Newsletter: September 2010

Dear Membership,

I really wanted to begin by stating that I am very proud to be a part of the leadership of this organization.  This journey has been a growing process for me and I want to begin by thanking some of the key people involved.

First, I am surrounded by an executive board of very strong character.  As you are aware, Praveen Mummaneni is the Treasurer, Shekar Kurpad is the Secretary, and Girish Hiremath and Ketan Bulsara are members-at-large.  Each member has brought to the table a unique set of qualifications and organization which has aided us in making key decisions for the society.  Praveen is as tight fisted with our monies like I would expect of any great treasurer and he has been in touch with an accounting firm dealing with the tax implications and details of a growing 501-3c organization.  Shekar is passionate about disseminating information of our society’s business. Ketan and Girish have organized a membership committee and have worked with Harminder Singh and Sanjay Yadla and have started the process in reaching out to every member in the community who fits AASAN’s bill.

Then, I have the opportunity of having some really strong and sincere advisors in Jogi Pattisapu and Raj Narayan .  Both have stood tall and helped us make the correct decisions on pretty much every issue to date.  And on top of all this, we stand on the shoulders of Arnold Menezes, Laligam Sekhar, Chander Kohli, and Shripathi Holla who are the founders of the organization. It’s a tribute to their success and to our organization that they are omni present at every business meeting.  Having been there, I know it’s a point of incredible pride to the young members of our organization to be by the sides of such great individuals.

Our major accomplishment over the last two years has definitely been the opportunity of uniting the society with the Neurologic Society of India.  In 2009, over a hundred delegates traveled toNew Orleansto participate in the Congress of Neurological Surgeons annual meeting.  In 2010, AASAN has been at the center in reciprocating this and we estimate that there will be nearly a hundred delegates fromNorth Americawho will attend to NSI meeting in Jaipur – December 16-19.  Through these collaborative meetings, a real tangible has been the opportunity to create long lasting and trustworthy friendships with our brothers in the sub-continent.  Today I, as do many of you I am sure too, feel comfortable reaching out via email and cell phone and contacting a neurosurgeon overseas, and we have an immediate one-degree connection.  It is the basic mission of this society to facilitate and sponsor these bidirectional interactions.

In the process of organizing this meeting with the NSI, we have also discovered some great industry partners who are also deeply committed to this exchange of faculty and thought.  MASEP and Bruce Meredith, Codman and Laxmin Laxminarian, and Integra Neurosciences and Stuart Essig are all stalwarts in helping establish the funding with which we can continue to establish these strong ties.  We thank them earnestly for their generous grant support to promote education between AASAN and the South Asian community.  Of course, I must also mention the vision from David Adelson in allowing the Congress of Neurological Surgeons to have committed the CNS to this two year relationship which served as the initial vehicle for this journey.

This year, we have also started on honorary lectureship.  Dr. Arnold Menezes will be honored on Monday evening as the first Rengachary Memorial lecture.  He will speak on the struggles that he faced immigrating theUnited Statesas a minority neurosurgeon.  This is a tradition that we hope to continue at all the meetings from this point forward.  The award will not be just limited to neurosurgeons but any leader who is accomplished in their respective field from the South Asian community.  I personally believe that hearing these stories and learning from such experience makes each one of us stronger and ties us closer to our own community – as its obvious that we all share these core values of hard work, innovation, sincerity.

I acknowledge that we are a small organization but we are composed of dynamic and talented members.  In the near future, we need to increase our reach and exposure.  In the immediate future, Harminder Singh and Ketan Bulsara are working with Stryker to create a sustainable traveling ambassadorship program.  I have approached the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) to create societal dialogues.  Vinay Deshmukh will be assisting us in developing our by-laws as we continue to grow.  We have great energy, and I look forward to continued communication with each of our members to share in your ideas and continue to see the society take on new and great challenges.  We look forward to each and every individual’s support.

Thank you sincerely,

Ashwini Sharan

Jaipur Meeting

The American Association of South Asian Neurosurgeons (AASAN) is in the final steps of helping to organize a truly historic meeting inJaipur,Indiabetween December 16 and 19, 2010. The meeting is a collaborative effort between the Neurological Society of India (NSI), and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), and promises to be an exciting opportunity for neurosurgeons inIndiaand theUnited Statesto share their knowledge and expertise across a wide-range of topics. In addition, the meeting will be preceded by a live, 3-D course on skull base surgery, headed by Dr. Saleem Abdulrauf inNew Delhi.

AASAN is helping to fund US resident and fellow attendees who have submitted abstracts to the meeting, as we recognize the importance of this unique educational opportunity. The meeting will have comprehensive participation from the CNS leadership, AASAN leadership as well as several North American neurosurgical luminaries in both academic and private practice neurosurgery.

For further information regarding meeting attendance and registration, please visit the meeting’s website at: In addition, all prospective attendees are encouraged to attend the AASAN general business meeting at the upcoming CNS in San Francisco, which will be held at the Marriott Marquis Golden Gate between 5 and 7pm on October 18th in rooms C1 and C2. There will be a dinner following the business meeting at the Waterfront Restaurant and Cafe, which is being sponsored by MASEP Infini.

Keynote Speaker

It gives us a great sense of pride to announce our first annual Rengachary Memorial lecturer–Dr. Arnold Menezes. Dr. Menezes will speak at 5:15 during the AASAN business meeting at this year’s CNS. Dr. Menezes is certainly no stranger to the neurosurgical community, having developed many of the techniques for, and thinking behind craniovertebral pathology. During the meeting, Dr. Menezes will share with us his experiences as a pioneering Indian American neurosurgeon training and practicing in theUnited States. We hope that you will all attend and make this a truly remarkable first lecture.

