Chicago IL: Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has vowed to make AAPI a premium healthcare leader, primarily focusing to improve and reform the current healthcare system and help towards making a better healthcare model for the patients; create awareness projects on major chronic diseases burdening our health care system through Lifestyle modifications; establish a support system to members going through racial discrimination in the US; support AAPI legislative efforts to make healthcare better and affordable to all and promote charitable activities globally.
During a solemn ceremony attended by hundreds of AAPI delegates from around the nation, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula and a new executive committee, consisting of Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect; Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President; Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary; Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer; Dr. Kusum Punjabi, Chair, Board of Trustees; Dr. Soumya Neravetla- President, Young Physicians Section; and, Dr. Ayesha Singh, President, Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section; assumed charge of AAPI during the 39th annual Convention at the fabulous and world-famous Omni Atlanta at CNN Center and Georgia World Congress Center on July 4th, 2021.
Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalgadda, the outgoing President of AAPI passed on the gavel to Dr. Gotimukula, who will lead AAPI as its President in the year 2021-2022, the largest Ethnic Medical Organization in the United States, representing the interests of the over 100,000 physicians including Medical Students and Fellows of Indian origin in the United States, serving one in seven patients in the US and in many ways contributing to the shaping of the healthcare delivery for the past four decades.
A resident of San Antonio, TX, Dr.Gotimukula is a board-certified Pediatric Anesthesiologist, practicing since 2007, is affiliated with Christus Santa Rosa, Baptist, and Methodist Healthcare systems in San Antonio. After graduating with distinction from Kakatiya Medical College, NTR University of Health Sciences in India, she did Residency at the University of Miami & University of Illinois, and a Fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan.
As a Healthcare Leader, Dr. Gotimukula recognizes that “AAPI has power. We have legitimate respect and trust in our communities in every corner of America. AAPI will leverage that power of our purpose and networks to help address specific challenges related to affordable healthcare delivery.
Dr. Kusum Punjabi, a very young and energetic leader of AAPI, assumed office as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of AAPI on July 4th. The youngest to date to be holding this position in AAPI’s 40 years long history and the first person to go to medical school in the USA, Dr. Punjabi completed her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in Biology and Economics and graduated with high honors as a Henry Rutgers Scholar. She, then completed MD/MBA program from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers Business School.
Holding leadership roles while a student, Dr. Punjabi says, “I was the Class President in medical school and got the Deans Award that year. I then went to Philadelphia and completed my residency in Emergency Medicine from Drexel University – Hahnemann University Hospital. For the past 12 years, I work as an Emergency Physician at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in NJ serving our local community and teaching at the Medical school as Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine.”
Dr. Punjabi has served many board positions at American Medical Association (AMA,) women’s section and young physicians section and at the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) for the past 12 years starting in the Young Physician sections. I have led community service projects, organized webinars and conferences, written in AAPI newsletters and journals. I have won several national elections of AAPI before being unanimously elected as Chair of the Board.
Dr. Punjabi says, “My goal as Chair of the Board is to develop long-lasting programs within AAPI that promote professionalism, unity, mentorship, and inclusivity. I hope to clearly re-define AAPI’s mission of service, academic achievement, and supporting Indian Physicians working in America through advocacy and leadership. I want patients to know the value of the care they receive from our ethnic group and our mission of promoting the safest and best healthcare practices for our patients.
Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect is a Board Certified Psychiatrist with additional qualifications in Addiction, Geriatric, and Forensic Psychiatry, and serves as Psychiatric Medical Director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services. A former Clinical Asst. Professor of Psychiatry, the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University, Dr. Kolli had served as the President-Elect in 2020-21, Secretary of AAPI 2019-20, Regional Director of AAPI 2017-18, Past President of Pittsburgh Chapter of AAPI (TAPI), Past President of Rangaraya Medical College Alumni of North America and as the Past President of Association of Telugu Medical Graduates in the USA.
“In my role as the President-Elect of AAPI, I will be working closely with the entire AAPI leadership to make AAPI a more dynamic and vibrant organization playing a meaningful and relevant part in advocating health policies and practices that best serve the interests of all patients and promoting the physician’s role as the leaders of the team-based health care delivery,” Dr. Kolli says. “We will work together to promote our values of professionalism, collegiality, excellence in patient care and enhance AAPI’s reputation as a premier professional organization offering educational programs and advocacy.”
Dr. Kolli wants to “focus on battling the stigma of mental illness and access to quality mental health care broadly. I will be forming liaisons with mental health professionals in India and globally and bring awareness of various biopsychosocial therapeutic options to promote wellness and recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders. We will also actively promote physician wellness and self-care to address the challenges of physician burnout and suicide.”
Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI, said, “My journey with AAPI in the past 20 years taught me lots of lessons, skills and molded me to take more responsibility in the organization. My ordeal with Covid -19 was hard, but it also made me strong, resilient, and tenacious. I will bring to the organization the level of commitment, hard work, experience, and skill set needed to accomplish the various goals for AAPI and its members.”
Dr.Anjana Samadder has shown great leadership qualities which she proved during her tenure as local chapter President (Central Ohio), Regional Director(Ohio and Michigan), and AAPI National Treasurer. She has also served diligently in different capacities within AAPI including being National Coordinator for AAPI Annual Convention, 2018 in Columbus. Dr. Samaddar served as the Chair of, AAPI Women’s Forum and has organized the first live conference of this year in Tampa, Florida (March 19 to 21,2021) with great success. Her vision for AAPI is “to help build an ethically strong, morally straight, and fiscally responsible organization. It is also vitally important to bring much-needed diversity to keep AAPI thriving.”
Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said, “I want to assure you that I will sincerely work for the betterment of our beloved organization, AAPI.” A board-certified hematologist and oncologist from Dayton, Ohio, practicing Medicine for nearly two decades, Dr. Kathula is a clinical professor of medicine at Wright State University- Boonshoft school of medicine, Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India in 1992. He has been actively involved in community service locally, nationally, and internationally for the last two decades. He has been awarded the “Man of the year-2018, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. ’”
Dr. Kathula has served in numerous capacities, before being elected as the Treasurer of AAPI-2020-21. He had served as the Chair, IT Committee- 2019-20; Editor, Enewsletter-2019-20; a member of AAPI’s Board of Trustees- 2014-17; and Regional Director- 2012-14, in addition, t several roles at the local and regional level. He has served as the President and founding member of the Association of Indian Physicians from Ohio; President, Miami Valley Association of Physicians of Indian Origin; President, ATMGUSA; and has worked with Ohio State Medical Association on various issues.
A recipient of several Community Service/Awards, Dr. Kathula wants to “Make AAPI a mainstream organization and work on issues affecting physicians including physician shortage, burnout, and credentialing, while leveraging the strength of 100,000 doctors at the legislative level.” Another area, he wants to work is to “Encourage and engage next generation/young physicians in AAPI activities. While working closely with other physician organizations such as AMA.”
Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI said, “I am honored to be elected as the Treasurer of national AAPI. As an organization, AAPI is committed to increasing young physicians’ knowledge base, enhancing their careers, and empowering them to play a key role in healthcare advocacy and community service. I will continue my dedicated work of several years helping fulfill our mission.”
Dr. Krishan Kumar is a pediatric emergency medicine physician in East Meadow, New York, and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Nassau University Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital. A recipient of the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Award, Dr. Krishan Kumar, served as the Chair and Program Director, Department of Pediatrics, Nassau University Medical Center, from January, 2017-April 2019. Dr. Kumar is a Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at NY College of Osteopathic Medicine and a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at NY College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has served as the Medical Director, Fire Police EMS Academy- County of Nassau, NY from 2000 to January 2019.
Dr. Kumar was recognized among America’s Top Pediatricians by Consumer’s Research Council of America- Excellence 2010. The Congressional Certificate of Merit Award- given by Peter King, Chairman, Home Land Security, for “In recognition of being awarded the 2011 community service and leadership award by the South Asian Political Action Committee in October 2011.
The growing influence of physicians of Indian heritage is evident, as increasingly physicians of Indian origin hold critical positions in the healthcare, academic, research, and administrative positions across the nation. We the physicians of Indian origin are proud of our great achievements and contributions to our motherland, India, our adopted land, the US, and in a very significant way to the transformation of the Indo-US relations.
Serving 1 in every 7 patients in the US, AAPI members care for millions of patients every day, while several of them have risen to hold high flying jobs, shaping the policies and programs, and inventions that shape the landscape of healthcare in the US and around the world.
“As we look forward to the future beyond COVID-19, we at AAPI have so much more room to grow and serve,” Dr. Gotimukula said. “I challenge myself, my Executive Committee, and you all, my AAPI colleagues, to rise up to the task of building on our accomplishments and successes over the last several years. My team and I have defined several goals for this year to further AAPI’s mission, along three key dimensions.” Dr. Gotimukula urged AAPI to “improve health equity; get rid of discrimination; fight South Asian racial bias; reduce physician burnout; and, improve the career trajectory of the younger generation of Indian American doctors who will be taking care of us as we age.”