigration reforms as significant as startup visas for immigrant entrepreneurs and a smooth path to permanent residence for the world’s top scientists and engineers. A pessimist would take the opposite position: If it’s a good provision on immigration, it likely won’t become law. Members of Congress have the rest of the year to prove the pessimists wrong.

An Indian University Now Trains Future Bollywood Actors

World Design University (WUD) is India’s first university dedicated to educate students in the creative domain. Seated in the heart of the educational hub of India – Rajiv Gandhi Education City, Sonipat, Haryana – WUD plays the role of a harbinger of a revolution in the education system in India.

World University of Design introduces a 6-Month Certificate Programme in Film Acting in their academic session 2022. The programme will be headed by veteran trainer for aspiring actors Mr. Farrukh Naqi Azmi and will commence from March 2022 onwards.

The programme is aimed at providing extensive training to the candidates for a career in Hindi Bollywood Film Industry and has a limited number of 25 seats which will be allotted based on application and personal interview. Divided into 2 divisions comprising of 3 months each the candidates will first undergo intensive training in the first half and then feature in a full-scale Feature Film which will further be used to launch them as actors. The film will be produced and distributed by WUD itself. This is a unique offer that sets this course over and above other courses of shorter duration.

The 6-month acting course is  designed such that  students inculcate a sense of confidence and effortlessly act in front of the camera, get a good command over spoken language with a flawless dialogue delivery; master facial expressions, develop good body language and flexibility; develop the essential skills of observation, imagination, sense and emotion memories; ability to improvise; master movement with special focus on dancing abilities to improvise; and the fundamentals of action choreography.

As World University of Design sets foot into a new genre, Dr. Sanjay Gupta (Vice Chancellor, World University of Design) says, “Extremely thrilled and hopeful to add the course on Film Acting to our diversified menu of courses! More than that I am exhilarated to have someone as seasoned and skilled as Mr. Azmi boarded with us and flagged off this essential milestone in the history of the university. In the past we have witnessed students showing interest in the domain of film acting and I am very sure the seats will be taken soon.”

Peppered to handle his new role at World University of Design Mr. Farrukh Naqi Azmi says, “I have been training acting aspirants for more than 3 decades now in India as well as abroad but every time the whole experience feels new to me. Every place has its own dialects, speech formations and a certain way of life which needs to be gauged before the grooming, diction and the whole technique shapes up. So here I am, keen and waiting to start off the acting journey for new kids!”

While advancing its footsteps in order to provide a bright future to its students, the university will ensure that every student gets plenty of auditions each in Mumbai. WUD is not only making provisions for their students to be equipped with necessary skill-sets like make-up and video editing but also providing prospects to them to produce their own short films or music videos if they please.

About World University of Design: World Design University (WUD) is India’s first university dedicated to educate students in the creative domain. Seated in the heart of the educational hub of India – Rajiv Gandhi Education City, Sonipat, Haryana – WUD plays the role of a harbinger of a revolution in the education system in India. It is the torchbearer of breaking stereotypical educational patterns and has facilitated the shift of studies pertaining to design from being solely vocation-oriented to academic-oriented; thereby offering substantiated degrees (under section 2(f) and 22(l) of the UGC Act) to its students instead of mere diplomas and certificates.

Established in 2018, World University of Design is a young university offering a myriad of programmes at undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral levels across disciplines like Architecture, Design, Fashion, Communication, Visual arts, Performing Arts & Management. Equipped with the largest portfolio of design courses in India, the university offers a number of cutting edge programs in computers & design, transportation design, animation & game design, UI/UX, film & video, built environment & habitat studies, design management, art education, curatorial practice etc

India Prepares Roadmap For Indian Universities To Set Up Foreign Campuses

A federal Indian committee has been asked to “submit a framework/structure for opening of campuses abroad by Higher Education Institutes after examining the existing provisions for opening of offshore campuses” by March 17.

The Government of India has formed a 16-member committee comprising directors of seven IITs and vice-chancellors of four central universities to prepare a roadmap on the demand “from various quarters” to allow overseas campuses” of Indian universities. The development comes on the back of IIT Delhi’s proposal to open centers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The committee, headed by IIT Council Standing Committee Chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan, has been asked to “submit a framework/structure for the opening of campuses abroad by Higher Education Institutes after examining the existing provisions for the opening of offshore campuses” by March 17.

The committee members include directors of seven IITs — Mumbai, Delhi, Kharagpur, Madras, Kanpur, Guwahati, Dhanbad — and the vice-chancellors of Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Banaras Hindu University, University of Hyderabad, and the Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. Its mandate includes drawing up the administrative, financial, and legal framework of the proposed overseas campuses.

The proposals, including that of IIT Delhi, will be placed before the committee. Among the highlights of IIT Delhi’s proposed overseas campuses are four-year undergraduate courses, an annual intake of up to 240 students in four branches based on SAT scores, and campuses spread over 100 acres that are close to major cities with good air connectivity.

The premier engineering school’s proposal marks its second attempt to expand abroad. Its previous attempt to set up a research academy in Mauritius under an agreement with the Mauritius Research Council had run into a controversy in 2014 following objections raised by the Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani.

IIT-D’s second attempt

The Centre’s move to set up a committee to prepare a roadmap for Indian universities to set up foreign campuses comes on the back of IIT Delhi’s proposal to open campuses in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Earlier, IIT-D’s attempt to set up a research academy in Mauritius had been objected to by then HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

“The operational safeguard required for insulating the parent institute vis-a-vis its offshore campuses from liabilities as per law of foreign country” is also among the terms of references of the Radhakrishnan committee.

A senior Education Ministry official said the committee has so far met once where discussions were held on whether the IITs should collectively start one campus abroad or should each IIT compete individually abroad.

“And why just IITs? Many other central universities have the necessary expertise to launch off-shore campuses. The committee will provide a roadmap. IIT Delhi is an institute of eminence and has an autonomous decision-making structure. But any proposal that involves funds will require the ministry’s approval,” the official added.

According to the structure outlined by IIT-D, the proposed campuses — which will be headed by directors appointed by the chairman of the Board of Governors of the Delhi centre — in Saudi Arabia and Egypt will have to be financially supported by stakeholders based in those countries, including their governments, the industry or philanthropic donors.

“An alternate model would be to set up the KSA campus [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] as a for-profit entity. This would have the advantage of attracting potential investors who could provide the capital needed to set up the campus. However, IIT Delhi has no experience in working with such a model and while it might be willing to explore the possibility this would not be its priority,” it said in the draft proposal.

In line with the National Education Policy, the Centre had last year issued guidelines allowing institutions of eminence such as IIT Delhi to open overseas campuses with the prior approval of the Ministry of Education and no-objection certificates from the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs.

“The campus would admit 60 students in each discipline each year and this would imply 240 students in each cohort and roughly 1,000 students and 60 faculty members on campus after 4 years,” says the IIT-D proposal. Students will spend their final year of the course in the Delhi campus, it adds.

Of the total faculty members, 60 per cent are proposed to be either Saudi-based or from Egypt. The recruitment of teachers, who will be expected to spend one semester every three years at the India campus, will be carried out by IIT Delhi.

The proposal includes the creation of “ultra-modern laboratories and classrooms”, dormitories, food courts, sports facilities, 150 apartments to house teaching and non-teaching staff on a 100-acre campus “close to a major city having good air links to Delhi.”

“The adjoining city should have good educational and medical facilities to cater to the needs of teaching and scientific staff that would be housed on the campus,” it pitches.

The Most Intelligent In The World Is Of Indian Origin

A 12-year-old Malayalee schoolgirl has achieved the maximum score possible in a Mensa IQ test, a feat achieved by only 1% of those who sit the society’s entry paper. Lydia Sebastian completed the Cattell III B paper supervised by Mensa, the society for people with high IQs, with minutes to spare at the sitting at Birkbeck College, London.

This Indian-origin girl (Parents & Grandparents are from Kerala) in the UK has achieved the highest possible score of 162 on a Mensa IQ test, outwitting physicists Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. The young girl’s favorite subjects include Maths, Physics and Chemistry and she has stated to the media in England that she wants to do something related to Maths in her career.

Her parents are from Kerala, her father Arun Sebastian is a radiologist at Colchester General Hospital while her mom Erika Kottiath is an associate director with Barclays Bank.

Lydia pressed her parents all year to allow her to take the intelligence test, which she finally took during her school break. Sebastian completely downplayed the super tough exam–going so far as to call it “easy.” “At first, I was really nervous but once I started, it was much easier than I expected it to be and then I relaxed, she said. “I gave it my best shot really.”

Arun said seeing his daughter score the highest possible score on one of the tough IQ test he was “overwhelmed”. He said: “Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking got an IQ of 160. To be honest, I didn’t really believe it.”

When asked whether she likes coming to Kerala she said that she has been visiting her Grandparents house in Kerala ever since she was a year and a half and loves living in Kerala. She may come back to Kerala after her studies and possibly contribute to the progress of kerala, the progress of India and of the whole world in turn.

Mensa is considered to be one of the oldest intelligence society in the world. It accepts only those individuals as members who score in the 98th percentile on an IQ test. The eligibility criteria to get the membership is to score at least 132 or higher only.

Share this with every Indian and let us be proud of our 12 year old Malayalee Girl.

Harvard President Vows To Fight Back US SC Move On Asian-American Kids

Hurting after the US Supreme Court announced a decision “that could put Harvard’s forty years of legal precedent at risk,” Larry S. Bacow, the university’s President, has warned that “colleges and universities could lose the freedom and flexibility to create diverse campus communities that enrich education for all”.

The SC has agreed to review a challenge to the consideration of race in college admission decisions, often known as affirmative action.

With three new conservative justices in the SC since its last review, the practice may be facing its greatest threat yet.

The court said Monday it would consider a pair of lawsuits alleging that Harvard and the University of North Carolina (UNC) discriminate against Asian American applicants.

“Our admissions process, in which race is considered as one factor among many, makes us stronger. It prompts learning in day-to-day exchanges in our classrooms and laboratories, in our residential houses, and on our playing fields and stages. Our students understand these truths and see them reflected in their interactions with their classmates. Diversity opens our eyes to the promise of a better future,” said Bacow, earlier Chancellor at M.I.T. and President at Tufts, in a “dear members of the Harvard community” mail reviewed by IANS.

“Harvard celebrates and nurtures individuality as intensely as this nation. Those who challenge our admissions policies would ask us to rely upon a process far more mechanistic, a process far more reliant on simple assessments of objective criteria. Each of us is, however, more than our numbers, more than our grades, more than our rankings or scores.

Ask yourself, how much have you learned from other people at this University? How much have you grown from conversations across difference? Would these conversations have been as rich if you had shared the same interests, the same life experiences, and — yes — the same racial or ethnic background as your fellow community members? This is why applications of any kind routinely go beyond mere numbers to include interviews, samples of work product, recommendations, and references. Narrowly drawn measures of academic distinction are not the only indicators of individual promise.”

“As the Supreme Court has recognised many times, race matters in the United States,” Bracow argued.

“I long for the day when it does not, but we still have miles to go before our journey is complete. Harvard will continue to defend with vigor admissions policies that were endorsed in the thoughtful decisions of two federal courts that concluded that we do not discriminate; our practices are consistent with Supreme Court precedent; there is no persuasive, credible evidence warranting a different outcome. Though I wish yesterday had turned out differently, I remain confident that the rule of law — and the respect for precedent that perpetuates it — will prevail.”

The SC is taking up two lawsuits filed by Students for Fair Admissions, a Virginia-based group, that says race should play no part in the admission process. The group is led by Edward Blum, a legal strategist.

The group argues that Harvard and UNC intentionally discriminate against Asian-American applicants.

Examining six years of data at Harvard, the group found that Asian-American applicants had the strongest academics but were admitted at the lowest rates compared to students of other races.

It also found that Harvard’s admissions officers gave Asian-Americans lower scores on a subjective “personal” rating designed to measure attributes such as likeability and kindness.

A federal judge in 2019 upheld Harvard’s admissions practices, saying it was “not perfect” but passed constitutional muster. The judge said race-conscious practices always penalise groups that don’t get an advantage, but they’re justified “by the compelling interest in diversity” on college campuses.

An appeals court upheld the ruling in 2020.

The group brought similar claims against UNC, saying its process disadvantages white and Asian American students. A federal judge sided with the university last year.

In its appeal to the SC, the group asked the panel to review both cases and also to overturn the court’s 2003 decision in Grutter v Bollinger, which upheld admissions policies at the University of Michigan’s law school.

That cleared colleges to consider race if it’s done in a “narrowly tailored” way to serve a “compelling interest”. The group’s appeal argued that the Grutter decision “endorsed racial objectives that are amorphous and unmeasurable and thus incapable of narrow tailoring”.

US Supreme Court To Weigh Banning Use Of Race In College Admissions

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider banning the use of race in college admissions decisions, accepting appeals involving Harvard College and the University of North Carolina in what could be a transformational showdown for higher education.

The appeals seek to overturn decades-old Supreme Court precedents that let universities consider race to help create a diverse student body. Affirmative action is common at selective universities, though nine states including California and Florida ban race-conscious admissions at public institutions. The cases are likely to be heard in the term that starts in October.

Opponents are trying to take advantage of a Supreme Court that has become more conservative since a 2003 decision known as Grutter v. Bollinger reaffirmed that universities can take race into account. The Harvard and North Carolina policies are being challenged by an interest group set up to try to abolish racial preferences.

“Grutter is wrong, immoral, and unpersuasive, and has not aged well,” argued the group, Students for Fair Admissions, run by longtime preferences opponent Edward Blum.

Supporters say some consideration of race is crucial for creating student bodies that are racially diverse as well as highly qualified. The Biden administration joined the two universities in arguing that students of all races benefit from having diverse peers and urging the court to reject the appeals.

Although Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s majority opinion in the Grutter decision predicted that racial preferences would no longer be necessary in 25 years, Harvard says they are still needed.

“Universities across the country have followed this precedent in structuring their admissions processes,” Harvard argued. “And the American public has looked to this precedent for assurance that the nation recognizes and values the benefits of diversity and that the path to leadership is open to all.”

Students for Fair Admissions contends that Harvard penalizes Asian Americans during the admissions process, assigning them lower ratings on leadership and likability, while automatically giving preferences to Black and Hispanic applicants.

“Harvard’s mistreatment of Asian-American applicants is appalling,” the appeal argued. The group said the Ivy League college was engaging in “racial balancing.”

Harvard called those assertions “simply false,” saying it considers the race only of highly competitive candidates for admission and doesn’t penalize Asian-American applicants.

The college points to a federal trial judge’s findings of “no evidence of any racial animus whatsoever or intentional discrimination,” and no “evidence that any particular admissions decision was negatively affected by Asian American identity.”

The Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Harvard policy in a 2-0 ruling. The case centers on the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s Title VI, which bars racial discrimination by universities that receive federal funding.

In the North Carolina case, the Supreme Court took the unusual step of bypassing the appellate level and agreeing to directly review a trial judge’s decision. U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs said the university complies with the Grutter ruling by using a “highly individualized, holistic admissions program that is narrowly tailored in that it considers race flexibly as only a ‘plus factor’ among many.”

Students for Fair Admissions said North Carolina has “workable race-neutral alternatives” for ensuring classroom diversity, such as setting aside seats for disadvantaged applicants and admitting the top academic performers at each high school in the state.

North Carolina Attorney General Joshua Stein said the university has already implemented race-neutral approaches and has repeatedly studied the feasibility of other steps. “Each time, the university found that no alternative would produce a student body about as diverse and academically qualified as its holistic, race-conscious admissions process,” Stein wrote.

The suit against North Carolina invokes both Title VI and the Constitution’s equal protection clause, which the Supreme Court said in 1978 impose the same legal test. That ruling, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, is best known for first upholding race-conscious admissions as a means of promoting diversity.

Blum’s group filed the Harvard and North Carolina lawsuits on the same day in 2014, saying it was pressing the cases on behalf of members who were denied admission and stood ready to transfer if possible.

The cases are Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 20-1199, and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, 21-707.

SAT College Admissions Exam, No Longer Required By Many Schools, To Go Digital

U.S. high school students will use laptops rather than pencils and paper to take the SAT college admissions exam beginning in 2024, in a move to digitize the standardized test whose use has declined during the pandemic and as many universities no longer require it for admission.

Students who take the new digitized SAT – once a stress-inducing rite of passage for nearly all college-bound Americans – will have two instead of three hours to answer questions and will face shorter reading passages, College Board said in a statement on Tuesday. Test-takers may also use a calculator for the math portion to the exam.

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” said Priscilla Rodriguez, a vice president at the nonprofit organization that develops the test. “We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform — we’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible.”

For decades, high school students applying to college would sit in rooms with other test takers and a monitor, and use a pencil to fill in bubbles on a piece of paper corresponding to their answers on the multiple-choice test. The exam is made up of a math and a reading and writing sections and is scored on a 1,600 score scale.

In November 2021, College Board conducted a pilot program for a digital SAT in the United States and other countries. Four out of every five test takers said they found the digital version less stressful.

Starting in 2024, U.S. students will take the test using their own laptop or tablet, a school-issued device or a device provided by the College Board. As in the past, students must take to the exam at local testing sites.

The digital SAT test will be available to international students starting in 2023.

Questions about the effectiveness of standardized testing – along with the COVID-19 pandemic – have reduced the number of students taking the SAT in recent years. Many colleges and universities have dropped it as an admission requirement.

Some 1.5 million students in the high school class of 2021 took the SAT at least once, down from 2.2 million in the class of 2020 due to the pandemic, the College Board said. (Reporting by Brendan O’Brien; Editing by David Gregorio)

As Omicron Fuels Surge, U.S. Students Stage Walkouts To Protest In-Person Classes

Hundreds of students in Boston and Chicago walked out of classes on Friday in protests demanding a switch to remote learning as a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant disrupted efforts at returning to in-person education around the United States.

In Chicago, the nation’s third-largest school district, the walkout came two days after in-classroom instruction resumed for 340,000 students who were idled during a five-day work stoppage by unionized teachers pressing for tougher COVID-19 safeguards.

Protesting students said they were dissatisfied with the additional health protocols the teachers union agreed to earlier this week, ending its standoff with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“I think CPS is listening, but I’m not sure they’ll make a change,” said Jaden Horten, a junior at Jones College Prep High School, during a rally at district headquarters that drew around a thousand students.

The demonstration followed student walkouts at various schools around the city.

About 600 young people from 11 Boston schools participated in student walkouts there, according to the school district, which serves nearly 52,000 pupils. Many protesting students returned to classrooms later, while others went home after taking part in peaceful demonstrations.

An online petition started by a Boston high school senior branding schools a “COVID-19 breeding ground” and calling for a remote learning option had collected more than 8,000 signatures as of Friday morning.

The Boston Student Advisory Council, which organized the walkout, posted a series of demands on Twitter, including two weeks of online instruction and more stringent COVID-19 testing for teachers and students.

The latest wave of infections has renewed the debate over whether to keep schools open, as officials seek to balance fears about the highly contagious Omicron variant with concerns that children could fall further behind academically after two years of stop-and-start instruction. The result has been a patchwork of COVID-19 policies around the country that has left parents feeling exhausted and bewildered.

Ash O’Brien, a 10th-grade student at Boston Latin School who left the building with about a dozen others on Friday, said he didn’t feel safe staying in school.

“I live with two grandparents who are immune-compromised,” he said. “So I don’t want to go to school, risk getting sick and come home to them.”

In a statement, Boston Public Schools said it supports students advocating for their beliefs and vowed to listen to their concerns.

Earlier this week, students at several New York City schools staged a walkout to protest what they said were inadequate safety measures. Mayor Eric Adams said on Thursday his administration was considering a temporary remote learning option for a significant number of students who were staying home.

Nearly 5,000 public schools across the country have closed for at least one day this week due to the pandemic, according to Burbio, a website that tracks school disruptions.

The Omicron surge appears to be slowing in areas of the country that were hit first. In the last week, the average daily tally of new cases has risen only 5% in Northeastern and Southern states compared with the prior seven-day period, according to a Reuters analysis. In Western states, by contrast, the average number of infections documented every day has climbed 89% in the past week compared with the previous week.

Overall, the United States is still tallying nearly 800,000 new infections a day amid record numbers of hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

Tamil Nadu Gets 11 New Medical Colleges, Campus Of Central Institute Of Classical Tamil

Tamil Nadu is getting 11 new Government Medical Colleges and a new campus of Central Institute of Classical Tamil in Chennai.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated 11 new medical colleges in Tamil Nadu and a new campus of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT) via video conferencing on Wednesday, January 12.

According to PMO, the new medical colleges are being established at an estimated cost of about Rs 4,000 crore, out of which around Rs 2,145 crore has been provided by the Union government and the rest by the Tamil Nadu government.

The districts in which the new Medical Colleges are being established are Virudhunagar, Namakkal, The Nilgiris, Tiruppur, Thiruvallur, Nagapattinam, Dindigul, Kallakurichi, Ariyalur, Ramanathapuram and Krishnagiri.

“Establishment of these medical colleges is in line with the Prime Minister’s constant endeavour to promote affordable medical education and improve health infrastructure in all parts of the country,” the announcement said.

