APPNA: Dedicated Leaders,
Pakistan Link Report
“God heals and the doctor
takes the fees,” said Benjamin Franklin, American statesman
and writer. Jonathan Swift, an Anglo-Irish satirist, commented
in similar light-hearted banter, “The best doctor in
the world is Dr Diet, Dr Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.”
Walter Matthau, an American film actor chirped merrily, “My
doctors gave me six months to live but when I couldn’t
pay the bill he gave me six months more.”
The three simply reveled in jollity. They knew, as the world
acutely knows today, the wholesome changes that doctors bring
in the life of the sick and the infirm. They act as God’s
angels of mercy when our mortal frame is battered by disease.
Ungrudgingly, we owe inestimable gratitude to doctors for
their care and concern.
This is particularly true for members of APPNA – Association
of Physicians of Pakistani-Descent – who render valuable
services to strengthen the health sector in the US and, simultaneously,
take extra pains to serve the home country in more ways than
one. APPNA members perform multifarious tasks with unfailing
zest - from updating the curricula to refurbishing alumni
laboratories to assisting young doctors migrating from Pakistan
to the US to launching large-scale rescue operations during
No wonder, talking to APPNA presidents – present, future
and past – was music to the ears.
Dr Nadeem Kazi, President APPNA 2007, talks of the MERIT initiative
launched this year. MERIT, he informs, is the acronym for
Medical Education and Research Investment Team, which seeks
to bring about a qualitative improvement in the country’s
medical corps by introducing the concept of Continued Medical
Education (CME). The APPNA Medical Education and Research
Investment Team met several vice-chancellors, PMDC and College
of Surgeons officials, Dr Atta ur Rehman who heads the Higher
Education Commission in Pakistan et al. this year to carry
out the spadework for the introduction of CME. Under the program,
all medical doctors will be required to update their professional
knowledge after every three years. They would thus remain
abreast of the state-of-the-art techniques in their respective
“The theme this year is education. Peace and prosperity
are not possible without education. We have to introduce new
concepts to perform a quality audit of medical departments
in Pakistan,” he informs.
Dr Kazi is a graduate of the Sindh Medical College (1986).
He did a fellowship in gastroenterolgy at the Loyola University
Medical Center, Illinois in 1997 and is currently Chief of
Internal Medicine, Casa Grande Regional Medical Center and
Associate Assistant Professor, Midwest University, Glendale,
AZ. He has been the President of Pinal County Medical Society
Dr Kazi discloses the successful completion of APPNA projects
in the quake-ravaged areas of Pakistan – two rehab centers,
a dispensary, a hospital and a school. APPNA members had raised
two million dollars for the relief and rehabilitation work
when the October 2005 quake wrought havoc in the northern
areas of Pakistan.
He talks of APPNA’s Outreach Program. About 13 million
Americans live like rural Pakistanis – disadvantaged
in many ways and in desperate need of help. Beginning with
LA’s pilot project the outreach program seeks to extend
help and advice to mainstream Americans whose lives are plagued
with problems of sorts.
He discusses APPNA’s important role in the civil rights
sector. APPNA has joined hands with several rights organizations
and will raise $100,000 in the next two years to undertake
a comprehensive campaign for impact litigation, policy advocacy,
community education and media outreach.
As for redressing the problems of Pakistani-Americans, Dr
Kazi’s prescription is simple: the community must first
realize that “we are Americans first. Jab yeah samajh
maen aaega to yahan kae rehnae walon ki problems samagh maen
aaengi.” He disclosed that APPNA has set up four
clinics in Chicago, Houston, Upstate New York and Michigan
to meet the community’s health needs. “If the
experiment succeeds, we will have more clinics in the country,”
he discloses. APPNA will also compile a bone marrow matching
registry and promote a much needed breast cancer awareness
Dr Kazi feels that the Ummah has lost its self-esteem because
of an unceasing drive for self-promotion. This issue needs
to be addressed by serious-minded Muslims with undivided attention.
As for the media, Dr Kazi observes that it has started taking
decisions on all issues. “Media ka kaam reporting
karna hae. Rae qaim karna hamara kaam hae,” he
Dr Kazi is happily married to Shani Kazi and has two boys
- Farraz Kazi and Farhaan Kazi.
Dr Mahmood Alam, President-designate
APPNA 2008 is the Medical Director of Jersey Heart Center,
Woodbridge, New Jersey. He joined the Association’s
ranks in 1996 and played an active role in the re-invigoration
of the New York Chapter in 1997. He was elected President
of NYC-APPNA in 2000. Mahmood is a proud foot soldier for
the cause of young physicians.
The ‘strategic vision’ of APPNA spelled out by
him is as follows:
He would like to dedicate year 2008 for organization building
- to create an infrastructure to handle the overwhelming workload
that confronts the rapidly growing organization. The development
of any organization requires consensus building amongst the
rank and file. Mahmood has no agenda of self- promotion and
would like to promote the aims and objectives of the organization.
