World Ayurveda Day this year was on Dhanvantri Jayanti, October 23rd. To commemorate this day, leading Ayurvedic organizations collaborated on an engaging virtual program that included distinguished guests from US and overseas followed by a robust panel discussion on Ayurveda for Global Health Care. The event was a joint effort of the American Association of Ayurvedic Professionals (AAAP-USA), Global Council for Ayurveda Research (GCAR-USA), National Credentialing and Certification Board for Ayurvedic Medicine (NCCBAM-USA) and was supported by the Ayurvidya Anusandhan Abhiyan Foundation (AAAF-INDIA). The mission, purpose and goals of these organizations were shared by Dr Vivek Shanbhag, President of AAAP-USA, Dr Pratibha Shah, Founder President of GCAR-USA and Dr. Somesh Kaushik, President of NCCBAM-USA.
The first half of the program featured dignitaries and was moderated by event coordinator, Dr. Renee Mehrra, well-known broadcaster, community activist and ambassador of Ayurveda and Yoga. In his message, Dr. Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India complimented the organizers for their commitment and dedication in celebrating Ayurveda Day. He added that there was an increased global acceptance and awareness of Ayurveda, and we were witnessing a highly receptive environment for Ayurveda’s holistic healthcare approach. He pointed out that as the world gravitates towards holistic well-being, all eyes are on India as the leading global healing destination.
Consul Vipul Dev, Consul for Press, Information and Culture, Consulate General of India in New York underscored the importance of Ayurveda which is not only holistic but also brings a radical departure in our entire thinking as to how we see healthcare and puts the human being in the center of this conversation. For the past few years, the Government of India has put a lot of momentum and energy to research in Ayurveda, and the Global Center for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar, Gujarat is a big milestone in bringing Ayurveda closer to the modern ways of conducting research.
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi who represents Illinois’ 8th congressional district spoke about the contribution of ayurvedic medicine, especially during the pandemic, and how the combination of body, mind and spirit is essential to curing what ails us. He further said that there is a growing recognition that these traditional forms of medicine have a place in the general health care system and, the WHO’s Global Center for Traditional Medicine in India would help to harness the power of science to strengthen the evidence base for traditional medicine.
Dr. Tanuja Nesari, Director of the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), and CEO of the National Medicinal Plant Board under the Ministry of AYUSH was happy to note that 26 ministries in India participated in Ayurveda Day celebrations. There were over 10,000 programs with 8 million people and 25 million people officially expressed their support to Ayurveda through the website www.ayurveda.
In his remarks, Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) commented that Ayurveda has a lot to contribute to the global health care and wellness movement. By integrating the ancient knowledge and wisdom and the scientific basis of its practices and prescriptions, and integrating it with western medicine, we could achieve the goal of improving health outcomes of a vast number of populations who do not have any access to their critical health care needs. He further added that Ayurveda will be the next big contribution from India to humanity just like Yoga and Meditation has been in recent times.
Dr.Geetha Krishnan, Technical Officer for Traditional Medicine with the World Health Organization talked about the inclusion of Ayurvedic herbs in the pharmacopeia published by WHO on herbal medicine.
In his presentation, Dr. Shuvendu Sen, Vice Chair for Research at the Jersey Shore University Medical Center talked about the trajectory of Traditional Medicine from alternative to complementary to integrative and now embraced by modern medicine.
Bobby Kumar Kalotee, International Chairman for Friends for Good Health expressed his close affinity to Ayurveda and Homeopathy and shared his experience of growing in a village in India where there was no hospital close by and people lived a holistic long life in tune with nature.
The second part of this inspirational program was a Panel Discussion moderated by Chair of the event, Vaidya Pratibha Shah (MD in Ayurveda, MPH, USA) on Ayurveda for Global Healthcare. This was a collective of Ayurvedic medicine experts from different countries including Prof. Madan Thangavelu, Genome Biologist, Research Director, UK; Vaidya Harish Sharma, Ayurvedacharya, Teacher, Author, Canada; Dr. Trupti Gokani, Integrative MD, Pain Specialist, Author & Yogini, USA; Diane Finlayson, Maryland University of Integrative Health, USA; Dr. Nina Silva, Professor/Researcher at the Faculty of Pharmacy/UFRJ; and Mamta Landerman, Clinical Ayurveda and Panchakarma, USA.
The program concluded with vote of thanks by Dr. Somesh Kaushik, President of NCCBAM.