Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda conferred Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award 2021

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, Immediate Past President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), was conferred The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA 2021) in person during a solemn ceremony at the Indian Consulate in Atlanta, GA on December 5, 2021. 

Dr. Jonnalagadda was officially recognized with the prestigious award during the 16th edition of the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention, held virtually on January 9, 2021.  

The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards were conferred by the President of India Ramnath Kovind at the PBD Convention in the valedictory session of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations. 

The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) is the highest honor conferred on Non-Resident Indians, Persons of Indian Origin or an organization/institution established and run by the Non-Resident Indians or Persons of Indian Origin in recognition of their outstanding achievements both in India and abroad. 

While responding to this great honor, Dr. Jonnalagadda said, “It’s my great honor and privilege that I have been chosen for the prestigious award by the government of India. 

The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award 2021, the highest honor conferred on Persons of Indian Origin in recognition of their outstanding achievements both in India and abroad.” 

Dr. Jonnalagadda expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to the government of India for selecting him for this prestigious award.  

He said, “In recognizing me, the government has recognized all the medical professionals who have been in the forefront, fighting Covid -19, including those who have laid their lives while treating patients infected with the deadly virus.” 

He added that “It’s fitting to dedicate this award to all my AAPI family members and the entire medical fraternity. This award will strengthen us all to recommit our skills, talents and efforts for the greater good of humanity, as the Covid pandemic continues to devastate many countries, impacting the lives of millions of people around the globe. Together we will face the challenges and defeat the virus and make this world a better and safer place for all of us to live and flourish.” 

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda assumed office as the 37th President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) on July 11, 2020, and committed himself to “make AAPI stronger, more vibrant, united, transparent, politically engaged, ensuring active participation of young physicians, increasing membership, and enabling that AAPI’s voice is heard in the corridors of power.”  

Dr. Jonnalagadda was born in a family of physicians. His father was a professor at a medical college in India and his mother was a teacher. He and his siblings aspired to be physicians and dedicate their lives for the greater good of humanity. “I am committed to serving the community and help the needy. That gives me the greatest satisfaction in life,” he said 

His vision for AAPI has been to increase the awareness of AAPI globally and help its voice heard in the corridors of power.  

Ambitious and wanting to achieve greater things in life, Dr. Jonnalagadda has numerous achievements to his credit. He currently serves as the President of the Medical Staff of the Hospital in Douglas, Georgia. 

 A Board-Certified Gastroenterologist/Transplant Hepatologist, working in Douglas, GA, Dr. Jonnalagadda is a former Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia. He was the President of Coffee Regional Medical Staff 2018, and had served as the Director of Medical Association of Georgia Board from 2016 onwards. He had served as the President of Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI) 2007-2008, and was the past chair of Board of Trustees, GAPI. He was the chairman of the Medical Association of Georgia, IMG section, and was a Graduate, Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (advocacy training).   

As the President of AAPI, the dynamic physician from the state of Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Jonnalagadda has worked hard to “develop a committee to work with children of AAPI members who are interested in medical school, to educate on choosing a school and gaining acceptance; Develop a committee to work with medical residents who are potential AAPI members, to educate on contract negotiation, patient communication and practice management; Develop a committee to work with AAPI medical students and to provide proctorship to improve their selection of medical residencies.” 

Dr. Jonnalagadda was chosen for the highest civilian award given to any NRI by the Government of India in the field of Medicine and for his great leadership of AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the US, especially during the pandemic. AAPI represents the interests of the over 100,000 physicians and fellows of Indian origin in the United States, serving the interests of the Indian American physicians in the US and in many ways contributing to the shaping of the healthcare delivery in the US and to some extent in India for the past 39 years.


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