The new medical colleges, with a cumulative capacity of 1,450 seats, are being established under the Centrally Sponsored scheme of ‘Establishing of New Medical Colleges attached with existing district/referral hospital’. Under the scheme, medical colleges are established in districts, which do not have either a government or private medical college.

The new campus of Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT) in Chennai is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision to protect and preserv, Me Indian heritage and promote classical languages, PMO said.

The new campus is fully funded by the Union Government and is built at a cost of Rs 24 Crore. CICT, which was operating from a rented building so far, will now operate from a new 3-storey campus. The new campus is equipped with a spacious library, an e-library, seminar halls and a multimedia hall, it said.

An autonomous organization under the Union Ministry of Education, CICT is contributing to the promotion of classical Tamil by doing research activities so as to establish the ancientness and uniqueness of the Tamil language.

The institute library has a rich collection of over 45,000 ancient Tamil Books. To promote classical Tamil and support its students, the Institute indulges in academic activities like holding seminars and training programs, granting fellowship etc.

It also aims to translate and publish ‘Thirukkural’ in various Indian as well as 100 foreign languages. The new campus will provide an efficient working environment for the institute in its pursuit of promoting classical Tamil across the world.

AAPI Inaugurates Biochemistry Lab/Immunoanalyzer At AIIMS, Bibinagar, Telangana

American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI) has been in the forefront, especially during the Covid pandemic with its numerous initiatives to address and help communities  in the United States and in India to overcome the impact of the deadly pandemic. The deadly pandemic, COVID-19 that has been instrumental in the lockdown of almost all major programs and activities around the world, could not lockdown the creative minds of AAPI leadership and its thousands of dedicated members.

In continuation of its efforts, during the recently concluded Global Healthcare Summit in Hyderabad, AAPI donated immunoanalyzer at AIIMS, Bibinagar, Telangana, which does hundreds of tests every day. This is part of Covid relief efforts AAPI has taken over during the second wave of pandemic.

“The generosity of the members of AAPI and Indian community has been unprecedented,” says Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI. “I want to thank the AAPI fraternity, for not only contributing $5 Million towards Covid Relief Funds, but has spent hundreds of hours in coordinating and disbursing the vital medical supplies to the most needed hospitals across India. Thanks to the overwhelming support of its members that AAPI has raised almost $5 million in the past few months and has sent much needed medical supplies to India during the peak of the pandemic in India.”

Taking the lockdown and the social isolation as a challenge, AAPI leadership has creatively worked with the members to plan programs in educating and sharing knowledge on various timely issues affecting the healthcare sector and the people at large. In its efforts to help patients and medical professionals across the nation to receive the required support, training and supplies to protect and heal those infected with the deadly COVID-19 virus that continues to impact the entire nation, AAPI created a Help Line and had physicians participate and run COVID helpline.

AAPI coordinated with dozens of physicians including primary care physicians, ER, critical care and ID physicians, who see these patients on a constant basis, to help during this crisis. Questions are being sent by email and physicians answer them at the earliest convenience.

“AAPI has also collaborated with other national international and government organizations such as, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Indian Embassy in Washington, DC, National Council of Asian Indian Americans (NCAIA), GAPIO, BAPIO and Australian Indian Medical Graduates Association, in its efforts to educate and inform physicians and the public about the virus, to prevent and treat people with the affected by corona virus,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI.

“As always, AAPI has been in the forefront, rising to the need of the hour. After our initial donation to AIIMS, Bibinagar, Telangana AAPI is planning to donate immunoanlysers to all AIIMS across the country. As you may remember, AAPI had donated ventilators and high flow oxygen equipment to AIIMS in the past,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Clinical Professor of Medicine and AAPI Secretary said.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, president of AAPI along with Dr. Satheesh Kathula, AAPI secretary, and Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Chair, Chair, Covid relief committee participated in the inauguration of biochemistry lab/Immunoanalyzer at AIIMS, Bibinagar, Hyderabad. Later on they planted trees in AIIMS Vatika, Bibinagar and named one of them “AAPI”.  For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI’s Historic 15th Annual Global Healthcare Summit In Hyderabad Concludes With A Commitment To Continue Efforts For Preventive Healthcare In India

AAPI Urges Government Of India To Appoint An Expert Panel Of Nationally Recognized Experts In The Disciplines Of Preventive Medicine And Primary Care

(Hyderabad: January 7, 2022) The 15th edition of the annual Global Healthcare Summit organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) USA concluded here today with a commitment to continue efforts to preventive care in India and to collaborate with the federal, state and local governments, healthcare and technological industries, as well as with several not for profit organizations to help India make health delivery accessible, affordable and efficient.

“During the 15th annual Global Healthcare Summit, organized in Hyderabad, India from January 5th to 7th, 2022, physician leaders from the United States and India had an opportunity to brainstorm and explore ways to focus on the theme, “Transformation of Healthcare through Telehealth and Technology usage during this post-Covid Era,” and have recommended possible ways to plan and implement preventive medicine that will save resources and precious human lives,” said Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI.

Towards this end, while offering to collaborate with the Government Authorities, “AAPI is urging the Government of India  to appoint an expert panel of nationally recognized experts in the disciplines of preventive medicine and primary care,” she added.

The GHS 2022 was inaugurated by Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, who addressed virtually the hundreds of participants from the United States and India at Avasa Hotel in Hyderabad on January 5th.

“With numerous initiatives, AAPI has come a long way since its inception and has proved to be beneficial not only to Indian-origin American Physicians, but to Indian healthcare as well,” Mr. Naidu observed. He urged the medical fraternity and told them, “as you seek excellence in human health and well-being, do not forget the power of a kind human touch when treating your patients.”

Expressing regrets for not being able to be present in person due to the ongoing pandemic, Mr. Naidu told the hundreds of delegates in a recorded inaugural message stated that the Indian origin physicians in the United States have gained a formidable reputation and that several of them occupy the top administrative positions in the country. “They are among the most successful ambassadors of India’s value systems.” he said.

The Vice President complimented AAPI for its services in India – for raising $5 million during the second wave of the pandemic, for its ‘Adopt a Village’ program among its other initiatives.

The groundbreaking Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) organized by AAPI in collaboration with the Government of India, BAPIO & GAPIO, as well as Host Alumni Chapters, including OGKTMA, ATMGUSA, KAMCOSA, and GMCGA, was packed with programs that were treat to the hearts and souls of every participant.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI GHS 2022, said, “This GHS held in amid the fears of Covid pandemic, and following strict Covid restrictions, has promised to be one with the greatest impact and significant contributions towards harnessing the power of international Indian diaspora to bring the most innovative, efficient, cost effective healthcare solutions to India.”

“We thank all the AAPI Members who are sparing their valuable time to come over to Hyderabad in order to attend this event, despite the ongoing situation of the existence of Omicron and travel restrictions. We really appreciate this gesture of courage and confidence displayed by you on behalf of Local Organizing Committee, for braving odds and attending the 15th Annual AAPI GHS, Hyderabad. This is highly admirable,” said Dr. D. Dwarakanatha Reddy, India Chair, AAPI GHS 2022.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect f AAPI said, “We have made great strides in helping people to live longer, however, people are spending too many years in poor health, and these gains in health not felt equally across society. We need to focus on the rising levels of obesity, mental illness, addictions, age-related conditions like dementia, and a growing, ageing, and diverse populations, We also need to be aware of cyberbullying, pervasive misinformation and other harmful social media influences affecting our youth.”

“AAPI is collaborating with Global Teleclinics (GTC) to carry out this project in 5 states including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana,” said Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI. “It will be expanded to other states in India eventually. The tests will include CBC, HbA1C, lipid profile, creatinine, pulse oximetry, measurement of blood pressure, height and weight. 150-200 people are screened in each village in one day. There is an opportunity to screen a total of up to 15,000 people in 75 villages across 5 states,” he added.

Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI, pointed out, “India, thus needs to redouble and continue its efforts and dedicate resources to tackle these perennial challenges. Many of these projects and programs need regular funding, and management of resources. We are grateful to dozens of AAPI members who have committed to serve India with an ongoing commitment.”

“AAPI is here 365 days a year with the launch of the AAPI India Foundation. With the goal that every Medical student in India should have a Post Graduate seat and that every family in India  is under the care of a Post Graduate Family Medicine Physician,” Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair, AAPI Global Education Committee and AAPI Board of Trustee said.

Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, US Coordinator of the GHS said, “An excellent 3 hour CME sessions with renowned speakers from around the world, Poster/Research contest and Med Quiz that was attended by a record 1,500 Medical students from several states in India, breath taking cultural events, interactive roundtables, clinical practice workshops, and meet-the-expert sessions, Women’s Forum by internally acclaimed successful women from India and the US, were only some of the major highlights of the Healthcare Summit.”

The topics for CMEs broadly covered the recent advances in Medicine. Workshops on Medical Education and Reforms in India, Psychiatry, Palliative Care and Diabetes as well the seminar on Lifestyle Medicine led by world renowned leader and founder of Life Style Medicine, Dr. Neil Bernard were educative and offered new awareness on trends in medicine and healthier living. The Tuberclosis Awareness Seminar focused on recent advances in the TB epidemic.

Dr. Seema Arora, the Chair of AAPI National Women’s Committee, along with Dr. Meher Medavaram, Dr. Malati Mehta and Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda organized the Women’s Forum with a panel of “Women Who Inspire” from all walks of life who have achieved extraordinary feats in each of their phenomenal lives.

Dr. Tejaswini Manogna, Miss India-Earth 2019 and the title of Divine Miss Earth India 2019, who was the keynote speaker and part of the much popular Women’s Forum said, “Woman is defined by her courage and self-confidence.” She told her fellow women to “Speak up. Do not suffer in silence. Be bold and brave to voice your opinion. If a woman can lead at home, she can lead the world.”

The CEO Forum, chaired by Dr. Joseph Chalil had a galaxy of CEOs from India and the United States, who shared their insights into the challenges and opportunities for making healthcare affordable, using modern technology and scientific research, Sangita Reddy, Joint MD of Apollo group of hospitals and incoming Chairman of FICCI shared her passion for the care of the masses, using technology to reach out. She praised AAPI’s efforts to help India through its Healthcare Summits in making policies in healthcare delivery more effective.

“AAPI, under the guidance of President Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, would like to collaborate with the Healthcare leaders in proposing the creation of an Indian Preventive Task Force (IPTF). We envision a great future for our country with the direct result of complex interactions at this forum with your assistance, guidance, and experience,” said Dr. Joseph Chalil.

“January is #CervicalCancer Awareness Month! In coordination with the local organizers of the GHS, AAPI is donating funds for the HPV Vaccination, a total of 200 doses of the vaccine for 100 children from the state of Telangana on January 9th,” said Dr. Meher Medavaram, an organizer of the program. “AAPI’s this new initiative through education and awareness programs, is aimed at help save millions of lives in India,” she added.

Indian Idol Keshav Kumar entertained the audience on Jan 5thnight during the gala.

The grand finale was the colorful rendition of the classical Indian dance forms, representing several states in India brilliantly choreographed by Mona Lisa, an internationally acclaimed Indian Dance Maestro. Dr.  Amit Chakrabarty, past Secretary of AAPI delighted the audience with his impromptu live music extravaganza.

The Pre-Tour of the GHS 2019 took the delegates to the serene Kanha Shanti Vanam, located in the suburbs of Hyderabad. Magnificent in its conception and design, tranquil in its atmosphere, Kanha, blending the beauty of nature with sprawling facilities gave an inspiring experience to AAPI members an opportunity to learn to relax and meditate, through the Heartfulness movement.

AAPI delegates and local GHS organizers had a unique and once in a lifetime experience, when they were treated to a royal reception at the fabulous Falanama Palace of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

The guided tour of the royal palace built in 1897, live Qawali by local artists at the palace for AAPI delegates and a memorable sit down royal dinner at the world’s largest Dining Table  with 101 Guests were some of the most amazing moments in life for the participants.

During his address to the AAPI delegates on Jan 6th, DAAJI inspired the audience with his enriching address focusing on modern day life, the stressors and the challenges, while offering insights into how stress relaxation, meditation and cleansing would help human beings lead a peaceful life.

“The next edition of the Global Healthcare Summit 2023 will be held in Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh in the first week of January in 2023,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI announced.

“With the changing trends and statistics in healthcare, both in India and US, we are refocusing our mission and vision, AAPI will continue to make a positive meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India,” Dr. Gotimukula said.  “AAPI has made significant contributions towards addressing several issues affecting the healthcare system in India,” she added. “AAPI is pleased to announce that the National NMC of India has communicated to the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) of its intent to be the national agency for accreditation of all the medical colleges in India,” Dr. Gotimukula said.

Appealing to the Government of India to appoint a panel of nationally recognized experts in the disciplines of preventive medicine and primary care; Adopt A Village Program in 75 villages, Cervical Cancer Vaccine Camp for 100 girls in Hyderabad, Establishing AAPI India Foundation; Efforts by AAPI Global Education Committee Advocacy of National Medical Commission (NMC) on WFME accreditation for ECFMG eligibility for Indian Medical graduates and successfully mobilizing NMC leadership and engaging and motivating Medical students in India through research contest and Med Quiz as well as the CMEs by highly acclaimed international speakers are only some of the tangible outcomes from the GHS 2022,  Dr. Gotimukula stated with pride. For more details, please visit:  www.aapiusa.org

“Heart Health Awareness And Community Bystander CPR” Program Organized By Indian Consulate in Chicago

During the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) week, the Chicago Indian Consulate organized a Heart Health Awareness and Community ‘Saving Lives’ Bystander Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) program at the Indian Consulate in Chicago on December 15,2021.

The Indian American community-focused program was jointly developed by Dr. Vemuri S Murthy, Chairman of the Board of  Chicago Medical Society and Founder of the Chicago Medical Society Community Bystander CPR project “SMILE” (Saving More Illinois Lives through Education) in association with Dr. Srinivas Ramaka, an eminent Cardiologist from Telangana, India. The program was attended by several members of the Indian diaspora, leaders of Medical Organizations, and Diplomats of the Indian Consulate, staff, and families.

Inaugurating the program, Honorable Consul General Amit Kumar spoke on the importance of Indo-US healthcare partnerships to reduce morbidity and mortality due to heart disease and the major role of the Indian diaspora in strengthening these affiliations through jointly developed innovative projects. As an example, he referred to the Heart Rescue India (HRI) project, recently implemented successfully with Indo-US collaboration, involving the University of Illinois College of Medicine and UI Health, Chicago, and Ramaiah Medical College in Bengaluru with a grant from Medtronic. He congratulated the Indian Physician community for their ongoing contributions to the Indian and US Healthcare sector.

In his address, Hon’ble Member of Congress Danny K. Davis stressed the importance of taking care of one’s health. He commended the significant role of the Indian American doctors in contributing to the general health and well-being of US communities. In a virtual message, Honorable Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi congratulated the Indian Consulate and Dr. Vemuri Murthy for organizing the program and their efforts to enhance outcomes after cardiac arrests among the communities.

Consul General Amit Kumar, Congressman Danny K Davis, PBSA Dr. Bharat Barai and Dr. Vemuri Murthy released the community bystander CPR Informational brochure in three languages – English, Gujarati, and Spanish for the Indian and US communities. Brochures in other Indian languages will be available soon.

Dr.Murthy gave a presentation on Global Heart Disease, Heart Attacks and Sudden Cardiac Arrests with a special focus on Indians and Indian diaspora in the USA. He spoke of the  programs needed to improve the survival and outcomes during cardiac emergencies via. community awareness, prevention, early recognition, and timely intervention. He also brought to the attention of audience the need to seriously address “Women’s Heart Health” issues. A Hands-only CPR demonstration and training of the participants followed.

Efforts to raise awareness of heart disease and promote “Healthy Heart” lifestyles is essential. 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.

Dr. Vemuri S. Murthy, an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine @ The University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA and Visiting Professor in India, is an Advocate of Resuscitation education, training and research in USA and India.His current work involves Cardiac Arrest Registries and Cardiac Health-promoting Projects with Indo-US collaborations.

Biden Administration Extends Student Loan Pause Through May 1, 2022

The U.S. Department of Education announced a 90-day extension of the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections through May 1, 2022. The extension will allow the Administration to assess the impacts of the Omicron variant on student borrowers and provide additional time for borrowers to plan for the resumption of payments and reduce the risk of delinquency and defaults after restart.

The Department will continue its work to transition borrowers smoothly back into repayment, including by improving student loan servicing.

“Since Day One of this Administration, the Department has focused on supporting students and borrowers throughout the pandemic and ensuring they have the resources they need to return to repayment successfully,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “This additional extension of the repayment pause will provide critical relief to borrowers who continue to face financial hardships as a result of the pandemic, and will allow our Administration to assess the impacts of Omicron on student borrowers.

As we prepare for the return to repayment in May, we will continue to provide tools and supports to borrowers so they can enter into the repayment plan that is responsive to their financial situation, such as an income-driven repayment plan. Students and borrowers will always be at the center of our work at the Department, and we are committed to not only ensuring a smooth return to repayment, but also increasing accountability and stronger customer service from our loan servicers as borrowers prepare for repayment.”

The pause on student loan payments will help 41 million borrowers save $5 billion per month. Borrowers are encouraged to use the additional time to ensure their contact information is up to date and to consider enrolling in electronic debit and income-driven repayment plans to support a smooth transition to repayment. More information can be found at StudentAid.gov.

This action is one of a series of steps the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to support students and borrowers, make higher education more affordable, and improve student loan servicing, including providing nearly $13 billion in targeted loan relief to over 640,000 borrowers. Actions within that include:

Revamping the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in October, which has already provided $2.4 billion in loan relief to 38,000 borrowers. As part of that effort, the Department implemented a Limited PSLF Waiver to count all prior payments made by student borrowers toward PSLF, regardless of the loan program. Borrowers who are working in public service but have not yet applied for PSLF should do so before October 31, 2022, and can find out more at StudentAid.gov/PSLF.

Providing $7.0 billion in relief for 401,000 borrowers who have a total and permanent disability. Approving $1.5 billion in borrower defense claims, including extending full relief to approved claims and approving new types of claims.

Providing $1.26 billion in closed school discharges to 107,000 borrowers who attended the now-defunct ITT Technical Institute. Helping 30,000 small business owners with student loans seeking help from the Paycheck Protection Program.

Unisex Public Schools In Chicago

Paris, often referred to as the ‘City of Light’ (La Ville Lumière), has always fascinated me for its clean roads and fashion shops. Surprisingly, a few years back, while in the international airport, I was in a Uni-sex toilette with no astonishment of passengers of either sex running up and down in it. Earlier, I felt as if I had done some sinning entering a Ladies’ restroom.

However, after a few hours, while sitting on my flight to New Delhi, my senses became diluted when I used the same bathroom both genders were using. So there is absolutely nothing special about Unisex public toilets (also referred to as gender-inclusive, gender-neutral, mixed-sex or all-gender, or without any prefix at all) are public toilets that are not separated by gender or sex.

Thinking about Gender equity, of course, the problem may be that genders are different and not equal. Somehow the custom and cultural ideologies kept them separate- at least for using the restrooms, and nothing wrong in that practice for many reasons.

But the latest news in the USA that Chicago expels sex-specific restrooms from public schools is a whistleblower for a provocative issue indeed.So far, boys and girls were using their specific restrooms in their own privacy and had no fear of peer pressure from the other gender. However, public school bathrooms will now be “gender-neutral,” a reform that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) boasts of as a “big step forward for gender equity.”

This reformative initiative requires the schools to display language outside of restrooms, informing students, whether male or female, that they may use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity. CPS prompted others, “We require all schools to adopt new signage to make our restrooms more inclusive. This is a big step forward for gender equity for our students and staff.” Is it going to influence the schooling practices themselves, or will it just be ignored?

This initiative not only impacts school children but also the school staff initially. As per CPS, the signage will “make it clear that all restrooms are open for use by anyone who feels comfortable.” It is also stated that the move is to “increase gender equity for all.”

One example of signage that will be displayed at schools reads: “This is a gender-neutral restroom with multiple stalls. It is open to users of any gender identity or expression.”

Is the School system meticulously worried about the health and safety of all students?. If so, Schools need to rip out the existing restrooms and replace them with single-user toilets. It will take up more space, but everyone’s privacy will be protected with no fear of peeping toms!

This is not what they are implementing in Chicago, and it is not a private restroom; it is the standard multi-stall bathrooms. We are really worried about the teens with all confused inhibitions and early sexual emotions.

We agree that all children need to be safe in the bathroom. Lack of safety and lack of comfort may be the two different concerns, which need to be clarified by the school administrators. Across our country, many students avoid using bathrooms fearing that another student might mistreat or harm them emotionally or physically.

Most of them will try to hold it till they reach home because, as we are talking about pre-teens and teens. Middle & high school students are very sensitive and insecure and shameful about their changing bodies and the opposite sex. So, a young girl getting her period for the first time or any girl needing to take care similar situation might have real embarrassment if there is a boy in the next stall; that is the reality. The consequences of these fears can be severe, impacting a child’s health, well-being, and ability to concentrate on learning.

