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In the seventies and early eighties, the foreign medical graduates including those of Indian origin were facing increasing difficulties in verification of professional credentials, procuring residency positions and obtaining jobs in the United States. It was time to meet the challenge. During a visit to East Coast, Dr. Shaku Nagpal had learned about the formation of AAPI (American Association of Physicians from India) in Michigan in 1982; and brought back a suggestion to form a local chapter of AAPI in Northern California. The AAPIO (American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) Northern California was born.
In 1983, at a potluck dinner organized at the home of Drs, Inder and Arun Perkash at Stanford, Palo Alto, where a dozen Indian physicians and their spouses gathered to discuss the issue. The founding executive committee consisted of Dr. Shaku Nagpal as President, Dr. Desmond Erasmus as Vice President, Dr. Arun Perkash as Secretary, and Dr. Jagat Satia as Treasurer. This executive committee had the daunting task to develop agenda, compile a list of local physicians, inform and recruit new members, collect seed money, develop a political branch, organize meetings on meager resources and disseminate information in the pre-computer and pre-internet times!! The hard work of the first and then subsequent officers has continually shaped the organization into a stronger, vibrant and purposeful entity.
AAPIO hosted the national AAPI convention in San Francisco in 1988. Local allied health professionals joined AAPI in 1991. In 1992, the AAPIO was registered as a non-profit organization.
Initially, the agenda of AAPIO was primarily was focused on international medical graduates, but now many second generation Indo-Americans are graduating from American medical schools. AAPIO is expanding its programs, evolving with the changing times; and, now, it is considered a well-recognized ethnic physician organization in California. It has developed close working relationship with California Medical Association (CMA), Department of Managed Health, Sacramento, and many county medical societies.
AAPIO regularly organizes community services and fund-raising for both Americans and Indians in United States and in India. Public education forums are held on medical topics. Social get-togethers are organized for members and their families. A directory of the members is maintained and updated periodically, and a quarterly newsletter is published.