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Physicians Converge In Atlanta For GAPI Annual Meet
Mr.Sam Olens with Dr.Jayesh Shah and GAPI Executive Committee. Photo by Sreedhar Vakiti.
BY MAHADEV DESAI
The Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI) held its annual meeting-cum-banquet at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia, on Saturday, April 30. The gala event was attended by over 275 members from the medical field and graced by the presence of the chief guest of honor, GA Attorney General Sam Olens and Science and Technology Counselor, Embassy of India, Dr. Debapriya
In his address, Attorney General Olens said he was very familiar with the leadership and values that the Indian community provides in metro Atlanta.
“Since January, we have spent a lot of time to work on relationships with the new Governor, new Legislature and new constitutional officers. Once sworn in, we have filed paperwork to be one of the 26 States that will fight the President’s Healthcare Bill as being unconstitutional. The case will be heard on June 8th in the 11th circuit. And the next stage will be the Supreme Court. The Healthcare Bill has made significant changes in Medicaid which will affect you all, so we need to get rid of the Patient Protection Act,” he said.
“So far we haven’t seen any proposals from the President for Tort Reform so I would urge you to get active and contact your Congressman, and your senators to press for Tort Reform in our State,” he added.
Dr. Debapriya Dutta, in his address said, “On behalf of the Ambassador and my personal behalf, I congratulate GAPI and you all for keeping alive the light of altruism for the past twenty years in this land of the cradle of humanity- of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.”
Dr. Dutta then spoke about the fast growing India-US ties which in 2009 were described by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as India-US 3.0. the five key pillars of which are strategic cooperation, energy and climate change, economics, trade and agriculture, education and development, and science, technology and innovation. He cited various areas in which US and India are working closely together in research and development. He concluded by commending GAPI for conducting the health fairs and initiating the GAPI Volunteers Clinic, and its support to Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation.
Earlier in the day there was an excellent CME program, with riveting, thought provoking talks on diverse topics,’ What the Plaintiff Attorney Hopes to find in your Medical Record?’ by Bettye Scrutchin, MAG Insurance; ‘Physician Financial Survival Guide2011’ by Dax Cooke; ‘EMR and its pitfalls of liability’ by Jason Muesse, Medicus Ins.; ‘A Comprehensive Retirement Strategy in a Rising Tax Environment ‘by Sanjay Prasad; and ‘How GAPI can help Healthcare Reform’ by Dr. Raj Gandhi.
During the social hour, the attendees intermingled and networked with each other, enjoyed Sai Murali Restaurant’s tasty snacks and also visited about 25 booths set up by pharmaceutical corporations, insurance providers, health care related businesses; and not for profit Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation. Anokhi Ada and Meena Jewelers enticed ladies with its array of colorful saris and sparkling jewelry.
Former CNN news anchor Pratibha (Patty) Tripathi, who was the emcee for the evening, recognized GAPI’s 2011 Annual Banquet platinum, gold and silver sponsors. Harish Thadani, President, Prime Agency LLC informed the attendees about the benefits of the Long Term Care Cash Product designed for GAPI members. Dr. Arun Khanna CEO of American clinical labs talked about his company’s services to heath fairs and the GAPI clinic.
GAPI’s Past President Dr.Bipin Chudgar said that after his beloved wife Dr. Daksha died of cancer in April 2009, he decided to create the Daksha Chudgar Lydia House in Augusta, GA., which will care for women fighting cancer and who need a safe place to stay during treatment. He appealed to the audience for help in completing the project. For more information, visit www.thelydiaproject.org
GAPI Secretary, Abhishek Gaur said that in accordance with the GAPI bye-laws, the board had received nominations from the General membership as below: Dr.Abhishek Gaur-president-elect, Dr. Piyush Patel- secretary, Dr. Indran Indrakrishnan- treasurer. With a show of hands, the attendees unanimously approved the new executive committee members.
