Presidential Address: Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas
New Brunswick, New Jersey
July 8, 2006
Distinguished guests, fellow colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the entire ANPA organization, I want to acknowledge and applaud the servitude, the stewardship and indeed the leadership of our immediate Past President, Dr. Emmanuel Okafor. Having worked with Dr. Okafor on the ANPA Executive Committee over the past four years, I attest to the fact that his insightfulness, his principled leadership and his commitment to the ideals of ANPA have combined in no small way in enabling ANPA to be what it is today.
All ANPA Presidents, stand on the shoulders of its Past Presidents. As such, I acknowledge and applaud the initial Executive Director, and all the Past Presidents of our organization, some of who are in the audience today. These visionary leaders have all individually and collectively shepherded this organization from its inception, though ongoing growing pains, indeed through troubled and turbulent times that on occasion threatened our very existence.
And of course…, I acknowledge and salute our loyal membership that has supported the elected leadership of our organization…, because it is indeed the membership that drives our organization. Indeed, several of this loyal membership has long determined that ongoing ANPA membership is an obligation, and not a choice.
I am humbled as I accept this inauguration as President of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas. The understanding of the several challenges that face us as an organization going forward humbles me. Challenges that we must first be insightful, and introspective enough to identify, acknowledge and then solve. This is a task that we must not fail at for us to remain relevant to our membership and our local communities in the United States, and of course…relevant to our country Nigeria.
As we acknowledge the challenges ahead of us, we must remember to congratulate ourselves on our accomplishments, of which I will highlight just a few.
Firstly, our scientific sessions continue to be educative and vibrant…, providing an intellectual link of commonality between us, and our colleagues from home. Our alumni organizations continue to grow in numbers, providing yet another focal point for professional and social gathering, discourse and fellowship among our members.
Secondly, we continue to engage the Federal Government of Nigeria in meaningful dialogue. Last year at the Inauguration of the annual Abuja Diaspora conference entitled“Bridging the Scientific and Digital Divide between Nigeria and the Diaspora”,ANPA was officially invited by the Federal Government to present a white paper on the Nigerian Health Care System, with suggestions and recommendations for future improvements.
We continue to dialogue on a consultative basis with executives from Nigeria responsible for shaping the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), as that system matures in its attempts to provide health care coverage for Nigerian citizens.
Thirdly, the ANPA Executive Committee is in the final stages of reviewing a Memorandum of Understanding from the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria, formalizing a three-way agreement of partnership between ANPA, the Federal Ministry of Health, and the Nigerian National Volunteer Service. This partnership will facilitate and enhance ANPA’s ability to deliver more efficient medical missions in Nigeria, while also providing a framework for more organized transfer of intellectual capacity to Nigeria.
Fourthly, ANPA has clearly taken a position on economic development of its membership. We continue to provide a forum for discussion of investment opportunities and options not only in the United States, but even more excitingly.., we are learning of viable opportunities for safer and more secure investments in Nigeria though local Nigerian Banks and the Nigerian stock exchange.
There is one final achievement that I would like to highlight. It is well known that the longevity of any organization lies in the nurturing of the generations behind it, with astute planning for ongoing membership. As such, I am especially proud to formally announce the launching of the SANPA, the medical student organization of ANPA launched as initiative birthed as a brain trust from Nigerian medical students at Stanford and Harvard Universities.
The ANPA leadership cannot achieve its organizational goals without extensive mainstream support from its membership. We need more than emotional investment into ANPA. We need financial investment, intellectual investment, and strategic investment. We need engagement from our untapped membership. But to do so…, we must do a better job in articulating the core values of our organization. We need to reverse the paradox whereby less than ten percent of our potential membership is engaged within ANPA. We need to reverse the anomaly where more than ninety percent of our eligible membership identifies little emotional professional, strategic or patriotic connection with ANPA…, or more importantly…, with its potential. We need ANPA members and leaders in our local communities to galvanize local chapters into action…, simply because it is through the strength, growth and commitment of our local chapters that we will enhance the relevance of the national organization.
In conclusion, I commit that my term in office…, working closely and effectively with the ANPA Executive Committee and the ANPA Board of Directors…, will prioritize efforts to take ANPA to even greater levels of accomplishment. We shall strive for optimized operational and organizational efficiency, optimizing communication and information dissemination among our current, and untapped membership. Through the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors, I commit that in order for ANPA be more relevant and of more value to our membership…, we shall be focused in our deliberation, concrete in our thinking, and introspective and rational in our decision making.
I appreciate the confidence demonstrated in me by my election to the Presidency of ANPA. I also appreciate the many words of encouragement and support that several of you have voiced at this meeting. I am exhilarated to be a meaningful part of this ongoing process of the stewardship of ANPA. I ask with my deepest sincerity…, that you join me in a partnership to take ANPA closer towards achieving its Mission and its ultimate Vision.
Yele Aluko MD., FACC.
President, Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas