Indian American Physicians Association Supports Next Generation Leaders
“While AAPI’s vision remains the same to represent Indian-origin doctors in the United States, Covid has affected our lives and also given us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves. As we come out of the dark tunnel, the positive side is that we are more tech savvy to communicate not only locally but also globally,” Dr Kolli told The Times of India in an exclusive interview.
Dr. Ravi Kolli, third from left, at a recent AAPI convention.
Dr Kolli, a graduate of Rangaraya Medical College, NTR University of Health Sciences Medical School, Andhra Pradesh, and immigrated to the United States in 1983, believes mental health issues have become more prominent amid the pandemic , even for health professionals of Indian origin. . “As a psychiatrist, the themes of curing the healer as well as raising awareness of mental health issues in the general population are both important to me. The big challenge I want to take on is that healing starts with ourselves, the medical community. We will actively promote physician wellness and self-care to address the challenges of physician burnout and suicide,” he said. Building connections with mental health professionals in India and around the world to promote well-being and recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders are also priority areas.
Dr. Kolli will also work towards greater AAPI focus on connecting with the next generation of Indian-born doctors. He is an advocate for eliminating the backlog of green cards facing Indian doctors through legislation. “A large number of doctors of Indian origin in the United States hold H-1B work permits and face huge backlogs in obtaining permanent resident status. These doctors are well qualified and well trained and many of them work in underserved rural areas in America. While our generation of Native American doctors faced many challenges, they didn’t have to go through immigration barriers and wait 15 to 20 years to get their green card,” he said. The issue has been brought to the attention of AAPI leadership over the past 4-5 years and efforts are being made to support young physicians through advocacy for immigration reforms and of political action. “While the legislation in this area is complicated, we are aware of the disruption facing Indian doctors and their families. Many of our senior members are well-connected and have reached out to senators and influencers for long-term impact and solutions. We see the value of making all of our Chapters aware of these issues,” said Dr. Kolli.
He believes that the leadership of the organization, which has fought hard in the past to end discrimination against international medical graduates and achieved parity of having the same USA Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) for all medical graduates, now continued the tradition of supporting young Indian doctors in the United States.
Previously, as Chairman of the AAPI Membership Committee, Dr. Kolli had worked hard to recruit new members, especially young physicians and recent graduates. He believes that the section of young doctors (YPS) from AAPI helps the organization harness talent early and nurture the next generation of leaders. “We face the same challenge faced by many other Native American institutions and organizations, with the second generation unwilling to get involved and remaining peripheral. We try to integrate the cohort of our young members into our committees and our various activities and we want them to feel empowered and take on leadership roles in the future,” he said. Dr. Kolli’s mission is to make AAPI an organization that will help many next-generation American Indians entering medical careers in their professional growth.
Another area AAPI focuses on is connecting with yoga practitioners in the United States who are conducting their own evidence-based research on yoga as an ancient, proven holistic healing practice that works on many levels. , including mental, physical and spiritual. “It helps to build social connections, avoid loneliness and connect with nature and traditions and there are lots of mental health benefits too,” Dr Kolli said.