He is keen to organize APPNA at the grassroots level by strengthening
local chapters which would play a significant role in the
affairs of the community. He will lead an organized effort
in providing healthcare to uninsured Americans by supporting
the idea of Community Health Clinics.
He will enhance the social welfare and charitable potential
of APPNA under the Social Welfare and Disaster Relief (SW
& DR) Committee and expand the APPNA-Sehat primary
prevention program in Pakistan.
He is committed to empowering the Committee on Young Physicians
with adequate funding and support. This Committee will continue
to play a significant role in the visa and security clearance
issues faced by incoming resident doctors from Pakistan.
He will promote the activities of the Research, Education
and Scientific Affairs Committee (RESA) by allowing it to
take charge of CME funds overseen by the APPNA EC.
Dr. Alam will build APPNA on sound fiscal principles that
bring clarity and accountability. He plans to promote grant
writing for charitable, health and educational programs under
the direction of APPNA executive director.
Dr Mahmood Alam serves on the faculty of SUNY Downstate Medical
Center, Brooklyn, New York as clinical Assistant Professor
of Medicine. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology,
and Interventional Cardiology. He is a fellow of the American
College of Physicians (FACP) and American College of Cardiology
Dr Alam and his wife Lubna, a dentist by profession, live
in Edison with their six adorable children: Zainab, Omar,
Kasim, Aisha, Hira, and Hamza. He belongs to the family of
Abulasr Hafeez Jalundhri, the author of Pakistan’s national
Dr Abdul Rashid Piracha served as President APPNA 2006 with
great distinction. It was during his tenure that APPNA launched
the massive rescue and rehabilitation operation for the quake
victims in Pakistan. The Association collected two million
dollars in cash for the purpose and transported hospital equipment
worth five million dollars to facilitate the treatment of
quake victims. Under his stewardship, APPNA established two
hospitals in Rawalpindi and Mansehra, schools at Kathai and
in the suburbs of Balakot, a clinic near Abbotabad and other
facilities. Thanks to his sustained efforts, 150 doctors were
able to dash to the earthquake affected areas and conduct
surgeries and treat quake victims.
Dr Piracha has an impressive community service record:
He started the first Pakistani community activity in the area,
which has come to enjoy great influence in sociopolitical
• Raised $500,000 to build the first Islamic Center
in the community
• President of the Islamic Society of the Appalachian
• Appeared numerous times on local TV, and wrote several
articles in local newspapers after 9/11 to present the Muslim
• Helped to implement and service APPNA Sehat (a program
for improving basic healthcare in all areas of Pakistan).
• As an active member of CAIR, Dr Piracha arranged and
sponsored Congressman Nick Rahall to speak at a CAIR meeting
in Washington, DC, November 27, 2003
• Member of ISNA Development Foundation Founders Coordination
Committee: a committee of volunteers that advises ISNA on
its activities and missions, and promotes the concept of philanthropy.
• Gave numerous interviews on TV and newspapers on medical
issues and cardiology topics
• Princeton Community Hospital Foundation Member 1998
• Contributed the seed fund to build Princeton Health
and Fitness Center for all area citizens.
• Current Board Member of the Princeton Health and Fitness
• Held fundraising functions for Congressman Nick Rahall
and State legislators.
• Helped build Piracha Charity Hospital in Qasba Colony,
Karachi, a 60 bed hospital with lab, X-ray, GYN ward, and
operating theater which offered outpatient and emergency care.
• Helped build a school which has been operational for
25 years, and enrolls 250 students. Continuing to provide
technical and professional support.
• Provide technical and professional support for Piracha
Dispensary, Injra, Attak: a five-room dispensary, outpatient
facility and a five-bed emergency ward.
• Chief of Staff, Princeton Community Hospital, 1972-1979
• Chief of Medicine, Princeton Community Hospital, 1973-1983
• Current Director, Cardiology Department, Princeton
• Board Member, Princeton Community Hospital, 1998 to
• Board Vice President, Princeton Community Hospital,
2003 to present
• Chairman, PHO-Preferred Care of the Virginias, an
organization of Physicians and Hospitals in southern West
Virginia and southwestern Virginia, from inception (1995)
• Key Contact, WV, a select group of cardiologists from
each state representing the American College of Cardiology
to the legislature in DC on cardiology issues.
• Nominated as Governor of American College of Cardiology
for West Virginia, 2001.
• Fellow, American College of Cardiology
• Fellow, American College of Chest Physicians
• Fellow, American College of Physicians
• Member, American Society of Echocardiography
• Member, American Medical Association
• Member, Mercer County Medical Society
Dr Piracha is married to Hameeda, a wonderful wife and mother,
and has three wonderful children who are all physicians: Amir
(interventional cardiologist, Asim (ophthalmologist), and