Good evening. Thanks Dr. SHASHI Shah for the wonderful introduction and for all you done for me as my great mentor.
I will start with a quote from our President Obama.
“This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
It is that American spirit - that American promise - that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend”
Ten years ago, as I was about to leave on vacation, I received a call from Dr. Singhvi asking if I was a member of AAPI. When I told him that I was not, he said that I must become a member immediately; not a moment to lose. He said do it right now, give me your credit card and I will take care of everything. I signed up that day, and it was the most important decision of my life. Subsequently,, he appointed me the convention chair at the Hilton, here in the Big Apple and now here we are, back in the Big Apple at the Marriot and I am taking my oath for the presidency.
Honorable Chief Guest Mr. Preet Bharara, members of the dias, Mr. Chairman, Members of the BOT, EC, friends, and family. First I would like to Thank Dr. Seema Jain and commend her for such a wonderful convention and thankful to the convention team.
I woke up this morning overwhelmed after reading all the congratulatory messages from many of my friends who are sitting in front of me. I deeply appreciate the trust and faith you have bestowed upon me as the incoming president of AAPI. Words will fall short of my humble gratitude towards all of you. It is with great humbleness, gratitude and appreciation, I accept to be the President of AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization.
When our founders first conceived of AAPI, they could not have imagined how well it would grow and develop. Let us not forget the achievements of those who have come before me. Their hard work and dedication serves as both an inspiration and a challenge to me. THANKS TO Past President NARENDRA KUMAR, I WORKED AS his TREASURER AND with his guidance and support AAPI came to NEW HEIGHTS OF FINANCIAL STABILITY.
My friend, Jayesh do not have words to thank him as an advisor who further strengthen my knowledge of functions of AAPI.
The task of leading AAPI is a daunting challenge. It’s more than any one person can manage without the support of an active Board of Trustees and Executive Committee. I’m very honored, privileged and consider myself fortunate to announce that I HAVE AN EXCELLENT GROUP OF DEDICATED, HARDWORKING, LOYAL OFFICERS and EC members WHO ARE WITH ME TO TAKE AAPI TO NEW HEIGHTS.
I WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THEM (I would like you to come stand with me GAUTAM SAMADDAR, PRESIDENT ELECT, NARSH PARIKH-VP, SURESH REDDY-Secretary AND TREASURER, MANJU SACHDEV. CHAIRWOMAN BOT, MADHU AGARWAL, co-chair Dr. Krishan Kumar. And OUR YOUNG LEADERS-YPS president Aditya DESAI and MSRF PRESIDENT and ATUL NAKASHI along with a diversified group of regional directors. Their leadership will help us move forward with our current and future initiatives. May I please have a round of applause for the new EC and Board of Trustees.
First let me begin with our new generation, they are near and dear to my heart, and will be fully supported. Our young physicians section is quite active, and I would like to see them become more involved with parent AAPI. YPS Past President is appointed as one of our regional directors. I look forward to appointing more YPS members to committee roles including them in decision making. I feel that mentorship is an important method for supporting and embracing our young physicians.
Let me not forget to tell you how happy I am to see the increased involvement of women within this organization. We have the woman as the chair of the Board of Trustees, woman treasurer, and 33% of this year’s regional directors are women. Women face the added challenge of maintaining the household in addition to their medical careers and their role in AAPI.
I am looking forward to a great women’s forum from our women leaders and chair not only in USA but also in India. I salute all the women leaders.
I am starting my new year under a revised set of bylaws. As Bylaws committee chair along with my committee members I am thankful to all of you for the contribution you made in passing the bylaws with overwhelming majority.
As Thomas Jefferson said –in matters of style swim with the current; in matters of principle stand like a rock.
I will maintain the Bylaws with full integrity and respect and will defend the bylaws like a rock.
1. This year we have revised the code of conduct along with AAPI general counsel to ensure AAPI maintains its reputation. I ask the elected officials for their full support. This documents consists of approximately 9 pages wherein some of the repeated problems and issues of the ASSOCIATION is being addressed and a uniform guidance is given therein as to how the members should conduct themselves in various circumstances, policies regarding AAPI TRADENAME REGISTRATION, Proprietary right , ELECTION Guidelines, policy on Mass Emails and other related policies defining DUTY OF LOYALTY and FIDUCIARY DUTIES of elected officers.
2. GRASSROOT ADVOCACY GRP - AAPI for the first time has established PRESIDENT’S AD HOC GRASSROOT COMMITTEE to network with members, legislators and general public. AAPI will make its best effort to represent its members and community at large by making SPECIAL APPERANCES of testimony before the Congressional Health Committee in advocating its position.
Under my leadership, AAPI will BECOME NOT ONLY A STRONG PROFESSIONAL ORG BUT ALSO STRONG IN LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS-AAPI WILL express its STAND BY ALL THE CHANGES WHICH ARE BEING ENFORCED ON THE PHYSICIANS AND WILL take an active participation IN THE DECISION MAKING OF THE HEALTH CARE POLICIES. WE WILL continue to express our concerns about the onerous maintenance of certificate requirements for renewing Board certification. We will express our reservations about the NEW POLICIES on MACRA AND MIPS WHICH are GOING TO AFFFECT EVERY PHYSICIAN SITTING IN THIS AUDIENCE. The new regulations are not realistic and ask our physicians to carry an undue burden. We will continue to stand with the AMA to lobby legislators in Washington on this issue.
