By Prashant Shah
Chicago: Indian American Medical Association (IL), on November 17, celebrated its 38th annual gala at Ashton Place, Willowbrook, Illinois.
The theme of this year gala was “Share Our Pride: Celebrating Our Workplace.” Over 300 people attended the banquet to witness the success of IAMA.
During its 38 years of establishment, IAMA has developed programs for its members to further their knowledge through high-quality continuing medical education (CME) programs and workshops. As a key member of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), IAMA also represents the interest of international medical graduates of Indian origin within the mainstream of organized American medicine. Its charitable foundation is dedicated to serving the underprivileged members of the community.
IAMA also organizes community seminars related to public health issues and encourages cultural and social activities of India heritage. The activities of IAMA (IL) are on-going and designed to serve the needs of the physicians of Indian origin in Illinois.
At the gala, several distinguished professionals were honored and recognized for their services to the community. Dr. Satya Ahuja and Dr. Asok K. Ray were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards for their years of excellent services in the medical field. During their decades of services both the physicians were loaded with many honors and awards.
Dr. Ahuja who is trained in specialties of internal medicine and nephrology, focused on serving medical needs of high risk patients suffering with kidney disease, many of them elderly and poor in some of the most vulnerable neighborhoods of Chicago. He is also one of the founding members of Indian Charitable Foundation Clinic in Chicago which cares for many uninsured compatriots from India.
Distinguished Physician Award was given to Dr. Paramjit “Romi” Chopra who believes the path to long-term success lies in treating patients’ spirit, mind and body … not just their medical conditions.
Dr. Vemuri Murthy, President of Chicago Medical Society and also the recipients of several national and international awards, was honored with Global Champion of Resuscitation Award. Dr. Murthy, who is considered “a pioneer of resuscitation education in Indian Medical Colleges” for initiating mandatory resuscitation training courses in all medical colleges affiliated with Dr. NTR University of Medical Sciences, Andhra Pradesh, has commended AAPI for its life-saving Community CPR training project for India and the US and thanked members of the CPR Committee. He has initiated an ongoing Community CPR project in India affiliated with the University of Illinois @ Chicago involving US medical residents. An International AHA faculty for resuscitation courses, he chaired programs at Annual Resuscitation Symposia in the USA, conducted resuscitation seminars and lectured at prestigious Medical Institutes in the USA and India. He is instrumental in establishing some of the AHA International Training Centers in India.
Special Recognition Awards were given to Dr. Bharat Barai, Dr. Virendra Bisla and Dr. Piyush Vyas.
Dr. Rajan V. Shah was honored with Young Physician of the Year Award; President’s Appreciation Awards were given to Dr. Sidney Jain, Dr. Terence Chiramel and Dr. Meher Medavaram; Community Service Awards were given to Tina McCauley and Dennis McCauley; Recognition Award to Dr. Kamal Patel and Dedicated Service Award was given to Heidi Garton. And last but not the lease, the Leadership Award was given to Dr. Suresh Reddy.
The banquet was graced by Congressman Denny Davis, Congressman Peter J. Roskam, Consul Genral of India Neeta Bhushan, Cook County Board President and mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle, Chief Medical Officer of Cook County Health and Hospital Syster Dr. Claudia Fegan and who is who of physicians’ community.
The outgoing president Dr. Sreenivas Reddy, in his vibrant speech, said: “Assuming the presidency of IAMA in 2017, I made a point to reconnect with the mainstream community and be an active participant in most events. Yes, I had an exciting action packed year during my presidency as action speaks louder than words. I have identified some core areas where IAMA leadership should improve upon and take an important role in working towards closing the gaps and forging ahead closing the gaps is the essence of our mission and forging ahead is the need for our executive team to plan ahead so that we may better emerge in the future and enrich and expand our programs to some of the core areas such as —
(1) To assist the international medical graduates in finding placements for clinical rotations and the residency slots;
(2) Legislative engagement at federal, state and local level needs to be done every six months on a regular basis;
(3) Liaisoning with managed care agencies to work on collaborate partnerships in the changing health care scenario; and
(4) To continue to focus on enriching the services at the Free Clinic and work cohesively with IAMA CF to reach newer horizons.
Concluding his speech, Dr. Reddy then passed the gavel to incoming president Dr. Niranjana Shah. In her acceptance speech, Dr. Shah stated “ IAMA needs to further project its message of adopting a lifestyle that embodies harmony and balance, care and compassion, and personal and spiritual empowerment. She declared the theme and focus in 2019 will be to address “ Physician Burnout”.
The Master of Ceremonies performed by ABC 7 co-anchor Ravi Baichwal and Shreya Singh. Standing comedy was performed by well-known Rajiv Satyal. Guests were entertained with live Bollywood music by Shahzad Dar and Troupe.
Dr. Vijay Prabhakar and his team must have special mention to make this gala a grand success.
By Prashant Shah