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GINA’s colorful and inspiring 5th annual Nurses Day celebration.

By Mahadev Desai
July 2018
GINA’s colorful and inspiring 5th annual Nurses Day celebration.


(Left) Dr. Laura Caramanica, Richard Lamphier, and Sara Gabriel lighting the lamp. (Photos: Ranju Varghese and Jennie Mathen)

The Georgia Nurses Association (GINA) celebrated its 5th Annual Nurses Day function on April 21, 2018 at the Snellville Senior Center, Snellville, Georgia. This year the theme was “Nurses – Inspire, Innovate, and Influence.” The colorful and joyous celebration was well attended by GINA members, their families, and friends. The program was emceed by the poised dynamic duo, Cicily Kanjira and Shirley Parayil.

After a warm welcome by the President of GINA, Vidya Kanagaraj, the traditional lightning of the lamp was done by the three distinguished guests Sara Gabriel, Dr. Laura Caramanica, and Richard Lamphier, along with the newly enrolled members of GINA, and the latest retirees Cicily Kanjira and Leelamma George. This was followed by a beautiful nurses’ prayer, and the singing of the American and Indian national anthems.

Chief guest this year was Sara Gabriel, the inspiration behind GINA and the founder and past President of North American Indian Nurses Association (NAINA). During her eloquent and inspiring speech, with the quotes, ‘Dream with your eyes wide open’ and ‘All of us are MDs: Masters of our Destiny,’ she spoke about her early days in nursing, about being an Indian nurse in the United States, and about how far nurses have come since then in terms of academic advancements and holding key leadership positions in nursing organizations.

Guests of honor were Dr. Laura Caramanica, Associate Professor of the Graduate Nursing Program at the University of West Georgia, who represented the Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition, and Richard Lamphier, Program Manager of the community program “Project S.A.V.E.” for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, who is the President Elect of Georgia Nurses Association (GNA). They represented the ‘Innovate and Influence’ aspect of the evening’s theme. It was wonderful to hear them talk about the importance of forming partnerships and bringing the various nursing organizations together to strengthen the healthcare system and to do more community outreach for the underserved population in rural Georgia.

After the speeches the nurses joined in the traditional Red Carpet walk to the song “I am a Nurse, a Force for Change.” They carried a lamp, and at the stage they each received a rose from the Ladies of Honor Sara and Laura. A group picture and joyful cake cutting followed.

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Vani Manoharan receiving the GINA Nurse of the Year Award.

Everyone eagerly awaited announcement of the GINA Nurse of the Year Award. Betsy Augusthy’s announcement that Vani Manoharan was the honoree was greeted with wild applause. Vani was presented with a certificate and the coveted award. Vani works as a nurse clinician in the outpatient unit of the GaCTSA, an NIH-funded research entity of Emory University, whose mission is to facilitate clinical research studies. In the words of Vani’s supervisor Dr. Joy Bailey, “This position requires demonstration of exemplary nursing practice, as executing clinical research protocols requires great attention to detail and precision. Vani consistently demonstrates those attributes. But beyond that, I can honestly affirm that, of all the nurses on my team, Vani is the one who persistently steps forward when we need someone to volunteer for projects, simple or difficult, intense or mundane, or needing immediate attention, and always does so with an endearing smile.”

Jecy Mathew from the Educational Committee recognized achievements and professional advancement of GINA nurses. Agnes Karuveli announced the winner of GINA’s Annual Undergraduate Scholarship award to a nursing student in India, Ms. Vismaya at St. Ann’s School of Nursing, Tuticorin, India.

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Recognizing Dr. Sujatha Reddy and Dr. Supriti Balyan (GAPI Clinic) for partnering with GINA to serve the uninsured and underinsured people of Georgia.

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Honoring Abraham Augusthy for his continued support to GINA.

GINA President Vidya Kanagaraj then recognized all the affiliate members of GINA. Dr. Sujatha Reddy, the founder and driving force behind SAI Health Fairs, received an award for being the most supportive and inspiring friend of GINA. Mr. Abraham Augusthy, CPA, was given a plaque in recognition of his selfless support to GINA and being an integral part for GINA receiving nonprofit status 501(C)3. Dr. Supriti Balyan and Dr. Sujatha Reddy were presented with a framed certificate on behalf of GAPI clinic for partnering with GINA in serving the uninsured and underinsured people of Georgia.

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The gathering was regaled with a beautiful group dance by the kids, a scintillating dance by GINA’s own divas, and a mellifluous song by Meena Joseph. Indoor games then elicited a lot of fun and laughter. Throughout the evening there were raffle drawings for door prizes.

The program concluded with a delicious dinner, catered and lovingly prepared by Usha Chandrasekar.

The memorable evening was a celebration of love, laughter, and kinship among all the nurses, their families, and friends.

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The gathering together with the guests of honor.

[The article above is a Website Bonus Feature, appearing only on the website for July 2018, not in the print/digital issues.]

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