APPNA: Dedicated Leaders, Committed Members
Pakistan Link Report

 
Dr. Nadeem
Dr Nadeem Kazi
Dr Mahmood Alam

“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 national catastrophes,
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 fields.
“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 in 2002.
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 program.
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 emphatically states.
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 (FACC).
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 anthem.


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 affairs.
• Raised $500,000 to build the first Islamic Center in the community
• President of the Islamic Society of the Appalachian Region
• Appeared numerous times on local TV, and wrote several articles in local newspapers after 9/11 to present the Muslim perspective
• 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 to present
• Contributed the seed fund to build Princeton Health and Fitness Center for all area citizens.
• Current Board Member of the Princeton Health and Fitness Center.
• 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 & 1984-1988
• Chief of Medicine, Princeton Community Hospital, 1973-1983
• Current Director, Cardiology Department, Princeton Community Hospital
• Board Member, Princeton Community Hospital, 1998 to present
• 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) to present
• 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 Samia (radiologist).


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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