The American College of Chest Physicians has elected Dr Kalpalatha K Guntupalli, the only woman president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin, as its first Asian American woman president.
Hyderabad-born Guntupalli is currently tenured full professor at the Baylorof College Medicine in Houston, considered one of the top 10 medical schools in the US, and also chief of pulmonary/critical care and sleep division at BCM.
She will be inaugurated as the new president of the 75-year-old ACCP November 1 in San Diego.
With 2010 declared 'Year of Lung' by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies, Guntupalli hopes the AACP will take on a leadership role in "contributing to celebrate lung health around the globe".
At home, her priorities are to make the ACCP the 'one-stop shop' "for education, practice, management, performance improvement and monitoring and the advocacy needs of our membership."
Guntupalli did her MD from the Institute of Medical Sciences, Osmania Medical College, Hyedrabad, before migrating to the US in 1974 to specialise in internal medicine.
She has received numerous awards including the prestigious 'Parker J Palmer Courage to Teach' award for 2007 by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, making her one of just 10 program directors to receive the honour.
She has also been honoured with the World Lung Health award by the American Thoracic Society.
Her particular passion is in the field of tobacco control programmes, and over the years she has developed anti-tobacco material in seven languages besides anti-tobacco cartoons for children, inspiring more than 2,00,000 children in India to spread the message about the acute dangers of smoking and tobacco chewing.
An educational CD titled 'Evils of Tobacco', developed specifically for South Asia and containing a 12-minute video documentary and 186-video augmented power-point slides for medical professionals, has been translated into Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu and Gujarati and is in use in dental schools, elementary and high schools all over India and the US.
Guntupalli was also the founding director of SHARE-USA, a non-profit that undertakes several projects in India including outreach, preventive and interventional care in rural areas. She has served on the board of Pratham-USA, a non-governmental organisation that focuses on literacy projects in India for over six years.