Anil K. Gupta, MD, FACC
Toms River, NJ

Why join AAPI? This is a question I have heard often ever since I got involved 18 years ago. But before I address this, I ask - why join any organization?

An organization pools and complements the variety of resources and skills that each one of us possesses. Rather than struggling as individuals to make a difference, our effort is better rewarded and has a greater impact if we join hands with other like-minded people. Though we may forfeit some control of the process, we vastly improve the chances of success.

As Indian-American physicians, we not only share our ethnicity, background, and values, but also the core commitment to improve the health of our patients. Though there may be other organizations, AAPI is the only one that takes into account our unique needs. Collectively, we can raise awareness and find solutions to healthcare issues of particular concern to Indians, such as an increased prevalence of CAD. Together we can build a strong support system for our physicians who face challenges in personal and professional lives. It is vital that we continue to strengthen the bridges with other communities and organizations. Additionally we need to provide more support to local charities. Now, more than ever before, there is a greater need to collaborate so that we have a say in the ongoing health care reform. None of these tasks can be carried out effectively by any of us alone.

AAPI is the only platform available for us to address these issues and others as a group. All of us have been trying to give back to the community on our own. Just imagine the impact if we combine all our efforts. Personally, AAPI has helped me make so many new friends all over the country, whom I will cherish for a lifetime. Like any growing organization, AAPI is not perfect and has its own challenges and shortcomings. But the responsibility to overcome these problems rests solely on all of us. We can’t expect an outsider to come and fix our own organization.

Often times we wonder- what can this organization do for me? Perhaps this is not the correct question to ask. What an organization can do for any individual is merely an average of what each member does for the organization. Think of an organization as a stage that is just waiting to be used. Without members joining and putting in effort there is no show. The same goes for AAPI. The involvement of its members is what fuels its existence. Of course the time you put in may vary, but any level of involvement is appreciated. You could be a part of the audience by simply signing up for membership, participating in events, and voting on issues. You could even be a part of the stage and light crew by joining a committee, promoting membership, and making constructive suggestions. Or you could be an actor by providing leadership to projects. And if you want to take involvement to the highest level, why not become the director, where you can run for office and assume responsibility for the direction and vision of AAPI. No matter what role you assume, there can be no performance without you. So why not sign up for membership, and above all, get involved in your own future? You owe this to our community, yourselves, and our future generations. So, I invite you to join AAPI- the stage is waiting.