American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin

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Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar
AAPI Convention June 2014
President’s Acceptance Speech 

For those unable to be there..

"Thank you Jayesh for such a nice introduction. Let me congratulate you, Dr. Vijay Koli, and the entire San Antonio team for a job well done. Mission accomplished.

I am deeply honored that you – my brothers and sisters of AAPI – have chosen me to be your president, to lead the largest ethnic and only Indian American medical organization.

San Antonio spoke about People, Pride, Passion, and Promise. Along those lines, I see my role to Preserve and Perpetuate … the lofty goals envisioned and the gains made so far…over three decades.

The AAPI edifice will stand on Panchasheel or the five following pillars.

#1 Education
Why does society honor us with an exalted position? The answer is Education. The cornerstone of our organization has been and will remain focused on Education. The accomplishments by our AAPI members in the academia have been astounding. We will ensure that these contributions of AAPI members in America, India, and globally, are chronicled and accorded due recognition. We will expand this contribution through networking and web based programs.

To quote a Sanskrit subhaashita:
Vidyaa dadhati vinayam, vinayam dadati paatratam.
Paatravya dhanamapnoti, dhanaat dharmam tatsukham.
Education gives humility, Humility breeds character.
From character one raises wealth, then righteousness
and ultimate peace and joy).

#2 Charitable Activities and Community Outreach
In India, AAPI has a stellar record – our 17 health clinics have served one million patients each year, and our Sevak and Nandi projects bring access to healthcare to those living in rural India.
In America, we have organized free healthcare clinics run by enthusiastic AAPI members and AAPI now has established a successful nationwide childhood obesity awareness program. Our charitable foundation continues to do exemplary work .. and we are proud of it.

Let me recognize Dr. Harsha Vardhan, Minister of Health for India, for his long and exemplary record of public service ….. Sir, you are a role model for us.

#3 Member Support:
The association’s original purpose was to combat discrimination as un-American, and provide a level playing field to Indian American physicians. Even though times have changed, sometimes our members are still confronted with administrative, legal, and fiscal challenges. None of us should have to suffer in silence from any injustice. AAPI has a duty to provide these members with support and comfort. The AAPI Ethics and Grievance Committee has a long track record of helping its members, and we will expand its role and provide funding. Alliances with legal institutions are being explored. I have a message for those who have been hurt – AAPI will not forget you.

#4 The Next Generation
AAPI has approached the coming transition to our next generation with supreme confidence in their abilities just look at the performance of our immediate past president. This is crucial to our existence and growth. Another example is young Dr. Amish Parikh, now appointed as Chairman for the next AAPI Convention in Orlando. And he is not the only one.
A fear of change has no place in AAPI as we mentor and groom the next generation. We will also support any new medical student, resident, fellow and young physician in their quest to rise in other mainstream medical organizations. Our Miss America is Indian American and our next Surgeon General will also be Indian American… and both of them are immensely proud of their heritage.

#5 Legislative
My friends, you do not know your own power. When AAPI speaks, people in Washington listen. A number of complex challenges confront us … of licensing and its portability, as well as increased residency slots are gaining relevance as our patients struggle to have quality access to healthcare. Rest assured, AAPI will always be on the frontline of these struggles.

I thank those who have made this personal journey with me. I want to thank my lovely wife Udita for her unflinching support during the past 35 years; my mother who traveled here from India at the age of 91; my mother-in-law; and my brother, sister, who are here with me today. Most of all, I want to thank you – my AAPI brothers and sisters – you are my extended family.

The aspirations of AAPI cannot be fulfilled by one person. We AAPI troops are passionate in service, but are not businessmen and event planners. And so we will welcome the participation of non medical wellwishers as AAPI builds a solid organizational fortress. Let us learn from the San Antonio Spurs who showed us how teamwork leads to final success. Constructive dissent is welcome – but discord is damaging, and has no place in AAPI.

Our Shakti is you – our members – I want to see you involved with AAPI at any levels. I am confident that we will achieve our cherished dreams for AAPI together.

I thank you again for giving me the opportunity to lead our great organization forward.
God bless America and Jai Hind. "

Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar
AAPI President

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