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GAPI Volunteer Clinic- An Innovative Outreach Program For The Community
Photos by Vinod Devlia.
BY MAHADEV DESAI
Georgia Associations of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPI), an eminent organization in the healthcare field took an innovative step in its humanitarian outreach program by opening a GAPI Volunteer Clinic at #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 300 Life members. It is well known for rendering sterling services in health care to the community.
The opening ceremony was attended by GAPI Officers and members, Georgia’s noted physicians and nurses from diverse specialties, members of the Gwinnett Medical Center, Republican Party activist Narender Reddy, BAPS Mandir Officers, Jayantibhai Patel and Pravinbhai Patel, Global Mall owner Shiv Aggarwal and was graced by the presence of Congressman Dr.Tom Price (R-GA) and his gracious wife Dr. Betty who were given a rousing welcome by the attendees. After Dr. Price and his wife met with and cheerfully intermingled with all the guests, Acharya Pandit Ved Joshi performed the Pooja ceremony chanting auspicious shlokas to invoke the blessings of the Gods on the occasion.
The Guest of honor, Dr. Price, GAPI President Dr.Sreeni Gangasani, GAPI’s past President Dr. Santanu Das, President Elect Dr. Dilip Patel, GAPI officers and Board of directors Dr.Piyush Patel and Dr.Abhishek Gaur, Dr. Indran Krishnan and Dr. Indira Menon took turns to light the Diya (lamp). Dr. Price went on to perform the ribbon cutting ceremony to formally mark the opening of the GAPI Volunteer Clinic.
Dr. Gangasani thanked Dr. Price and his wife Dr. Betty Price for gracing the occasion. He 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 through screening for diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer, 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; American Clinical Labs will do lab tests at discounted price,” he added. “Two physicians will staff the clinic each time. GAPI members, nurses and volunteers from the community will provide the requisite support to the clinic. 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.
“Michigan born Dr.Tom Price is the US Representative for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, serving since 2005. He is an energetic leader and a relentless and persevering problem solver. Dr. Gangasani said, “Republican Dr. Price is an outspoken advocate for patient-centered health care reform, energy conservation, and tax related issues. He graduated with an M.D. from University of Michigan and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Emory University. He and his wife Dr. Betty Price are good friends of the Indian community.”
Dr. Price thanked GAPI members and all the attendees for the very warm welcome. “ I feel truly honored to be invited to open the clinic today. In health care, the challenges are massive and the solutions we are trying to provide are to allow physicians, patients and families the right to make the medical decisions themselves and not from any undue influence from outside. And that is what this Clinic is all about-an opportunity to have access to health care—it is a safety net right here in our community. And I am fully confident that as Dr. Sujatha Reddy has suggested that each of the GAPI’s more than 800 members, volunteer his or her services just four hours a month, the Clinic will run smoothly. I am proud of what GAPI is doing. It is a vital portion of our community. We are blessed to have in our community individuals of Indian descent. They participate in a wonderfully positive way to make our fabric of our community so special. A community is more than bricks and mortar, more than buildings. It needs volunteers who stand up and help each other. Betty and I feel deeply privileged and honored to be here today.”
In his laudatory remarks Narender Reddy said “Dr. Price is a great friend of the Indian-American community and has been gracious to attend several functions in the past. In Congress, he has 100% record in favor of Indian-American interests, and he was one of the co-sponsors of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. It is very unusual for someone from the South co-sponsoring and he is the first one to do that.”
The impressive ceremony concluded amidst hearty applause as Dr. Gangasani presented a commemorative plaque to Dr. Price.