Narendra Kumar,MD

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AAPI's New Team Is Committed To Giving Back To The Society

Commitment of team members to work together effectively to accomplish the goals of any organization is a critical factor in the success of the group. The relationships team members develop out of this commitment are key in team building and team success. The new Executive Committee under the leadership of Dr. Narendra Kumar assumed charge of running the prestigious American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) during its recent 30th annual Convention in Long Beach, CA on June 25, 2012. The new cohesive team is committed to continuing to build on the lofty ideals of AAPI, says Dr. Kumar, AAPI's new president.

"The slate of officers for AAPI 2012-2013 comprise of individuals who are dedicated, industrious, experienced and very aware of the challenges that lie ahead," says Dr. Kumar, who has already been dedicating long hours each day to develop and execute a sustained trategy to take AAPI forward in the next 12 months and beyond. The members of the new executive committee consists of Dr. Jayesh Shah, President-Elect; Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, Vice President; Dr. Seema Jain, Secretary; Dr. Ajay Lodha, Treasurer; Dr. Durgesh Mankikar, Chairman, Board of Trustees; Dr. Kusum Punjabi, YPS President; and Dr. Amit Bhakoo, MSRF President. According to Dr. Kumar, "Each of them has been loyal 'foot soldiers" for the organization for many years. They bring to the table a team spirit, willingness to listen and learn, and the ability to adapt and change."

Committed to giving back to the community and to the enhancing of opportunities for the professional growth of the over 65,000 Indian origin physicians and 25,000 fellows and residents of AAPI, Dr. Narendra Kumar has been practicing Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery in Saginaw, Michigan since 1988. He has been involved in social, professional, and political arenas, while playing active leadership roles in various medical organizations both in USA and abroad. Ever smiling, affable and approachable, he is a solid leader in the AAPI tradition. His mantra is all about standing united and giving back to society. "AAPI has become a force to reckon with; we will all work together, stay focused and make you proud of our organization," he promises.

Dr. Jayesh Shah, the President-Elect of AAPI, is an internationally recognized clinician in Wound Management and Hyperbaric Medicine. A two-time recipient of Jefferson C Davis Memorial Award at the Gulf Coast Chapter, Dr. Shah is has pioneered the formation of Hyperbaric Medical Society in India and is a superb writer and educator and an international speaker and young published scientist. Dr. Shah rose through the ranks in AAPI and has conducted many leadership seminars to enhance the involvement of young physicians and has been involved with AMA as Chair of AMA IMG Section. "With it's extensive knowledge network, AAPI could advance the science of healing all over the world, " Dr. Shah says. As a premier organization, Dr. Shah wants to see AAPI being "respected for it's service and advancement of medicine."

The youngest president-elect of AAPI, Dr. Shah says, "I became a physician to serve and help one patient at a time. Joy of healing some one's wound, joy of relieving someone's pain can only be felt, not described," He wants AAPI to reach locations where AAPI has never reached before. "I am looking forward to AAPI having an administrative office in Chicago, a legislative office in Washington and an India liaison office in New Delhi."

Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, elected as the Vice President of AAPI, is a man of many interests. He combines his passion for community service with his passion for surgery. As a practicing urologist in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Jahagirdar has been one of the pioneers of robotic surgery in his field. As a grass-root leader, he had been instrumental in starting several AAPI chapters in Central Florida and chaired the Annual 2009 AAPI convention in Orlando.

Serving as the president of the Orange County Medical Society, Dr. Jahagirdar has been a long time delegate for the Florida Medical Association. He has had an active involvement in fighting the malpractice crisis which has belabored Florida. As an "early - adapter" he wishes "to incorporate cutting edge technology to enhance the AAPI image."

Having a flair for and interest in different Indian languages, and an avid traveler to different parts of the country, Dr. Jahagirdar has worked hard to make AAPI an all inclusive group. Chairman of the Hindu Society of Central Florida, Dr. Jahagirdar has a special interest in obtaining industry liaison and corporate sponsorship for conditions unique to the Indian Diaspora. "We have to ensure that our organization stays relevant to our younger generations," he reiterates.