Book Review

Mistaken Modernity: India Between Worlds

Author: Dipankar Gupta

Publisher: Harper Collins

As we at AASAN are in the midst of forging a new partnership with neurosurgeons from our homeland, it is important that we come to terms with the tremendous, and unprecedented economic, as well as social changeIndiais undergoing. Dipankar Gupta, a noted writer, and former professor of sociology atJawaharlalNehruUniversityinNew Delhidissects these changes, and helps us understand the numerous challenges that still lie ahead beforeIndiais able to truly call herself a modern nation.

Gupta argues that whileIndiahas recently opened its doors to the world, resulting in economic growth on a scale previously unimaginable, the true spirit of a modernized nation is yet to be realized. For example, while the standards of living of many Indians have risen over the past two decades, traditional attitudes of caste still dominate in many parts of the country. This, according to Gupta has not resulted in true westernization; rather, it has resulted in what he calls, “westoxication”, which he defines as the people’s use of the “privilege of birth, and their superior access to wealth and power, to flaunt their social distance over the rest.” In addition, the true sense of empathy (which Gupta defines as the ability to feel sorrow for another person “without even knowing that person”), with which western governments use to provide for all of its citizens, regardless of social or economic standing, is yet to be fully realized in India. The end result, therefore, is that these and other traditional caste-based values make it difficult for the development of “true equality.”

Additionally, Gupta skilfully resolves the apparent paradoxes of the rise of supreme leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, as well as of many of the world’s most magnanimous political leaders, with the gross inequality between men and women, and among social classes. Gupta, however, does offer many glimmers of hope–urbanization, he states, is beginning to blur caste lines in many parts ofIndia, and is helping to change age-old attitudes about social standing. What is astounding is the magnificent pace of change in Indian society; to be sure, much has changed, even since the writing of the book, with more in store asIndiabegins to be noticed on the world stage.

Gupta’s writing style is at once sophisticated, yet easy to understand as the reader quickly realizes his profound familiarity with world history and social systems. In short, this is a truly delightful and unique representation of the culture that many of us feel we understand, but really do so only at a superficial level.

List of Recent Graduates

            Here is a list of recent South Asian American graduates of neurosurgical training. It is hoped that this list will encourage networking among this group of individuals, as well as with our organization as a whole. We wish all the recent graduates the best in all of their endeavours.





Anil Nair AlbanyMedicalCollege
Adesh Tandon AlbertEinsteinCollegeof Medicine
Gaurav Jain AlbertEinsteinCollegeof Medicine
Sanjay Bhatia AlleghenyGeneralHospital
KrishnaB. Satyan BaylorCollegeof Medicine
Sheri Dewan BrownUniversitySchoolof Medicine
Rishi Goel CaseWestern ReserveUniversity
Shakeel Chowdhry CaseWestern ReserveUniversity
Girish K. Hiremath ClevelandClinic
Omar  N. Syed ColumbiaUniversity/New YorkNeurological Institute
Vaninder Singh Chhabra EmoryUniversity
Sachin Shah EmoryUniversity
Beejal Y. Amin HenryFordHospital
Sandeep Bhangoo HenryFordHospital
Sanjay Patra HenryFordHospital
Chetan Bettegowda JohnsHopkinsUniversityHospital
Prashant Chittiboina Louisiana State University/Shreveport
Shashikant Patil Louisiana State University/Shreveport
Sameer A. Sheth Massachusetts GeneralHospital
Hamid M. Shah MedicalCollegeofGeorgia
Abilash Haridas Mount SinaiSchoolof Medicine
Harshpal Singh Mount SinaiSchoolof Medicine
Avinash L. Mohan New YorkMedicalCollege
Sunit Das NorthwesternUniversityMedicalSchool
Mirza Baig OhioStateUniversity
Narashima Jatavallabhula PennsylvaniaStateUniversity
Moksha Ranasinghe PennsylvaniaStateUniversity
Nimesh Patel RushUniversityMedicalCenter
Udaya Kakarla St. Joseph’sHospital & MedicalCenter
Chirag Patil StanfordUniversityMedicalCenter
Shivanand Lad StanfordUniversityMedicalCenter
Pranatartiharan Ramachandran Tufts-NewEnglandMedicalCenter
Manish Jain TulaneUniversity
Mahesh Shenai University ofAlabamaMedicalCenter
Sunita Venkata Bhamidipaty UniversityofArizona
Namath  Hussain UniversityofArizona
Mian Mohsin Shah UniversityofCalifornia-Irvine
Shayan Rahman UniversityofCalifornia-Los Angeles
Maryam Rahman University of Florida/Gainesville
Chandan Reddy UniversityofIowaHospitals & Clinics
KotaSadashiva Karanth UniversityofIowaHospitals & Clinics
Mian Shah UniversityofLouisville
Praveen Baimeedi UniversityofMinnesota
Tausif-Ur Rehman UniversityofNew Mexico
Arun Jacob UniversityofPennsylvania
Deb Bhowmick UniversityofPennsylvania
Devin Amin University ofPittsburghMedicalCenter
Arash Farahvar University ofRochesterMedicalCenter
Sunita Bhamidpaty UniversityofSouthern California
Atif Haque University of Texas-Southwestern
Nirupama Kumar University of Texas-Houston
Anand Rughani UniversityofVermont
Abhineet Chowdhary UniversityofWashington
Nathan Nair UniversityofWashington
Mahesh Karandikar UniversityofWashington
Dinesh Ramanathan UniversityofWashington
Amrendra Miranpuri University ofWisconsin-Madison
Nirav Patel University ofWisconsin-Madison
Prasad Reddy VanderbiltUniversityMedicalCenter
Jayant Jagannathan WayneStateUniversity