If the real issue is on how to protect and respect individuals with a different gender than one assigned at birth, we need to recognize them. The emotionally disturbed trans may be less than 1%. Why do we change everything for the 1%? – that is what the average parent does not understand. Maybe, rather than designating all bathrooms gender-neutral, they should have at least one set for girls or boys only as well.se

“While the binary male/female gender paradigm is no longer sufficient for understanding gender identity and gender expression, this perspective is new to many people. Therefore, school leaders can reduce misunderstanding and conflict by raising awareness and educating constituencies about gender diversity, including transgender status.” (NAIS- Fox News).

We are apprehensive about the ever-increasing sexual assaults going on in many schools. Having gender-specific toilets will not necessarily stop teenage sexual assaults in school. Instead, how many of those implementing this reforming program would be comfortable in a restroom with someone of the opposite gender in the next stall?. Apart from that, usually, girls spend as much as twice as long in the bathroom as men, and that’s because they have physiological changes, and they have more layers of clothes to remove before using the toilette. Boys waiting outside usually show their impatience, ending up with angry words or shoutings. Needless to affirm that this setup is ripe for bullying, which is already out of control.

Why are so many throwing away gender norms for everyone else, making the majority uncomfortable so the one or two students in question can feel comfortable?.

Neither schools nor parents can assume that every child knows appropriate behavior with unisex concepts. When a school conveys what behaviors are and are not acceptable, the issues related to bathrooms move from assumptions and misperceptions about an individual’s intent and instead focus-on their observable act. Question remains – Is this a “big step forward,” and gender-neutral bathrooms in schools are of the utmost importance now?

Echidna Global Scholar Program Research

Unlocking young women’s economic potential through digital mentoring in India. Far more men than women in India with tertiary (or post-secondary) education are active in the workforce. Arundhuti Gupta demonstrates how digital mentoring could help more young women transition into the labor force.

Gender-responsive education in emergency in Nigeria. How can a gender-responsive perspective be fully incorporated into the planning, policy design, and implementation models for education in emergencies? Edem Ossai writes about how to safeguard girls’ presents and futures in Nigeria.

Promoting entrepreneurship among women in Vietnam. Given the profound socioeconomic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s imperative that Vietnam make full use of its human capital. Tran Thi Ngoc Tran lays out a plan to help make entrepreneurship training programs for women more effective.

Increasing girls’ access to formal agricultural education in Afghanistan. Even though girls learn agricultural skills informally from family and friends, they only comprise 12% of all students in agricultural technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Afghanistan. Nangyalai Attal shares how to help girls develop their skills and use them effectively for national growth and self-reliance.

Apple Helping Indian Kids Learn Art Of Storytelling Via Iphone Camera

Storytelling via photography is an art mastered over the ages and now, young children are being empowered with art by Gurugram’s Museo Camera in partnership with Cupertino-based tech giant Apple and its new-age iPhones in the country.

Founded by renowned photographer Aditya Arya, Museo Camera is the largest not-for-profit photography museum in South East Asia. It has over 18,000 square feet of space dedicated to the art and history of photography. The museum displays a collection of more than 2,500 cameras and other photographic equipment dating back to the 1850s.

The museum partnered with Apple to organise ‘The Art of Storytelling’ — a specially-curated workshop — in collaboration with Saksham Bal Vikas Sanstha and Shiksha Education Centre, charitable organisations committed to providing academic and vocational education to underprivileged children.

The children, aged 8 to 15, participated in the workshop for 12 classes — every Saturday — for about 12 weeks to create photo stories shot on iPhones.

Jiya Amreen, a class 7 student at Shiksha Education Centre, Gurugram, is a shy girl. But armed with an iPhone 12, she feels confident about setting out on the streets of Chakkarpur, Banjara Basti and other areas around Gurugram to capture the landscape with an iPhone.

Asked how she convinced people to pose for her camera, she said: “Initially I used to be fearful while asking people to pose, but I learnt how to convince them by calmly making them understand about the whole thing”.

The workshops were not just limited to taking images but were oriented towards using the mobile phone camera to tell a story. The students were encouraged to engage with their subjects, to explore and create a dialogue with them and to articulate their experiences as thought provoking visuals.

Abhay Yadav, and Krishna Rawat, students of class 8 at the same school said the exercise left them with bountiful knowledge on how to use a camera to tell a story. “Earlier I used to take selfies, but never understood how to make a good frame. Earlier the photos used to be random, now I think before taking a shot,” Yadav told IANS.

“It was a great experience learning. I learnt the skills and nuances of capturing photos,” added Rawat. For both of them, photography is now definitely a career option. The children were given a mix of theory and practical lessons on mobile photography and encouraged to develop their own unique photographic styles.

Arya said he believes in catching the children young for teaching the nuances of photo making. “The skills of photo making should start from the grassroots. Today phones have made capturing photos an easy task, you don’t need to carry big instruments. Earlier, one also had to set and adjust aperture and shutter speed in cameras, but phones have bridged the gap between technology and skills,” Arya told IANS.

Some of the best images clicked by these children on iPhones, along with those from two schools in Rajasthan, are put on display at the #ShotoniPhone exhibition held between December 18-25 at one-of its kind museum. The exhibition also features work by Arya, shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max, in his journey to Ladakh.

“I’m absolutely in love with iPhone 13 Pro Max’s new ultra wide camera lens which captures more details in the low-light conditions. It gave me an added edge while shooting the picturesque moonscapes of Ladakh,” Arya told IANS.

The Night Mode automatically turns on when the camera detects a low-light environment. Depending on how dark the scene is, the iPhone 13 Pro Max might take a Night mode photo quickly, or it might take several seconds.

“After carrying dozens of lenses and heavy equipment during my travels, I feel liberated thanks to the new Avatar of technology, the iPhone,” he added.

Penn State Names Neeli Bendapudi As Next President

Neeli Bendapudi, currently president and professor of marketing at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, has been unanimously named Penn State’s next president by the Penn State Board of Trustees on Dec. 9. When she begins her appointment as Penn State’s 19th president in spring 2022, she will make history as the first woman and person of color to serve as the University’s president.

Bendapudi, currently the 18th president of the University of Louisville, is a recognized leader in higher education who specializes in marketing and consumer behavior. With a nearly 30-year career in academia, Bendapudi has taught marketing and served in a variety of administrative roles over the years, including as provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas, dean of the School of Business at the University of Kansas, and founding director of the Initiative for Managing Services at Ohio State University. With a focus on collaboration and development, Bendapudi has dedicated her career to student success, fostering inclusivity, and creating opportunities for students, faculty and staff to thrive.

“Penn State is a world-class university, and I couldn’t be prouder and more excited to join this vibrant community of outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni throughout the commonwealth and beyond.”

Neeli Bendapudi, Penn State president-elect

“Penn State is a world-class university, and I couldn’t be prouder and more excited to join this vibrant community of outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni throughout the commonwealth and beyond,” Bendapudi said. “Thank you to the Penn State community and Board of Trustees. I am grateful for this opportunity and will make it my mission to help Penn State reach new heights across each of our campuses.”

After a comprehensive national search, Bendapudi was announced as the University’s next president during a Dec. 9 special meeting of the Board of Trustees following an extensive vetting process and overwhelming support from the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee, an 18-member group with student, faculty, staff and trustee representatives. She will succeed President Eric J. Barron, who will retire after serving Penn State for more than 30 years in various roles, including most recently as president since 2014.

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Bendapudi to Penn State. She is a dynamic and innovative leader who has dedicated nearly her entire professional life to higher education and is prepared to help our University advance in the ways we support students, create new knowledge and serve society,” said Matt Schuyler, chair of the Board of Trustees. “I want to extend my appreciation on behalf of the entire Board of Trustees to the many Penn State community members who participated in this selection process. Your engagement served as a critical framework throughout the search and has helped lead us to this exciting new chapter in Penn State’s history.”

Schuyler thanks President Barron for his years of dedicated service and has noted there will be a seamless transition between the two leaders.

“President Barron’s impact can be felt in every facet of the University, throughout the state of Pennsylvania and beyond,” Schuyler said. “His steadfast commitment to our students, faculty and staff; dedication to opening pathways to a Penn State education; passion for research and entrepreneurial innovation; and leadership during challenging times have been unwavering. Dr. Barron will leave our University in a most-desirable position for any leader to further our goals and mission.”

About Penn State’s 19th president

Following a rigorous interview process — including special small-group meetings with select faculty members — the full Board of Trustees interviewed and selected Bendapudi to be the University’s next president.

“We found Neeli Bendapudi to be an incredibly thoughtful, strategic leader with an inspiring breadth and depth of experiences in academia and research. As an accomplished leader, she will bring a forward-looking perspective to the presidency while remaining grounded in the important connections with our students. The qualities of a 21st-century academic leader — commitments to excellence, equity and opportunity — are second nature to Dr. Bendapudi,” said Nina Jablonski, Evan Pugh University Professor of Anthropology and member of the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee. “I am honored to have served Penn State in this capacity, alongside my dedicated colleagues. We committed ourselves to recommending the best individual for this vital position.”

The board and committee were very impressed with Bendapudi’s commitment to research, innovation and economic development, and also to how her experiences and vision align with Penn State’s modern land-grant mission and values, according to Schuyler.

“Thank you to the many students, faculty, staff and trustees who served on the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee and Next Gen Penn State Advisory Group, including the outstanding leadership from trustees Mark H. Dambly, David Kleppinger and Julie Anna Potts throughout this process,” Schuyler said. “Your collective dedication has resulted in an exceptional new president for Penn State, and I am thrilled to be able to begin working with her as our president-elect.”

Following Barron’s retirement announcement, the Board of Trustees moved forward with a phased approach to select a new University leader and named the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee to lead the search with support from executive search firm Spencer Stuart. During a listening phase in the spring, Penn State community members shared their input and recommendations resulting in a Next Gen Penn State report that was used to inform the presidential position profile. The official search launched in July 2021 and throughout the fall the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee developed a pool of the highest-quality candidates, with deliberate effort to identify diverse, high-performing candidates across genders and backgrounds.

“It was a privilege to serve the University in this capacity on behalf of my fellow students and peers,” said Erin Boas, undergraduate student member of the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee and president of the University Park Undergraduate Association. “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Dr. Bendapudi to Penn State. She is a charismatic, transformational leader who cares deeply about students and has committed herself to advancing all aspects of the student experience.”

International Student Enrollment Fell 15% In 2020-21

American universities are generally held in high esteem around the world, according to a spring Pew Research Center survey in 16 advanced economies. A median of 59% of adults across these societies describe American universities as either the best in the world or above average relative to those in other developed nations.

Even so, the number of foreign students studying in the United States fell sharply during the 2020-21 academic year according to recently released data from the Institute of International Education, likely reflecting the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fewer than 1 million foreign students enrolled for either online or in-person classes at U.S. universities in the 2020-21 school year, comprising 4.6% of total enrollment at American higher educational institutions. That not only marks a 15% year-over-year decrease from the 2019-20 school year, but also marks the first time since 2014-15 that fewer than a million international students have enrolled at U.S. institutions.

How we did this

China remained the leading place of origin for international students, with 35% of all international students in the 2020-21 school year hailing from the country. The second most common place of origin was India (18%), followed by South Korea (4%) and Canada (3%). Some of these countries also experienced the largest year-over-year decreases in the number of students who enrolled at U.S. institutions. The largest such percentage decreases occurred in South Korea (-21%), China (-15%) and India (-13%).

The overall decrease in the number of foreign students in the U.S. in 2020-21 was driven by sizable reductions in first-time students coming from abroad – in many cases due to border closings, flight cancellations or other challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even before pandemic, increase in Chinese students had slowed

While the number of Chinese students studying in the U.S. fell sharply in the 2020-21 school year, their growth rate had slowed dramatically even before the pandemic. The slowdown followed years of sharp growth.

Though the exact reasons for the slowdown in Chinese students are unclear, some may find the U.S. a less desirable place to study abroad. Some observers, including the president of Columbia University, have raised concerns that tense bilateral relations between the U.S. and China are damaging American universities’ ability to attract top academic talent, particularly from China. Still others have pointed to policies put in place during the Trump administration to restrict Chinese students studying in certain fields or even revoke their visas.

Chinese students paid an estimated $15 billion in tuition at U.S. colleges in the 2018-19 year. Still, the American public is open to limiting their presence in U.S. academia. A majority of Americans (55%) support limiting Chinese students studying in the U.S., even as a broad majority (80%) say it’s good for U.S. colleges and universities to accept international students in general, according to a February Pew Research Center survey.

Only around a third (31%) of Americans under the age of 30 support limiting Chinese students in the U.S., but the share rises to around half (49%) among those ages 30 to 49 and to around seven-in-ten (69%) of those 50 and older.

There are also differences in views by Americans’ educational attainment. A 59% majority of those without a college degree support limiting Chinese students, while those with a college degree are about evenly split: 47% favor limiting Chinese students in the U.S. and 52% oppose the idea.

Partisan differences are pronounced, too. A majority of Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party (69%) support limiting Chinese students while 56% of Democrats and Democratic leaners are opposed.

AAPI Initiates “Awareness Campaign On Cervical Cancer Prevention With HPV Vaccination In Children” During Global Healthcare Summit In Hyderabad

“January is #CervicalCancer Awareness Month!,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) said here today. “At AAPI, in keeping with our efforts and initiatives to educate and create awareness on disease prevention, we are planning to focus on bringing awareness of Cervical Cancer in India during the upcoming Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2022 at the Hotel Avasa in Hyderabad, India from January 5th to 7th, 2022.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI, said, “Our theme for GHS 2022 is: ‘Prevention Better than Cure.” Cervical Cancer is preventable through Vaccination and Early Pap smears and cervical examinations. Justifiably so, one of our preventive campaign goals this year is 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.

Dr. Udhaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI GHS 2022 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. We want to sponsor a minimum of 100 free vaccines among High School children during our Global Healthcare Summit. We urge all AAPI members and leaders, to join us in this fight to eradicate Cervical Cancer.”

Quoting research studies, Dr. Kusum Punjabi, Chair of AAPI BOT, 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. GHS 2022 will be a forum to educate and create awareness about this deadly disease that can be prevented.”

Once a leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. Today, screening and prevention have greatly reduced the impact of this form of cancer. Increasing screening and prevention are key components of the effort to eradicate cervical cancer. Since almost all cases of the disease are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, vaccines that protect against the virus could prevent the vast majority of cases. Moreover, regular Pap tests can catch – and lead to treatment of – the disease at the precancerous stage.

“AAPI’s this new initiative will help save millions of lives in India” Dr. Meher Medavaram, a key organizer of GHS 2022 pointed out. “Usually 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. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI, said, “In addition to Cervical cancer, GHS 2022 will also focus on: Chronic diseases which can be prevented- notably diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension, COPD, oncology, maternal and infant mortality, Mmanagement of neurological emergencies ENLS a certification course  are only some of those that are going to be covered during this Summit.”

While elaborating the objectives of the Summit, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI, says, “This innovative Summit is aimed at advancing the accessibility, affordability and the quality of world-class healthcare to the people of India. Among other areas, the Summit will focus on prevention, diagnosis, treatment options and share ways to truly improve healthcare transcending global boundaries.”

Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI said, “Through Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields, AAPI will provide 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.”

There are several AAPI leaders who are working hard to make the GHS a memorable event, said Dr. Gotimukula. “Among them, I want to recognize Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, US Coordinator, Dr. Dwarkananda Reddy, GHS Indian Coordinator; Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair Global Medical Education; Dr. Prabhakar Sharma, CME Chair, Dr. Prabhat Sinha, Chair Sponsorships and Exhibits, Dr. Seema Arora, Chair of Women’s Forum; Dr. Joseph M. Chalil, Chair of CEO Forum; Dr. Belani Kumar, Chair of the Medical Students Research Poster presentations; Dr. Lakshmi Thirunagari and Coordinators of Medical Jeopardy.

Expressing confidence, Dr. Gotimukula, the 4th ever Woman President in the four decades long history of AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, said, “Together we can all bring the awareness in the community to prevent Cervical Cancer in India which is 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in women!” For more information, please visit www.aapiusa.org/ https://summit.aapiusa.org

Omicron Virus Found In South Africa Described By WHO As “Variant Of Concern”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated a new variant, B.1.1.529, named as “Omicron” found in South Africa initially, and has now been found in several other countries as a “variant of concern (VOC).” The variant, which was announced by scientists in South Africa on Thanksgiving Day, November 25th has caused alarm around the world.

Fears that a new, fast-spreading coronavirus variant could potentially be more dangerous than even the Delta variant prompted several countries to impose restrictions on travel from affected regions, and caused stock markets across the globe to crash.

The WHO said about 100 genome sequences of the variant have been reported so far. Many of the infected people were fully vaccinated, with at least one person in Israel having also received a third, booster dose of vaccine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the Omicron coronavirus variant poses a high risk of infection surges around the globe.

The variant could lead to severe consequences in some regions, the WHO said on Monday.  The head of the organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, renewed a call for a global push to get vaccines to poorer nations.

Covid-19 is “not done with us” yet he warned. The variant was detected in South Africa earlier this month with initial evidence suggesting it has a higher re-infection risk. South Africa has been praised for its prompt reporting of the variant.

“Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said.

The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant. In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.

This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant.

Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.

There are a number of studies underway and the TAG-VE will continue to evaluate this variant. WHO will communicate new findings with Member States and to the public as needed.

The scientific analysis till now suggests that the new variant has been spreading at a rate faster than any other variant, including Delta. The fact that several of the infected people were fully vaccinated, including one with a booster dose, is an indication that this variant also has considerable capability to evade the immune response.

This means that this variant is a cause of worry on at least two of the three criteria that are used to assess how dangerous any new variant is. As of now, there is no information on its ability to cause severe disease, the third crucial criteria.

“This variant has a number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs,” the WHO said in a statement.

“The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa… This variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage,” it said.

The Delta variant, first discovered in India late last year, has been the deadliest variant of SARS-CoV2 on all these three counts till now. It is the dominant variant now in most regions, and is the reason behind the deadly second wave in India, and the ongoing surge in Europe and a few other regions.

“Not everything is known about this variant yet. Data is still coming in. As of now, we know that it has over 30 mutations, of which 10 are in the spike protein. Whether this variant turns out to be a faster spreading one, or one that has greater ability to evade immune response is still to be seen. But we need to be very alert,” virologist Shahid Jameel said.

Vineeta Bal, an immunologist associated with the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, said the emergence of the variant was not an unexpected development, but authorities needed to respond with increased surveillance to ensure early detection and effective isolation. “Viruses mutate all the time. That is something to be expected. But we should be able to ensure that it does not gain a foothold in many people,” Dr Bal said.

The coronavirus evolves as it spreads and many new variants, including those with worrying mutations, often just die out. Scientists monitor for possible changes that could be more transmissible or deadly, but sorting out whether new variants will have a public health impact can take time.

As such, countries are asked to do the following:

  • enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.
  • submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database, such as GISAID.
  • report initial cases/clusters associated with VOC infection to WHO through the IHR mechanism.
  • where capacity exists and in coordination with the international community, perform field investigations and laboratory assessments to improve understanding of the potential impacts of the VOC on COVID-19 epidemiology, severity, effectiveness of public health and social measures, diagnostic methods, immune responses, antibody neutralization, or other relevant characteristics.

Individuals are reminded to take measures to reduce their risk of COVID-19, including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.

U.S. Continues As Top Choice For Students From India

The number of first-time international students enrolling at U.S. universities decreased dramatically by 46 percent amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Open Doors 2021 report released Nov. 15 by the Institute of International Education.

But despite challenges due to travel restrictions and bans, 145,528 international students were able to begin their studies in person or online in the United States or from abroad. In total, 914,000 international students enrolled at U.S. universities for the 2020/2021 academic year, a 15 percent decline from the previous year.

In addition, more than 200,000 international students pursued Optional Practical Training, gaining work experience in the U.S. after finishing their academic studies.

The preliminary report did not break down the number of students by country of origin. But a different report released by Statista noted that more than 167,000 students from India were studying in the U.S. during the 2020/2021 school year.

Students from China and India make up the bulk of international students in the U.S., which continues to remain the top choice for studies abroad.

International students represent 5 percent of all students in U.S. higher education and, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, contributed $39 billion to the U.S. economy in 2020.

“The Open Doors® 2021 Report on International Educational Exchange underscores the continued commitment of students and scholars, U.S. higher education, governmental partners, and industry stakeholders to international educational exchange amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said IIE in a press statement. The annual report was jointly released by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and IIE. “(The report) has been an important benchmark for international educational exchange to the U.S. for over 70 years,” noted IIE.

“International students are central to the free flow of ideas, innovation, economic prosperity, and peaceful relations between nations,” said Matthew Lussenhop, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

“As reiterated in the recent Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education by the U.S. Departments of State and Education, the United States is strongly committed to international education as we continue to build back better.”

“Despite the global pandemic, Indian students were able to apply for visas and travel to the United States,” said U.S. Minister Counsellor for Consular Affairs Don Heflin, who is based at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.

“We issued over 62,000 student visas this summer alone, more than in any previous year,” he said, according to a press release from the embassy.

“This goes to show that the United States remains the destination of choice for Indian students looking to study abroad,” said Heflin. “We look forward to issuing many more visas in the year to come, to help Indian students achieve their dreams of U.S. study.”