Dr. Seema Jain, the new Secretary of AAAPI has over two decades of service to the causes of the doctors of Indian origin. She brings in a wealth of experience, and vision clubbed with infectious zeal and unwavering commitment. "At this time, AAPI is under strong leadership and the executive team is full of energetic and visionary physicians taking AAPI to the next level," Dr. Jain says. "My role as a woman leader in AAPI is to take up women's health issues in society; we as women leaders have a mission and goal to endeavor to create new programs for women's health." A superb organizer and fund-raiser over the years, Dr. Jain believes that the challenges the profession is facing both specialty-based and otherwise, need a strong organization, close collaboration with AMA and Political Health Committees. A practicing psychiatrist in New Jersey, she strongly believes in creating evidence based accountability for AAPI leadership.

Behind his quiet demeanor, Dr. Ajay Lodha, the Treasurer of AAPI, hides a power house of entrepreneurial skills. As the President of Queens Medical Services, Dr. Lodha has extensive background of overseeing quality assurance and quality improvement. A recipient of many awards for research and development in the New Jersey area, Dr. Lodha is involved in administrative activities at various Long Term Care centers. An active member of his alma mater, RNT Medical College, Udaipur, he continues to help in strategic planning of giving back and helping communities in the US as well as in Rajasthan. He wants "AAPI to be a platform in helping our young physicians coming from India to seek residencies and to help them in settlement and to get jobs." As a treasurer, "I will be completely transparent and will try to overcome financial problems and foster harmony and end regionalism and groupism," says Dr. Lodha.

Dr. Durgesh Mankikar, Chairman, Board of Trustees, has been a member of AAPI since mid-1980s. Serving as member of several vital Committees of AAPI, Dr. Mankikar has risen through the ranks to become the Regional Director from New York and New Jersey, Speaker of the House at Governing Body, a member of the Board of Trustees in 2010 and now been elected it's Chairman. Having served as President of New Jersey chapter and of the American Society of Indian Anesthesiologists, Dr. Mankikar has been very active in the Society of Anesthesiologists. His disarming and jovial persona hides a sharply honed sensibility of the rules and bylaws governing this organization. With his love of Indian Classical music, he wants to harmonize the relationship between officers and BOT: "To bring our prestige up as physicians and Indians in USA." As Chairman, he wants to "Make AAPI the Premier Indian organization in USA, make every Indian physician proud to belong to it, and have charitable works in USA, the land we chose to settle in."

Dr. Kusum Punjabi, the new energetic, dynamic, and attractive leader of the young physicians group, is the President of Young Physicians of AAPI. As an Emergency Room Faculty physician at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, she is a consummate multi-tasker. A Member at Large for the Women's Congress of AMA, her goal is to foster leadership amongst the young doctors and to improve awareness of AAPI. Dr. Punjabi has plans to undertake a five city networking event sponsored by the industry in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Atlanta. Media savvy and determined, Dr. Punjabi wants to use her "skills to improve the image of AAPI and to make AAPI aware of the issues confronting my generation of physicians and those still in training."

Dr. Amit Bhakoo, President, Medical Student, Residents and Fellows Section, is pursuing his Residency in Radiology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, he completed his undergraduate and medical degree from the George Washington University in Washington D.C. Dr. Bhakoo has initiated video teleconference sessions and hopes to obtain mentorship programs for AAPI. Looking forward to his tenure with keen enthusiasm, Dr. Bhakoo's vision "for the upcoming year is to increase membership, increase commitment to community service across the United States and further develop leadership and professional programs to enrich the educational experience of many of the members and enable them to further pursue their professional goals.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve you as your President. Let's start this 'New Year' on a positive note," Dr. Kumar told his fellow physicians, who had elected to him to lead AAPI. And he assured them that "we will put all our energy in the positive direction to restore AAPI's image, improve financial health, and bring unity, integrity and stability to our organization." Dr. Kumar was confident that the new Executive Committee will "work together for the betterment of the organization as well as the members and the people we are committed to serve. Being united staying focused, and make you all proud of our organization.


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