“I will work 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,” Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, who will assume charge as the 37th President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) said here today.
Dr. Jonnalagadda, who will be administered the oath of office as the President of AAPI at the 1st ever Virtual Oath ceremony on July 11th, 2020, has vowed to take the nearly four decades old organization to the next level and “bring all the AAPI Chapters, Regions, Members of the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees to work cohesively and unitedly for the success of AAPI and the realization of its noble mission.” He wants to increase AAPI membership by offering more benefits and opportunities for members.
Dr. Jonnalagadda will lead AAPI as its President in the year 2020-2021, the largest Medical Organization in the United States, representing the interests of the over 100,000 physicians and Fellows of Indian origin in the United States, serving the interests of the Indian American physicians in the US and in many ways contributing to the shaping of the healthcare delivery in the US for the past 39 years. “AAPI must be responsive to its members, supportive of the leadership and a true advocate for our mission,” he said.
As a very compassionate, goal oriented and with strong leadership skills, Dr. Jonnalagadda will be assisted by an executive committee consisting of Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President-Elect; Dr. Ravi Kolli, Vice President, Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Secretary of AAPI; Dr. Satish Kathula, Treasurer of AAPI, and Sajani Shah, Chair of AAPI’s BOT.
“AAPI has given me so much — networking, advocacy, and education — and I am honored to serve this noble organization. I sincerely appreciate the trust you placed in me as the President of AAPI, and I am deeply committed to continue to work for you,” declared Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, the new President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI).
He was born in a family of Physicians. Dr. Jonnalagadda’s 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 says with 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,”
AAPI has been able to serve as a platform in helping young physicians coming from India to seek residencies and help them in settlement and get jobs. Knowing that AAPI’s growth lies with the younger generation, Dr. Jonnalagadda has made it his priority to support and promote YPS and MSRF, the future of AAPI.
As the President of AAPI, the dynamic physician from the state of Andhra Pradesh, wants 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.”
In his address to the Young Physicians Section (YPS) recently, Dr. Jonnalagadda told them, “I am so delighted and proud to be part of this great event and see you, the young physicians of Indian origin today, who are the hope and life, igniting a bright future for AAPI and for the healthcare delivery in the US. As you are aware, Indian Americans continue to come in large numbers and join this noble profession. That gives us hope and strength that the future of the healthcare is in good, safe and effective hands.”
In order for us to help and support the youngsters who want to pursue Medicine and want to succeed in their dreams to be successful healthcare professionals, “I envisage a plan for young aspiring physicians of Indian origin,” he had told them. “I want to launch a program that will, Educate the Residents from India on ways to negotiate contract with insurance companies and Medical Institutions; Identify Centers/Areas across the US for Clinical Observership Program for aspiring young physicians; and, help Youth who want to pursue medicine as their career, guide them with the skills for participating in interviews and ways to succeed in school. This is the first time ever AAPI is embarking on this new initiative and I am excited to be able to take this to the next level”
Dr. Jonnalagadda wants to emphasize the importance of Legislative Agenda both here in the US and overseas, benefitting the physicians and the people AAPI is committed to serve. According to him, “The growing clout of the physicians of Indian origin in the United States is seen everywhere as several physicians of Indian origin hold critical positions in the healthcare, academic, research and administration across the nation.” He is actively involved with the Indian community and member at large of the Asian Indian Alliance, which actively participates in a bipartisan way to support and fund electoral candidates.
His vision for AAPI is 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 US.”
As a dedicated member and leader of AAPI for over a decade, Dr. Jonnalagadda rose through the ranks due to his hard work and dedication. He had served as the national Treasurer, Secretary and Vice President of AAPI from 2016 onwards. He was elected and had served as a member of the Board of Trustees, AAPI in 2014-2015, and had served as the Regional Director, AAPI South Region from 2011-2013.