Tamil Studies Chair At University of Houston To Receive $2 Million

A Texas nonprofit organization with a mission to promote Tamil language, culture and literature has made a $2 million commitment to the University of Houston to establish an endowment supporting the study of Tamil heritage. The Tamil language is considered the oldest in the world — spoken by more than 70 million people worldwide — primarily in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.

Houston Tamil Studies Chair, Inc., which is the donor, is a nonprofit that was founded last year with the goal of establishing the Tamil studies chair at the University of Houston and providing a forum for the growing population Tamil-Americans in the United States — approximately 250,000 people.

“As Tamil-American families assimilate into the fabric of the multi-cultural society in this great nation, and as all our children get educated in American Universities, HTSC takes great pride in leading this initiative to expand awareness of the rich Tamil culture, language and literature within an educational setting,” said Sam Kannappan, founding member and board president of Houston Tamil Studies Chair, Inc.

The initial $1 million pledge will create The Houston Tamil Studies Chair, Inc. Research Endowment in the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. These funds will support research program costs, equipment and seminars with invited scholars who are experts on Tamil societies and the Tamil diaspora in the United States.

An additional $1 million will rename the endowment The Houston Tamil Studies Chair Inc. Endowed Professorship. The educator who will hold this professorship will be a global research trailblazer with expertise on the rich diversity of Tamil culture and its global diaspora, according to Antonio D. Tillis, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

“This gift serves as a new resource for global research opportunities for our faculty and students,” said Tillis. “It affords expanding knowledge on a region that has interdisciplinary academic appeal with local and global contexts.”

Houston Tamil Studies Chair, Inc. was established through the vision of its founding members Sockalingam Sam Kannappan; Dr. S.G. Appan; Sockalingam Narayanan; Perumal Annamalai; Nagamanickam Ganesan; Tupil V Narasiman and Dr. Thiruvengadam Arumugam. They have been leading community fundraising efforts in the Greater Houston area, Texas and beyond.

“Through this generous gift, we are able to enrich our academic programs and introduce our students to Tamil’s special and unique culture,” said Eloise Brice, vice president for University Advancement.

The gift is part of the “Here, We Go” Campaign, the University of Houston’s first major fundraising campaign in more than 25 years. The University has raised more than $1 billion to address key priorities, including scholarships, faculty support and strengthening the university’s partnership with Houston, and momentum continues as UH moves beyond its original billion dollar goal.

Kannappan made a few remarks and thanked the Tamil Nadu State Government for contributing one crore rupees ($140,000) to the chair. Caldwell Velnambi, president of the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America, and a member of the HTSC board, spoke about FetNA and invited the UH executives to the annual FeTNA convention.

HTSC is committed to raising $2 million by the end of 2026 to set Houston Tamil Studies Chair Inc., a Texas nonprofit with the primary purpose of setting up a Tamil Studies Chair at the University of Houston, Nov. 11 made the first payment of $500,000 to the University of Houston as part of a series of payments to set up the Tamil Studies Chair.

The event was attended by Dr. Renu Khator, Indian American Chancellor and president of UH; Dr. Eloise Dunn Brice, vice chancellor and vice president of UH; Dr. Daniel P. O’Connor, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences; and Kim Howard, senior director of Advancement, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, according to a press release from Tupil Narasiman.

HTSC was represented by its board comprising president Sockalingam (Sam) Kannappan, Tupil Narasiman, Thiruvengadam Arumugam, Perumal Annamalai, N. Ganesan, Sockalingam Narayanan, Caldwell Velnambi. Consul General Aseem Mahajan also attended the event, which was live streamed.

Khator offered a few remarks about the achievements of UH in terms of raising a significant amount of funding for the university in recent years, adding that UH is one of the top 50 universities in the U.S., the release noted. She said she was pleased to note that HTSC’s setting up a Tamil Chair is the first Indian language chair being set up in Texas and particularly at UH.

Kannappan made a few remarks and thanked the Tamil Nadu State Government for contributing one crore rupees ($140,000) to the chair. Caldwell Velnambi, president of the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America, and a member of the HTSC board, spoke about FetNA and invited the UH executives to the annual FeTNA convention.

India Collection Of Books Launched At Stamford Library

Ferguson Library in Stamford, CT celebrated India’s Festival of Lights, Diwali, with the launch of India Collection of Books on Sunday, Nov. 14th. The Connecticut Chapter of the Global organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-CT) coordinated the program with the library. The India related books were donated by Govt. of India through the Indian Consulate in New York. The chief guest was Indian Consul General Randhir Jaiswal, who inaugurated the new book collection of Indian art, on political leaders and social reformers, travel books and books in Indian languages including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu and Gujarati.

The launch event began with an invocation to Lord Ganesha by Prachi, which was followed by the lighting of the traditional lamp and diyas by dignitaries and GOPIO leaders, signifying the Diwali celebration. In her welcome address, Library President Alice Knapp lauded the new initiative from the GOPIO-CT and thanked the Indian Consulate for donating the books.

Consul General Randhir Jaiswal inaugurated the book collection and complimented Stamford Library for this new initiative and said that USA and India have now a very close relationship.  In his address, Ambassador Jaiswal said, “We are in the middle of festival season in India. Want to wish you all prosperity and happiness.” He thanked the Library for taking the initiative to launching the collection of books on and from India, “which will be a source of knowledge to many.”

Pointing to the fact that 55,000 students have come to the United States from India this year, which opens up immense opportunities for us in this “tech-driven world,” he said. Consul General Randhir Jaiswal referred to the recently concluded Global Climate Summit in Glasgow, where India has committed to a cleaner world by making newer assurances to make the world a better place for generations to come.

Stating that the sharing of knowledge and discovery have shaped the destiny of the humanity since beginning of the world, Consul General Randhir Jaiswal pointed out as to how in 1960s, India has gained sufficiency in food production by sharing of knowledge by the United States that led to Green revolution in India.  “And we are ever grateful to the United States for sharing of knowledge and for the friendship and collaboration between the two nations, which is the defining moment of the 21st century.”

Other dignitaries who spoke at the event were current Stamford Mayor David Martin, newly elected Mayor Caroline Simmons, CT Representative Matt Blumenthal, all of them lauded the new initiative by GOPIO-CT. Mayor of Stamford, David Martin, in his opening remarks said, “As the Mayor of the City, I welcome you all to the celebration of Diwali, which is a celebration of victory of goodness over evil, celebration of light over darkness, and celebration of knowledge over ignorance.”  My whole life has been an expectation of increase of knowledge and library is a place for us to obtain and sharing of knowledge,” he added.

Mayor-Elect Caroline Simmons, in her address said: “Thank you for reminding us of the importance of the true symbolism and virtues of Diwali, which is light over darkness, hope over despair, and love over hate. I look forward to continuing the many great efforts initiated by Mayor Martin, where you as the community has contributed significantly to the city of Stamford.”

CT State Representative, Matt Blumenthal in his felicitation address, “This has ben tryting times for the whole world. GOPIO has played a critical role in our state to help face and overcome the challenges. I am grateful to the Indian American community for your great contributions and making our state stronger and dynamic.”

GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham said that the underlying theme of Diwali celebration is, Light over Darkness, Victory of Good over Evil and Knowledge over Ignorance, which has caught up the attention of people all over the world including heads of many countries including President Joe Biden at the White House. “As the pandemic is still not ever and there is resistance to vaccination by some groups of people and the celebration of knowledge over ignorance has greater meaning to people all over the world,” Dr. Thomas Abraham, Emcee for the event and a main organizer, who had initiated the book launch, added.

The book launch and Diwali event had several Indian American leaders, GOPIO-CT officials including Indian Consul Vipul Dev, Meera Banta, Anita Mathur, Prachi Narayan, Mahesh Jhangiani, Srinivas Akarapu, Jayashri Chintalapudi, and Prasad Chintalapudi. Following the ceremony, Indian American dancers including children performed Indian classical, folk and Bollywood dances.

“Ekal Foundation” Raises $4 Million In Star-Studded ‘Future Of India’ Gala

“Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (EVF)” raised over $4 million in a star-studded virtual Gala, called “Future of India” that highlighted pre-eminent speakers, Ekal’s eclectic accomplishments and youth’s contributions to its mission on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

As per Indian demography, two third of its population resides in villages. Ekal, as it is popularly known, currently has presence in over 102,000 rural-tribal areas all across India with a reach to over 300,000 such clusters of habitants. Although rooted in education, Ekal has blossomed into providing healthcare, integrated village development, empowering functionality and new-age technology to these rural folks.

This two-hour event, co-chaired by Mohan Wanchoo and Kamlesh Shah, both successful entrepreneurs and philanthropist, saw consistent overwhelming response from the donors, from the moment it opened up till it was capped by youthful entertainment by “Penn-Masala’, a youthful group of famous singers from “University of Pennsylvania”.

The funds raised at the Gala were for specific projects, such as tailoring training centers, E-shiksha, Ekal-on-Wheels, Telemedicine, Gramotthan Research Centers, and Integrated Village Development. Mohan Wanchoo, who pioneered Gala events at Ekal, regaled viewers with a personal story of how hospitable tribal villagers were in the midst of a horrific tragedy that they had endured earlier.

As a professional singer he mesmerized the viewers with an inspiring song in his melodious voice. Kamlesh Shah elaborated on Ekal’s aggressive fight with Covid-19 pandemic and the steps, that were taken to fight misinformation about the virus and the treatment. From the interspersed interviews of rural children, it was quite evident that Ekal has fired up their imagination to aspire for becoming Doctors, Soldiers, Teachers etc.

Ekal’s women-centric empowerment activities and education as a tool for progress touched a nerve with all three chief guest speakers who whole heartedly supported Ekal’s selfless mission for the future of India. Kiran Mozumdar-Shaw, founder of Biocon and recipient of ‘Padma Bhushan’ honor, emphasized the need for digital tracking of patients by the tech-savvy nursing caretakers, as the core point for managing the pandemic.

Coming from a humble family, Renu Khator, President of University of Houston system chancellor, stressed on the important role the education has played throughout her Steller career. She lauded EVF’s efforts for women empowerment. Naren Chaudhary, CEO of highly successful ‘Panera Bread’ brand, explained how his daughter – ‘Aisha’ – was the central motivating factor in whatever he did in his life. He expressed unequivocal passion for his country – India – where he had witnessed ‘spirit of humanity’ in his own time of acute need to save Aisha.

Ranjani Saigal, the Executive Director of Ekal-USA assured him that his daughter’s legacy lives through what Ekal does best. For every $1 a donor invests in Ekal activities, Ekal volunteers provides $8 worth of selfless volunteer efforts. Ekal’s youth-wing had raised substantial amount of funding to arrest the spread of Covid pandemic. During the Gala, they freely talked about what attracted them most to this largest social endeavor, supported by the Indians and NRIs, in dozen countries. Ekal supports all its activities without any regards to a particular region, religion or gender.

A galaxy of Bollywood stars – from Hema Malini, Boney Kapoor, Subhash Ghai to Varun Dhavan, Udit Narayan, Alia Bhatt – provided glitz with their enthusiastic support for Ekal. A ZEE-TV ‘2019 Cine Awards’ clip, showed three Ekal alumni students honored, for exceptional achievements. This public honor was bestowed on ‘Pinky Karmakar’ of Assam who was the torch-bearer at 2012 London Olympics, ‘Divya Malgave’ of Maharashtra who won a Gold Medal at ‘International Intermediate Karat Championship’ and ‘Ramchandra Verma’ of U.P. who has made his birthplace – ‘Aligunj’ – an ideal ‘Gaav’ (village). While unveiling the roadmap for the future, Suresh Iyer, the President of Ekal-USA, confirmed that the essential objectives of all the projects are two-fold – first, to prevent migration of rural folks to urban areas for lack of opportunities and second, to increase the economic and social impact on their lives. He appealed viewers to join hands with Ekal for the better ‘Future of India’.

AAHOA Webinar Addresses H-2B, J-1 Visa Programs

It’s a fact that foreign workers can help U.S. businesses get through their busiest periods. But any suggestion that these laborers can solve hoteliers’ growing workforce needs is pure fiction.

That was one takeaway from AAHOA’s webinar on November 10 titled “Immigration Options … Fact or Fiction?” The half-hour presentation was led by Jorge Lopez, a shareholder in Littler Mendelson, a San Francisco-based firm specializing in labor law. Lopez covered the H-2B and J-1 visa programs, which allow employers to bring foreign workers to the United States for temporary jobs.

Lopez noted that while these programs do benefit hospitality companies, their overall impact is small. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hospitality industry had 1.58 million job openings in September, and the federal government caps the number of H-2B visas issued annually to 66,000.

“The demand is much higher than the supply,” Lopez said, pointing out that industries such as construction, landscaping, manufacturing, and meat processing are all competing for their share of H-2B workers. “I want to emphasize that is for short-term, seasonal work.”

Half of that 66,000 total is earmarked for workers who begin employment in the first half of the federal government’s fiscal year, October 1 to March 31. The other half is for workers beginning employment in the second half, April 1 to September 30.

The temporary labor certifications obtained by participating employers specify how long H-2B workers may remain in the United States. That period may be extended for up to a year at a time, but after a maximum of three years, H-2B workers must depart the United States.

To obtain H-2B visas for foreign workers, a company must establish that:

There aren’t enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.

Hiring H-2B workers won’t adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

The employer’s need for foreign workers is temporary or seasonal, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as such.

H-2B workers must be paid wages similar to those of American workers in the same job positions and geographic locations. There also are a number of other costs associated with the program, Lopez said. Companies must conduct a labor recruiting test to prove they can’t fill those jobs with American workers. In addition, businesses must pay for transportation to and from H-2B workers’ countries of origin, their work uniforms and, in many cases, lodging and transportation.

“These things start adding up from a cost perspective and could be substantially higher than most folks figure,” Lopez said.

Hoteliers should perform due diligence before working with recruiters to hire foreign laborers, Lopez said. U.S. businesses may face penalties from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division if their recruiters engage in prohibited practices such as charging recruitment fees to foreign workers.

“You have to be able to manage your relationship with recruiters if you’re going to go down this path … so that you’re looking at it as a viable option only if you can trust the individuals that you’re dealing with,” Lopez said.

The J-1 visa program allows foreign nationals, typically students working summer jobs, to visit the United States for the purposes of cultural exchange opportunities. Employers typically must provide housing assistance to these workers.

“It’s basically exposing them to American society,” Lopez said, adding that everyday aspects of American life such as barbecues and ballgames count as cultural exchange opportunities.

However, businesses should be aware that if foreign workers aren’t given access to meaningful cultural activities, they risk scrutiny from media outlets, immigrants-rights groups and the Department of State, which administers the program.

“It’s not uncommon for the J-1 visa program to get scrutinized by the press and immigrants-rights groups … because of that lack of [cultural] participation,” Lopez said. “The last thing you need is negative publicity in reference to the recruitment phase.”

Climate Change Will Destroy Environments, Undermine Efforts To Protect Sea Life

Newswise: Climate change is altering familiar conditions of the world’s oceans and creating new environments that could undermine efforts to protect sea life in the world’s largest marine protected areas, new research from Oregon State University shows.

The changing conditions also have cultural and economic implications for the people whose traditions and livelihoods are dependent on ocean resources, said James Watson, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and the paper’s co-author.

“What we’re looking at here is the potential extinction of a whole environment,” said Watson, who specializes in marine social-ecological systems and understanding complex adaptive systems. “In some places, the environments we have today are not going to exist in the future. We won’t be able to go visit them or experience them. It is an environmental, cultural and economic loss we can’t replace.”

The researchers’ analysis of multiple climate scenarios showed:

60% to 87% of the ocean is expected to experience multiple biological and chemical changes, such as increases in water temperature, higher levels of acidity and changes in oxygen levels, by the year 2060.

The rate of change is expected to be even higher, 76% to 97%, in very large marine protected areas such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve in Ecuador.

Increases in pH, which measures ocean acidity, are expected as soon as 2030. Ocean acidification reduces the amount of carbonate in seawater, which is necessary for marine organisms, such as corals and mollusks like oysters, to develop their shells and skeletons.

The findings were published this week in the journal One Earth. The paper’s lead author is Steven Mana‘oakamai Johnson, who conducted the research as part of his doctoral dissertation at Oregon State. Johnson, who earned his Ph.D. earlier this year, is now a postdoctoral researcher at Arizona State University.

The concept for the paper was borne from conversations between Johnson, a native of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth in the Western Pacific Ocean, and Watson, a native of England, about what is likely to be lost due to climate change. One thing is the disappearance of ocean conditions they each experienced as children.

“All of us have experiences we define as normal under a given set of environmental conditions,” said Johnson, who is has already witnessed climate change impacts such as a devastating coral bleaching event in Saipan.

“Properties such as temperature, acidity and oxygen levels define what a given part of the ocean looks like. For both James and me, the ocean experience we grew up with and have memories of will likely not exist for our grandchildren.”

Using the last 50 years of ocean conditions as a measure of stability, the researchers used several climate models to see how six variables affecting ocean conditions might change as the planet warms. They used three warming scenarios with increasing degrees of severity.

“Our scenarios included likely, unlikely and highly unlikely degrees of warming, all of which are warmer today than they were 20 years ago,” Johnson said. “In all three scenarios, conditions in more than half of the ocean are going to be novel, meaning new and significantly different, than they have been in the last 50 years.”

Much of the change occurs in the ocean’s two extremes: the tropics and the Arctic. The warmest places are seeing warming conditions never seen before, and the coldest places, like the Arctic, are no longer as cold as they once were. The researchers also found that most of those changes will occur by 2060, though most of the change in pH, or acidity, levels is expected much sooner, by the end of the decade.

The change is more pronounced for the very large marine protected areas that are designed to preserve threatened species and rare habitats such as coral reefs around the world. As ocean conditions change, animals in those protected areas are likely to seek other locations that are more favorable for their survival.

“These marine protected areas are an important tool for achieving conservation goals and can take a lot of political and social will to establish and work as intended,” Johnson said. “In our analysis, 28 out of 29 of these areas will experience changes in conditions that could undermine conservation goals.”

The researchers’ findings present a picture of what the future might hold as the planet continues to warm, Johnson said. The research also offers important information to communities, policymakers and managers of protected habitats about how changing ocean conditions might impact them and how they might address those changes.

“For example, tuna thrive in certain ocean conditions. If the ocean gets too warm, the tuna may move to another area,” Johnson said. “If your country depends on tuna for food or livelihood, what impact will that have?

“Or if you’re a manager of a protected area, and you’re protecting a species that is no longer in the area, what do you do?”

This type of forecasting advances how climate change is quantified, Watson said. It also gives people an opportunity to come to terms with the trauma of what is being lost as well as begin to make plans for a future without those resources.

“This kind of work has been done before for changes on land due to climate change, but not for the ocean,” he said. “It’s important to acknowledge and accept what were are likely to lose, and that loss can also help motivate people to begin to adapt.”

AAEIO To Host A Technical And Start-Up Business Conference In April 2022

American Association of Engineers of Indian Origin (AAEIO) will host a Technical and Start-up Business conference in April 2022 to help new companies to do networking, mentoring, access to funding and developing Business plans.

These programs are designed to assist new startups. Microsoft CEO Mr. Satya Nadella, U.S Senator, Governor, Consul General of India, U.S Congressmen, CEOs of fortune 100 companies are expected to attend this event.

AAEIO President Gladson Varghese and other Board members had a planning meeting with Consul General of India Amit Kumar in Chicago to discuss this event and future plans.

Hon. Kumar, a Kanpur IIT Graduate and IFS officer, also gave his suggestions. He asked the board to focus on 2-3 areas like Digital transformation, Education, Energy and do it well. He also asked the board to do events both in US and in India. He suggested that digital transformation ideas should be at grass root levels, such as solution to problem such as “Army is looking to create parts with 3D printing for older generation MIGs”. These ideas can be used for business competition and provide innovation.

As part of the growth of this organization, organizers are planning to host events in various cities including San Francisco. Attracting Indian Engineering students was also discussed in this meeting.

Membership Chairman Nag Jaiswal, Vice President Nitin Maheshwari, President-Elect Ajit Pant and Treasurer Abhishek Jain will take the lead in these activities.

The group is also planning to do a Job Fair on March 10th to help the community, Board of Director Vinoz Chanamolu with the help of other Board members taking the leadership role by contacting several Fortune 500 companies and other IT / Manufacturing Companies. Several Board of Directors are working in getting Federal and State governments participation including Department of Labor.

Technical and Start-up business conference will be hosted with the support of T-hub, which is a Technology Hub organization based in Hyderabad for innovation and business incubator programs based on the triple helix model of Innovation, Participation of University, Industry and Government.

Purdue University President is also expecting to attend this event. AAEIO is planning to have this event start in the morning with various seminars and Trade shows and the evening meeting will conclude with black-tie event.

Exploring Mysterious Worlds In ‘The Hunt For Planet B’

If the universe is a seemingly endless desert, planet Earth is just a grain of sand. The mere thought can send you down an existential rabbit hole. But I like to look at the universe and consider all of the possibilities just awaiting discovery. Astronomers have yet to find a solar system quite like ours. And of the thousands of known exoplanets, none quite match up with the planets in our cosmic backyard. But scientists have only just begun to scratch the surface of these planets outside the solar system. The next step is looking inside of them.

