Last month, when Dr Anupama Gotimukula -- a paediatric anaesthesiologist from Texas' San Antonio -- took over as the president of the influential American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI
), she became the fourth woman in the history of the 40-year-old organisation to hold its top office.
And not just Gotimukula, but Dr Kusum Punjabi serves as the chair of AAPI board of trustees, Dr Soumya Neravetla
as president of the young physicians section (YPS) and Dr Ayesha Singh as president of the medical student/residents and fellows section (MSRF). During the 2020-21 period, the organisation has gained strong women leadership.
Dr Anjana Samadder
, who serves as the vice president of AAPI, is in succession for the top leadership position in 2023-24.
"It’s been truly historic and a very proud moment for AAPI to have a majority of the current leadership of this noble organisation being held by women leaders," Gotimukula, who has been practising since 2007 along with being an active member and leader of AAPI for over a decade, said when taking over the office. "Never has there ever been such a strong representation of women leaders in AAPI's leadership positions. It's been a privilege and a challenge to lead AAPI as the organisation celebrates 40 years of dedicated service to the United States, India and the world."
Serving one in every seven patients in the US, AAPI members care for millions every day. Several of them have risen to hold high flying jobs, shaping policies, programmes and inventions that shape the landscape of healthcare in the US and around the world.
Dr Kusum Punjabi, a young and energetic leader of AAPI, assumed office as the chair of the board of trustees along with Gotimukula. The youngest to be holding this position in AAPI's history, Punjabi said, "My goal as chair of the board is to develop long lasting programmes within AAPI that promote professionalism, unity, mentorship and inclusivity. I hope to clearly re-define AAPI’s mission of service, academic achievement and supporting Indian physicians working in America through advocacy and leadership. I want patients to know the value of the care they receive from our ethnic group and our mission of promoting the safest and best healthcare practices for our patients."
Dr Samadder, vice president of AAPI, shared her vision "to help build an ethically strong, morally straight and fiscally responsible organisation. It is also vitally important to bring much needed diversity to keep AAPI thriving."
A second generation Indian-American born, raised and educated in the US, Dr Neravetla, president of YPS, is a cardiothoracic surgeon actively engaged in the welfare of physicians of Indian origin and the general public. A popular medical speaker, she has given several talks to medical communities.
"Empowering Indian physicians and fostering career growth have been passions of mine," Neravetla said. In her new role at AAPI, she hopes "to increase career networking and mentorship opportunities, and arm physicians and physicians in training with tools to better navigate their careers."
Ayesha Singh, a fourth year medical student at the University of Louisville
, had joined AAPI in 2017 and held her first leadership position on the MSRF board as secretary in 2018. In 2019, she was elected as MSRF vice president. Singh's vision for MSRF is "to connect, inspire, and grow our community. I hope to further our reach to Indian-American medical students by developing the mentorship programme, providing research and academic opportunities, and hosting student-specific events."