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The mantle of leadership of one of the largest ethnic organisations in the US - representing about 100,000 Indian doctors settled here - passed on to Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, the new president of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), at their annual convention here that was attended by India's new health minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan.
Jahagirdar was administered the oath of office by outgoing president Dr. Jayesh Shah during the presidential gala here Saturday at the just concluded 32nd annual convention of AAPI attended by nearly 2,000 delegates from across the US.
Harsh Vardhan flew in from New Delhi to be part of the five day AAPI convention at the Grand Hyatt Henry Gonzalez Convention Centre in San Antonio, Texas, one of the fastest growing and the 7th largest city in the US.
In his first presidential address, Jahagirdar, laying stress on maintaining core continuity, said he cares AAPI office bearers as "caretakers of established plans and projects, advancing progressively towards these goals with the vertically expanded use of diverse professionals"
Jahagirdar said his vision for AAPI representing over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin in the US focuses on five vital areas: Education, Community/Charitable service, Member Support Programmes, Mentorship and the Mantle, and Legislative Action.
Realising that AAPI was born in response to discriminatory policies, he said, "AAPI must not forget and should assist those amongst us who have suffered injustice. Mentoring the younger AAPI members is critical for our sustenance."
Expressing his belief that legislative actions are vital to effect change, he said, "AAPI should continue its traditional efforts, as well as work with other organizations for causes of mutual interest."
A leader with deep commitment for AAPI and its members, Jahadirdar said he wants AAPI to be an all inclusive organization that is nurtured by the collective efforts of its members.
"When I look back at the entire year, four words come to my mind - People, Pride, Passion and Promise for the future- our theme for this convention representing San Antonio's quatrefoil symbol," said Shah summarising his year of presidency.
Anwar Feroz, honorary advisor of AAPI, moderating the Town Hall meeting focused on 'Enhancing Collaboration between Physicians of Indian Origin Across the World and India', updated the audience on Swasth India Portal, which was officially launched by Harsh Vardhan
Vardhan lauded the great contributions of Indian American physicians for their hard work, dedication and achievements.
"I am proud of our community of Indian physicians for all the progress that we have made over the years, and I know that AAPI has been a critical force in making this process possible," said Dr. Vivek Murthy, President Barack Obama's nominee for US Surgeon General.
Earlier, the 32nd annual convention was inaugurated with the lighting of the traditional Indian lamp by Dr. Jayshreeben Mehta, president of Medical Council of India (MCI) on June 26.
During the reception at the historic La Villita in Maverick Plaza, on the banks of the Riverside, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, praised the achievements of the Indian American community.
Other panelists who addressed the convention included Narendra Saini of Indian Medical Association, Ramesh Mehta of British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, Sunil Patel of Canadian Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage,and John Meiners of American Heart Association.
ongratulating AAPI for its visionary initiatives on healthcare issues, Robert Wah, president of American Medical Association stressed the importance of AMA- AAPI joint efforts in advocacy.
Nina Davuluri, the first ever Indian American to be crowned Miss USA was the keynote speaker at an inspiring Women's Forum Session.
The next AAPI convention will be held in Orlando, Florida from June 17 to 21 next year.