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GAPI Volunteer Clinic- An Urgent appeal for more volunteers and patients!
BY MAHADEV DESAI
Georgia Associations of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPI), an eminent organization in the healthcare field has taken an innovative step in its humanitarian outreach program by opening a GAPI Volunteer Clinic in #736 of the Global Mall, Norcross, GA, on Sunday, March 27, 2011.GAPI was established in 1987 and it now has more than 800 members and over 300Life members. It is well known for rendering sterling services in health care to the community.
The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of Congressman Dr.Tom Price,(R-GA) and his gracious wife, Dr. Betty, and attended by GAPI Officers and members, Georgia’s noted physicians and nurses from diverse specialties, members of the Gwinnett Medical Center; Global Mall owner Shiv Aggarwal and dignitaries from the Atlanta community.,GAPI Officials Dr.Sreeni Gangasani,Dr. Santanu Das, Dr.Dilip Patel,Dr.Piyush Patel, Dr.Abhishek Gaur, Dr.Sujatha Reddy,Dr. Indran Indrakrishnan and Dr. Indira Menon proudly witnessed Dr.Price perform the ribbon cutting ceremony to formally mark the opening of the GAPI Volunteer Clinic.
Dr.Gangasani had briefed the audience about the Clinic.” This is a great moment for GAPI. Following the astounding success of the SAI Health Fairs initiated by Dr.Sujatha Reddy, where thousands of poor, uninsured and underinsured in the community have received free and effective heath care. GAPI’s past Presidents thought of extending the services through the GAPI Volunteer Clinic. Dr.Das started the process and the present GAPI officers have implemented it. The Clinic, under the Executive Director Dr.Sujatha Reddy will provide good quality health care, irrespective of race, ethnicity, or gender, on a regular basis. Initially the Clinic will be open on first Saturday of each month from 1.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. Later on it will be open twice a month and eventually every weekend. Labs will be done at discounted price by American Clinical Labs. My Special thanks to Carla Catalon-Scott from Georgia Community health volunteer program for working with us to provide liability insurance coverage through state run program. I would like to express my thanks to Jay Shankar and his team of volunteers for helping with scheduling and running the clinic, Seena Mathew and other members of the Gwinnett Medical Center for coming forward to provide nursing help and Surya Pandiri for offering to do free EMR. I would also like to thank the respected CEO of Global Mall and philanthropist Shiv Aggarwal for his generosity in offering the Clinic accommodation.” Dr. Gangasani requested all the members of the community to come forward to help with running of the clinic smoothly. He also thanked Dr. Satish Poddar, Dr. Dipak Patel and Viju Chiluveru for donating furniture and equipment for the clinic.
Recently I had an opportunity to visit the clinic and assess its functioning. That Saturday afternoon (March 3, 2012) Atlanta’s well known cardiologist Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, who has just returned from his India trip, where he attended 5th AAPI Indo-U.S.Health Care Summit in Hyderabad and later the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in Jaipur, Rajasthan. At the latter event, he had the rare honor and privilege of meeting with the President of India, Smt.Pratibha Patil.
After seeing all the patients at the clinic, Sreeni and his wife Madhavi Gangasani updated me about the clinic. The reception desk is manned by Madhavi Gangasani; Sreekanthi Vantipalli, Sonya Soni. Nursing support was provided by Opal Blake,R.N.;Sidna Gayle,R.N., Claudia Mammana,Medical Assistant;Anuradha Somsesula,Sonal Soni also volunteer as front desk help and Eligibility Specialists; and Seena Mathew R.N. from Gwinnett Medical Center helps as a Nursing Coordinator. American Clinical labs. is providing the service to clinic patients by doing labs at nominal price.
Surya Pandiri helps with IT work. Clinic has been approved for free EMR by clinical works. EMR(Electronic Medical Record) will be installed and updated in the next few months so that physicians can use it to provide better patient care.
The physicians who take turns to volunteer at the Clinic are Dr.Sreeni Gangasani, Dr.Sujatha Reddy, Dr.Jayasree Venkatesh,Dr.Hemant Dodani; Dr.Jay Sampat, Dr.Syamala Yerramilli; and Dr.Usha Musunuru. More physicians are being contacted to volunteer their services.
While we were talking, one of Dr.Sreeni’s patients, 79 year old Shantilal Patel from Stockbridge,GA.,came to profusely thank Dr.Gangasani for treating him and virtually giving him a second life. Shantilal informed me that in 2001 his physician and family had given up all hopes for his survival, when Dr.Sreeni serendipitously did a check-up and straightaway got him admitted to the St.Joseph hospital in Atlanta. When he was fit for surgery, Dr.David Langford performed a triple bypass. That miraculous surgery gave Mr. Patel a new lease of life. Shantilal is very thankful to all the doctors who treated him, particularly Dr.Sreeni. He, his wife and three sons always seek Dr.Sreeni’s medical advice whenever needed. His son was recently seen in the clinic and was diagnosed with life threatening condition and was treated in appropriate, timely manner. Mr. Patel is very appreciative of the work done at the clinic.
Dr.Sreeni said that on average eight to ten patients turn up at the clinic. All of them are uninsured or underinsured visitors to Atlanta or seniors from India visiting their family members. Some seek urgent help during emergency and are recommended to seek clinic’s help.
Dr.Sreeni said that he would like more people to come to the clinic. Spring is already here so there will be many visitors and visiting relatives from India. It is vital that the community knows about GAPI Volunteers Clinic and make good use of it.
Dr.Sreeni also appealed to all GAPI physicians and nurses to step up to the plate and volunteer for a few hours at the clinic. GAPI has initiated this humanitarian effort with good intentions and it is the duty of all GAPI members to ensure the success of the clinic by spreading the word at Health Fairs, at various events and gatherings and by word of mouth. Dr. Sujatha Reddy, director of the clinic and Dr. Sreeni Gangasani Co director would like to thank all the volunteers and Arun Khanna of American laboratories for doing labs at a nominal price and Shiv Aggarwal of global mall for providing the space to run the clinic. GAPI would like to run the clinic at least twice a month so that more people can utilize the services in near future. Please contact Dr. Sujatha Reddy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Sreeni Gangasani at Sreenig@gmail.com if interested in volunteering either as a physician or for other services.