Welcome to AAPIO, the “American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin”. It is my great honor and pleasure to take over the presidency of our physician organization. AAPIO was established in 1983 with only a dozen members but with unlimited enthusiasm and energy. Today, the organization has grown to represent more than 1000 physician and allied health members. Our members reside not only in the nine counties constituting the San Francisco Bay Area, but also in North Valley (Sacramento) and Central Valley (Modesto, Stockton, Lodi). Over the last three decades, we have stayed true to our original mission of providing a forum for educational, charitable and social interaction among our members. We have had great successes in our endeavors in the past, but given the health care and economic needs of our communities today, we have to continue to work even harder.
This is a very critical time in American medicine. We are seeing unprecedented changes in health care, happening at a very rapid pace. The recent passage of the Affordable Care Act by Congress and the establishment of its constitutionality by the US Supreme Court will allow us to provide health care to millions of uninsured people. However, this improved access will come at a cost for every provider – whether they are in a single provider practice or a large multi-specialty group. We are already seeing a significant downward pressure on the reimbursements for our Medicare members as the Congress tries to reign in the nations mounting debt. To overcome this pressure, we not only have to be politically aligned as one group, one voice, but also become more economically viable by constantly improving our clinical efficiency and quality. We can do this by learning clinical best practices and office efficiencies from each other and applying them to our daily clinical practice. AAPIO provides a forum for its members to have such an exchange by bringing clinicians practicing in different specialties and practice settings together on a regular basis. Dinner lectures that we have had over the years have helped educate our members of the latest advancements in the different fields of medicine.
With the state of our economy showing record unemployment and lowest levels of health insurance coverage, the need for free and subsidized healthcare in our communities is at the highest levels that we have seen in recent times. AAPIO’s work with India Community Center’s Charity Clinic under Dr. Mahal’s direction and the AAPIO Virtual Clinic under Dr. Jain’s direction is providing much needed care to the indigent and needy population in our communities. The potential for expansion of these programs is immense, so please let me know if you would like to volunteer in any of these efforts. Our scholarship program for underprivileged students is yet another example of how your donations and membership dues help our charity work.
As I take over the presidency of AAPIO this year, I will be focusing on 3 important goals for our organization this year. For AAPIO to continue to expand its rich history of community service, educational, and social interactions we will need to work hard on all these fronts as outlined below. First and foremost, I would like to expand our membership. In the era of strict pharma guidelines, the financial support that we used to get from pharmaceutical companies is almost non-existent. To continue to support our charitable, educational and social goals, we have to rely on other sources of funding. One of these sources is the annual and life membership of our physician members. We have made some significant investments in making our membership system automated, which should make signing up for memberships much easier. So please invite your physician friends to sign up for AAPIO’s annual and life membership and support our programs. Also, since AAPIO is a non-profit organization, any donations you make to AAPIO are tax deductible and will be put to good use.
My second goal for this year is to make a significant difference in the communities we live in. We all came to medicine at least in some part, to be able to help our less fortunate brethren. However, sometimes it is challenging to find the right opportunities to make such a difference without making significant investments of time and money. AAPIO with its own programs and community partners provides such an opportunity for all its members. So please take this opportunity to ask me about such opportunities. We can use all the help we can get.
My third and final goal for this year is to better engage our membership. We understand that there are multiple and competing demands on our limited time, given our familial and professional obligations. However, AAPIO’s social events are the glue that holds us together as an organization and a community. This year my executive team has planned several exceptional events to make this social glue even stickier. Our first event this year is the SF Bay Dinner and Dance Cruise on Friday August 24th, 2012. Please click here for further details about the cruise. Our next social event this year is our Semi-Annual Dinner Gala followed by a musical concert by Shreya Ghoshal on October 7th. This event is expected to be attended by approximately 2500 people from our community and is the first time AAPIO has engaged in a social event of this scale. Please click here for details.
I wanted to thank you again for your continued support to this great organization. We really appreciate your feedback and input along the way. You have the commitment of my entire executive team that we will work as hard as we can to make this year a memorable one for all of you.
Akhil Wadhera, MD