The South Asian Times

15 December 2019 03:55 AM

Dr. Narendra Kumar leads AAPI to unique success

Chicago, IL:  “It is hard to believe that almost a year has gone by and now we are part of this historic 31st Annual AAPI Convention in Chicago,” Dr. Narendra Kumar, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) said in his welcome address at the May 24-27 convention at the Sheraton Hotel  here with nearly 2,000 delegates from across the country attending it. 

 Dr. Narendra Kumar had assumed charge of  AAPI at a critical time. Financial instability and infighting had resulted in the lowering of the morale among many members and past leaders of AAPI. In less than year, since a new and dynamic team took charge of AAPI, Dr. Kumar as its president can say proudly that, he and his team have been instrumental in restoring its image and stabilizing the finances of this largest ethnic group of physicians of any community in the United States.

When he took on the leadership role in AAPI in June 2012, during its 30th annual Convention in Long Beach, CA, this is how Dr Kumar had stated his agenda:  Let me assure you 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.” Today, to a large extent, he has accomplished his lofty goals. 

While its his leadership style and personal dedication that has tremendously contributed to AAPI’s newfound resurgence and enthusiasm, especially by bringing in many young and youthful leaders to the front, Dr. Kumar is quick to give credit to his team for the turnaround in AAPI in a short period. “It is indeed a privilege to work with a dedicated group of leaders in the Executive Committee and Governing Body,” he says. “It was their hard work and dedication which helped to conduct the activities for the past year. We are grateful that we could overcome at least some of crucial challenges we were facing as an organization.”

In his efforts to lead this premier, three decades old  organization, Dr. Kumar has been assisted by his dedicated Executive Committee comprising Dr. Jayesh Shah, President-Elect; Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, Vice President; Dr. Seema Jain, Secretary; Dr. Ajay Lodha, Treasurer; Dr. Durgesh Mankikar; Dr. Kusum Punjabi, YPS President; and Dr. Amit Bhakoo, MSRF President.

A Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) awardee, Dr. Kumar has ascended to prominence in AAPI with his decades of hard work and dedication for the organization and the people it is committed to serve. As a Regional Director of AAPI, he had attended almost all the local AAPI chapter meetings in his region in an attempt to serve as a liaison between the local chapters and the national organization, and he was instrumental in recruiting over 170 new AAPI patron members during this time.

On the most pressing need of AAPI when he took charge of AAPI, Dr. Kumar was more than successful in bringing in stability.

 “We were able to run AAPI office and its functions without major financial strain, which runs to $450,000 per annum. Together, we were able to raise over a million dollar from pharmaceutical companies in the past 10 months,” Dr. Kumar says. Dr. Jayesh Shah, who has worked with him very closely, affirms this. “Dr. Kumar has uniquely raised the bar for AAPI in several areas, especially by improving the financial health of AAPI, by expanding our mission in India and through opening a new charitable clinic in Kerala.” It was to Dr Kumar’s credit that AAPI was able to repay the loan of $175,000 to the Board of Trustee Fund in Oct 2012 and contributed $35,000 to AAPI Charitable Foundation.

The Multi-City Educational Tour & Shreya Ghoshal Program, which had generated $1.25 million profit that was shared by national AAPI and local host chapters, was a dream project for Dr. Kumar. It was his vision and risk taking that helped bring the Chapters together and brought in a much needed financial stability to this organization. Yet another area where Dr. Kumar saw opportunities for AAPI was through developing closer ties with Industry partners by generating confidence, trust and value for mutual collaboration and partnership. “We have been able to create a platform for a long-term strategic alliance with Industry partners which has a potential for long term financial stability for the organization,” Dr. Kumar says. The first ever AAPI National Golf Classic in Orlando, he had initiated, “could potentially bring beneficial outcome from our industry/business partners to our organization.”

Dr Kumar further says, "It's been a privilege for me to be associated with AAPI because I recognize the tremendous role that is being played by AAPI in promoting friendship between India and the United States. And we will carry on this responsibility of ours with greater commitment. As members of AAPI, we have not forgotten our roots and are engaged in several activities such as conducting Indo-US Healthcare Summit in Kochi last year that helped us blaze new trail in healthcare sector in India and paved the way for new frontiers in public private partnership.”

The Healthcare Summit, which was attended by over 1,500 including 400 international delegates, created a strong platform for AAPI on a global level, to a large extent proved Dr. Kumar’s organizational abilities. Unlike the past events, Dr. Kumar says, “We have been successful in paying for all the expenses through local sponsorship and were able to make a profit of $23,500 to AAPI.”

 Stability of the organization is vital for the success of any group.  “Under the leadership of Dr. Jayesh Shah and his Bylaws committee, we were able to make some positive changes,” Dr. Kumar says. “We tried to build partnership with component chapters for mutual benefit through multi-city educational programs and AAPI accredited CME activities. We brought some of the sub-specialty chapters even closer by providing value added benefits.” The grand success of the Legislative Day on Capitol Hill, attended by over 160 AAPI delegates and endorsement and support from over 40 Senators and Congressmen from both sides of the aisle, is a testimony to his great organizational skills.

It has not been all smooth for Dr. Kumar. “We still have few more challenges and lot many opportunities,” Dr. Kumar admits. “AAPI has faced some turbulence time to time and we have overcome those and have come out stronger. I am confident and have high hopes in the future of AAPI and in the incoming leadership. They are all great leaders and will take our organization to greater heights. My sincere congratulations and best wishes to our incoming President Dr. Jayesh Shah and all the newly elected leaders for a very successful and productive year.”

An accomplished  physician and surgeon specializing in Otolaryngology- Head & Neck Surgery, Dr. Kumar is a Board Certified Sleep Medicine specialist and founder/Medical Director of Sound aSleep Sleep Diagnostic Labs which includes 4 Sleep Labs in the state of Michigan. Dr. Kumar, who had completed his medical degree from Trivandrum Medical College, Kerala and post-graduate residency BHU and Case Western  Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, is committed to giving back to the community and to the enhancing of opportunities for the professional growth of physicians of Indian origin.

AAPI is an umbrella organization with nearly 130 local chapters all over America, specialty societies and alumni organizations. For over 30 years, Indian physicians have made significant contributions to health care in this country, not only practicing in inner cities, rural areas and peripheral communities, but also at the top medical schools and other academic centers. 

Update: 31 May, 2013