“Today marks the culmination of my term that started on May 27, 2013 when I assumed the Presidency of AAPI,” Dr. Shah reminded the enthusiastic audience about his assuming the presidency from Dr. Narendra Kumar in Chicago. “I am proud to report that the state of AAPI is strong. We have made significant progress; Our reputation, our credibility, our member engagement, our sponsor commitment & our financial status is stronger than ever,” declared Dr. Shah, who passed on the mantle of AAPI’s leadership to Dr. Jahagirdar during the solemn Gala Dinner attended by nearly 2,000 delegates from across the nation and in the presence of Harsh Vardhan, Heath Minister of India, who flew in from New Delhi to be part of AAPI's convention. “When I look back at the entire year, four words come to my mind – People, Pride, Passion and Promise for the future- our theme for this convention representing San Antonio’s quatrefoil symbol,” Dr. Shah summarized his year of presidency which was packed with activities and numerous new initiatives. In his final address as president of AAPI that represents over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin in the US, Dr. Shah attributed the successful term to the contributions of its members. “We do not view successful AAPI year through the limited prism of one year. It is a golden opportunity to strengthen and expand the organization for years to come. We are very proud of each one of you. AAPI’s success this year is the story of the hard work of each and every AAPI member who has selflessly set out to create a better AAPI for future generations.” He particularly paid rich tributes to the Convention Committee led by Dr. Vijay Koli, for their extraordinary commitment and dedication. Dr. Shashi Shah, Chairman of AAPI Board of Trustees, affirmed it when he praised Dr. Shah for his innovative approach, bringing in new ideas and working together with the young and the old to the noble organization which is the largest among all ethnic groups, and for taking it to newer heights. “I assure you today, AAPI is ethically, morally and financially sounder than ever before,” he told the AAPI delegates.
In his first ever presidential address, Dr. Jahagirdar, who is not only an expert in medicine, but also is proficient in world’s ancient language, Sanskrit, praised the great tradition of AAPI and said, “AAPI has had great visionaries in its short life. As President, I see myself as another member in the trenches who likes to team with others and reach out to even higher goals.” As he take charge of AAPI, Dr. Jahagirdar believes that everyone needs to “Think of our organization first, and not about individual glory. No one person has a monopoly on ideas, and any member with a passion will have a role to play.” AAPI’s role has come to be recognized as vital among members and among lawmakers. AAPI is also transitioning into a multiyear thinking and behavior by maintaining core continuity. Dr. Jahagirdar considers the “Officers in each year as caretakers of established plans and projects, advancing progressively towards these goals with the vertically expanded use of diverse professionals” His vision for AAPI focuses on five vital areas, Dr. Ravi told the AAPI delegates: Education, Community/Charitable service, Member Support Programs, Mentorship and the Mantle, and Legislative Action. Realizing that AAPI was born in response to discriminatory policies, he says, “AAPI must not forget and should assist those amongst us who have suffered injustice. Mentoring the younger AAPI Member and Officer is critical for our sustenance.” He believes that Legislative actions are vital to effect change, and “AAPI should continue its traditional efforts, as well as work with other organizations for causes of mutual interest.” A leader with deep commitment for AAPI and its members, Dr. Jahagirdar wants AAPI to be an all-inclusive organization that is nurtured by the collective efforts of its members. "Our Shakti is you the Members, and I want you to get involved at any level. We, the AAPI troops are passionate, but are not businessmen and event planners, and we will welcome participation of all medical and nonmedical organizations and individuals, as AAPI builds a solid organizational fortress for the future," he told the enthusiastic audience in Texas, during his maiden presidential address. Anwar Feroz, Honorary Advisor of AAPI, while moderating the Town Hall Meeting, which focused on Enhancing Collaboration between Physicians of Indian Origin Across the World and India, updated the audience on Swasth India Portal, which was officially launched by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, India’s Health Minister, who was the Chief Guest at the Convention. Dr. Vardhan lauded the great contributions of Indian American physicians for their hard work, dedication and achievements. “I am proud of our community of Indian physicians for all the progress that we have made over the years, and I know that AAPI has been a critical force in making this process possible. The advice you shared and assistance you kindly offered were important pieces of this journey,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, President Obama’s nominee for US Surgeon General, told the AAPI members even as they cheered him with pride. Earlier, the 32nd annual convention was solemnly inaugurated with the lighting of the traditional Indian lamp by Dr. Jayshreeben Mehta, president of Medical Council of India (MCI), Parvathaneni Harish, Consul General of India in Houston, Dr. Jayesh Shah, President of AAPI, Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, President-Elect of AAPI, Dr. Shashi Shah, Chairman, Board of Trustees of AAPI, Dr. Vijay Koli, Chairman of the Convention Organizing Committee, and Leticia R. Van de Putte, Texas State Senator on Thursday, June 26th, 2014. Dr. Jayshreeben Mehta