IACCGH Hosts Reception for Visiting Delegate Doctors from India

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Doctors Reception by IACCGH

By Manu Shah

HOUSTON: Visiting delegate physicians from India were welcomed and honored by the IACCGH at a reception hosted on 16th April at the Hess Club.  The delegates also had an opportunity to interact with the medical faculty from MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), Houston’s leading doctors and IACCGH members. The evening was hosted by President and CEO of Southside Pharmacy, Harish Katharani and attended by 60 people.

IACCGH President Elect Joya Shukla welcomed the gathering and gave a brief outline of how the relationship between the Chamber and leading cancer institutions in India came about.

IACCGH Founding President Durga Agrawal convinced Dr. John Mendelsohn, the then President of MDACC and his wife Ann to visit the Tata Cancer Center in Mumbai. In 2003, a delegation was led by then IACCGH President Deepa Thakur along with Dr. John Mendelsohn, IACCGH Past President Ashoke Nath, Vijay Goradia, Ajit Thakur, Pankaj Dhume and IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia who coordinated the efforts with Karen Francis of MDACC.

The delegation met with doctors at the Tata Memorial Cancer Center leading to a historic MOU between the two institutions. A decade later in 2013, “the magic was repeated” and another MOU was signed which encouraged the two way exchange of information and knowledge on cancer prevention and treatment. Since then MDACC has partnered with several premier medical institutions across India and every year MDACC’s partners fly to Houston to attend its annual Global Academic Program (GAP).

IACCGH Board Member, Karen Francis who heads the Global Academic Programs at MD Anderson and works closely with cancer centers round the world also welcomed the physicians from Tata Memorial and the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Center. In her address, she referred to MD Anderson’s global network which has expanded to the African continent and recognized the visiting delegate doctors from Zambia. She also thanked Founder member and first President of IACCGH, Dr. Durga Agrawal “for being the reason we are here tonight.”

Guest of Honor, Dr. Devinder Bhatia is one of Houston’s leading cardiovascular surgeons and the first Indo American to be appointed to the Texas Medical Board. He and wife Gina are well known for their philanthropic involvement with over 20 nonprofit organizations and have raised over $10 million for various causes.

Describing himself as “the epitome of a true Indo American” as his father is Indian and mother, American, Dr. Bhatia stressed the importance of giving back to the community. He also urged the gathering to “get involved” because according to him if you don’t get involved, you cannot bring about change – “change for the better.”

Dr. Bhatia also commended IACCGH for its great leadership and described it as “one of the galvanizing organizations which brings together not only businesses but also the medical community.” He also presented a plaque to Vishal Patel from Southside Pharmacy who received it on behalf of Harish Katharani, in appreciation for hosting the reception.