After years of delays, the Webb telescope is scheduled for launch December 18 from French Guiana. It will study exoplanets in new ways and look deeper into the universe than ever before.
The telescope’s name is not without controversy, and many still hope NASA will change it.
Webb will peer into the very atmospheres of exoplanets, some of which are potentially habitable. For those of you who submitted questions about the mission, we’ve tracked down answers from the experts.

Webb is ready to help us understand the origins of the universe and begin to answer key questions about our existence, such as where we came from and if we’re alone in the cosmos.
Other worlds

Oh, the places Webb will go! The telescope will look at varied objects, like stars and galaxies in the distant universe and planets in our own solar system, but many associate Webb with exoplanets.

Once it launches, the telescope will undergo months of setup to prepare for taking observations a million miles from Earth. Then, the magic begins.

The observatory is slated to look at the TRAPPIST-1 system, which includes seven Earth-size exoplanets orbiting a cool dwarf star about 40 light-years away.
But astronomers are also eager to investigate still other mysterious exoplanets, like those between the sizes of Earth and Neptune. No known planet like this exists in our solar system — but they are the most common exoplanet in our galaxy. Now, scientists want to know how they formed.

Across the universe

Scientists agree that for humankind, there is likely no Planet B. We must do everything we can to take care of Earth because they say it’s the only world for us. But looking ahead, it’s a question astronomers puzzle over: If Planet B exists, what might it be like?

Some believe it will be a true Earth twin where life forms in much the same way as it does here.
Others hope we’ll learn life can form in a variety of ways. When looking at the diversity of exoplanets around different types of stars, that doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
And then there is an even more intriguing idea: What if life didn’t begin on Earth at all, but somewhere else?

Fantastic creatures

If you’ve been working from home in the pandemic, chances are your pet has grown used to extra quality time — which makes the separation anxiety that much tougher once you’re back in the office.

Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, a lecturer in animal-computer interaction at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, has set out to change that with the DogPhone. Unlike other pet tech, DogPhone allows dogs to call their owners.

She tested her invention on Zach, her black Labrador retriever, by hiding a sensor inside a ball. If the ball is moved, it triggers a computer video call. The results are promising.
Ocean secrets

It’s time to go to the twilight zone — the one in the ocean. This region, before daylight gives way to the perpetual dark of the deep sea, is as mysterious to us as space.

The more researchers learn, the more they realize the animals that inhabit it play a critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate. Here, beautiful and bizarre creatures migrate up and down daily.
This zone has a surprising advocate: filmmaker James Cameron.

“It acts as this giant carbon pump that’s pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and taking it down into the deep ocean,” Cameron told CNN. It’s just one of many reasons he wants to preserve this region, the largest biomass on our planet.

Community Groups Organize Discussion on The Book, “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans”

A discussion and celebration of the Indian Diaspora and their achievements was held virtually on Saturday, November 7th, 2021, and was attended by People of Indian Origin from around the globe. Jointly organized by Global Organization People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI), Association of Indians in America (AIA), and National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), the event offered a glimpse of the growth and the successes of the Indian American community in various domains.

Edited by the Delhi-based veteran journalist and foreign policy analyst, Tarun Basu, the evocative collection titled, “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans,” captures the rise of the Indians in the US across domains by exceptional achievers. Sixteen eminent journalists, business leaders and scholars have contributed essays to the timely and priceless volume, which charts the community’s growing and influential political engagement.

The book was released by New Delhi-based publisher Wisdom Tree and is available in the U.S. via Amazon. Describing the book as an “eclectic amalgam of perspectives on the emerging Indian-American story,” Tarun Basu said, “This evocative collection—of the kind perhaps not attempted before—captures the rise of Indian-Americans across domains, by exceptional achievers themselves, like Shashi Tharoor, the ones who have been and continue to be a part of the “rise,” like MR Rangaswami and Deepak Raj, top Indian diplomats like TP Sreenivasan and Arun K Singh, scholars like Pradeep K Khosla and Maina Chawla Singh, and others who were part of, associated with, or keenly followed their stories.”

In his remarks, Shobit Arya, publisher of the book, shared with the audience about the objectives of publishing such an important book that portrays the life story and achievements of the influential Indian American community.

Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International, who is the main organizer moderated of the session, who has been instrumental in establishing and leading several Indian American organizations and has seen the rise of the community in the past half a decade, shared with the audience the major highlights, depicting the progress and achievements of the community.

 “My own involvement in the community for the last 47 years as the Founder President of FIA New York, National Federation of Indian American Associations and GOPIO, I want to give some milestones of our community since the late 1970s,” Dr. Abraham said and enumerated the major milestones of the Indian Americans, starting with the formation of the first national organization post-India independence in 1967, Associations of Indian America (AIA), and succeeding in its efforts to have the Asian Indians categorized in the 1980 Census, First Convention of Asian Indians in America in 1980 and formation of the NFIA, first India Day Parade in New York City in 1981, first White House Briefing in 1983, keeping the family reunification in the Simson-Mazzoli Immigration Bill in 1985, Meeting of the community with President Ronald Reagan in 1986 at the White House, first time sub-cabinet level appointment of Dr. Joy cherian as EEOC Commissioner, Election of Bobby Jindal as Congressman and then as Louisiana Governor, Indo-US Nuclear Treaty; Rise of Indian Americans in the MNCs, Silicon Valley, Hospitality and HealthCare; first cabinet level appointment of Nikki Haley, and now culminating in dozens of Indian Americans holding important positions in the US administration and several dozens elected to local, state and national offices across the nation including VP Kamala Harris.

History of Indian community organizations and the role played by these organizations in community development, mobilization and promoting the diverse interests such as education, political involvement, entrepreneurship, business and service industry are covered in this new book,” Dr. Abraham said.

While acknowledging the success story of Indian American physicians, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said, “The success story of Indian American Doctors has been arduous. As Ajay Ghosh, who has been working for AAPI for nearly a decade has aptly summarized this long and difficult journey: “While Indian American physicians play a critical role, serving millions of patients in the United States, leading the policies and programs that impact the lives of millions today, it has been a long and arduous journey of struggles and hard work to be on the top of the pyramid.”

Dr. Gotimukula pointed out, “Indian American Doctors, who have been recognized for their compassion, skills, expertise and skills in caring for their patients, leading research that brings solutions to health issues and at the table making policies that benefit the world, are at the  at the forefront around the world as shining examples of meeting the needs of the hour.” She congratulated Tarun Basu, Shobit Arya and the 16 veteran journalists who have contributed to the book.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI spoke about how the Covid pandemic has impacted all and how the physician community who has borne the brunt of this epidemic is coping with the stress and the negative effects, while providing critical care to people diagnosed with Covid virus. Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Treasurer of AAPI and Dr. Sampat Shivangi, President of Indo-American Political Forum and NFIA past presidents Subash Razdan and Sudip Goraksharkar were others who had joined in the discussions.

Former Ambassador TK Srinivasan, who had served as the Deputy Indian Ambassador to the US and as Governor of India t the International Atomic Agency in Vienna, shared with the audience, his own experiences with the Indian Diaspora and how they have contributed to the larger goals of cementing stronger relationship between India and the United States.

In his remarks, NFIA President Ajoy Dube said, “National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), the largest non-profit umbrella organization of Indian association, established in 1980, aims to unify the diverse Indian American community by coordinating and promoting the activities of its member associations. NFIA has been in the forefront of activities in US-India relations for over four decades.”

Describing the many contributions and objectives of ASEI, Piyush Malik, the current president said, “Since its inception in 1983, ASEI has strived to strengthen the Indo-American relationship, institute a channel of communication between technical organizations within the United States and abroad, lend a helping hand to charitable organizations, provide assistance to engineering students at the Local and National levels, and organize networking events.”

Dr. Urmilesh Arya, President of Association of Indians in America (AIA) spoke about the objectives and activities by AIA for the past several decades. “AIA is a grass root national organization of Indian immigrants in the United States, fostered on the democratic principles of “one member one vote”, with chapters and membership spread across the USA.”

 Journalist Arun Kumar who wrote a Chapter in the Book on “All the President’s People: Trust in the Corridors of Power” spoke about the increasing number of Indian Americans how have come to occupy critical roles in the US administration, starting with President Ronald Regan and currently having as many as 50 Desis, who occupy important positions in the Biden administration.

Mayank Chaya, another author who wrote on: “At the Center of Excellence: Seminal Contributions in the World of Science” presented how Indian Americans have come to lead research and scientific innovations across the United States.

The importance and high esteem with which physicians of Indian heritage are held by their patients is self-evident, as they occupy critical positions in the healthcare, research and administrative policy positions across America, including the nomination of the US Surgeon-General, Dr. Vivek Murthy.

In his presentation, Ajay Ghosh who has portrayed the rise of the Indian American physicians as a strong and influential force in the United States, chronicling their long journey to the United States and their success story, in a Chapter titled, “Physicians of Indian Heritage: America’s Healers” spoke about the four distinct areas, he has covered in the book: Indian American Physicians Being recognized as Covid Warriors who work as frontline healthcare workers treating millions of patients: Initial struggles of Indian American Physicians; Their Achievements; and, Contributions to Healthcare in India and the United States.

After the presentation by the authors, a question/answer session followed and was moderated by the co-host and Chair of the GOPIO Academic Council Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta who is currently the Vice Chancellor, Sanchi University for Buddhist and Indic Studies. A few quest5iiobn related to Indian community groups’ relations with India with government of India. The organizers said that the community groups work closely with Indian missions for India’s and community interest, however, groups have also been critical, when things were not moving in India.

Authors who have contributed to the Book include: former Indian ambassadors TP Sreenivasan and Arun K. Singh; Deepak Raj, chairman of Pratham USA; businessman Raj Gupta; hotelier Bijal Patel; Pradeep Khosla, Chancellor of UC San Diego; scholar-professor Maina Chawla Singh; Sujata Warrier, Chief Strategy Officer for the Battered Women’s Justice Project; Shamita Das Dasgupta, co-founder of Manavi; and journalists Arun Kumar, Mayank Chhaya, Suman Guha Mozumder, Ajay Ghosh, Vikrum Mathur, and Laxmi Parthasarathy.

The book is now available at: https://bit.ly/HarrisIA – Amazon India book link, and at https://bit.ly/HarrisIndAm – Amazon USA link. The discussion is available at the Facebook page at https://fb.watch/96qk1eJ-xA/

AAPI, GOPIO, AIA, NFIA & ASEI Jointly Host Discussion On The Book, “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans”

A discussion and celebration of the Indian Diaspora and their achievements was held virtually  on Saturday, November 7th, 2021 and was attended by People of Indian Origin from around the globe. Jointly organized by Global Organization People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI), Association of Indians in America (AIA), and National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), the event offered a glimpse of the growth and the successes of the Indian American community in various domains.

Edited by the Delhi-based veteran journalist and foreign policy analyst, Tarun Basu, the evocative collection titled, “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans,” captures the rise of the Indians in the US across domains by exceptional achievers. Sixteen eminent journalists, business leaders and scholars have contributed essays to the timely and priceless volume, which charts the community’s growing and influential political engagement.

The book was released by New Delhi-based publisher Wisdom Tree and is available in the U.S. via Amazon. Describing the book as an “eclectic amalgam of perspectives on the emerging Indian-American story,” Tarun Basu said, “This evocative collection—of the kind perhaps not attempted before—captures the rise of Indian-Americans across domains, by exceptional achievers themselves, like Shashi Tharoor, the ones who have been and continue to be a part of the “rise,” like MR Rangaswami and Deepak Raj, top Indian diplomats like TP Sreenivasan and Arun K Singh, scholars like Pradeep K Khosla and Maina Chawla Singh, and others who were part of, associated with, or keenly followed their stories.”

In his remarks, Shobit Arya, publisher of the book, shared with the audience about the objectives of publishing such an important book that portrays the lifestory and achievements of the influential Indian American community.

Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International, who is the main organizer and moderated of the session, who has been instrumental in establishing and leading several Indian  American organizations and has seen the rise of the community in the past half a decade, shared with the audience the major highlights, depicting the progress and achievements of the community.

My own involvement in the community for the last 47 years as the Founder President of FIA New York, National Federation of Indian American Associations and GOPIO, I want to give some Milestones of our community since the late 1970s,” Dr. Abraham said and enumerated the major milestones of the Indian Americans, starting with the formation of the first national organization in 1967, Associations of Indian America (AIA), and succeeding in its efforts to have the Asian Indians categorized in the 1980 Census, and now culminating in dozens of Indian Americans holding important positions in the US administration and several dozens elected to local, state and national offices across the nation.

History of Indian community organizations and the role played by these organizations in community development, mobilization and promoting the diverse interests such as education, political involvement, entrepreneurship, business and service industry are covered in this new book,” Dr. Abraham said.

While acknowledging the success story of Indian American physicians, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said, “The success story of Indian American Doctors has been arduous. As Ajay Ghosh, who has been working for AAPI for nearly a decade has aptly summarized this long and difficult journey: “While Indian American physicians play a critical role, serving millions of patients in the United States, leading the policies and programs that impact the lives of millions today, it has been a long and arduous journey of struggles and hard work to be on the top of the pyramid.”

Dr. Gotimukula pointed out, “Indian American Doctors, who have been recognized for their compassion, skills, expertise and skills in caring for their patients, leading research that brings solutions to health issues and at the table making policies that benefit the world, are at the  at the forefront around the world as shining examples of meeting the needs of the hour.” She congratulated Tarun Basu, Shobit Arya and the 16 veteran journalists who have contributed to the book.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI spoke about how the Covid pandemic has impacted all and how the physician community who has borne the brunt of this epidemic is coping with the stress and the negative effects, while providing critical care to people diagnosed with Covid virus. Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Treasurer of AAPI and Dr. Sampat Shivangi, President of Indo-American Political Forum were others how had joined in the discussions.

Ambassador TK Srinivasan, who had served as the Indian Ambassador to the US and as the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, shared with the audience, his own experiences with the Indian Diaspora and how they have contributed to the larger goals of cementing stronger relationship between India and the United States.

In her remarks, Dr. Lavanya Reddy, president of NFIA said, “National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), the largest non-profit umbrella organization of Indian association, established in 1980, aims to unify the diverse Indian American community by coordinating and promoting the activities of its member associations. NFIA has been in the forefront of activities in US-India relations for over two decades.”

Describing the many contributions and objectives of ASEI, Piyush Malik, the current president said, “Since its inception in 1983, ASEI has strived to strengthen the Indo-American relationship, institute a channel of communication between technical organizations within the United States and abroad, lend a helping hand to charitable organizations, provide assistance to engineering students at the Local and National levels, and organize networking events.”

Dr. Urmilesh Arya, President of Association of Indians in America (AIA) spoke about the objectives and activities by AIA for the past several decades. “AIA is a grass root national organization of Asian immigrants in the United States, fostered on the democratic principles of “one member one vote”, with chapters and membership spread across the United States of America. AIA represents the hopes and aspirations of those immigrants who are united by their common bond of Indian Heritage and American Commitment.”

Journalist Arun Kumar who wrote a Chapter in the Book on “All the President’s People: Trust in the Corridors of Power” spoke about the increasing number of Indian Americans how have come to occupy critical roles in the US administration, starting with President Ronald Regan and currently having as many as 50 Desis, who occupy important positions in the Biden administration.

Mayank Chaya, another author who wrote on: “At the Center of Excellence: Seminal Contributions in the World of Science” presented how Indian Americans have come to lead research and scientific innovations across the United States.

The importance and high esteem with which physicians of Indian heritage are held by their patients is self-evident, as they occupy critical positions in the healthcare, research and administrative policy positions across America, including the nomination of the  US Surgeon-General, Dr. Vivek Murthy.

In his presentation, Ajay Ghosh who has portrayed the rise of the Indian American physicians as a strong and influential force in the United States, chronicling their long journey to the United States and their success story, in a Chapter titled, “Physicians of Indian Heritage: America’s Healers” spoke about the four distinct areas, he has tried cover in the book: “Indian American Physicians Being recognized as Covid Warriors who work as frontline healthcare workers treating millions of patients.

With anecdotes, Ajay presented the “Initial struggles of Indian American Physicians” in securing equality with the local American Doctors in Board certification and licensing and the lobbying and legal efforts imitated by the pioneers.  He referred to Dr. AnandibaiJoshi, the first documented physician of Indian origin who had landed on the shores of the United States in 1883 and detailing the decimation suffered by Dr. Yellapragada Subbarow in the early 20th century, who has been credited with some of the biggest contributions in more than one basic field of science—biochemistry, pharmacology, microbiology, oncology, and nutritional science, portrays the discrimination and injustices inflicted by the mainstream Medical professionals in the US.

Portraying the achievements of the Indian American physicians, Ajay spoke of the many, who lead the cutting-edge research and pioneer modern medical technology to save the lives of critically ill patients around the world, showing to the world, how through hard work, dedication and vision, they have earned a name for themselves as “healers of the world.”

Through the lens of AAPI and its remarkable growth in the past 40 years, Ajay tried to portray how the Indian-American physicians have gone beyond their call of duty to meet the diverse needs of the larger American community, by dedicating their time, resources and skills during national disasters and family crises.

Describing the many contributions of Indian American physicians to India and the United States, Ajay said, “Indian Americans currently are less than 2% but the make up nearly 10% of total physicians in the US and they treat and provide healthcare to every 7th patient in the United States.” He also shared about the numerous initiatives in India, through the annual Global Health Care Summit, Tele-health, sending medical equipment to India, education to their counter parts in India and close collaborations with the state and federal government, Indian Medical Association and several Indian Non Profits, providing healthcare to rural areas across India. Their contributions to the US, to India and to the entire world is priceless, he said, as “they have made their mark in institutions from Harvard Medical School to Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center to the Mayo Medical Center.”

Authors who have contributed to the Book include: former Indian ambassadors TP Sreenivasan and Arun K. Singh; Deepak Raj, chairman of Pratham USA; businessman Raj Gupta; hotelier Bijal Patel; Pradeep Khosla, Chancellor of UC San Diego; scholar-professor Maina Chawla Singh; Sujata Warrier, Chief Strategy Officer for the Battered Women’s Justice Project; Shamita Das Dasgupta, co-founder of Manavi; and journalists Arun Kumar, Mayank Chhaya, Suman Guha Mozumder, Ajay Ghosh, Vikrum Mathur, and Laxmi Parthasarathy.

The book is now available at: https://bit.ly/HarrisIA – Amazon India book link, and at https://bit.ly/HarrisIndAm – Amazon USA link.

Dad Bod FTW, Amirite? Merriam-Webster Dictionary Adds Hundreds of New Words

Dad bod, amirite, TBH and FTW are now dictionary-appropriate. Merriam-Webster has added 455 new words to its venerable dictionary, including a number of abbreviations and slang terms that have become ubiquitous on social media.

“Just as the language never stops evolving, the dictionary never stops expanding,” the nearly 200-year-old Springfield, Massachusetts-based company said on its website. “New terms and new uses for existing terms are the constant in a living language.”

The dictionary company said the quick and informal nature of messaging, texting, and tweeting, which has only increased during the pandemic, has “contributed to a vocabulary newly rich in efficient and abbreviated expression. Among them: “TBH”, an abbreviation for “to be honest” and “FTW,” an abbreviation for “for the win.”

Merriam-Webster explains that FTW is used “especially to express approval or support. In social media, FTW is often used to acknowledge a clever or funny response to a question or meme.” And it says “amirite” is a quick way to write “am I right,” as in, “English spelling is consistently inconsistent, amirite?” The coronavirus pandemic also looms large in the collection of new entrants as “super-spreader,” “long COVID” and “vaccine passport” made the list.

Partisan politics contributed more slang to the lexicon, such as “whataboutism,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “the act or practice of responding to an accusation of wrongdoing by claiming that an offense committed by another is similar or worse.” For Britons, the dictionary notes that “whataboutery” is more commonly used.

The dreaded “vote-a-ramas” that have become a fixture in the U.S. Congress is explained this way: “an unusually large number of debates and votes that happen in one day on a single piece of legislation to which an unlimited number of amendments can be introduced, debated, and voted on.”

And still other new terms come from the culinary world, such as “fluffernutter,” the homey sandwich of peanut butter, marshmallow crème and white bread. Horchata, the cold sweetened beverage made from ground rice or almonds and usually flavored with cinnamon or vanilla, also made the cut, as did chicharron, the popular fried pork belly or pig skin snack.

As for “dad bod”? The dictionary defines that as a “physique regarded as typical of an average father; especially: one that is slightly overweight and not extremely muscular.”

Historic New Dawn At “Ekal Abhiyan”

There is historic new dawn at “Ekal Abhiyan” (‘Ekal Mission’), an umbrella organization for all the ancillary ‘Ekal branchlets’, as ‘Diwali’ festivities approach. After the departure of former CEO of “Ekal Abhiyan”, Bajrang Bagra, to tackle another assignment of national importance, Ramesh Shah, the former President and Chairman of ‘Ekal-USA’ has been unanimously appointed as the new CEO of “Ekal Abhiyan”.