Sometimes we have other legislative interests that need to be supported as well. As a 501 c(3) organization, our goal is educational and advocacy to the legislation about medical challenges only. I will re-activate AAPI – HEALTH- PAC commonly known as HEALTH- POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE. And will raise funds amongst its members to advocate its Health Care issues to give a higher profile. My challenges as your President on H-PAC will be rigorous since the issues will be limited non –political activities and related primarily to Health Care. I urge all interested members to support join the H-PAC by making a contribution which will handle the HPAC matters and comply with the reporting requirements. In particular, we will continue to work actively for an increase in the number of US residency slots available to young Indian physicians.
3. Membership is an integral part of any organization and is in direct proportion to the strength of the organization. I would like to turn my attention to ways we can support the needs and interests of our members. I am working on improving membership benefits to include more attractive discounts and deals, these deals will not only include financial but also social, educational and legal benefits. Socially by expanding our network with a social media campaign, legally by establishing an advocacy group and educationally by provided more CME’s and publishment. Periodically the members will be getting information about all the increased benefits. I request all the people who are here and are not members of AAPI to please become members today.
4. AAPI – HONARARY MEMBERS – As President of AAPI it is my intention to bring us a higher level of recognition and in doing so I wish to establish a NEW CATERGORY of MEMBERSHIP commonly known as ‘AAPI- HONARARY MEMBERS’ composing exclusively of PAST UNITED STATES PRESIDENTS, US SENATORS AND CONGRESSMAN. This will give AAPI recognition and a higher profile in the USA. Indeed I will seek approval from the GB prior to establishing such a category.
I would like to turn my attention to the ways in which we will continue to support the Global Research Clinical Trial Network.
INTEGRATED MEDICINE IS AN EMERGING NEW DEVELOPMENT IN THE FIELD OF MEDICINE AND IS BEING WIDELY SUPPORTED BY OUR PRIME MINISTER MR NARENDRA MODI who has implemented a similar branch known as AYUSH. Which stands for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, and Sug and Homeopathy. Last month, Prime Minister Modi launched International Yoga Day, emphasizing yoga’s contribution to human welfare and stress-free living. To represent the emerging trends, I will be adding an integrative medicine topic to the research competition.
AAPI members are very conscious of their obligation to support the motherland in the form of contributions of both time and money. As an organization, we are already well-known in India for our work in charitable clinics, and treatment and implementing new initiatives. My immediate Past President, Dr. Jahagirdar’s Traumatic Brain Injury initiative has had 2 successful years and I will support its expansion. I am thankful to Dr. Jahagirdar for teaching me about AAPI I learned a lot from him in last 4 years.
We would like to help make AAPI more cohesive by strengthen networking and cooperation among our chapters and regional directors. Social media has many valuable tools that are too often overlooked by us. I encourage all AAPI members to embrace social media tools as a way to network and build solidarity within the organization.
Finally, let me not forget the fun events we have planned. The sold out AAPI family cruise of the Amazon River in Brazil is just a few weeks away. Along with all the fun, 12 hours CME organized by Dr. Krishan Kumar, my dearest friend and great supporter. The 10th Global Health summit will be in Udaipur, Rajasthan – an initiative by Dr. Hemant Patel from Indo-US to Global Health. Udaipur city of lake and palatial hotels known for its gallantry and history. We will have new programs, workshops, CME’s interactive discussions with CEO and will be a wonderful opportunity to meet with colleagues and participate in interactive discussion. Next year’s convention will be held again, after 28 years, in Atlantic City at the Harrah’s resort June 21-25.
I humbly ask you for your support as we continue our existing programs and implement -new ones. One year may not seem long enough to create progressive change in a large organization. I feel that it can be long enough to make a real difference, but only if we work together. We must all dedicate ourselves to serving the hard-working, dedicated physicians who make up the backbone of the health service economy of this country.
I cannot conclude without thanking the media.
As it is said by Mark Twain,
There are only two forces that can carry light to all corners of the globe –the sun in the heaven and the media down here.”
I am thankful to my Friend Mr. H.R Shah and his team, Rohit and Pradeep Hegde from TV Asia, Mr. Rajiv Bhambri from India Abroad, Mr. Sunil Hali from Saluja and our own Dr. Sudhir Parikh from worldwide Parikh media, and all other media members.
I am what I am today because of my family's blessings and support. My parents deserve much of the credit for who I have become today. I could not have developed without the blessings of my parents, the support of my brother and his wife Drs. Sanjay and Anupama Lodha, and surely the patience of my wife Dr. Smita Lodha, my son Amit and daughter Shweta, all combined with which I could stay afloat. Last but not least, I am thankful AAPI-QLI - who have become my extended family. I could go on but I will try to control my emotions. We have a long way to go God willing.
Once again thanks to all for accepting me as your next President.
God Bless America and Jaihind.