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GINA nurses balance mind, body, and spirit

By Mahadev Desai
June 2017
GINA nurses balance mind, body, and spirit


(Left) Dr. Sujatha Reddy and Dr. Udhayakumar light the lamp. 
(Photos: Anish Mathen and Seena Kudilil)

The Georgia Indian Nurses Association (GINA) had its very colorful and beautiful annual Nurses’ Day celebration on May 12, 2017 at St. Thomas Orthodox Church in Lilburn, Georgia. The ANA declared the 2017 Nurse’s Week theme to be the “Year of the Healthy Nurse,” focusing on “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.” Chief guest was Dr. Kumar V. Udhayakumar, Chief of the Genetics and Immunology Laboratory, Research and Development Unit, Malaria Branch, for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Emcees were GINA’s secretary, Jennie Mathen, FNP and the Executive Vice President, Deepthy Varghese, FNP. The evening commenced with the Florence Nightingale Nurses Pledge by Jennie Mathen, followed by the traditional lighting of the lamp by Dr. Udhayakumar, Dr. Sujatha Reddy, founding president of GINA Mary Jose, immediate past president Lily Anickat, current GINA president Vidya Kanagaraj, and senior most GINA member Rose Thomas. The American national anthem was beautifully rendered by Jasmine Anickat, and the Indian national anthem was sung by everyone present. President Vidya Kanagaraj gave the welcome address, thanking all the nurses for their hard work and compassion. She reminded them that when you are a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch you. “It's important to balance our mind and body because how we feel affects how we function.”

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(Left) Dr.Udhayakumar felicitated with a ponnada.

Chief guest Dr. Udhayakumar spoke about the importance of balancing our body, mind, and spirit, using personal anecdotes which resonated with all those present. His engaging and thought provoking address was peppered with humor.



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The red carpet was then rolled out, and all the nurses came on stage and received a rose from Dr. Kumar and a GINA lanyard from Dr. Reddy. A group photo was taken, followed by cake cutting.

All waited with bated breath for the announcement of the GINA Nurse of the Year Award. Betsy Augusthy, chair of the Awards Committee, announced that Shaini Moonjeli, NP, was this year’s Nurse of the Year. Shaini works at the Atlanta VA Hospital and is very highly respected on her cardiac unit. She is a certified heart-failure nurse and is responsible for compiling and publishing booklets, adopted by all the VA hospitals, for veterans waiting to undergo heart transplant. She is also very involved in her church and community. This was followed by recognition of achievements and professional advancements by Ancy Chemmalakuzhy and Jecy Mathew from the Educational Committee.

Affiliate members of GINA were recognized, as well as Mr. Parnell and Mr. Yinka from Grand Canyon University, Dr. Sujatha Reddy, Dr. Supriti Balyan, and Dr. Sreeni Gangasani from GAPI.

Dr. Reddy was introduced by Mary Jose and presented with a ponnada (shawl). Dr. Reddy has been a very strong supporter and a major source of inspiration to the nurses in GINA. Her remarks on the topic of mind, body, and spirit were spirited and inspiring. Dr. Supriti and Dr. Gangasani also spoke and promised to help and support GINA in any way they can, and applauded the nurses for their compassion and hard work.

The highlight of the celebrations was the cultural program, which included beautiful group dances by Merin Mathew and friends, a solo dance by Suja Moonjeli, and another beautiful group dance by Anju and friends. Attendees participated in games appropriate for all ages, conducted by the fun cultural committee of Beena Jojo and Shirley Parayil. The festivities ended with a group song performed by Lily Anickat, Agnes Karivelil, Cicily Kanjira, Vani Manoharan, Nirmala, and Vidya Kanagaraj. The whole team pitched in representing our diversity in language and region.

Vice President Scicily Joseph gave the vote of thanks. Upon conclusion of the fun festivities and evening’s program, a delicious dinner was served. The dinner was both catered and prepared with love by Vani Manoharan, her mother, and friends Nirmala and Anu.

GINA’s memorable annual Nurses Day celebration was a celebration of love, laughter, and kinship among all the nurses and their families.

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