What makes this a historic moment is the fact that, he is the first Indian American who rose from a foot-soldier level to this distinctive honor, whose sole focus and establishment is not United States (U.S.) but rural India. Rameshbhai, as he is popularly known, has been a founder member of ‘Ekal-USA’ and credited with building a modest ‘one-teacher-school’ project, 32 years back into a national brand in U.S. for ‘selfless social work’, with over 60 widespread chapters in U.S., Canada and beyond. While endorsing his successor, Bagraji – a highly admired visionary possessing leadership acumen – expressed nothing but confidence and admiration for the new CEO. In a statement he said,” Rameshbhai will improve upon working of Ekal in fields of operational efficiency and organizational growth. He was my guide and supporter for all matters related to foreign chapters. Moreover, his we unmatched passion and long experience in serving the community in multiple sectors, including VHP & Ekal, has always been a great asset”. Dr Mahesh Mehta, former Chairman of ‘VHP of America’ commenting on Ekal’s trailblazing success across the continent, communicated that,” I am excited and proud that Rameshbhai fulfilled the task he was entrusted with in such a monumental way.”

Coming from a very humble rural background, Rameshbhai with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a brief stint as an engineer in an Indian industrial corporation, arrived in U.S. in 1970, with a dream to excel like all immigrants. He subsequently obtained degrees in MBA-Finance and MA in Economics. When the national emergency was declared in India 1975, he actively participated in ‘Indians for Democracy’ and ‘Friends of India Society International’ that demanded the restoration of the Indian constitution. He has been a lifelong ‘Swayamsevak’ (volunteer) of H.S.S. While at ‘V.H.P. of America’, he took the responsibility of floating ‘Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation’ in 1988 and worked tirelessly and diligently to make it a great success.

In the initial days of ‘Ekal’ he used to carry box-load of self-prepared information-publicity material to various community events in the hope of getting an opportunity to talk about rural illiteracy. With amicable nature and deep convictions assisting his hard-work, he soon found access wherever he went. Over the years, Rameshbhai, with his dedication and tenacity has brought in numerous donors, volunteers and thinkers to Ekal fold and motivated diverse groups to join hands with Ekal. Besides Ekal, he is responsible for establishing ‘Gujarati Samaj of Houston’ and spearheading countless projects related to ‘eyecare’ in India. During this entire community-centric journey, he was assisted by his soulmate, wife-Kokilaben. They both have been felicitated number of times by the Indian diaspora in U.S.

The high points of Rameshbhai’s community involvement came in 2014 and 2019 when he successfully planned and coordinated public reception for the newly elected Indian PM Modi at huge arena-filled gatherings in New York City and Houston. This was unprecedented in U.S. for any foreign dignitary. For this herculean task, to everyone’s amazement, he ensured that every thread of Indian community was part of it. In January 2017, Rameshbhai was bestowed with the ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA)’ by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee – the highest honor conferred on overseas Indians by the Government of India in recognition of achievements, both in India and abroad. Therefore, it is no wonder that Bagraji called him ‘the most suited candidate to be the CEO of Ekal Abhiyan’. Basically, as CEO, he is going to be the bridge between Ekal-India and Ekal-Global; a point-man for all Ekal activities; an accountability administrator; a success assessor of various rural projects; and the strategic planner for Ekal’s future.

Asked about his immediate goal, Rameshbhai, taking inspiration from ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyayji, said,”it is twofold – First, I would like to bring in a lot more dedicated, committed young people to Ekal because they are the future of this organization. Secondly, I believe that we have not yet explored the full potentials of all our chapter members. So, collectively, we need to find ways and means to bring their dormant skills to the surface and utilize them for everyone’s benefit”. The first mega event happening under his watch is going to be “Future of India’ gala of November 13 which will be virtual and co-chaired by Kamlesh Shah and Mohan Wanchoo. The distinguished speakers who are lending their eagerly awaited presence to this magnificent event are Renu Khator, Chancellor of University of Houston; Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson & Founder of Biocon. Rameshbhai is confident that the funds raised would set a new record for the special-projects.

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.

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

Quantum Phase Transition Detected On A Global Scale Deep Inside The Earth

Newswise — New York, NY—October  12, 2021—The interior of the Earth is a mystery, especially at greater depths (> 660 km). Researchers only have seismic tomographic images of this region and, to interpret them, they need to calculate seismic (acoustic) velocities in minerals at high pressures and temperatures. With those calculations, they can create 3D velocity maps and figure out the mineralogy and temperature of the observed regions. When a phase transition occurs in a mineral, such as a crystal structure change under pressure, scientists observe a velocity change, usually a sharp seismic velocity discontinuity.

In 2003, scientists observed in a lab a novel type of phase change in minerals–a spin change in iron in ferropericlase, the second most abundant component of the Earth’s lower mantle. A spin change, or spin crossover, can happen in minerals like ferropericlase under an external stimulus, such as pressure or temperature. Over the next few years, experimental and theoretical groups confirmed this phase change in both ferropericlase and bridgmanite, the most abundant phase of the lower mantle. But no one was quite sure why or where this was happening.

In 2006, Columbia Engineering Professor Renata Wentzcovitch published her first paper on ferropericlase, providing a theory for the spin crossover in this mineral. Her theory suggested it happened across a thousand kilometers in the lower mantle. Since then, Wentzcovitch, who is a professor in the applied physics and applied mathematics department, earth and environmental sciences, and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, has published 13 papers with her group on this topic, investigating velocities in every possible situation of the spin crossover in ferropericlase and bridgmanite, and predicting properties of these minerals throughout this crossover. In 2014, Wenzcovitch, whose research focuses on computational quantum mechanical studies of materials at extreme conditions, in particular planetary materials predicted how this spin change phenomenon could be detected in seismic tomographic images, but seismologists still could not see it.

Working with a multidisciplinary team from Columbia Engineering, the University of Oslo, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Intel Co., Wenzcovitch’s latest paper details how they have now identified the ferropericlase spin crossover signal, a quantum phase transition deep within the Earth’s lower mantle. This was achieved by looking at specific regions in the Earth’s mantle where ferropericlase is expected to be abundant. The study was published October 8, 2021, in Nature Communications.

“This exciting finding, which confirms my earlier predictions, illustrates the importance of materials physicists and geophysicists working together to learn more about what’s going on deep within the Earth,” said Wentzcovitch.

Spin transition is commonly used in materials like those used for magnetic recording. If you stretch or compress just a few nanometer-thick layers of a magnetic material, you can change the layer’s magnetic properties and improve the medium recording properties. Wentzcovitch’s new study shows that the same phenomenon happens across thousands of kilometers in the Earth’s interior, taking this from the nano- to the macro-scale.

“Moreover, geodynamic simulations have shown that the spin crossover invigorates convection in the Earth’s mantle and tectonic plate motion. So we think that this quantum phenomenon also increases the frequency of tectonic events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions,” Wentzcovitch notes.

There are still many regions of the mantle researchers do not understand and spin state change is critical to understanding velocities, phase stabilities, etc. Wentzcovitch is continuing to interpret seismic tomographic maps using seismic velocities predicted by ab initio calculations based on density functional theory. She is also developing and applying more accurate materials simulation techniques to predicting seismic velocities and transport properties, particularly in regions rich in iron, molten, or at temperatures close to melting.

“What’s especially exciting is that our materials simulation methods are applicable to strongly correlated materials–multiferroic, ferroelectrics, and materials at high temperatures in general,” Wentzcovitch says. “We’ll be able to improve our analyses of 3D tomographic images of the Earth and learn more about how the crushing pressures of the Earth’s interior are indirectly affecting our lives above, on the Earth’s surface.”

About the Study

The study is titled “Seismological expression of the iron spin crossover in ferropericlase in the Earth’s lower mantle.” Authors are: ​​Grace E. Shephard 1, Christine Houser 2, John W. Hernlund 2, Juan J. Valencia-Cardona 3, Reidar G. Trønnes 1,4 & Renata M. Wentzcovitch 5,6,7

 

Indian American-Founded Schoolhouse.World Offers For Free Tutoring

The Indiana Department of Education has announced a new partnership with Schoolhouse.world to support students in grades eight through 12 with free tutoring for SAT preparation, math courses and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

“All students learn differently, and many need some level of extra support at different points in time,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “This partnership provides access to personalized tutoring 24/7 at the click of a mouse. As we work to recover from significant learning impacts due to COVID-19, particularly in mathematics, this partnership with Schoolhouse.world will provide Hoosier students — no matter where they are or the needs they face — access to additional learning support.”

Schoolhouse.world was launched in early 2020 by Sal Khan, also founder of Khan Academy, in response to COVID-19 learning disruptions. The nonprofit connects students with live, small-group tutoring through Zoom at no cost. Tutoring currently focuses on SAT reading, writing and math, with a math focus on pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus and statistics. Support is also available for AP courses including AP Calculus, AP Statistics, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Physics and AP Computer Science.

“We are excited to partner with the Indiana Department of Education to provide free tutoring to students across Indiana,” said Drew Bent, chief operating officer of Schoolhouse.world. “No matter where you are in the state, or what resources you may have, we want to help you receive the support that you need.”

“All students learn differently, and many need some level of extra support at different points in time,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education in a press release. “This partnership provides access to personalized tutoring 24/7 at the click of a mouse. As we work to recover from significant learning impacts due to COVID-19, particularly in mathematics, this partnership with Schoolhouse.world will provide Hoosier students – no matter where they are or the needs they face – access to additional learning support.”

In addition to resources through Schoolhouse.world, Khan Academy and College Board offer free SAT practice resources. This free resource comes as all Indiana high school juniors prepare to take the SAT this spring. Students can visit Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy – a personalized online program that helps students practice for the SAT with thousands of sample questions, instant feedback, video lessons and full-length practice tests. Nationwide, more than 10 million students have signed up for free SAT practice through Khan Academy.

To learn more about these learning resources, and to sign up for a tutoring session, visit www.schoolhouse.world or www.khanacademy.org.

4 Persons of Indian Origin Win 2022 New Horizons ‘Oscars of Science’ Prize in Physics

Indian Americans Vedika Khemani, assistant professor of physics at Stanford University, and Mansi Kasliwal, California Institute of Technology Astronomy Professor, have each been named recipients of the New Horizons in Physics prize from the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. The prize is nicknamed the “Oscars of Science.” The Breakthrough Prize Foundation’s sponsors include Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google; Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan; Russian-Israeli entrepreneurs and venture capitalists Yuri and Julia Milner; and Anne Wojcicki, CEO of the personal genomics company 23andMe.

Two Indian researchers from the University of Cambridge in England also won this year’s prize. Sir Shankar Balasubramanian, in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, was honored with the Life Sciences prize for developing next generation sequencing technologies, which allowed for immediate identification and characterization of the Covid-19 virus, rapid development of vaccines, and real-time monitoring of new genetic variants.

“Before their inventions, re-sequencing a full human genome could take many months and cost millions of dollars; today, it can be done within a day at the cost of around $600. This resulted in a revolution in biology, enabling the revelation of unsuspected genetic diversity with major implications from cell and microbiome biology to ecology, forensics and personalized medicine,” noted the Breakthrough Prize Foundation in a press statement. Balasubramaniam was knighted in 2017.

Suchitra Sebastian, a condensed matter physicist at Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, received a New Horizons Prize in Physics for her work with “high precision electronic and magnetic measurements that have profoundly changed our understanding of high temperature superconductors and unconventional insulators,” according to a press release. According to a press release issued by Stanford, time crystals, like all crystals, are structurally arranged in a repeating pattern. But, while standard crystals – like diamonds or salt – have an arrangement that repeats in space, time crystals repeat across time forever. Importantly, they do so without any input of energy, like a clock that runs forever without batteries.

Khemani’s work offered a theoretical formulation for the first-time crystals, as well as a blueprint for their experimental creation. But she emphasized that time crystals are only one of the exciting potential outcomes of out-of-equilibrium quantum physics, which is still a nascent field, noted Stanford. The researcher described her work as creating a “checklist” of what actually makes a time crystal a time crystal, and the measurements needed to experimentally establish its existence, both under ideal and realistic conditions.

Khemani sees great promise in these types of quantum experiments for physics. “While many of these efforts are broadly motivated by the quest to build quantum computers – which may only be achievable in the distant future, if at all – these devices are also, and immediately, useful when viewed as experimental platforms for probing new non-equilibrium regimes in many-body physics,” she said, in a press release issued by Stanford. “None of the world is in equilibrium; just look out your window, right? We’re starting to see into these vastly larger spaces of how quantum systems evolve through experiments,” said Khemani, who is on the faculty in the School of Humanities and Sciences and a member of Q-Farm, Stanford’s broad interdisciplinary initiative in quantum science and engineering. “I’m very excited to see what kinds of new physics these new regimes will bring. Time crystals are one example of something new we could get, but I think it’s just the beginning,” she said.

Book Illustrates The Turbulent Connection Between Religion And Terrorism

A recently divorced doctor looking for seclusion relocates to an isolated house on a riverbank. The following summer, dead bodies start turning up in the river, on the roads, in trains and on city crossings. Everybody calls it the ‘Punjab Problem’, as if it was a stubborn crossword puzzle. The doctor is kidnapped and nearly killed, once by terrorists for helping the police and once by the police for helping the terrorists.

A young Dalit girl, with the dream of becoming a dancer in her eyes, and her soul mate Bheem leave their caste-ridden existence behind and relocate to Bombay. They have learnt the hard way that the preaching of oneness by their religion does not work in the real world. Drawing its title, “Two and a half Rivers” (Niyogi Books), from the historicity of the Partition which has left in its wake only half the rivers to India from the land of the five rivers, Anirudh Kala’s novel offers a poignant commentary on the turbulent connection between religion and terrorism.

Reflecting on the telling of this story, Kala said: “Since I was writing about Punjab militancy, the worst large-scale violence perpetrated on the people of Punjab since the Partition of India, I felt a sense of responsibility. I, along with friends, neighbours and many others, including my patients, lived through that dark decade and a half. The other main narrative of the novel is that of caste – one more unpleasant fact about Punjab that people outside know little of. What I attempted to write was truth in essence, but fiction in details.”

Anirudh Kala is a Ludhiana-based psychiatrist whose experience shows in how he sketches out his characters and their personality traits. This is his second book as a fiction writer, the first being “The Unsafe Asylum: Stories of Partition and Madness” (2018).

His focus is always to educate people about mental health and mental illness, focussing on eradicating stigma, labels, and prejudice. Besides his professional passions, Kala also likes reading Urdu poetry, hiking, and listening to Indian semi-classical music.

News Consumption Across Social Media in 2021

As social media and technology companies face criticism for not doing enough to stem the flow of misleading information on their platforms, a sizable portion of Americans continue to turn to these sites for news. A little under half (48%) of U.S. adults say they get news from social media “often” or “sometimes,” a 5 percentage point decline compared with 2020, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted July 26-Aug. 8, 2021.1

When it comes to where Americans regularly get news on social media, Facebook outpaces all other social media sites.

In a separate question asking users of 10 social media sites whether they regularly get news there, about a third of U.S. adults (31%) say they get news regularly on Facebook, while about one-in-five Americans (22%) say they regularly get news on YouTube. Twitter and Instagram are regular news sources for 13% and 11% of Americans, respectively.

Other social media sites are less likely to be regular news sources. Fewer than one-in-ten Americans say they regularly get news from Reddit (7%), TikTok (6%), LinkedIn (4%), Snapchat (4%), WhatsApp (3%) and Twitch (1%).

The percentage of Americans who get news regularly from these sites has remained largely unchanged since 2020, though the share who regularly get news on Facebook has declined slightly (36% in 2020 vs. 31% in 2021).

When looking at the proportion of each social media site’s users who regularly get news there, some sites stand out as being more “newsy” even if their total audience is relatively small. Twitter, for example, is used by 23% of U.S. adults, but more than half of those users (55%) get news on the site regularly. On the other hand, YouTube, though widely used, sees a smaller portion of its users turning to the site for news regularly (30%).

Overall, the percentage of users of each site who regularly get news there has remained relatively stable since 2020, a year that included both a presidential election and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, both Facebook and TikTok buck this trend. The share of Facebook users who say they regularly get news on the site has declined 7 points since 2020, from 54% to 47% in 2021. TikTok, on the other hand, has seen a slight uptick in the portion of users who say they regularly get news on the site, rising from 22% to 29% in this period.

In some cases, there are drastic demographic differences between the people who turn to each social media site for news. For example, White adults make up a majority of the regular news consumers of Facebook and Reddit (60% and 54%, respectively), yet just under four-in-ten Instagram news consumers (36%) are White. Both Black and Hispanic adults each make up a sizable portion of Instagram’s regular news consumers (20% and 33%, respectively). People who regularly get news on Facebook are more likely to be women than men (64% vs. 35%), while two-thirds of Reddit’s regular news consumers are men. A majority of regular news consumers on LinkedIn (57%) have a four-year college degree or higher. Younger adults, those ages 18 to 29, are far more likely to regularly get news on both Snapchat and TikTok than other age groups.

The majority of regular news consumers of many sites are Democrats or lean Democratic. This may be related to the relatively young age profile of the news consumer base of these social media sites. No social media site included here has regular news consumers who are more likely to be Republican or lean Republican.

Indian Students Are A Strong Bridge Between India And USA

In a new initiative to connect the nearly 200,00 Indian students with the Indian American community and the Indian missions, GOPIO-Manhattan and the Indian Consulate in New York hosts Meet & Greet Event Welcome Event in New York.

“Indian Students continue to be a strong bridge between India and USA,” Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu told students from India who had come together at Meet and Greet welcome event organized by the GOPIO-Manhattan (NYC) in cooperation with Consulate General of India in New York for the Students from India studying in the Northeast region in the United States. Organized with the objective of connecting the students to the community and providing mentoring opportunities as well as to raise awareness of Consular services to students from the Indian Consulate, the event held at the Indian Consulate in New York on Friday, September 17th was attended by students from 21 universities, mostly from the Northeast participated in person or virtually.

The Indian Ambassador addressed the students via a video message. He told them: “Delighted to welcome the students virtually!  The education and knowledge partnership are an area that holds great potential in our bilateral relations. During my visits across US, I’ve always made it a point to visit universities and visit faculty and students there.” He further added “We have an active student hub and a dedicated student wing at the Embassy. You can count on them for any assistance.” The chief guest/host for the evening Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, commented, “Welcome to all the students from India with open heart as you pursue your future studies here in the North-East region and help in the growth of economy here in USA and back home in India.”

Ambassador Jaiswal further highlighted the goal to expand this program to include more students, from the pool of 200,000 students that come to the USA for further studies, to attend in person more interactive sessions and gain exposure to various services offered by the Consulate for the benefit of the students from registration at the Consular Portal, to cultural events to mental health support initiatives. The program started with a welcome by GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, who also serves as an advisor to GOPIO-Manhattan. Dr. Abraham encouraged the speakers to mentor, motivate and guide the students. Dr. Abraham said, “In the 1960s and ‘70s when a foreign student joined a university, he/she was given host family, now with connected world and social media, the host family concept went away and the 4.5 million Indian Americans could serve as the host family to the new students.”

GOPIO-Manhattan Executive Vice President Professor Rajasekhar Vangapaty moderated the first panel on mentoring students in the current market environment and added his learnings to the students using his unique perspective as a Registrar of Fashion Institute of Technology, the MIT of Fashion. There were four panelists in this session who are asked to comment on several questions. Abha Kumar, Business transformation leader/Board member Notify.io Advisory Board Shopelier, Former CIO- Corporate & International Vanguard, shared her experiences with the students and said, “The way we worked in the past will not be relevant post-COVID…we now will look for employees who have the ability to have a wide perspective and connect the dots.”

Kumar further added that students should master the technology component; the companies also look for certain emotional intelligence when they hire. Lastly, in corporate America, your work doesn’t speak for you, you need to speak for yourself. Prasan Kumar, Senior VP & Strategy Director at Publicis Group & Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian New York College added “When you’re in a classroom, experiment as much as you can.” He elaborated, “bringing more than a text book education is significantly important, get your perspective as per your interest, helps you being a problem solver and think long-term for career choice reflecting from his personal experience of moving 4 careers in 2 decades from IT to advertising now.”

Neil Datta, Head of Due Diligence at Forbes Family Trust & Co-Founder Meritas provided insights in the current market context and said, “You’re either a fintech company or you don’t know it yet.” He further added, “The ability to be a problem solver is a crucial skill that helps you in whatever you choose to work in.” Joe Simon, CIO at Entain which is involved in Sports Betting, echoed the thoughts of the speakers and added, “Cultural sensitivity is crucial.” He further added that in order to succeed, one needs to be fairly convinced about what one is trying to do and that the two most underrated skills in corporate America are patience and persistence.”

The second panel on F1 to H1B via OPT was moderated by Aseem Trivedi, Manager of Data Analytics at Ernst and Young. He shared his unique path to Green Card as an experience for the students. He reminded the students “One should start thinking now what after H1B?” Akshat Singh, a recent economics graduate of Columbia University brought his experience with Students and shared the idea “Get started on OTP process asap and do not wait for 6-months or so.” Ankit Chaudhari, Associate Vice President at JP Morgan Chase commented about his personal journey from F1 to OPT to H1-B to Green Card and suggested students “ask your employer whether they will sponsor your visa or not, but you give your best services.”

