AAiPS: A Brief History
AAiPs is a nearly 29 year old non-profit organization reflecting the dedicated service of the Indian pharmaceutical community in USA. Prior to 1988, Vinod Shah and others used to meet for lunch informally during APhA/AAPS annual meetings. Originally, they referred to this group as the Alumni Association of Indian Universities (AAIU). During the 1988 lunch meeting, there was a group of over 50 members giving rise to the suggestion to form a formal association and Atul Mehta was elected as first President. Under Atul’s leadership, the group name was changed to as the members need not be graduates from an Indian University. Proposal and acceptance of the name AAiPS was formally instituted during the 1989 AAPS annual meeting in Atlanta, GA with approximately 150 members. President Atul Mehta and Vinod Shah worked actively for 3 years to create an association primarily as a meeting place for Indian scientists. AAiPS can be proud of setting the standard for other ethnic scientific organizations such as Chinese, Iranian, Bangladeshi, Irish and Hispanic Pharmaceutical Scientists Association, amongst others. In 1989, Atul Mehta and Ram Murthy appointed Mukund Yelvigi as the Secretary of AAiPS and worked to help play a vital role in developing the AAiPS in both, US and Indian pharmaceutical communities.
From 1992-2000, AAiPS underwent a rapid transformation and growth phase. The current Lamp/Book Emblem was selected to represent the organization and a more structured newsletter was put in place with over 700 members on the mailing list. Also in 1992, AAiPS started to hold regional scientific meetings by inviting reputable speakers from many walks of the industry. The first such meeting was held at Namaskar Restaurant, Paramus, NJ where Dr. Malati Baichwal was invited as speaker. Life membership was instituted in 1993 with 12 Charter Life Members. In order to further bridge alignment with AAPS, AAiPS began hosting an annual dinner during the AAPS annual meetings. Mukund Yelvigi took a lead role in soliciting funds from the industry and the association was successful in calling upon leading US scientists and academicians as speakers for this annual event. Some of these speakers include Joe Robinson, Pat Deluca, Jerome Halperin, George Digenis, Roger Williams, Jerome Skelly, Bill Barr, Joe Schwartz, Les Bennet, Carl Desantis, & Anthony Simonelli. The first Indian Guest invited to our annual meeting was the Managing Director of Associated Capsules, Mr. Ajit Singh and he was followed by other prominent speakers such as Dr. Parvinder Singh (Ranbaxy), Habil Khorakiwala (Wockhardt), Desh Bandhu Gupta (Lupin), and Dilip Sanghvi (Sun Pharma).
Narendra Desai and Basant Sharma served as Presidents from 1992 to 1993. In 1996, Krip Borah became President and provided significant direction in revising the AAiPS constitution. He was followed by Vijai Kumar for the next two years. During his Presidency, Vijai was instrumental in AAiPS recognizing both, Indian and Non-Indian scientists and leaders. He instituted the graduate Student Award, AAiPS Fellows Award and Outstanding Achievement Awards. During all these years, there were several scientists contributing to AAiPS leadership and support. These include, but are not limited to, Ramesh Raikar, Pramod Chemburkar, Sudan Marathe, Barry Fox, Avinash Thombre, Hema Jain, Cheenu Murthy, Nemi Jain, Kamal Midha, Vinod Shah, Navnit Shah and many others.
In 2002, President, Sampat Singhvi brought structure to the organization by clearly defining the responsibilities of each office bearer. Followed by President Suggy Chrai whose notable contributions include a well formatted Membership directory and tracking system and structured fund-raising apart from his vast industry administration experience. After 1994-95, Mukund Yelvigi came back to serve as President in 2006 and started several new initiatives with a fresh look on short and long term vision, closer relationship with India, revising awards system and instituted a new young Indian Faculty Achievement Award. He focused on proper book-keeping of accounts and facilitating increased involvement of our sponsors. In 2008 Vijai Kumar came back as President to move AAiPS on even more solid footing. New faces were introduced as part of the AAiPS team including Mohan Kabadi, Uday doshi, Rupa Doshi, Anthony Hickey, Rajesh Krishna, Sanjeev Gupta, Rashmi Pai Thakur, Praveen Hiremath and Vijay Naringrekar who helped bring new ideas for growth. In 2010 Mohan Kabadi was elected President for a two year term. During his term, a new web-site, www.aaips.org was established by Uday This web-site provided online registration for our regional and annual meetings and has capabilities for exchange of ideas via the AAiPS member’s forum. In 2010 a Vision committee was formed to chart the vision for the association over the next five years. Our association went completely green in 2010 with regular publication of our newsletters on the web site. In 2012-2013 Uday Doshi was elected President and during his tenure, the executive committee has been committed to working towards the recommendations of the vision committee and expanding the AAiPS membership base. In 2013, AAiPS held its first ever symposium, in NJ, on nanotechnology. Today AAiPS serves as a platform for all Indian Scientists to network through its regional and annual meetings and the two chapters in New Jersey and Washington DC. With this strong base AAiPS will strive to serve the professional pharmaceutical community effectively and enthusiastically for years to come.