BY AJAY GHOSH
New Delhi, India: January 11, 2021: Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), was conferred The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) during the 16th edition of the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention, held virtually on January 9th, 2021. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards were conferred by the Hon’ble President at the PBD Convention in the valedictory session of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) is the highest honor conferred on Non-Resident Indians, Persons of Indian Origin or an organization/institution established and run by the Non-Resident Indians or Persons of Indian Origin in recognition of their outstanding achievements both in India and abroad.
Dr. Jonnalagadda was chosen for the prestigious award by the government of India in the field of Medicine and for his great leadership of AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the US, especially during the Pandemic.
Dr. Jonnalagadda, said, “I wanted to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the government of India for selecting me for the prestigious award. In recognizing me, the government has recognized all the medical professionals who have been in the forefront fighting Covid, including those who have laid their lives at the services of treating patients infected with the deadly virus. This award will strengthen the medical fraternity to recommit our efforts, skills and talents for the greater good of humanity. Congratulations to all of my co-awardees.”
Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda assumed office as the 37th President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) on Saturday, July 11, 2020, and committed himself to “make AAPI stronger, more vibrant, united, transparent, politically engaged, ensuring active participation of young physicians, increasing membership, and enabling that AAPI’s voice is heard in the corridors of power” .
AAPI is the largest Medical Organization in the United States, representing the interests of the over 100,000 physicians and Fellows of Indian origin in the United States, serving the interests of the Indian American physicians in the US and in many ways contributing to the shaping of the healthcare delivery in the US for the past 39 years. “AAPI must be responsive to its members, supportive of the leadership and a true advocate for our mission,” he said.
Dr. Jonnalagadda was born in a family of physicians. His father was a Professor at a medical college in India and his mother was a teacher. He and his siblings aspired to be physicians and dedicate their lives for the greater good of humanity. “I am committed to serving the community and help the needy. That gives me the greatest satisfaction in life,” he said. Ambitious and wanting to achieve greater things in life, Dr. Jonnalagadda has numerous achievements in life. He currently serves as the President of the Medical Staff at the Hospital. And now, “being elected as the President of AAPI is greatest achievement of my life,”
As the President of AAPI, the dynamic physician from the state of Andhra Pradesh, wants to “develop a committee to work with children of AAPI members who are interested in medical school, to educate on choosing a school and gaining acceptance; Develop a committee to work with medical residents who are potential AAPI members, to educate on contract negotiation, patient communication, and practice management; Develop a committee to work with AAPI medical students, and to provide proctorship to improve their selection of medical residencies.”
A Board-Certified Gastroenterologist/Transplant Hepatologist, working in Douglas, GA, Dr. Jonnalagadda is a former Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia. He was the President of Coffee Regional Medical Staff 2018, and had served as the Director of Medical Association of Georgia Board from 2016 onwards. He had served as the President of Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI) 2007-2008, and was the past chair of Board of trustees, GAPI. He was the chairman of the Medical Association of Georgia, IMG cection, and was a Graduate, Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (advocacy training).
His vision for AAPI is to increase the awareness of APPI globally and help its voice heard in the corridors of power. “I would like to see us lobby the US Congress and create an AAPI PAC and advocate for an increase in the number of available residency positions and green cards to Indian American Physicians so as to help alleviate the shortage of Doctors in the US.”