Dr. Jonnalagadda was the Chair, AAPI Awards Committee in 2015, and had served as the Alumni Chair, Atlanta AAPI Convention in 2006. His leadership and commitment were much appreciated when he had served as the Convener of AAPI 2012 Fundraiser, and helped AAPI raise $150,000, and in the 2013 Fundraiser, he had helped AAPI raise $120,000 in Atlanta. In 2016, he had helped in AAPI 2016 Fundraiser through his efforts in Atlanta raise funds for Hurricane Harvey.
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).
One of the major objectives of founding AAPI was to offer a platform and opportunities for members to give back to their mother land and the adopted nation. Realizing this, the new President believes AAPI members will be provided with opportunities to support charitable activities in India and in the United States and increase our impact both in Indian and the US.
Endowed with the desire to give back to his motherland and lead AAPI to identify and invest in the delivery of cost effective, efficient and advanced medical care in India, Dr. Jonnalagadda says, “AAPI does a lot of work in India. The Global Healthcare Summit 2021 planned to be held in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, will be a great way of achieving our objectives for mother India.”
“AAPI and the Charitable Foundation has several programs in India. Under my leadership with the pioneering efforts of Dr. Surender Purohit, Chairman of AAPI CF, we will be able to initiate several more program benefitting our motherland, India,” Dr. Jonnalagadda said.
According to him, the GHS will serve as a sounding board for many health care leaders to freely exchange ideas, and help resolve challenges that are addressed during the very effective CEO Forums usually chaired by high ranking officials and leading CEOs. This will help in attracting investments, advanced training, and setting up hospitals, medical institutions, etc. AAPI GHS will continue the International Research Competition, EP, Cardiology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Gastroenterology, Obesity, Liver Disease Awareness, CPR with the Indian Society of Anesthesiologists, and other workshops that will help in training several India based physicians. Finally, the women’s forum under the banner of women’s leadership forum will serve as an inspiration for aspiring female leaders to see and hear from their role models.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed huge challenges before the new executive Team. Dr. Jonnalagadda is confident that he will be able to carry on his agenda for the new year including the Trip to Japan and the Global Healthcare Summit. Utilizing the new technology, he wants to organize monthly online CMEs through Zoom and regular motivational Lectures for physicians.
Financial stability is an important area, where Dr. Jonnalagadda wants to focus on as President, and promises “to make sincere efforts in making AAPI financially stronger by increasing fund raising activities.”
He is grateful to his predecessor, Dr. Suresh Reddy and Dr. Anupama Gotimukula and the current Team for initiating the AAPI Endowment Fund, which he plans to strengthen during his presidency, making AAPI financially viable and stronger in the years to come.
Dr. Jonnalagadda is committed to upholding and further augment the ideals for which AAPI stands. “I am confident that my experience, work ethic and firsthand experience in organizing Conventions and fundraisers are best suited to carry on the responsibilities and lead this noble organization to new heights.”
Dr. Jonnalagadda is married to Dr. Umamaheswari, who comes from a family of physicians. The couple have one child, Veeraeen, who is a Medical School student.
In all of his efforts, Dr. Jonnalagadda wants to work with his executive committee and all branches of AAPI membership in a congenial and non-competitive manner, focusing on the noble mission of this prestigious organization. His experiences in organizing conferences and meetings which help to bring members together and attract new members is vital to the success of the organization.
AAPI represents more than 100,000 physicians and fellows of Indian Origin in the US, and being their voice and providing a forum to its members to collectively work together to meet their diverse needs, is a major challenge.
With the changing trends and statistics in healthcare, both in India and US, we are refocusing our mission and vision, AAPI would like to make a positive meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India.
AAPI will continue to be an active player in crafting the delivery of healthcare in the most efficient manner in the United States and India. “We will strive for equity in healthcare delivery globally.” Dr. Jonnalagadda is confident that with the blessings of elders, and the strong support from the total membership of AAPI and his family, he will be able to take AAPI to stability, unity, growth and greater achievements.”