Only 4th woman elected president of Indian American physicians body to assume leadership on July 4.
Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, set to become the President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) at its upcoming Annual Convention on July 4 in Atlanta wants to make AAPI a premium healthcare leader.
“I like to hope. I am a passionate people-person with a pleasing personality. I strive to be an empathetic team leader and good listener, always seeking and doing my best to achieve the team’s goals,” says Gotimukula, who will serve for 2021-22.
The soft spoken, thoughtful and visionary leader, Dr. Gotimukula is only the 4th woman elected president of the largest ethnic physician medical organization in the US in its nearly four decades long history.
As a woman leader, she wants to make AAPI a premium healthcare leader, primarily focussing to improve and reform the current healthcare system and help towards making a better healthcare model for the patients.
Read: AAPI convention in Atlanta to honor covid warriors (June 25, 2021)
She would also like to create awareness projects on major chronic diseases burdening US health care system through lifestyle modifications.
Dr. Gotimukula’s priorities include establishing a support system to members going through racial discrimination in the US and support AAPI legislative efforts to make healthcare better and affordable to all and promote charitable activities globally.
She has been playing a critical role in coordinating and leading AAPI’s numerous efforts to help India hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Beginning her long association with AAPI as a volunteer in San Antonio in 2009, inspired by the AAPI activities, she became life member of AAPI in 2010.
Her passion, dedication, leadership and people skills made her President of Texas Indo-American Physician Society SW Chapter (2013), Treasurer/Co Chair of AAPI National Convention (2014), and IT Chair(2015).
She served for two years as Regional Director of AAPI, and later elected as AAPI Treasurer (2017), Secretary (2018), Vice President (2019) with a huge majority and currently President-Elect (2020).
A resident of San Antonio, Texas, Dr.Gotimukula, a board certified pediatric anesthesiologist, practicing since 2007, is affiliated with Christus Santa Rosa, Baptist and Methodist Healthcare systems in San Antonio.
After graduating with distinction from Kakatiya Medical College, NTR University of Health Sciences in India, she did Residency at University of Miami & University of Illinois, and Fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology at University of Michigan
Talking about her childhood ambitions, Dr. Gotimukula recalls, “my parents always encouraged me and nurtured the skills to be a leader and this positive culture influenced me throughout my childhood.”
Growing up in a family of engineers at Regional Engineering College Campus, her childhood ambition was “to become a doctor, both to make my parents happy, and to do good for the community.”
Read: AAPI to hold 39th annual convention July 2-5 in Atlanta (May 28, 2021)
Joining medical school and later on, practicing medicine was a dream come true. “I am thankful to my parents and my family who motivated me and mentored me to achieve my goals,” she says.
As President of AAPI, Dr. Gotimukula will work towards “strengthening the organization’s mission, encourage participation of more young physicians, develop the best communications platforms for Indian American Physicians and keep the members well connected.”
“Patience, Perseverance, Passion and Positive Attitude,” are her mantra to be successful in leadership, according to an AAPI release.
Dr. Gotimukula’s six key goals are:
1. To make AAPI financially strong, she has been instrumental in creating $250,000 Endowment Fund for operations in 2020 with a goal to reach $2.5 Million in the next five years;
2. Understanding that education is at the heart of all that AAPI stands for, she wants to focus on offering Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses and educational & leadership seminars for members;
3. Provide educational projects in India by collaborating with Global Association of Indian Medical Student Council and mentor them to get the best medical education in India and abroad;
4. Working towards healthcare reforms by being proactive. As biggest stakeholder in American Medical healthcare system, AAPI will collaborate with American Medical Association (AMA) and other allied medical organizations;
5. Provide research opportunities to the premed and medical students; and,
6. Global Mission work across the globe, while stating “Charity and Service are my mission.”
“We, the doctors are fortunate that due to the hard work and support of our family and friends, we were able to get into good schools and started practicing in the United States,” she says.
Read: 116 lawmakers ask Biden for an AAPI Cabinet Secretary (January 2, 2021)
“I see it now as our duty to help our communities, both in India and the US. It is my duty and pleasure to support charitable causes and serve our communities.”
Under her leadership, AAPI will organize and facilitate physicians services through telehealth platforms to serve the needy in the rural areas of India.
“We dedicate our professional expertise and services to both India (Janmabhoomi) and the United States, (Karmabhoomi),” she says.
Dr. Gotimukula believes and understands that “AAPI is the one and only strong voice of Indian American Physicians in the United States of America.
“We are 40 years old and we are growing in membership every year, with currently about 14,000 lifetime members and many members through patron chapters,” she says.
“We are robust, united, strong and will be even stronger through our strong mission, vision, and values. I will lean on these traits of AAPI and work with my team to strengthen the growing organization.”
As a woman leader and as the elected leader of a diverse organization such as AAPI, Dr. Gotimukula is aware of the many challenges she is likely to encounter as AAPI President.
“As leader of the largest physician ethnic nonprofit organization with diverse cultures, yes, challenges are expected,” she says. “On a personal note, time management, balancing career and family responsibilities,” will be challenging.
Dr. Gotimukula plans to address them with proper communication, nurture team and engage members in problem solving. “Being an anesthesiologist, profession has taught me the skills of multi-tasking and staying focused!” she says.
“Daily meditation and physical exercise keep me energetic and productive until the last minute of my day,” says Dr. Gotimukula. “Being a woman, I have leaned into being compassionate, empathetic, persevering, patient, and resilient.”
Enumerating some of the programs for AAPI to serve the diverse members of AAPi across the nation, Dr. Gotimukula wants to have collaborative efforts with Specialty, Alumni, and Chapter societies for the physicians.
Read: 12 Indian Americans in USA Today’s 40 AAPI authors bestseller list (June 7, 2021)
On the legislative front, Dr. Gotiumukula will initiate efforts as she believes: ”Our voice should be heard in the corridors of power at the federal, state and local levels to address IMG (international medical graduates) issues, visa/green card issues, increasing residency slots, medicare physician payment cuts, malpractice liability, and other healthcare issues that impact the South Asian and the larger American society.”
For patients and the larger community, AAPI will create awareness initiatives to control the killer diseases — obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancers, mental health, women health etc.
It would also educate them on the need and ways to healthy lifestyle techniques to revert disease to normal health in collaboration with lifestyle medicine experts from US.”
APPI will continue and strengthen several noble initiatives it has in India, especially Adopt-a-village program. Through this AAPI will help improve rural health in India with 1000 free health screenings per village in 75 villages in five states.
A second initiative is Global Medical Education, working with National Medicine Council, India.
Continuing current projects, AAPI would help make India an accredited member of World Federation of Medical Education, which is mandatory to be certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) for the aspiring medical students who like to pursue further medical education in US.
Dr. Gotiumukula says her biggest achievement in life so far is “Being what I am today, a physician, a leader, and a humble human being and be able to give back to my society,”
Among her goals for AAPI, she says, “I want to build a strong support system to protect the IMG physicians and their issues and help with physician burnout. I will further the existing educational goals and charitable goals and engage member physicians to support these goals.”
While dedicating her talents, skills, and experiences for the AAPI family, which she has come to call as her own, Dr. Gotimukula says, “I am looking forward to get the best wishes and blessings from our members in my pursuit to lead this prestigious organization and do the best to our physician community.”
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