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CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta Live at IPN Anniversary Meet

May 2004
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta Live at IPN Anniversary Meet

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta Live at IPN Anniversary Meet

Suchita Vadlamani Releases 2004 IPN Directory

In 1993, when a small group of about fifteen Indian professionals first gathered at the now defunct Heera of India restaurant in midtown, thanks to the initiative of Dr. Narsi Narasimhan, few of them may have envisioned the success their debut effort would lead to. On Tuesday April 6, close to 200 Indian professionals celebrated the 11th anniversary of this vibrant association called the Indian Professionals Network (IPN) at the Bombay Grill in Chamblee. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a nationally recognized senior medical correspondent for CNN, was the speaker.

Dr. Gupta, who gained popularity during the Iraq war with CNN's Live From Baghdad coverage, gave a chilling account of the events that engulfed the "Devil Docs" (a medical unit of the US Navy) in the war against Iraq. In his natural, down-to-earth style, he shared his experiences as a neurosurgeon, a medical correspondent and journalist.

Even whilst he was reporting for CNN from inside the tanks and the battlefield, he was faced with the dichotomy of operating and performing neurosurgery on five different occasions on the wounded including the captured Iraqi prisoners of war, in a forever shifting hospital, amidst a moving cavalry in the thick of sand-charged-air, he said.

The medical correspondent also spoke at length on the mindset that he had to develop in order to travel in the war zone, including preparing for being caught by the enemy. He also touched upon how the news media reporting operation works during a war, on objectivity in news reporting, his interest in influencing the policies that induce a better health plan for US citizens, his work at the White House during the Clinton administration and a host of other diverse topics.

"You are a tough audience" he remarked during the Q&A session that followed his address. In reply to a question on the Monica Lewinsky issue, he said, "It is a scandal and that is exactly what it is. I'll stop at that."

He strongly defended the charge by a member that CNN stood for Clinton News Network He was also asked a few questions on the future of healthcare in the U.S. and the prospects of him being appointed the Surgeon General, amongst others. When asked about his family, he spoke affectionately of his parents and of the typical Indian mothering his mom subjected him to.

Dr. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, is also a member of the staff and faculty of the department of neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and performs surgery weekly at Emory University Hospital and Grady Memorial Hospital, where he serves as chief of neurosurgery. He plays an integral role in the network's medical coverage, which includes daily packages, the half-hour weekend show Weekend House Call and coverage of breaking medical news. Based in Atlanta, he also co-hosts Accent Health for Turner Private Networks, provides medical segments for the syndicated version of ER on TNT, contributes health news stories to CNN.com and writes a column for TIME magazine.

The anniversary meet also saw the release of the 2004 annual IPN directory. Suchita Vadlamani of Fox 5's Good Day Atlanta cut the ribbon to unveil the directory. The directory was sponsored by Chand Akkineni, CEO of World On Line Inc., one of the founding members of the IPN. It's success was a result of the combined efforts of Dr. Narasimhan and his IPN email broadcast (list) management, Samir Das (HR Director of World On Line), who mobilized funds through advertisers, and Akkineni's sponsorship of the monthly meeting and the directory itself. This year's cover was the creation of graphic designer Sugandha Rose.

By Viren Mayani

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