Indian doctors in the US began their annual conclave looking at the challenges to their profession in a health care system in the throes of change.
The top Indian American medical official, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, spoke of his forthcoming efforts to promote health equity for all at the 34th Annual Convention of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI).
AAPI President Seema Jain said the convention highlighted the organisation’s commitment to “4E’s: Excellence of Education, Empowerment, Enlightenment, and Evolution.”
The meeting’s CEO Forum that brings together leaders in the medical care industry “who will focus on the changing trends in the healthcare sector and how they impact the providers, hospitals and corporations as well as the patients,” Jain said, “is another major milestone in our progress, taking AAPI to the next level and mainstream”.
More than 1,200 doctors from around the country are attending the four-day convention focused on “HealthCare 2020 & Beyond.”
Media personality Fareed Zakaria, the host of CNN’s Global Public Square (GPS) conducted an interview style open forum with Murthy during which the Surgeon General spoke of key public health initiatives, including disease prevention through healthy eating, active living, need for sleep, wise use of modern technologies, and emotional well-being.
Murthy focused on an emerging health crisis in the US, drug addiction. “How the nation looks at addiction is very important and it can help prevent addiction,” he said.
Criticising the punitive approach of imprisoning drug users, Murthy said, “It adds to the problem.” He added, “If you help change people’s attitudes, we can help solve the problem.”
Indian doctors are a major presence in the US medical sphere. AAPI says it represents over 60,000 doctors and over 20,000 medical students and professionals in training.
According to some estimates, about 80,000 Indian doctors – around 10 percent of the total number of physicians in the US – are currently in practising.. They range from doctors in elite institutions to those working in underserved areas like areas of poverty or remote places, providing vital services.
Another figure cited previously by Indian Ambassador Arun Singh is that one in seven American patients see a doctor of Indian origin.