inaugurated the AAPI exhibition booths, representing almost all areas of medicine, education, commerce, research, media and entertainment by cutting the ribbon as women dressed in colorful Indian dresses welcomed the participants to the convention center with holding diyas in their hands. In her address, Dr. Mehta lauded the achievements and contributions of Indian American physicians. “You make a mark and a deep impact on the lives of millions of people you care for ion day to day basis that the imprint can never be erased,” she said. During the reception at the historic La Villita in Maverick Plaza, on the banks of the Riverside, the 40-year-old San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, praised the achievements of the Indian American community, and stated that San Antonio, the fastest growing city in the US, which is now the 7th largest city in the US. Kaul Singh Thakur, Minister for Health in the state of Himachal Pradesh, the Guests of Honor, thanked AAPI members for the Healthcare Clinic they had organized in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. He urged AAPI to adopt and provide healthcare in the tribal regions in his state, while assuring all possible support to AAPI and its members. Dr. Seema Jain, President-elect of AAPI assured the Minister from India that she will make every effort to comply with his request to provide healthcare in the remote regions of Himachal Pradesh. Dr. Jain wants to “develop a stronger relationship with AMA for preserving our interests in the healthcare policy.” She is focused on “creating a global health forum for exchange of ideas and information with other healthcare organizations around the world.” Parvathaneni Harish, Consul General of India in Houston, while pointing to the enormous amount of capital invested on the education of physicians of Indian origin who now serve work abroad urged AAPI to initiate a Fellowship Program whereby, its members could go to Indian Medical Colleges and educate the young generation of Indian physicians and students in Medicine. “That will be the greatest contribution AAPI can provide to your motherland,” he said.
Other panelists who addressed the audience during the Town Hall Meeting included Dr. Narendra Saini of Indian Medical Association, Dr. Ramesh Mehta of British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, Dr. Sunil Patel of Canadian Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage, Dr. Vani Rao, President of IAPA and John Meiners of American Heart Association. After congratulating AAPI for its visionary initiatives on healthcare issue, Dr. Robert Wah, president of American Medical Association stressed the importance of AMA- AAPI joint efforts in Advocacy. GM Vice President. Eric Peterson addressed the audience on how GM, which started its operations in India in 1920’s has evolved to be more culturally dynamic, incorporating the needs of the Indian society, Lance Tyler, Executive Director, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., addressed the audience on the Economic Impact of Managing Multiple CO Morbid Patient. Describing it to be a visionary initiative of Dr. Jayesh Shah, John Meiners referred to the 49 Resuscitation Centers that are functioning in India at this moment and said, “There are many more to come.” With an ever increasing need in reducing morbidity and mortality due to heart attacks and strokes, especially among Indians and Indian Americans, AAPI and the American Heart Association have undertaken several efforts under the chairmanship of Vemuri S. Murthy, MD, a veteran AHA International Volunteer and National Faculty. Nina Davuluri, the first ever Indian American to be crowned Miss USA was the keynote speaker at an inspiring Women's Forum Session. In her inspiring speech that was eloquently delivered to a packed audience, Davuluri, the reigning Miss America recounted her own personal story of how she stayed focused and worked hard to achieve her childhood dream to win the coveted title, sometimes even when her family did not encourage her. Davuluri urged participants to share "representative thoughts and stories about their experiences on how we as a nation can advance cultural awareness," through social media. “Today, we see so many successful women playing several roles being entrepreneurs and politicians. We are gathered here today to empower all these wonderful women. It is time to embark on a new journey of equal opportunity and acceptance,” Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy pointed out. Empowering women, cutting edge CMEs that offered insights into several healthcare and medical issues, focus on ways to actively participate in the nation’s legislative process, on ways to prevent diseases, while working with the government of India and voluntary agencies to effectively train physicians in India, cultural programs, healthy living, honoring those who have reached greater heights in their areas of profession, and networking and renewing of friendships and bonds were some of the highlights of the 32nd annual convention. Healthy Cooking by famed Sanjay Thumma, fashion parade by world famous designers and models led by Nina Davuluri, live musical night by Kumar Sanu, Vishaal Shekhar, and Senthil Ramamurthy and over 100 Exhibition Booths, Yoga, Zumba, Table Tennis and many other entertainment and networking for the young and the senior physicians were a delight to the participants who came from across the nation to participate in the 32nd annual convention. During the first of its kind, a formal concluding ceremony was held on Sunday, June 29th where the Convention Chair, Dr. Koli passed on the “torch” to the next Convention Chair, Dr. Amish Parikh, who will be coordinating the 33rd annual Convention in Orlando, FL from June 17th to 21st, 2015. For more details, please visit: www.aapiconvention.org and www.aapiusa.org.