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Honors and dignitaries mark Indian physicians’ annual meet

May 2005
Honors and dignitaries mark Indian physicians’ annual meet

The Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI) held their annual CME/Dinner at Crowne Plaza, Buckhead on April 23rd. Attended by most of GAPI members it was an evening dedicated to the cause, achievements and goals of GAPI.

Welcoming the guest, Dr Shailesh Gandhi introduced to the audience, President of GAPI, Dr Asha Parikh. Talking about the achievements of GAPI, Dr Parikh told the audience about their efforts in reaching out for community service by holding health fairs.

The special guest for the evening was Lt. Governor Mark Taylor. Speaking at the occasion, he lauded the efforts of doctors of Indian origin for their services to the State. "There is not a single hospital in Georgia where, one wouldn't find a doctor of Indian descent. I have a lot of respect for their efforts to provide Medicare to Americans," he told in an appreciative tone. "Yet I feel tremendously disappointed as more than 20% of Indian Americans are without health insurance," he carried on. He also told about his efforts in passing the legislation that allows a convict to have access to his DNA sample. "This would avoid wrong convictions as it had happened in the past, in several cases," he said.

The next speaker was Senator Justin Hill who spoke on the new laws which had been introduced in the State to stop high malpractice premiums which were causing many doctors to either flee the state or abandon their practice. "We want doctors to offer their services in the rural areas of Georgia too and these laws are encouraging for them to retain their jobs," he said.

Other prominent speakers for the evening were Representative Tom Rice and Dr Dan Hanks, a radiologist by profession and a member of Medical Association of Georgia (MAG). "All physicians must form a coalition to benefit patients and win important battles. Only when we all are together, can we create a clout to elect physician friendly law makers," Dr Hanks stressed.

Dr Vijay Kohli of AAPI (American Association of Physicians from India) appreciated GAPI's contribution towards furthering the cause of AAPI and told how AAPI had influenced release of grants for research in coronary artery diseases in Indians and an extension of AAPI CTC grant for diabetes. He also said that AAPI will, very soon have a representative in the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates. "There are over forty doctors of Indian origin who are working in various capacities in AMA. Also many Indian origin doctors are holding senior positions in many State Medical Associations," he announced proudly. He also informed that AAPI is stressing on the need of having an Emergency call number like 911 for India too. "We talked to the PM about this on his last visit."

The evening also saw felicitation of some outstanding achievers of the community as Dr P.V. Rao along with Lt governor Mark Taylor gave away plaques and cash prizes. Dr Jagdish N Sheth was awarded for `Outstanding Achievement in Marketing Education by a Person of Indian Origin,' by the Parikh Family Foundation (Dr Naresh and Dr Asha Parikh). The other recipients were Dr Shweta Shah and Dr Harish Amin from Augusta, Georgia who were awarded for, `Academic Achievement for Student of Indian Origin,' based on their USMLE scores.

Dr Sheth in his address said that he feels that human capital is the most precious capital and India is in abundance of it. "In the coming years, India, China and USA will be the leading powers and we have to learn to understand each other to be mutually beneficial. Indians are holding key positions in U.S. and now Indian companies are hiring Americans for top positions. China too is coming close to India, so it's an environment of mutual dependence," he told.

Later in the evening Shyam Reddy who has recently announced his candidacy for Secretary of State told the audience about how proud he feels about the achievements of Indians in the U.S. be it in banking, media, medicine, law and other fields. "What we lack though contributing immensely to the US economy is representation in governance. We need to have more public policy shapers of Indian origin," he stressed. "I see myself as the next Secretary of State," was his concluding promise in line with the thoughts of LT. Governor Taylor in the early part of the evening.

The evening also saw Dr Harshad Patel and Mr. Jayant Patel from BAPS Medical Services and BAPS International Care relate their achievements in various activities in which BAPS is involved. They told about BAPS Pramukhswami Hospital in Surat, a state of art facility, working for the cause of needy.

The evening concluded with the introduction of new office bearers of GAPI. Dr Bipin Chudagar is the new President; Dr Shailesh Gandhi, the new Vice President and Dr Sudhakar Jonalagada, the new Secretary.

AAPI will be holding its national convention in Atlanta in 2006. The President of AAPI for 2006 will be Dr Vijay Kohli while Dr Naresh Parikh will be the Chairperson for the event along with Dr Bipin Chudagar as the Co-Chairperson. Dr Shailesh Gandhi will be the President of GAPI for the Year 2006.

Swati Bajpai

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