Basic Healthcare for the Uninsured Charity Gala

Chicago IL: The Indian American Medical Association Charitable Foundation of Chicago (IAMACF) hosted its annual charity gala, themed “Basic Healthcare for the Uninsured,” on Sunday, April 28, 2013, at the Waterford Banquet Hall, 933 S. Riverside Drive, Elmhurst, Illinois. The event was well attended by physicians, politicians, Chicago’s prominent businessman, community leaders and general public. Despite the country’s challenging economy, more than four hundred members participated in the event and generously pledged donations totaling $100,000 which will benefit uninsured, low-income population who receive services from IAMACF’s clinic.

Providing this year’s Keynote address was Honorable Julie Hamos, Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, with entertainment provided by Bollywood Sargam & Hitesh Master’s Orchestra Saregama. This year’s gracious Emcees were Mr. Ravi Baichwal of ABC’s Channel 7 and IAMACF’s very own, Dr. Annita John.

The annual charity gala raises critical funds for IAMACF, to help operate its free community health clinic located in Chicago’s West Ridge community, which is the home to one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in the city and state.

The IAMACF clinic has been providing free, basic primary healthcare services on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm for over 18 years at 2645 W. Peterson Avenue in Chicago. As of March 2010, it also started providing extended hours on Wednesday evenings from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. The free community clinic is run by volunteer physicians from the Indian American Medical Association of Illinois and medical students, coordinated by New Life Volunteer Services, providing medical services to any and all that walk through its doors with no appointments needed. The free health clinic predominately serves a very low-income population, that are mostly uninsured and extremely underserved in that they typically have no other affordable or culturally competent medical facility to turn to for their healthcare needs. The IAMACF community health clinic provides a culturally competent environment, with multilingual physicians and volunteers who also extend the free clinic’s (limited) pharmacy and lab services to anyone in need. The IAMACF clinic is also a teaching clinic for medical students coming in weekly and getting hands-on experience from five of our area’s medical schools, including Chicago Medical School, Loyola University, Northwestern University, University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Rambha Radhakrishnan, the clinic’s medical director and 2013 Chairperson of the IAMACF Board of Directors, oversees the organization’s medical services and says that “we are extremely proud to provide medical services to over three thousand patients annually, and that we have done so through the generosity of thousands of individual donors, corporate sponsors and local foundations who have risen to the occasion each year, and helped us raise the critical funds needed to keep our doors open and serving anyone in need of medical services.” One hundred percent of the net proceeds raised, goes towards operating the free clinic.

This year’s IAMACF was honored to have Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director and former Illinois State Representative, Honorable Julie Hamos as the keynote speaker. In her remarks she shared vital information on the Affordable Care Act, the state of Illinois’ healthcare system, challenges it faces and the vital role the medical community plays in delivering healthcare services to the uninsured. This year’s platinum level gala sponsors were Medstar Laboratory, Inc. and Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care.

Dr. RajinderArora, President IAMACF in his welcome address encouraged all physicians to join IAMA, participate, get involved and volunteer in various IAMA functions. He urged young physicians of Indian origin to become members and provide the organization a strong voice to deal with the health care issues and successfully implement innovative ideas that are creative, relevant and useful in tackling today’s challenges and preventing tomorrow’s problems. He announced their upcoming CME Tour this year which will be to Russia and Hungary in July- August 2013 and IAMA annual Gala on November 16, 2013 at Meadows club.

Dr. Sanjay Amin, Dr. Letticia Gunaratnam and Dr. Vijay Khiani received an award for their outstanding dedicated selfless volunteerism to advance the goal of the organization.

Total patients visited in the year 2012 = over 3000
Total patient seen/total number of hours the clinic was open = 3.4 patients/ hr

Following dinner, the musical performance by Bollywood SARAGAMA of Raju Bankapur and Partibha Jairath entertained the audience with their melodious voices sang famous Bollywood hits accompanied by Hitesh Master’s Orchestra. There was a lot of variety in the show; from slow romantic numbers to Fast Dance numbers
Raju Bankapur known as Kishore Kumar of Chicago and a very versatile singer opened the evening and enthralled the audience with songs of Rajesh khanna – Yeh Shaam Mastani, Mere Sapno ki Rani and Humein Tumse pyar kitna and later. Pratibha Jairath who is gaining a lot of popularity very fast, continued the program with her beautifull rendition of Agar tum Mil Jao, followed by Mera Dil yeh pukare, and Dil Deewana.

Pratibha and Raju also sang some very nostalgic duets like Kya Khoob lagti ho, Teri Bindiya re, Tumhe Yaad hoga, Jaan-e Chama, Chale jaana zara thehro which was a very nice selection. This soon turned to dancing and had the floor thundering when they sang Zoobi Doobie, Oo la Laa, And favorites hits like Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke chrche, Aaja Aaja, Mera Naam Chin chin choo, Ina Mina Dika. The crowd would not want them to stop Pratibha sang Melodious songs like Yeh Sama, Woh bhooli dastaan Balma khuli hawa, O mere sona with as more requests came in, Raju sang a variety of singers’ songs like Chand Sifarish, Mere, Mehboob Qayamat hogi, ,Subkuch Seekha humne, Jane Kahan and Ae bhai zara dekh ke chalo from Mera Naam Joker. Their songs were received with a thunderous applause. Last but not the least Classical numbers by Hitesh Master were much appreciated Aja huna Aye, Madhuban mein Radhika followed by Tere Mast Mast Nain.