T.K. Sreepada Rao, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, SUNY, Brooklyn, NY
The year was 1976, when a few graduates from Bangalore and Mysore Medical Colleges got together and decided to organize an alumni dinner. The first alumni meeting held at the Holiday Inn in Philadelphia, was attended by an unexpectedly large number of graduates practicing in NY, NJ, PA and Delaware. At the meeting, it was decided that the alumni dinner should become an annual event, and be hosted alternatively by members from Philadelphia and New York area. The second meeting which was held in NY was a great success attended by over 200 Medical and Dental graduates. This meeting lead to the creation of Bangalore Medical Association of America, office bearers were chosen, and by-laws were adopted. An IRS tax-exempt status was obtained by the office bearers. It was a humble beginning and accomplished some objectives by sending hooks and journals to Bangalore Medical College.
The alumni reunion dinner has been held annually since then, but the response over the years was a mixture of great enthusiasm by some to do good work for our alma mater, to overt negativism by many. During the 7th annual meeting in Philadelphia in 1982, few die hard members decided to revitalize the organization. There was a unanimous agreement that by combining the alumni from all medical colleges from Karnataka State, we could accomplish more and function as one major force. The BMC Alumni Association was transformed to Karnataka Medical & Dental Association of America (KSMDAA), by-laws were properly amended, and the tax exempt status was renewed. The objectives of KSMDAA were mainly to help and support various educational aspects in medical and dental colleges in Karnataka, and to create an educational exchange program between US and our home institutions. Over the next years as the Association became vibrant and stronger by adding more members, the implementation of its objectives began with full vigor. In the initial years, the Association was responsible for:
- Providing annual financial grants to Karnataka Medical Society which organized CME seminars regularly in Karnataka State
- Sending medical journals, audio and video tapes to various Medical Colleges in Karnataka
- Financial support to buy medical equipment at various institutions
- Raising funds for our alumni members who were in distress
Over the next years, the KSMDAA Association grew even more rapidly and transformed from a regional East Coast based organization into a National body. Representatives were chosen from all regions in the US, and annual meetings were held in different cities in the US. In 1994, the first IndoAmerican KSMDAA conference was held in Bangalore, which provided a unique opportunity to interact with our colleagues back home. In collaboration with many institutions in Bangalore as well as Rajiv Gandhi University, KSMDAA Association’s objectives were expanded but not limited to:
- Creating an annual Exchange Fellowship program to fully support two Post Graduate physicians from Karnataka to come to US and obtain advanced training under the guidance of our alumni members who held faculty positions at major institutions here
- Supporting a charity medical clinic in rural area of Karnataka
- Establishing cash prizes and Gold Medals to outstanding medical graduates
- Raising funds for an Electronic library to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Bangalore Medical College
- Encouraging members to donate medical equipment’s to institution of their choice
- Alumni members to function as Visiting Professors at Rajiv Gandhi University
These programs have been well received and joint Indo-American KSMDAA conferences have been held in Bangalore every two years since then. Recently, CME seminars have been organized as part of group travel to far away places like China and Russia. The Association from its humble beginning has grown and become strong because of commitment and hard work by various Presidents and members of the Executive Committee. Life members have supported the organization by financial contribution as well as volunteering while visiting family in Karnataka. We continue to strive for promoting excellence in education at our home institutions, a very small token of our gratitude to what we are today in the US.