Apeksha Tewari, Master of Laws from Penn State Law and Lawyer, shared her personal views to the students as part of the panel said, “Now that you are here, outside of your studies, you need to network with your professors, peers, everyone & communication is the key, ask for things.” Siddharth Jain, GOPIO Manhattan Board Member & Program Coordinator; conducted the questions & answers session and concluded with vote of thanks to Chief Guest/Host Ambassador Shri Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Dy. Consul Shri Varun Jeph, Consul for Political, Education and Culture Shri Vipul Dev, Consul for Community Affairs Shri A. K. Vijayakrishnan and the consulate staff. Other GOPIO-Manhattan officials present at the meeting included Vice President Vimal Goyle, and Co-Secretaries Dr. Lisa George and Bhavya Gupta.

“The students had an excellent time networking with students from different universities as well as with speakers and the Consulate and GOPIO officials and we plan to do a much bigger event next year hopefully after the Covid restrictions are over,” Dr. Thomas Abraham added.

Take Advantage of This ‘Fantastic Opportunity’ To Pay Off Student Loans

If you have federal student loan debt, you now have approximately six months to prepare for payments on that debt to restart. Last week, President Joe Biden’s administration announced it is stretching out the moratorium on federal student loan payments until Jan. 31, 2022. This means that payments will not resume until next year and interest rates will remain at 0%. The latest extension comes shortly after two-thirds of borrowers said it would be difficult for them to afford payments if they resumed the following month, according to a recent survey by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

“What a fantastic opportunity for borrowers to take more control of their finances,” says Laurel Taylor, CEO and founder of FutureFuel.io, a student debt repayment platform. “It will be near two years of payment suspension as we look to January 31. I would really encourage borrowers to maximize this opportunity — whatever that means to them.” The freeze on federal student loan payments was originally set to expire at the end of September. This latest extension will be the “final” one, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Education.

Pro Tip

Make sure your address and email are up-to-date with your loan servicer, so you don’t miss any important information about your student loans and the temporary extension. That means any student loan debt you had before the COVID-19 pandemic will be waiting for you when repayment begins at the end of the forbearance period, unless the policy changes again. Experts say you shouldn’t count on any of your debt disappearing in the meantime, because it’s unlikely that there will be broad student loan forgiveness —not even the $10,000 that Biden promised during the campaign, that is.

“I don’t see $10,000 in student loan forgiveness coming. I just don’t think he legally can without Congress,” says Robert Farrington, founder and CEO of The College Investor, a site providing advice on student loan debt. “But I do think he’s able to do a lot of good with the powers he has, such as reforming programs that already exist.”

What to Do in Light of Biden’s Extension of Student Loan Relief

Given this latest update, now may be a good time to rethink your student loan repayment strategy. Keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different, but here’s what you should do in light of the extension of the student loan payment freeze, according to experts we spoke to.

If You’ve Experienced Job Loss or Decrease in Income

Use this time to give yourself breathing room to address other financial priorities. If you’re unemployed or your income has decreased over the last year, continue to focus on covering your necessary expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, transportation, and the like. “This relief is targeted toward people who have experienced a job loss or a decrease in income. I advise them to focus on necessary living expenses and try not to have that guilt or worry about setting money aside for student loans because this time is for you,” says Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez, personal finance coach and founder of Zero-Based Budget, a financial education platform on Instagram.

Another thing you can do to lower your monthly payment when it’s due is apply for income-driven repayment. An income-driven repayment plan is a monthly payment based on your family size and a percentage of discretionary income. If you earn less than 150% of the federal poverty line, your payments could be as low as $0.  To sign up, go to this federal student aid page, and click on “log in” at the top to start an application. If you are already enrolled in an income-driven plan and your income has changed, ask your lender to recertify your income before payments restart. If you make all your payments on time, an IDR plan allows your loans to be forgiven at the end of the repayment period — even if they aren’t fully repaid.

If you’re unsure what the best repayment option is for you, reach out to your loan servicer for help or go to studentaid.gov.  “Be mindful that your payments may not actually cover the interest that’s accumulating on your loan, which means you could end up paying a significant amount in interest,” says Zuniga-Sanchez. “I want to put that caution out there because it’s very important to be informed when we are making these changes to our student loan repayment strategies.”

If You Still Have a Job or Income

You can use these extra months to help divert some money toward building an emergency fund or pay more pressing high-interest debt, such as credit cards or private student loans.  “Nobody should be paying extra payments toward their loans at this time. Even if you’re able to, you should save that money and eliminate other debts,” says Farrington.

If you haven’t already, prioritize building an emergency fund first. Try to set aside three to six months’ of expenses, but don’t feel overwhelmed if saving that much feels like an unattainable goal right now. Start small, and go from there. Next, focus on paying down high-interest debt — these strategies can help you do that. You can also use extra funds to invest in retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), IRA, or Roth IRA, or pay down any lower-interest debt you may have, such as medical debt or a car loan.  If you want to pay down your student loans during this 0% interest period, Farrington suggests putting that money in a savings account and then making a lump sum payment right before payments start up again. “That way, you keep that money as long as you can,” he says.

If You Are Behind on Student Loan Payments

Because all collection activities will resume once the extension ends, try to rehabilitate your loans as soon as possible. Default on federal loans happens when a payment is 270 days past due, sending your loans to collections and exposing you to damaged credit, garnished wages, and seized tax refunds. “Get out of default so that as payments and collection activity resume, you’re not left getting your wages or taxes garnished,” says Farrington.

To rehabilitate your student loans and get out of default, you’ll need to contact your loan servicer, fill out an application, and follow a specific process. If your application is approved and you make nine on-time payments, even during this forbearance period, your loans will typically transfer to a new loan servicer, and you’ll be out of default.

If loan rehabilitation isn’t possible for you at this time, there is additional deferment and forbearance outside of COVID-19 relief that can give you more time to get back on your feet. For example, there’s unemployment deferment and economic hardship deferment, which both temporarily suspend payments on your student loans. But these options should be your last resort.

The Bottom Line

If you’re part of the majority, you likely haven’t made student loan payments in almost two years. Even though the forbearance period has been extended, now is an excellent opportunity to review your finances and make a plan for resuming payments come next year.  For example, you may need to trim or readjust certain spending areas now, so you have room in your budget in 2022 when payment is due. Based on the most recent announcement, it’s safe to assume student loan payments will restart in 2022 and it’s better to get ahead of the curve while you can. “Two years of suspension on student loan payments is unprecedented,” says Laurel, “and it is an opportunity for borrowers to get ahead.”

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

Commemorating National Suicide Prevention Week, AAPI’s Webinar Offers Effective Ways To Prevent Suicide

“National Suicide Prevention Week, which begins on September 5 and ends on September 11 this year, is an annual campaign observed in the United States to educate and inform the general public about suicide prevention and the warning signs of suicide,” said Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) during a webinar on “Precision Medicine for Mental Health: How to Save and Improve Lives” organized by AAPI in collaboration with MindX Sciences Inc., on Wednesday Sept. 8, 2021.

The educational webinar attended by dozens of AAPI members from around the nation was organized in observance of the National Suicide Prevention Week, “which aims to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance because going to therapy should be as normalized as going to the gym.” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI moderated the session, which had eminent speakers, including Dr. Jerome Adams, former United States Surgeon General and Dr. Alexander Niculescu, co-founder of Mindx Sciences and Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Neuroscience at Indiana University School of Medicine; and Sunil Hazaray, CEO of MindX Sciences.     In his introductory remarks, Dr. Koli drew the attention of the audience to the fact that “Almost 800,000 people die every year due to suicide, which means one death every 40 seconds, according to the WHO.” He said, “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 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 certified psychiatrist told the AAPI members.

Dr. Jerome Adams, the United States Surgeon General under President Trump, while addressing the audience on “Precision Medicine for Mental Health: The Time Has Come” drew attention of the participants to the reality that how mental health and social disparity are leading healthcare needs around the nation. “In 2019, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 34,” Dr. Adams pointed out. While commemorating World Suicide Prevention Week, “We remember the many lives that are lost and those who survived suicide attempt and we strive to create hope through action,” said Dr. Adams.

Dr. Adams referred to the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), and his call as the Surgeon General of the United State to Implement the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. “More than 20 years ago, Surgeon General David Satcher issued the landmark report The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Suicide, recognizing suicide as a major public health issue and calling for a national response. The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (National Strategy), first released in 2001 and updated in collaboration with the Action Alliance in 2012, identifies 13 goals and 60 objectives that address every aspect of suicide prevention—from fostering healthy and empowered individuals, families, and communities to providing effective prevention programs and clinical care,” Dr. Adams said.

Dr. Adams pointed out that “we know more about suicide and how it can be prevented today than we did in 1999. We understand that like other public health problems, such as obesity and cancer, suicide is influenced by many factors. As a result, suicide prevention efforts must engage all sectors, including public health, mental health, health care, social services, our military and Veterans, business, entertainment, media, faith communities, and education. These efforts must be informed by data, guided by the needs of the groups affected, and shaped by the voices of people who have experienced suicidal thoughts, plans, attempts, and losses.”

“Suicide is preventable and it continues to remain a growing public health issue,” he said. As many as 43,000 died of suicide in 2019 in the United States. While the suicide rate decreased in 2020, overdose attempt increased by 30%. Suicide is a burden on the nation, costing $93 billion annually. Early detection is cheap. They are preventable. Precision medicine needs to be embraced by assessing the symptoms which will help in decreasing uncertainty, he said. “Never has the need been a greater need and more tools available today than ever,” Dr. Admas said.

Dr. Adams referred to the vast and highly effective research and ongoing programs led by MindX Sciences, which has established a Mental Health Transformation Advisory Board, being co-led by Dr. Jerome Adams, who provides strategic advice on maximizing societal impact, addressing health disparities, and helping improve military mental health. In his address, Dr. Alexander B Niculescu III, focused on “Precision Medicine for Mental Health: From Dream to Science to Clinical Practice,” the tools available today, how we can access them and save lives. MindX Scinces offers “a complete set of tools to assess, diagnose, prevent suicide and treat mental health issues that lead to suicide,” he said.

Over 10 million people in US have suicidal thoughts, he said. How do you know among these 10 million, who will attempt and how many will die of suicide? “We need better tools to identify risk factors and how to decrease the risks and effectively intervene and of the ways to prevent suicide.” In this context, MindX’s research in identifying the tools and resources that will address the needs and help clients in real world will be enormously effective, he said. Dr. Alexander referred to a new study from the Indiana University School of Medicine that has found a way to test someone’s blood to gauge a patient’s depression, the risk of them developing severe depression in the future and the risk of future bipolar disorder, and thus opening the door for changes in diagnosing and treating mental illness.

“Blood biomarkers are emerging as important tools in disorders where subjective self-report by an individual, or a clinical impression of a health care professional, are not always reliable. These blood tests can open the door to precise, personalized matching with medications, and objective monitoring of response to treatment,” said Dr. Niculescu, who led the study and is a professor of psychiatry at the school.  “Through this work, we wanted to develop blood tests for depression and for bipolar disorder, to distinguish between the two, and to match people to the right treatments,” he told the audience. “This is part of our effort to bring psychiatry from the 19th century into the 21st century. To help it become like other contemporary fields such as oncology. Ultimately, the mission is to save and improve lives,” Dr. Niculescu added.

The Life x Mind App by MindX Sciences is meant to be a dashboard for your Life and Mind, a way to track how you feel and what you do, and see how they impact each other, he said. This will help you Know Thyself, Improve Thyself, as the ancient philosophers dreamed of, and live a happier, more hopeful, and more meaningful life. This app can also be used by doctors, psychologists, and coaches with their clients. Ten percent of the proceeds from each app will be donated to mental health support organizations. The SX Prevent Digital Test by MindX Sciences helps doctors and health organizations to identify and reduce suicide risk. It is based on solid research. Studies describing its components have been published in peer reviewed scientific and medical journals, Dr. Niculescu added.

Sunil Hazaray, CEO of MindX Sciences spoke on “how can my patients access Midx Precision Medicine for Mental Health products.” He provided practical logistics of finding and accessing the services by Minx and the cost as well as ways to access their services. “The MindX Dashboard by MindX Sciences is an optional product that helps doctors and health organizations track and integrate de-identified test information from other MindX products,” he said. MindX Blood Tests by MindX Sciences are being performed in a CLIA setting to track and identify suicidality risk, pain, PTSD, mood (depression/bipolar), memory/Alzheimer’s, and longevity. Efforts are being carried out to code the treatment and have them covered by the Insurance companies, thus reducing out of pocket expenses to clients/families, and thus helping prevent suicide and live healthier and safer lives.

In her closing remarks, Dr. Gotimukula, reminded AAPI fraternity of the importance of National Suicide Prevention Week, which “is an annual week-long campaign in the United States to inform and engage health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and warning signs of suicide. She urged all “AAPI members, community organizations, the state and families to work together to work together in creating hope through action and committing to preventing suicide across America and around the world.” American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI,) the largest ethnic organization in the United States, representing nearly 100,000 physicians and Fellows of Indian origin in the United States. For more details on AAPI and its programs, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Indian Americans Launch Global University Of Vedic Wellness

Dr. Santosh Kumar, an Indian American Community leader has announced that an International University of Vedic Wellness is being established in Greater Chicago on the solemn occasion of her father Shambu Dayal Kulshresthra’s 48th death anniversary, September 9. The mission of this Vedic University is to teach, preserve and advance the ideals and values of Santana Dharma by integrating the ancient practices with the global Hindu philosophy in this digital age.

Dr. Santosh Kumar said that this brick-and-mortar University is being built on a 38 plus acre campus and will offer Certification, Associate, Bachelor, Masters and PHD degree courses in a formal setting. Dr. Santosh Kumar said that with this giant step, she is fulfilling her lifelong dream to globally promote the precious knowledge of Vedic Scriptures, Science of Upanishads and Hindu Philosophy to all. Dr. Santosh Kumar said that initial funding of this University will be from her late husband Pramod Kumar’s Trust fund and her family personally.

Dr. Santosh Kumar reiterated the need to clear the misconception in the context of Hindu/Hindutva and offer the opportunity to learn about Vedic Sciences to all in North America which will enable them to live their life to the fullest. Dr. Santosh Kumar acknowledged Dr. Vijay G. Prabhakar’s relentless crusade to safeguard India’s secularism in this digital age and drew inspiration from Dr. VGP’s inclusive, pragmatic leadership in confidently launching this giant initiative.

Dr. Vasavi Chakka, Executive Director, Board of Regents, International University of Vedic Wellness, Chicago, USA in her introductory remarks congratulated Dr. Mrs Santosh Kumar for her foresight in establishing this full-fledged university at a time when twenty ” so called universities ” are launching a scathing attack on Hinduism in America by hosting a ” Dismantling the Global Hindutva Agenda ” in Washington D.C. from today Sept 9- Sept.11.

Dr. Chakka said that the more, we Hindu Americans are provoked, we only would respond by doing more good to our fellow citizens. That is our Hindu Dharma and teachings. The birth of this major University is a direct response to this dastardly attack today on the Hindu faith and Hindutva religion perpetuated by vested interests cloaked as academicians, she added.

Dr. VGP donates $100,000 dollars to Vedic wellness university to establish Danny k. Davis inter faith chair.  Dr. Vijay G Prabhakar, Community Activist & Renowned Public Health Physician announced a contribution of $100,000 to the International University of Vedic Wellness Chicago, an Independent registered educational society in State of Illinois to establish an Inter Faith Chair in the name of U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis to teach the Hindu Philosophy of religious tolerance and also basic tenets of other faiths in this Vedic University. In making the contribution, Dr. Prabhakar stressed that we minorities hailing from India must not ever forget what India gave us Christians and other minorities, that which we still are receiving without any bias, the freedom to practice our faiths, prosper and co-exist like nowhere else in the world.

U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis graciously accepted the honor of having the University’s Inter Faith Chair endowed in his name. Acharya Rohit Joshi of North Eastern Illinois University gave the invocational prayer and said that such a full-fledged Vedic University is the first of its kind in North America. Rohit Joshi appealed to all, to make this International University of Vedic Wellness Chicago, a World class institution by contributing financially, academically, and volunteering with your skills sets and talents.

Leaders from across the country who were present and spoke at the press meet which was live streamed included Dr. S. V. Anchan, CEO, Safe Sea Group, New Jersey, Dr. Clarence Beals, CEO, Jordans Dreams, Chicago, Dr. Rani Youseffzai, Vice Chair, Congressman Danny Davis’ Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force, Dr. Andre Ellis, CEO, No Adults Left Behind, Chicago, Neil Khot, National Chair, Indian American Business Coalition, USA, Dr. Ravi Govindaraj, Vice President, World Federation of Tamil Youth, USA, Dr. Anasha Holiday, Chief Community Outreach, The Global Eye-Digital Monthly and Anica Dubey, Global Outreach Chair, American Multi Ethnic Coalition, USA . Dr. Roger Richardson, President, Rhema University, Florida presented the Rhema University’s Red Ribbon Honor Award to Dr. Santosh Kumar, an alumnus of Rhema University for her indefatigable efforts to ground break this historic International University of VEDIC WELLNESS Chicago.

Lion Hina Trivedi, International Woman Activist roared in her closing remarks that all Hindu Americans must wake up and stand up for the Hindu Dharma and Values. Hina Trivedi said that this opportunity will not present itself again, it is now that we all unite and act together while we speak, sign petitions, do pooja, visit temples which are all great but only we can protect and preserve our Santana Dharma which is the basic tenet of Hinduism. Hina Trivedi saluted the Community leaders from different faiths and ethnicities who joined the Visionary Dr. Santosh Kumar today in this bold, giant step in establishing a permanent brick & mortar University to teach HINDUTVA globally beyond our lifetime.

Stellar Collision Triggered Supernova Explosion

Newswise — Astronomers have found dramatic evidence that a black hole or neutron star spiraled its way into the core of a companion star and caused that companion to explode as a supernova. The astronomers were tipped off by data from the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS), a multi-year project using the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA). “Theorists had predicted that this could happen, but this is the first time we’ve actually seen such an event,” said Dillon Dong, a graduate student at Caltech and lead author on a paper reporting the discovery in the journal Science.

The first clue came when the scientists examined images from VLASS, which began observations in 2017, and found an object brightly emitting radio waves but which had not appeared in an earlier VLA sky survey, called Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty centimeters (FIRST). They made subsequent observations of the object, designated VT 1210+4956, using the VLA and the Keck telescope in Hawaii. They determined that the bright radio emission was coming from the outskirts of a dwarf, star-forming galaxy some 480 million light-years from Earth. They later found that an instrument aboard the International Space Station had detected a burst of X-rays coming from the object in 2014.

The data from all these observations allowed the astronomers to piece together the fascinating history of a centuries-long death dance between two massive stars. Like most stars that are much more massive than our Sun, these two were born as a binary pair, closely orbiting each other. One of them was more massive than the other and evolved through its normal, nuclear fusion-powered lifetime more quickly and exploded as a supernova, leaving behind either a black hole or a superdense neutron star. The black hole or neutron star’s orbit grew steadily closer to its companion, and about 300 years ago it entered the companion’s atmosphere, starting the death dance. At this point, the interaction began spraying gas away from the companion into space. The ejected gas, spiraling outward, formed an expanding, donut-shaped ring, called a torus, around the pair.

Eventually, the black hole or neutron star made its way inward to the companion star’s core, disrupting the nuclear fusion producing the energy that kept the core from collapsing of its own gravity. As the core collapsed, it briefly formed a disk of material closely orbiting the intruder and propelled a jet of material outward from the disk at speeds approaching that of light, drilling its way through the star. “That jet is what produced the X-rays seen by the MAXI instrument aboard the International Space Station, and this confirms the date of this event in 2014,” Dong said. The collapse of the star’s core caused it to explode as a supernova, following its sibling’s earlier explosion. “The companion star was going to explode eventually, but this merger accelerated the process,” Dong said.

The material ejected by the 2014 supernova explosion moved much faster than the material thrown off earlier from the companion star, and by the time VLASS observed the object, the supernova blast was colliding with that material, causing powerful shocks that produced the bright radio emission seen by the VLA. “All the pieces of this puzzle fit together to tell this amazing story,” said Gregg Hallinan of Caltech. “The remnant of a star that exploded a long time ago plunged into its companion, causing it, too, to explode,” he added. The key to the discovery, Hallinan said, was VLASS, which is imaging the entire sky visible at the VLA’s latitude — about 80 percent of the sky — three times over seven years. One of the objectives of doing VLASS that way is to discover transient objects, such as supernova explosions, that emit brightly at radio wavelengths. This supernova, caused by a stellar merger, however, was a surprise. “Of all the things we thought we would discover with VLASS, this was not one of them,” Hallinan said. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

Involve Your Kids In Happier Activities To Reduce Screen Time

“I miss the good old busy mornings of packing lunch, braiding my daughter’s hair, nagging my son to be ready on time and dropping them off at the bus stop. What replaces all this is screens. Lunch boxes come in the form of meals served on study tables, staring at gadgets,” says Divya Singh Vishwanath, Lifestyle Blogger and Stylist. But what is the solution? School is online and so are submissions’, extra classes and social activities. This is worrying, but Divya suggests some fun solutions to reduce screen-time:

* Board games: Get a few that interests the kids, as children of all ages enjoy these and there are so many available; something is sure to work. The best is to involve them in choosing. You could teach them a few card games or tricks as well.

