Happy holidays everyone!
Your Alumni Association’s new Executive Council will be taking over on January 1, 2018. I wanted to personally thank all of you for the support that my team and I have received over the last two years. It has been an honor to serve you all.
Our intent has always been to grow AKUAANA and provide value to our members. We have been met with many successes and some unfinished business. Our numbers have grown from about a 100 members to now over 200 active members and the traffic to our Facebook page and website is now in the thousands. Abdul Basit Saeed (2007), our Web and Social Media Manager, has been the rock around which the technical aspects of our web presence have been built and the organization will always be indebted to him.
Over the past two years our major focus was community building, and to achieve this we organized multiple regional meetings in 2016 and 2017. This has greatly enhanced our networking. Our alumni are now more informed about the work the Alumni Association has been doing. I would like to thank all the alumni who volunteered in hosting these regional reunions. We also hosted very successful annual reunions in Washington DC and Orlando FL.
We have been working with the leadership at AKUMC to help our alumni with issues that arise periodically. In fact, with the efforts of the Executive Council and our alumni, one of our fresh alumni was able to start residency on time this year rather than missing a year and potential residency spot.
AKUAANA also initiated its first project with AKU in August 2016. It is a project for the treatment of anemia in pregnancy by screening pregnant females and treating them with iron supplements and IV iron (Venofer). I would like to congratulate our Alumni who have raised around $70,000 dollars for this project. This would fund our project for a total of 4 years. A short video of the AKUAANA Outreach Clinic in Ibrahim Hyderi, and the most recent Impact Report of the project are available on the website.
This year we also partnered with APPNA for their National Food Pantry Project. We raised over $4,000 and APPNA matched it with $2,000. AKUAANA members spent a day volunteering at the Maryland Food Bank and also gave the check to the pantry.
The devastation in Houston with Hurricane Harvey affected a number of our Alumni as we have a significant concentration of Alumni in the area. We developed an emergency committee who reached out to alumni in Houston and offered them help. A number of Alumni in Houston in safe areas opened their home to accommodate other Alumni. We raised $10,000 for the Mayor of Houston Hurricane Harvey Fund also. This is a true testament to our AKUAANA community and I would like to congratulate everyone who worked and volunteered their time.
We enter a new phase in the coming years. The need for increased involvement of the younger classes, continued membership drives and defining our mission are the critical components of success. There are a number of new initiatives that are in the works.
I wish President-Elect Namirah Jamshed (1996) and her team the best of success, and thank you all again.
Habib Chotani (1995)
AKUAANA President, 2016-2017