Dr.Jayesh Shah, Sectretary of AAPI, said he felt honored and proud to represent eminent organization like GAPI nationally under the umbrella Organization AAPI.” I want to thank the Attorney General Sam Olens for telling the audience that tort reform is very important. We did it in Texas-with the help of patients. Patients have incredible power. If you have patients with you, any legislation is possible. So today make a vow that you are going to join Georgia Medical Association and get the Tort Reform in Georgia. Jayesh informed the audience of AAPI’s new initiative to enroll more members. For $100, AAPI member can nominate a young physician to be a life member. “The offer was so enticing that in the past ten months alone 1100 physicians took its advantage, so I am appealing you all to do the same. Please join AAPI in big numbers so our voice becomes more powerful and is heard in matters affecting our medical profession ” He concluded by requesting the gathering to attend the upcoming AAPI Convention in New York from June 22 to 26.
Dr. Gary Richter, past President of the Medical Association of Georgia(MAG), in his address said that MAG and AMA were working closer on Tort Reform legislation and urged GAPI members to join MAG and be more involved in the MAG movement, the leading voice of physicians in Georgia.
Former president of GAPI, and chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. P.B. Rao said GAPI helps deserving students with merit and need-based scholarships. The annual scholarship of $1,000 and a citation of excellence for their accomplishments, was given to three students; Hetal Patel, Reetika Rajesh and Rahul Joshi. The awards were given by GAPIs retiring Trustees Dr.Naresh Parikh and Dr. Shailesh Gandhi and GAPI President Dr.Gangasani respectively. Dr.Rao then lauded Dr.Naresh Parikh and Dr.Shailesh Gandhi ,who were presented with plaques in recognition of their outstanding services to GAPI.
Dr.Vinayak Kamath, Augusta GAPI Board of Trustees talked about Emory University in Atlanta being closely associated with Indians and India. “As you know the Dalai Lama, Salman Rushdie and countless scholars of India call Emory their home. Emory wants to build a India Center, which will promote study of languages and literature, will have a library, youth club and performing arts center. The visiting Distinguished Prof.V.Narayan Rao of South Asian Studies, has been teaching Telugu literature at Emory since 2010.The Koppaka Family Foundation has pledged half($750,000) of full endowment to support Prof. Rao’s permanent professorship for Telugu studies, if Indian community can come up with the balance. This is indeed a huge challenge and opportunity to bring India to the front and center stage in Atlanta and S.E.Region. I feel that with GAPI’s support we can do it and we should do it”.
Malla Reddy of Ekal Vidyalaya made a Power Point presentation of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation USA’s relentless drive to educate and empower children from rural and tribal India and appealed the attendees to help the Foundation.
In his presidential report, Dr.Gangasani said, he was happy that “GAPI has become an eminent and vibrant organization with about 800 members including about 300 life members. During the past year we had five regional meetings in Augusta, Valdosta, Columbus, Macon and Atlanta, and we conducted four health fairs in different parts of Georgia under the able guidance of Dr.Sujatha Reddy. After years of planning GAPI Volunteers Clinic has opened at the Global Mall.
Dr Gangasani said he was happy present the GAPI Membership Directory and Souvenir. Dr. Sujatha Reddy was bestowed the ‘The Physician of the Year’ award for her dedication in organizing 27 SAI Health Fairs all over Georgia.
He also thanked various community members including Global Mall’s Shiv Aggarwal, Dr. Indran Indrakrishnan and Viju Chiluveru, veteran journalist Mahadev Desai, realtor and Republican activist Narender Reddy and emcee Patti Tripathi for their support of GAPI.
Dr Gangasani also thanked his family- wife Madhavi and children Nikhil and Suma for working countless hours in putting together the annual banquet.
The incoming President Dr.Dilip Patel said that he felt honored and humbled to accept the post of GAPI president, and promised to do his best in helming GAPI. He lauded the outgoing President Dr. Gangasani for his hard work, determination, and drive.
After a delectable dinner, members were treated to a couple of fusion dances by Atlanta’s Naach Fusion Dance Academy and later Bollywood songs by Mumbai Masti Group from India. Mumbai Masti’s national promoter is Manpasand Group and Mustafa Ajmeri is its Atlanta coordinator. The singers entertained the gathering with some of the Bollywood chart-toppers, which immediately had the audience on the dance floor!
The GAPI Annual Banquet 2011 was truly a memorable evening for all.