Education and entertainment features of AIPHA’s 25th Annual Gala
Chicago, IL: Harish Bhatt, President of AIPHA presented the unique amalgamation of celebration, business and entertainment at the Association of Indian Pharmacists in America’s (AIPhA) 25th Annual Diwali Gala on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at the Meadows Club. At the gala, AIPhA also took the opportunity to discuss the progress and outlook of the pivotal group to the 500 guests in attendance.
This organization has been around over 25 years, and Harish Bhatt has proven to be one of it’s great communicators and leaders. The gala boasted the largest crowd that I have ever seen for this organization, and this is due to his leadership and communication with the members. This event is a cause for everyone to get together to learn what is going in the pharmaceutical industry and to enjoy a memorable show. Similar sentiments were echoed by first time attendee and pharmacy student from Chicago State University, Aarti Shah, who said, “This is a great event and we, the students are very happy to be invited to help celebrate Diwali and contribute to AIPhA.”
The evening started with a social hour featuring some tasty appetizers and premium drinks. Masters of Ceremonies for the occasion Pratik Shah and Sharon Xavier kicked off the program by welcoming everyone to the gala. They then handed over the proceedings to Madan Kulkarni, Founder and Principal of the Meadows Club, and Dhrishti to introduce and conduct the exciting dance presentations. The fabulous and extremely well choreographed dances featured the MKM Bollystars from California comprising Shivani Thakkar, Kaasi Aysola, Gloria Lanuza, Joya Kazi and Jack Tyler. They were well matched by the performances of Chicagoan dancers Megan Hartman and Jessica Beuckman. The show, which was backed by an informational narrative of the circumstances of each composition, left the audience wowed and clamoring for more. A spectacular lights and sound added a punch to the performances.
The guests of honor were the Indian Consul General Ms Mukta Dutta Tomar and the Jay Stewart, the Director of Division of Financial and Professional Regulation for the state of Illinois.
Acknowledgements and appreciation gifts were presented by Dr. Renuka Bhatt to John Lagattuta, (Director of health related position), Sherry Eshoo (Deputy Director of Statewide Enforcement),Yash Amin (Director of Drug Compliance), John Dik of Dik Drug Company; Steve Lawrence from Cardinal Drugs, Dale Smith from HD Smith Drugs, Rishi Singh from Air India, Jake Miller Aipha’s lobbyist and Bob Greenlee, AIPHA’s buying group attorney Regulatory head Mr. Jay Stewart.
The event was sponsored by Steve Lawrence and John Dik of Dik/Cardinal Drug, Dale Smith of HD Smith and Rishi Singh of Air India.
John Dik, owner of Dik Drug company, received the lifetime achievement award and Dr Yashwant Amin received an award for excelling in his fields of pharmacy and social work.
A fundraising raffle was conducted during the evening by Tushar Mehta, which featured exciting prizes such as an iPad, a 32inch flat screen HDTV and a couple of Android tablets. The grand prizes were two individual airline tickets to India from Air India.
In his presidential address, Mr. Harish Bhatt, who is also on the board of Easter Seals and Cornerstone Services, the recipient of the Pride of India award and President Bush’s Volunteer Service Award, and an independent pharmacy owner who has 6 pharmacies in Joliet, highlighted the growth of AIPhA over the years. The organization began with just seven members in 1987 and has grown to over 500 now. “Our accomplishments are nothing short of spectacular and we must now build on these successes. I am confident that this is only the beginning of things to come with the help and voice of our members,” he said.
“As an Indian pharmacist, an independent pharmacy owner and the president of AIPhA, I have realized that our profession continues to rise above the adversities we face day after day. The quality of care and compassion we provide to our patients, healthcare providers and the general public never waivers even when our livelihood appears to be at stake. However, this is not a time for us to rest on our laurels. The major issues we now face include Medicaid’s policy of paying for only 4 prescriptions per patient and Medicare Part D, which forces patients to go to chain pharmacies and to mail order. But AIPhA has battled and succeeded in issues that have threatened our profession in the past and we see no desire to back down now,” he went on to add.
Unveiling one of his stated goals, he said, “One of our present goals is to implement the AIPhA Buying Club, which will allow AIPhA members to take advantage of the opportunities of cooperative purchasing on pharmaceuticals and supplies. An AIPhA affiliate company will represent all members collectively to manufacturers and suppliers, allowing independent Pharmacies to share the benefits of bulk purchasing power. Our short-term goal is to unite all the pharmacy associations across the nation and to use our unity and strength in numbers to negotiate as effectively as chains do.”
He concluded by thanking the AIPhA Board members, their families, our sponsors, advertisers, guests and members. The speeches by the Guests were followed by a gourmet dinner prepared and served by the chefs and staff of the Meadows Club, which drew rave reviews from the attendees.
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