In June the Foundation of India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) released the results of an extensive survey conducted in a three-week period to measure the impact that COVID-19 had on the Indian-American community. The survey revealed that 1 in 6 knew someone from the community who had tested positive with Covid-19.
This public health crisis also claimed the lives of several prominent community members whose contribution has been notable in establishing the roots of Indians in America.
Ramesh Patel, chairman of the FIA-NY, NJ, CT, and former president of the National Federation of Indian American Association, passed away June 6, 2020.
Fondly known as ‘Kaka’ within the community, Patel held various positions in the FIA executive committee including president of the organization from 1988 to 1990. He had been instrumental in establishing a number of events that promote the culture and heritage of India in the US, including FIA’s flagship event – the India Day Parade organized every year to mark India’s Independence Day in August.
Along with his community service, Patel worked in the forensic investigation division of the New York Police Department and was honored with the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honour in 2013.
Dr. Ajay Lodha, past president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, passed away peacefully on Nov. 21 after fighting COVID valiantly for eight months.
Lodha was well known in the community and among his fellow physicians as a leader with a powerhouse of entrepreneurial skills. He had an extensive background of overseeing quality assurance and quality improvement. He was a past president of RANA and RAJMAAI (Rajasthan Medical Alumni Association Inc.), a police surgeon with Nassau County PBA and director of Research Department at Flushing Hospital in New York.
Several members from the medical fraternity were lost to the deadly scourge while working dedicatedly as frontline warriors.