The 36th annual convention of the Association of Kerala Medical Graduates (AKMG) at the Downtown Marriott in Philadelphia, September 5-7, was attended by hundreds of doctors and their family from the US, Canada, England and India. The AKMG is a pioneering organization of Indian physicians in the US, which was formed three years earlier than the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.
Dr. Seema Jain, president of AAPI, noted that AKMG inspired the formation of AAPI. At the concluding public meeting, Dr. Jain said there are more than 110,000 doctors and medical students of Indian origin in the US. The number of medical students is estimated at 38,000. In some universities, more than 30 percent of the students are of Indian origin.
“In several states, one in four patients, consult a doctor of Indian origin. Nationally it is one in seven. It means that the Indian physicians play a major role in the healthcare in the US and their absence would disrupt the health sector,” Dr. Jain said. “AAPI continues to play a major role in in the health care in this country. We played a crucial role in securing the approval of Dr. Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom she met recently, is keenly watching the activities of AAPI and in his future plans AAPI has a special place. She asked all the Indian physicians to join AAPI.
The three day convention began with a cruise around Philadelphia. On the second day, Onam was celebrated with traditional festivities including a reception to King Mahabaili with Thalapoli and Chenda Melam followed by an Onam feast. Various seminars, CME classes and campus comedy night which showcased the artistic talents of the doctors were the highlights of the convention. At the literary seminar several doctors read their literary works including poems. Dr. MV Pillai, who moderated the event noted the contributions of doctors like Dr. Siddharth Mukherji and Dr. Abraham Vergese for literature.
During the gala on the concluding night, Dr. Alex Thomas handed over the charge to incoming president Dr. Sunil Kumar from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Kumar, in his in augural address, said, he will work to strengthen the organization and improve relations with other organizations like Fokana and Fomaa and also with organizations of other medical professionals. The attitude of the physicians keeping aloof from other medical professionals has no place in the US.
Dr. Joseph Mathew, convention chair, Dr. Narendra Kumar, former president of AKMG and AAPI, Dr. Aravind Pillai, former president of AKMG and current chair of the AAPI Board of Trustees, addressed the delegates at the convention. The cultural events include Amrutha Sandhya, a dance program by New Jersey based Kalashri School led by Bina Menon. The entertainment for the concluding night on Sept 6th was the Bobby Chemmanur Jayaram show 2015 directed by Nadirshah with star performers Padmasree Jayaram the film actor, Priyamani, the award winning film actress, Pisharodi & Dharmajan of Badai Bangalaw fame and an ace singer Unnimenon.
An aggressive move to enroll more members, especially youngsters will be launched soon. To attract youngsters, AKMG members will work as mentors for the medical students and those who wish to study medicine. As always, AKMG will continue the focus on charity activities and helping the medical colleges back in Kerala. He said AKMG will strengthen the relations with AAPI, which can work nationally. Dr. Kumar also promised to help Indian American candidates running for elections pointing that they deserve our support as part of our community irrespective of party affiliations. Dr. Kumar announced that the next convention will be held in Miami Beach in July 14-16 in 2016.