I was honored to be the chief guest at the inaugural charity gala hosted by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the Texas Indo-Physicians Society Southwest Chapter and the India Association of San Antonio. The San Antonio event, entitled “Dancing for the Millions-Jai Ho,” was a mix of Indian cultures with the Southwest.
Using the theme from the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire and song, “Jai Ho” (may you be victorious), the event highlighted dancing from India and Mexico, interspersed with presentations by AAPI President Vinod Shah, MD; a representative from the lead sponsor Lone Star National Bank; and myself representing the AMA. The dance styles included Indian folk, hip hop, salsa, flamenco and Bollywood. Jayesh Shah, MD, treasurer of AAPI and chair of the AMA International Medical Graduates Section, was the driving force that made the event a wonderful success.
The event’s beneficiaries are patients who receive medical care in free medical clinics in India (17) and the United States (10, including one in San Antonio) which are supported by AAPI and TIPS-SW. As I discussed the important role international medical graduates play in the AMA, it was clear that we share a common bond in caring for patients.
Humanity is our patient. It was fitting that the final dance was based on the Maya Angelo poem “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” It represented the cry of those whose lives are devastated by natural disasters and unnatural infliction of suffering by humans on each other.
Though the AMA is working toward reforming the American health care system and providing health insurance coverage to more individuals, the reality is that all individuals who live in the United States will not be covered. Free clinics will still be needed, especially in geographic areas where expanded health insurance coverage will still leave gaps due to individual legal status or choice.