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TAMA rises to the challenge; raises $50k for free clinic

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BY RAVI R. PONANGI

Atlanta, GA: TAMA (Telugu Association Of Metro Atlanta) rose to the challenge and raised over $50,000 for TAMA free clinic at a fund raising at Sri Krishna Vilas in Cumming, GA on Dec 12.The fundraiser was successful in reaching out to doctors, volunteers and donors who offered moral, volunteer as well as monetary support for the initiative.

The evening started with a prayer sung by Srivalli Kamsali followed by an introduction by Board Secretary, Nagesh Doddaka.  Chairman of the Board of Directors, Rajesh Jampala made an elaborate power point presentation about the clinic’s origin, operations and activities. Nagesh Doddaka also explained the day to day operations of the clinic and how the process works.

Members of TAMA Executive Committee and Board felicitated the volunteer doctors Dr. Charitha Suryadevara and Dr. Shyla Reddy who were present at the event. Dr. Srihari Mallempati, inspirer of TAMA free clinic, who was attending a family event out of town addressed the audience over the phone.

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani talked about the clinic being run by GAPI (Georgia Association of physicians of Indian Origin) and gave his ideas and inputs on managing the clinic. He talked about how TAMA can collaborate with GAPI in extending the services of the clinic to the community and also made a generous donation.

Hanuman Nandanampati of SVK Systems announced that he was impressed with the work that TAMA is doing with the clinic and would be donating $5000 towards the cause.  The event concluded with Vote of Thanks by Vice-President Venkat Meesala followed by dinner.

TAMA, an eminent organization that has been part of the Atlanta Telugu community for the past 34 years took an innovative step in its humanitarian outreach program by opening the free clinic at 5490 McGinnis Village Place, Suite 217, Alpharetta GA 30005. Established in 1981, TAMA is one of the longest serving organizations within the Atlanta Indian community. Started as a cultural organization, it has evolved based on the needs of the community, providing social service activities for people in need. TAMA has been involved in raising funds in time of need for a multitude of unfortunate incidents, be it the death of community members, fires at apartments as well as natural disasters in India.

The idea for the TAMA clinic started in the year 2013 when TAMA saw the need for helping the elders in the community who are visiting their children and did not have access to basic health care needs. And the idea came into fruition in 2014 with TAMA Free Clinic getting official recognition from Georgia Department of Public Health. Also TAMA is the only local ethnic organization perhaps in the entireUSAto run a free clinic.

By renting out an additional room alongside the existing TAMA office, the clinic became operational with a couple of registered volunteers (needed to be certified by GADPH) helping the doctors once a month. Starting in 2015 the registered volunteers went up to fourteen and with 6 doctors of different specializations working towards this goal, the clinic has grown leaps and bounds. Starting summer of 2015, TAMA Clinic is operating every week open on Wednesdays starting at 7:30 PM. And most of the times it has been open past 10 PM. General Checkups, Basic tests for Diabetes and Blood pressure are done at the Clinic. Prescriptions for basic ailments as well as dental related problems are also provided as needed. TAMA has also worked with Quest diagnostics to get blood tests done at a discounted price for people referred from TAMA Clinic.

As of now, TAMA Clinic has served more than 500 people and based on the average attendance will have served more than 700 people by end of the year. With the objective of serving visiting parents who may be uninsured or underinsured and keeping their needs in mind, TAMA has recently rented two office suites in the ground floor dedicating them to the clinic. TAMA free clinic has also started taking online appointments for expedited services and making sure the wait time is minimal.

TAMA Clinic received a Certificate of Appreciation from Georgia Department of Health for the outstanding contributions of the volunteers and staff at the TAMA clinic. It was no wonder that the clinic received this achievement as they have 2 to 3 doctors available every week and close to 300 volunteer hours spent in this initiative.

Srini Lavu, former TAMA board chair and current TANA foundation trustee told this reporter that TAMA free clinic was created by volunteers and they continue to be the heart of our organization. It is through the generosity of our doctors and volunteers who give their time, talent and expertise that we have been able to provide high quality health care to visiting parents, under insured and un insured. There are many volunteer opportunities available, especially for health care professionals, and we are always looking to expand our volunteer community. There are ongoing opportunities for individuals with expertise / training. In order to continue health care services, we are requesting funds from donors so that we would be able to consistently maintain the same level of service to the community. The major expense would be going towards the rent of the facility and the supplies needed. We are making sure to keep the costs to a minimum as we seek donations from the community. Please contact: clinic@tama.org and donate generously as every penny counts towards this noble cause. Donations can be made at www.tama.org/payments or check can be mailed to the following address:

5490 McGinnis Village Place, Suite 217, Alpharetta GA 30005

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