* Art: Works great even if neither of you is artistic. You could even make a board game like snakes and ladders and knots and crosses at home. It gets the kids all excited and off the screen. Try paper-mache or pottery or simple paint and paper. Mandala art books are a good idea. Even if nothing comes out of the craft sessions, you and your kids have had a lot of fun and that counts.

* Puzzles: Kids of all ages love puzzles and every possible puzzle is available online.

* Cooking: Making dinner or evening snacks and cleaning up could be a part of family activity. Your meals will be delicious, it’s good bonding time, kids will learn about nutrition, you would have kept them away from screens and the food will finish without a fuss.

* Dancing: How about a little workout before bed? And what better way to do that than a quick dance! It’s fun and good exercise.

* Reading time: Get your kids to read every day. Discussing the story afterwards is super fun. Change a scenario in the book and ask them to add to the story. If not the book, give them any situation and ask them to make a story around it. You will be surprised at the ideas they come up with.

* Make studying fun: With lockdown, life is boring for them as it is. Make studies fun, I taught my kids simple addition and subtraction by playing snakes and ladders. We wrote alphabets on rocks and made words; a box of dice was used to do math sums; word blocks were used to make sentences; a candy for every paragraph written; words followed by a small drawing; a representation of a story/essay through a drawing. It’s tough but you will manage.

* Routine: This is very important for kids and for grownups (of course with some flexibility). In my experience, a set waking up time and sleeping time is a good start.

* Physical Activity: Try making them play a sport every day, be it a trek or a run, a long walk, tennis, badminton, anything that can be arranged. It’s good for their health, their energy gets used up and they sleep well. If nothing is possible, get innovative. Hide the puzzle pieces around the house and ask them to find it and all to be done without pausing. A treasure hunt around the house is a good idea too. So is climbing stairs. Just a few examples.

* Conversation: Talk to them. Share how your day went and ask them to do the same. No bond is built better than by talking and listening. Ask them for their thoughts on certain decisions you need to take. It’s beautiful to hear their views and opinions on things and situation. (IANS)

Pandemic Politics and the End of the Old International Order

The COVID-19 pandemic killed millions, infected hundreds of millions, and laid bare the deep vulnerabilities and inequalities of our interconnected world. The accompanying economic crash was the worst since the Great Depression, with the International Monetary Fund estimating that it will cost over $22 trillion in global wealth over the next few years. Colin Kahl and Thomas Wright’s Aftershocks offers a riveting and comprehensive account of one of the strangest and most consequential years on record. Drawing on interviews with officials from around the world and extensive research, the authors tell the story of how nationalism and major power rivalries constrained the response to the worst pandemic in a century. They demonstrate the myriad ways in which the crisis exposed the limits of the old international order and how the reverberations from COVID-19 will be felt for years to come.

The COVID-19 crisis is the greatest shock to world order since World War II. Millions have been infected and killed. The economic crash caused by the pandemic is the worst since the Great Depression, with the International Monetary Fund estimating that it will cost over $9 trillion of global wealth in the next few years. Many will be left impoverished and hungry. Fragile states will be further hollowed out, creating conditions ripe for conflict and mass displacement. Over two decades of progress in reducing extreme poverty was erased, just in the space of a few months. Already fragile states in every corner of the globe were further hollowed out. The brewing clash between the United States and China boiled over and the worldwide contest between democracy and authoritarianism deepened. It was a truly global crisis necessitating a collective response—and yet international cooperation almost entirely broke down, with key world leaders hardly on speaking terms.

Meanwhile, international institutions and alliances already under strain before the pandemic are teetering, while the United States and China, already at loggerheads before the crisis, are careening toward a new Cold War. China’s secrecy and assertiveness have shattered hopes that it will become a responsible stakeholder in the international order. Aftershocks is both a riveting journalistic account of one of the strangest years on record and a comprehensive analysis of the pandemic’s ongoing impact on the foundational institutions and ideas that have shaped the modern world. This is the first crisis in decades without a glimmer of American leadership and it shows—there has been no international cooperation on a quintessential global challenge. Every country has followed its own path—nationalizing supplies, shutting their borders, and largely ignoring the rest of the world.

The international order the United States constructed seven decades ago is in tatters, and the world is adrift. None of this came out of the blue. Public health experts and intelligence analysts had warned for a decade that a pandemic of this sort was inevitable. The crisis broke against a global backdrop of rising nationalism, backsliding democracy, declining public trust in governments, mounting rebellion against the inequalities produced by globalization, resurgent great power competition, and plummeting international cooperation.

And yet, there are some signs of hope. The COVID-19 crisis reminds us of our common humanity and shared fate. The public has, for the most part, responded stoically and with kindness. Some democracies—South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, New Zealand, among others—have responded well. America may emerge from the crisis with a new resolve to deal with non-traditional threats, like pandemic disease, and a new demand for effective collective action with other democratic nations. America may also finally be forced to come to grips with our nation’s inadequacies, and to make big changes at home and abroad that will set the stage for opportunities the rest of this century holds. But one thing is certain: America and the world will never be the same again.

Praise for Aftershocks

“COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the international order, and Aftershocks is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what that means for the future. Written by two of America’s leading strategists, this ambitious and engaging book puts the pandemic in historical context and makes an important case for how, in the wake of this crisis, we can build a better international system.” —Madeleine K. Albright

“Colin Kahl and Tom Wright are two of our nation’s leading analysts of geopolitics and American foreign policy. Aftershocks will provide a vital first take on the global response to COVID-19, the worldwide consequences of the pandemic, and what it all means for the future of international order.” —Susan Rice

“US Physician Larry Brilliant once said, ‘Outbreaks are inevitable. Epidemics are optional.’ Aftershocks is a timely, gripping, and necessary call to action, showing the steps governments, international organizations and citizens must take to provide a more reliable and sustainable security for us all.” —Samantha Power

“If you want to understand how and why the pandemic is reshaping the international order and revealing the dangers of unchecked nationalism, Aftershocks is the place to start. Informed by history, reporting, and a truly global perspective, this is an indispensable first draft of history and blueprint for how we can move forward.“ —Ben Rhodes

“A timely, insightful and sobering book by two of the most astute current observers of the United States role in international affairs. The analysis should give everyone who cares about the conduct of American foreign policy pause for thought. Their recommendations offer a critical path forward for future U.S. Administrations.” —Fiona Hill

“The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated and exposed the pre-existing conditions of an already-fading international order. I can’t think of two better observers to help us understand this profound moment of transition, or what it means for American strategy, than Colin Kahl and Tom Wright. Aftershocks promises to be an extraordinarily valuable book, as important as it will be timely.” —William J. Burns

Changes In Higher Education In India

Delhi University has approved a four-year undergraduate course from next year as part of the new National Education Policy. How do this and other concepts in the NEP aim to achieve multidisciplinary? The new National Education Policy is in the news again with Delhi University (DU) approving the introduction of the four-year undergraduate programme from next year, amid opposition from teachers. The NEP proposes several reforms for higher education. A look at how, if implemented in letter and spirit, the NEP can change the classroom experience:

Multidisciplinary

Higher education in India is focused on producing disciplinary experts. But the new NEP proposes to break disciplinary boundaries. What this means is that B Tech students, for example, would no longer limit themselves to their engineering branch. Instead, their programmes will have a more significant component of arts and humanities. “Students of arts and humanities will aim to learn more science, and all will make an effort to incorporate more vocational subjects and soft skills,” the policy states.

IIT-Bombay’s new Liberal Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (LASE) Programme is one example of how the NEP’s vision translates on ground. The LASE programme, which has been introduced this year, gives students the option to graduate with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in five fields or “concentrations” — engineering sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, art and design. The fifth option permits the student to design her own concentration. LASE students will study a set of foundation courses in their second year such as modern South Asian history, history of science, contemporary digital societies, current social structures, reading and writing literature, in addition to their STEM courses. While multidisciplinary is the final destination, the four-year undergraduate programme suggested in the NEP document is a means to that end.

Undergraduate programs in India, except professional degrees such as B Tech and MBBS, usually last three years. The new policy proposes to “adjust” the length of degree programmes to allow students “to experience the full range of holistic and multidisciplinary education in addition to a focus on the chosen major and minors as per the choices of the student”. While the NEP doesn’t call for scrapping of the three-year format, it states that the four-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme “shall be the preferred option”. While students pursuing undergraduate education will be studying an extra year, they will also have the option to leave before that with “appropriate certification”. Quitting after the first year will earn you a certificate, after the second year a diploma, and after the third a Bachelor’s degree. Completing the entire programme would lead to a bachelor’s degree “with Research” if the student completes “a rigorous research project” in her major area(s) of study. Delhi University is the first higher education institution to implement this NEP suggestion. Starting next year, DU students can opt for either a three-year honours programme, or a four-year honours programme, or a four-year honours programme with research. They can also exit with appropriate certification.

Academic Bank of Credit

The University Grants Commission (UGC) had introduced a choice-based credit system (CBCS) before the NEP. Under this system, you earn credits for each course you take during your degree studies. The Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) proposed by the NEP is where higher education institutions will digitally deposit credits earned by students for courses they studied. So, how will this affect the classroom experience? On ground, the ABC is expected to aid the multiple entry and exit system as well as multidisciplinary in higher education. In other words, a student’s deposit of credits in the ABC (read: her prior learning represented in course units) should help her move laterally from one higher education institution to another, if needed. Designating credits to each course would also mean that courses or projects in areas such as community engagement and service, environmental education, sciences, mathematics, art, sports and value-based education would carry weight. This, according to the NEP, would go a long way in “attainment of a holistic and multidisciplinary education”.

Regional languages

The new education policy lays emphasis on promoting Indian languages, arts and culture through education. One of the ways it proposes to do so is by getting higher education institutions to adopt regional languages or the local tongue as the medium of instruction in the classroom. To begin with, the government has allowed 14 engineering colleges to teach selected engineering programmes in five languages: Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Telugu and Hindi. This, the policy states, will help increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education as students who are not proficient in English will be encouraged to pursue further studies in regional languages.

National Entrance Test

Another proposal that could change the higher education experience of students is a single university entrance exam conducted by the National Testing Agency. If this is implemented, students will not have to appear for multiple entrance tests. “The high quality, range, and flexibility of the NTA testing services will enable most universities to use these common entrance exams — rather than having hundreds of universities each devising their own entrance exams — thereby drastically reducing the burden on students, universities and colleges, and the entire education system. It will be left up to individual universities and colleges to use NTA assessments for their admissions,” the policy states.

How Kids Can Stay Safe While Walking To School

Newswise — With back-to-school season upon us, kids and parents are naturally excited for some return to normalcy. In addition to putting together school supplies and mapping out schedules, there’s another thing parents should do: teach kids how to walk to school safely. “Some of the most unsafe areas for children are right around their school or their home,” says Helen Arbogast, DrPH, MPH, CPSTI, Manager of the Injury Prevention Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “That’s because kids tend to feel comfortable around places they frequently visit and don’t always pay attention to cars that may be moving in a parking lot, down the road or in a drop-off line.” This school year especially presents safety risks because many kids haven’t walked to school since the pandemic began, if ever, and parents may be a little rusty in their drop-off and pick-up habits.

“Kids are going to be excited and anxious and all of that can lead to distractions,” says Dr. Arbogast who recommends practicing walking to school ahead of the big day. And if you drive, visit the school beforehand and teach kids how to safely get in and out of the car. It’s also a good idea for parents to talk to school administrators about creating a drop-off zone. Schools should have a “safety valet,” a person responsible for directing cars and making sure kids are not in the path of moving vehicles. If the drop-off gets crowded, consider parking a few blocks away and walking the rest of the way, Dr. Arbogast says. “The younger children are, the more practice they should get,” she adds. Here are more tips on how to keep children of all ages safe.

Infants

Many injuries occur from strollers tipping over and the baby falling out, according to Dr. Arbogast. It’s important to remember to buckle your baby into the seat, whether it’s a stroller with harness straps or the kind that has a car seat that attaches to it, and to double check that the seat is properly attached to the frame. Another thing to keep in mind: Don’t hook your dog’s leash to the stroller. Even the most well-behaved dogs can run off, taking the stroller—and baby—with them. And lock the wheels while pausing with the dog or doing anything else. “A lot of times the stroller is the first thing that leaves the sidewalk into the street,” Dr. Arbogast says. Avoid streets without sidewalks and walk during times where there is less traffic. Most strollers are quite dark and can’t be seen well when the sun goes down. Put reflective stickers on the outside and consider wearing bright-colored clothes so drivers can see you. Dr. Arbogast also points out that some companies sell stroller wheels that light up when they are in motion—something older children will find fun to walk next to as well.

Toddlers and preschoolers

Routine is key to getting kids 5 and under to do things safely. Dr. Arbogast suggests starting out by teaching young children pedestrian safety in a non-busy area such as in a pathway at a park. Talk to them about holding your hand, looking both ways before crossing any road and staying away from cars. For toddlers who try to run into the street, a safety leash will keep them close to you. Short walks are best for this age group. And consider making tiny tikes visible to big cars by outfitting them in bright colors and putting reflective stickers on their clothes. Dr. Arbogast shares a trick she uses with her 3-year-old daughter: She asks her to carry a plush animal with reflective stickers when they go for a walk. “Toddlers are less likely to run when they are holding something,” she says.

Ages 6 to 9

Children in this age group seem more mature, but they haven’t yet developed the capacity to gauge speed and distance. Many injuries in this age group occur from children darting out into a street, such as to collect a ball, and thinking a car is traveling much slower than it is. They also tend to freeze when seeing a car backing out of a driveway. Dr. Arbogast has observed through her research that when children are walking with their parents, they almost never look both ways before crossing the street and instead defer to what their parents are doing. “We deliberately teach kids so many things, but not when walking with them,” Dr. Arbogast says. “If they aren’t watching us when we’re crossing a street, they may miss that we looked left and right and left again. They might think, ‘Mom stepped out so I’m going to step out.’”

It’s important, therefore, to narrate the safe things you are doing while walking, and to teach children the following practices:

  • Cross only at crosswalks.
  • Make eye contact with drivers.
  • Wave to drivers to make yourself visible.
  • Look completely left, right and left again before crossing a street.
  • Pause at driveways and check if a car is pulling out.
  • Stay close to an adult when walking through parking lots.
  • In addition, although many kids ride scooters for fun, they are never a good way to travel to and from school. “It’s too much for them to manage. They are having to balance themselves and keep up speed,” says Dr. Arbogast. “They are not thinking about stopping before driveways or crosswalks.”

Ages 10 to 12

At age 10, some children may be ready to walk to school without an adult, Dr. Arbogast says. She encourages these children to walk in groups of three or more because two kids walking together tend to focus on their conversation and could get distracted. “The more the better. It’s like a walking school bus,” Dr. Arbogast says. Clothes with reflective stickers are probably not going to be too popular with older kids, but you can put the stickers on their backpacks. Parents should also identify a consistent route in a less busy area for children to use. As for music, tell tweens no music while walking. “It keeps you from being able to hear some of these really quiet electric cars,” Dr. Arbogast says. Finally, teach your kids this favorite motto from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles: Heads up, phones down.

Teenagers

This is the age group at most risk for being injured on the street. Children ages 12 to 19 are almost four times more likely to get hit by a car than younger kids, Dr. Arbogast says. “We take for granted that they are older and make some assumptions about their ability,” she says. Teens often venture out on routes that take them beyond their school. Advise them to walk through residential neighborhoods and to try to avoid large, busy streets. Repeat safety advice and be specific when doing so. “Before they go, don’t say something general like, ‘be safe,’ because what does that mean?” Dr. Arbogast says. “Your advice could instead be, ‘Make sure you are really careful before crossing Santa Monica Boulevard because you know people run that light.’” Most importantly, parents should always mirror the behavior they want their kids to follow. “Cross at intersections even if means walking a little further, and put the phone down,” Arbogast says.

Dr. George M. Abraham, President Of ACP, Praised By AAPI Leadership

It is matter of great pride for all of us that Dr. George Abraham has been elected president of American College of Physicians (ACP) the largest association of American internal medicine physicians with a membership of nearly 170,000 physicians,” said Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) the largest ethnic medical association in the United States.

A resident of Shrewsbury, MA, Dr. Abraham is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Chief of Medicine and Emeritus President of the Medical staff at Saint Vincent Hospital, and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services.

Prior to his term as President-elect, he recently served as Chair of ACP’s Board of Governors and as Governor of ACP’s Massachusetts Chapter prior to that. Dr. Abraham is a Fellow of ACP (FACP), an honorary designation that recognizes ongoing individual service and contributions to the practice of medicine. Dr. Abraham had served as a WHO fellow in HIV disease in Uganda, as well as an ID fellow at the Communicable Disease Center in Singapore. In the past, he has volunteered with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity, and also has led medical mission trips to rural Louisiana and Mexico, with his church.

Several AAPI leaders and past Presidents of AAPI, including Dr. Naresh Parikh and Dr. Narendra Kumar, who hails from the same state of Kerala in India as Dr. Abraham, have expressed their congratulations to Dr. Abraham. Dr. Kumar said, “In its long 105 years history, George Abraham is the first physician of Indian origin to have this honor and lead ACP. We express our congratulations, want to wish him the very best and offer our support in his endeavors.”

“The election of Dr. George Abraham to be the President of ACP is a testament to the leadership qualities, vision and passion Indian American physicians have come to be asscociuated with in the United States,” added Dr. Naresh Parikh. “I am proud of our community of Indian physicians for all the progress that we have made over the years,” said Dr. Kusum Punjabi, Chair of AAPI BOT. “In patient care, administration, leadership, or academics, we have excelled in the respective fields, holding important positions across the United States and the world.”

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI, that represents over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin in the United States, said, “We are proud of Dr. Abraham and his many accomplishments and look forward to working with him and ACP, as the nation and the entire world seeks to find best possible solutions to tackle the pandemic that has taken the lives of millions of people around the world.”

Lauding Dr. Abraham “who has been a key advocate on Covid and infectious diseases,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI said, “Dr. Abraham’s commitment, ethics, quiet leadership style and impeccable credentials make him the smart choice for this leadership role.” “Dr. Abraham represents the over 100,000 Indian American physicians,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said. “Having a wide range of experiences and passion for science-based approach, Dr. Abraham will bring in new perspectives to the many healthcare issues that require immediate attention and concrete action plan to tackle the pandemic.”

Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI, while offering fullest cooperation from the Indian American Physician community, said, “We at AAPI, look forward to working closely with Dr. Abraham and ACP, especially in our collective efforts to end this deadly pandemic.” George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, has been named President of the American College of Physicians (ACP) representing nearly 170,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. His term began on May 2nd at the conclusion of ACP’s Annual Business Meeting.

Dr. Abraham earned his medical degree from the Christian Medical College in India and has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.  He completed his internal medicine residency and chief residency at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester and then earned an MPH in Infectious Disease Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Medical Specialties in Infectious Disease. He is also certified by the American Board of Ambulatory and Urgent Care Medicine, and the American Association of Medical Review Officers. Dr. Abraham’s areas of professional interest and expertise include internal medicine and infectious disease.

Dr. Abraham has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals, as well as at national and international meetings. He has also written prolifically on issues of public health in the media. He has lectured on healthcare issues throughout Central Massachusetts. Dr. Abraham is a past-president of the Worcester District Medical Society. He also serves as a Trustee of the Massachusetts Medical Society, as the Secretary/Treasurer for the American College of Physicians and as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. Additional memberships include the American College of Physicians (where he is a Fellow), the American Medical Association and the Massachusetts Medical Society.

As the Medical Director of Central MA Independent Physician Association (CMIPA) for 7 years, till 2012, he has worked extensively on health IT, quality management and care coordination issues. Dr. Abraham is a past-president of the Worcester District Medical Society. He also serves as a Trustee of the Massachusetts Medical Society, as the Governor-Elect for the American College of Physicians and as the Immediate Past-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. Additional memberships include the American College of Physicians (where he is a Fellow), the American Medical Association and the Massachusetts Medical Society. Dr. Abraham, who maintains a practice at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA, also volunteers at a number of free clinics in the city of Worcester.

“Dr. Abraham has been an integral physician leader at Saint Vincent Hospital for years and his work during the COVID-19 pandemic was invaluable,” said Saint Vincent Hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson. “The Saint Vincent Hospital team is proud of Dr. Abraham and his contributions to the medical community and the patients we care for. He is incredibly deserving of this appointment and will serve the American College of Physicians well.” Founded in 1915 to promote the science and practice of medicine, and since then has supported internists in their quest for excellence, American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. With the mission to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine. ACP is a diverse community of internal medicine specialists and subspecialists united by a commitment to excellence.

The growing influence of physicians of Indian heritage is evident, as increasingly physicians of Indian origin hold critical positions in the healthcare, academic, research and administrative positions across the nation. Serving 1 in every 7 patients in the US, AAPI members care for millions of patients every day, while several of them have risen to hold high flying jobs, shaping the policies and programs and inventions that shape the landscape of healthcare in the US and around the  world. For more details on AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

“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/