BY MAHADEV DESAI
Photos by Anish Mathen and Seena Kudilil
Atlanta, GA, May 31, 2017: The Georgia Indian Nurses Association (GINA) celebrated Nurses Day on May 12, 2017 at St. Thomas Orthodox Church in Lilburn,Georgia. It was a very colorful and beautiful celebration. The ANA declared the 2017 Nurse’s Week Theme to be the Year of the Healthy Nurse. It focused on Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit. The chief guest was Dr. Udhayakumar, Chief of Laboratory Research and Development on the Malaria Unit for the CDC.
The evening was emceed by GINA’s secretary, Jennie Mathen, FNP and the Executive Vice President, Deepthy Varghese, FNP. The evening commenced with the Florence Nightingale Nurses Pledge by Jennie Mathen. It was followed by the traditional lighting of the lamp by Dr. Udhayakumar, Dr. Sujatha Reddy, Mary Jose-, the founding president of GINA, Lily Anickat immediate past president, Vidya Kanagaraj, current GINA president, and Rose Thomas, the senior- most GINA member. The American National Anthem was beautifully rendered by Jasmine Anickat and the Indian National Anthem was sung by everyone present. Vidya Kanagaraj, the current president of GINA gave the welcome address and thanked all the nurses for their hard work and compassion. She reminded them that when you are a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch you. “ It’s important to balance our mind and body because how we feel affects how we function.”
This was followed by the Chief guest’s address. Dr. Udhayakumar spoke about the importance of balancing our body, mind and spirit , using personal anecdotes which resonated with all those present. His engaging and thought provoking address was peppered with humor.
Following his speech, the red carpet was rolled out and all the nurses came on stage and received a rose from Dr. Kumar and a GINA Lanyard from Dr. Reddy. Once all the nurses received their roses and lanyards, a group photo was taken, followed by cake cutting.
All waited with bated breath for the announcement of the GINA Nurse of the Year Award. Betsy Augusthy, the chair of the Awards Committee announced that Shaini Moonjeli, NP, was this year’s Nurse of the Year.This was greeted with wide applause. Shaini was presented with an award and certificate. Shaini works at the Atlanta VA Hospital and is very highly respected on her cardiac unit. She is a certified heart- failure nurse and is responsible for compiling and publishing booklets for veterans waiting to undergo heart transplant which are adopted by all the VA hospitals. She is also very involved in her church and community.This was followed by recognition of achievements and professional advancements by Ancy Chemmalakuzhy and Jecy Mathew from the Educational Committee.
This was followed with recognition of all the affiliate members of GINA by the President Vidya. She also recognized Mr. Parnell and Mr. Yinka fromGrand CanyonUniversity, Dr.Sujatha Reddy, Dr. Supriti Balyan, and Dr.Sreeni Gangasani from GAPI.
Dr. Reddy was introduced by Mary Jose and presented with a ponnada, certification, and award of appreciation on behalf of GINA. Dr. Reddy has been a very strong supporter and a major source of inspiration to the nurses in GINA. Dr. Reddy’s remarks on the topic of mind, body, and spirit were spirited and inspiring. Dr. Supriti and Dr. Gangasani also spoke a few words and promised to help and support GINA in any way they can and applauded the nurses for their compassion and hard work.
The highlight of the celebrations were the cultural program,which included beautiful group dances by Merin Mathew and friends, a solo dance by Suja Moonjeli, and another beautiful group dance by Anju and friends. The attendees participated in games appropriate for all ages, conducted by the fun cultural committee of Beena Jojo and Shirley Parayil. The festivities ended with a group song performed by Lily Anickat, Agnes Karivelil, Cicily Kanjira, Vani Manoharan, Nirmala, Vidya Kanagaraj. The whole team pitched in representing our diversity in language and region.
Scicily Joseph, the Vice President of GINA gave the vote of thanks. Upon conclusion of the fun festivities and evening’s program, a delicious dinner was served. The dinner was both catered and prepared with love by Vani Manoharan, her mother, and friends Nirmala and Anu.
GINA’s memorable annual Nurses Day celebration was a celebration of love, laughter and kinship among all the nurses and their families.