BY MAHADEV DESAI
Photos by ByteGraph
Atlanta, GA, July 9, 2016: The Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI) held its 28th annual convention and banquet at the Crowne Plaza, Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia, on Saturday, April 30, 2016. The gala event was attended by over 400 guests including physicians from all over Georgia and graced by the presence of Consuls R. Srinivasan and D.V.Singh. Invited guests included Thomas Pearson MD, PhD, Ram Subramanian MD, Stephen Pastan MD from Emory Transplant Center, John Harvey MD and Don Palmisano from MAG and special guest, Dr. Aravind Pillai, chair, AAPI BOT.
Just prior to the social hour at 5.00 p.m. there was a board meeting and followed by the medical education seminar consisting of CME and Non-CME segments and moderated by Dr. Jyotirmay Sharma and Hemant Yagnick. Among the topics presented were Obesity inGeorgiaby Ankit Patel MD, Genetic Diseases by Suma Shankar MD, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases by Jahnavi Srinivasan MD, Fabry’s Disease by Dawn Laney MS CGC, Novel Therapies for Artificial liver support by Ram Subramanian MD- all from Emory. Updates were also presented on pain management by Sanjeev Kapuria MD, infectious diseases by Tarak Patel MD and endobronchial procedures by Varsha Kulkarni MD- all fromAugusta.
The banquet was emceed with great flair, humor and infectious cheer by CNN International journalist Archith Seshadri and Ohio-born , popular stand-up comedian Rajiv Satyal. GAPI President Sudha Tata welcomed all and the program began with a mellifluous invocation prayer to Lord Ganesha by Amoolya Vayalapalli ,who also rendered the Indian National Anthem. The US National Anthem was sung by Ankita Vayalapalli.
Sudha Tata who has been with GAPI for the past ten years thanked her executive team for their support and invited Dr.Vijay Maurya, Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu and Dr. Syamala Erramili on stage. She said, as a transplant nephrologist at Emory, she was keen to promote awareness of organ donation and transplantation in the Indian community. April being National Organ Donor Month, she wanted it to be the theme of the GAPI meeting.
“Being involved in Outreach activities at Emory, I wanted to take the collaboration between Emory and community physicians to the next level by active engagement in GAPI,” she said.
Dr.Sreeni Gangasani is currently Regional Director of AAPI South and got elected as member of Board of Trustees of AAPI from July 2016 for three years. He is in charge of the GAPI Free clinic at the Global Mall, Norcross which is now open twice a month, on 1st and 3rd Saturdays, between 1-4 pm. He recognized volunteers Dr. Sujatha Reddy, Dr. Jay Sampath, Dr.Vijay and Darshana Vyas, Vidya Kanagaraj and Aravind Krishnan for their dedicated and caring services.
He appealed to the audience to volunteer at least once in a year. “I would like to see more Gapi members involved with these charitable and educational activities over the coming years,” he said.
Dr. Aravind Pillai, Chair, AAPI Board of Trustees lauded the impressive and energetic role of GAPI President Sudha Tata and the Executive Team. He requested the audience to attend the upcoming 2016 AAPI convention in Marriott Marquis,Times Square,New Yorkfrom June 30 to July 4. AAPI Secretary Dr. Naresh Parikh requested the attendees to become AAPI members and also to attend the AAPI convention.
Dr. Thomas Pearson MD, PhD Executive Director of Emory Transplant Center gave a broad picture and update on organ transplants. He said, though the number of people waiting for transplants has increased, the number of transplants has not. He briefly suggested ways to tackle this problem.
After his riveting talk, two transplant recipients Mustafa Ajmeri and Navdeep Singh Mann recounted their heartwarming personal stories of their transplants atEmoryTransplantCenter,Atlanta. Navdeep Singh’s wife Tejinder Kaur spoke about her experience as a kidney organ donor for her husband. Both cheerfully said that the transplants were like being blessed with a second life. Dr. Sudha Tata commented later, “I felt the highlight of the evening was the presentation by two of our transplant recipients and the kidney donor. The message about the quality of life with organ transplant is very important. I always tell my patients that our organ donors give gifts which are truly priceless.”
Dr. Manoj Shah introduced President, Medical Association of Georgia, Dr. John Harvey. Dr. Harvey said he had spent the day with over 50 other MAG volunteers of the MAG Medical Reserve Corps at the first training drill to assemble the surge hospital facility”.
Dr. Vikas Kapil who is the Chief Medical Officer of Global Health Initiative at CDC made a powerpoint presentation about the various activities and collaborations the academic and teaching centers can have at regional, national and international levels.
Santanu Das MD, Chair of GAPI Election Committee proposed nominations for the President- Dr.Vijaya Maurya, President-Elect- Dr. Raghu Lollabhattu, Secretary –Dr. Syamala Erramili and Treasurer- Dr.Hemant Yagnick . With a show of hands, the attendees unanimously approved the new Executive Committee members.
Dr.Sreeni Gangasani announced the names of new board of trustees including new chairman of Board of Trustees Dr. Dilip Patel and Dr. Abhishek Gaur, Dr. Piyush Patel, Dr.G.V.Raghu, Dr.Asha Parikh and Dr. Manmohan Gupta. As chair of the by-laws committee, Dr.Dilip Patel got the changes in the By-Laws ratified by the General body.
Former president of GAPI, and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr.P.B. Rao said that 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 four students: Anurag Sharma, Koyal Ansingkar, Harish Alappan and Silki Modi. Humanitarian Awards were given to Vijay Vemulapalli and Manojbala (Manju) Tiwari.
Vemulapalli, in his acceptance speech, gave a brief overview Vibha, a non-profit for which has been volunteering since the mid-1990s.
Manju Tiwari is the curriculum coordinator and teacher,Balvihar Hindi School in Atlanta. She is also the President of Yuva Bharati Sansthan.
Incidentally, during this same weekend the immediate past president, Dr Indran Indrakrishnan, was selected to receive an award as one of the top 25 most influential Asian Americans in Georgia by Georgia Asian Times . Earlier this year in January , he was honored with the globally reputed “Bharat Gaurav Award” and a Certificate of Excellence by the India International Friendship Society (IIFS) which confers this prestigious award to luminous personalities in India and abroad, who have made outstanding contributions in their personalized fields, including science & technology, education, politics and & social work. He is the first GAPI president to receive such honors in GAPI’s 27 year history.
Atlanta’s premier Nritya Natya Kala Bharati’s students in colorful costumes, with mini-lanterns in their hands and synchronized handclaps, enthralled the audience with a semi-classical sufi style performance choreographed by Samta Savla, on the song Bhardo Jholi.
A dazzling fashion show choreographed by Madhavi Korrapati was a visual treat for the audience. Children smartly dressed in black suits and ties followed the ladies and finally it was the turn of men. They teamed up with ladies and struck romantic poses to the amusement of the cheering audience.
The grand elegant décor, stunning lighting effects, music and sound system, photo and videography were provided by ByteGraph Creations.