Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, a past President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has been conferred with Excellence in medicine Award by the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) during the 23rd annual conference held in Philadephia, PA on July 8th, 2023.
Dr. Jonnalagadda was chosen for the prestigious award by TANA for his contributions in the field of Medicine and for his great leadership of,AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the US, especially during the Pandemic.
In response to receiving the award, Dr. Jonnalagadda, said, “ I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Telugu Association of North America for selecting me for the prestigious award. In recognizing me, the TANA has recognized all the medical professionals who have been in the forefront fighting Covid, including those who have laid their lives at the services of treating patients infected with the deadly virus. This award will strengthen the medical fraternity to recommit our efforts, skills and talents for the greater good of humanity.”
Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda had served as the 37th President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and has worked hard to “make AAPI stronger, more vibrant, united, transparent, politically engaged, ensuring active participation of young physicians, increasing membership, and enabling that AAPI’s voice is heard in the corridors of power.”
AAPI is the largest Medical Organization in the United States, representing the interests of the over 120,000 physicians and Fellows of Indian origin in the United States, serving the interests of the Indian American physicians in the US and in many ways contributing to the shaping of the healthcare delivery in the US for the past 41 years. “AAPI must be responsive to its members, supportive of the leadership and a true advocate for our mission,” he said.
Dr. Jonnalagadda was born in a family of Physicians. His dad was a Professor at a Medical College in India and his mother was a Teacher. He and his siblings aspired to be physicians and dedicate their lives for the greater good of humanity. “I am committed to serving the community and help the needy. That gives me the greatest satisfaction in life,” he said modesty. Ambitious and wanting to achieve greater things in life, Dr. Jonnalagadda has numerous achievements in life. He currently serves as the President of the Medical Staff at the Hospital. And now, “being elected as the President of AAPI is greatest achievement of my life,”
As the President of AAPI, the dynamic physician from the state of Andhra Pradesh, helped to “develop a committee to work with children of AAPI members who are interested in medical school, to educate on choosing a school and gaining acceptance; Develop a committee to work with medical residents who are potential AAPI members, to educate on contract negotiation, patient communication, and practice management; Develop a committee to work with AAPI medical students, and to provide proctorship to improve their selection of medical residencies.”
A Board-Certified Gastroenterologist/Transplant Hepatologist, working in Douglas, GA, Dr. Jonnalagadda is a former Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia. He was the President of Coffee Regional Medical Staff 2018, and had served as the Director of Medical Association of Georgia Board from 2016 onwards. He had served as the President of Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage 2007-2008, and was the past Chair of Board of Trustees, GAPI. He was the Chairman of the Medical Association of Georgia, IMG Section, and was a Graduate, Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (advocacy training).
In response to the pandemic, Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalgadda helped AAPI raise $5.4 million in three months to send 3,000 oxygen concentrators, 100 ventilators, and 100 pieces of high-flow oxygen equipment to India. AAPI connected with the American Heart Association, UNICEF and Intel for charity programs, and the NY Times rated AAPI as the second best charitable organization in the nation.
AAPI was able to provide tele-health platforms and a community outreach program through ZTV which educated millions of viewers. AAPI donated 5000 blankets during Thanksgiving and held luncheons for National Nurses Week in over 50 hospitals in the United States as well as, for the first time, locations in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, and the Caribbean. AAPI provided 30 credit hours of CME virtually and started the first ever purely scientific journal, JAPI. AAPI successfully initiated a clinical observer ship program to young physicians.
Under his leadership, AAPI raised funds to provide 1,000 Water Purification Plants in several towns and villages in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Also, it was during his Presidency, for the first time ever, AAPI held annual elections to national offices via electronic ballots.
Dr. Jonnalagadda and his team, under stressful Covid times, organized the annual Convention in a record three months’ time, both successful and profitable. As the president, he was interviewed by CNN, Voice of America, and the Washington Post, as well as Republic TV and NDTV in India. He was recognized by the Indo-American Press Club (IAPC) with the Excellence in Leadership Award 2020 and the government of India presented him with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award in 2021.
In 2022, he was conferred with a Gold Medal By the Indian Red Cross Society during the 5th annual General Meeting held in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Dr. Jonnnalgadda was conferred with the award for his contributions by Shree Biswabhusan Harichandan, the Honorable Governor of Andhra Pradesh. In 2020, Dr. Jonnalagadda was given Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indo-American Press Club.
His vision for AAPI has been to increase the awareness of APPI globally and help its voice heard in the corridors of power. “I would like to see us lobby the US Congress and create an AAPI PAC and advocate for an increase in the number of available Residency Positions and Green Cards to Indian American Physicians so as to help alleviate the shortage of Doctors in the United States.”