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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2526

Health care is a civil right, says Dr Ramanathan Raju

New York, 16 December, (

Healthcare is a fundamental right of every citizen and more of a civil right, a human right and a constitutional right for all happening this country. “Only the way to improve the health for all is to provide adequate access not only to healthcare but also equal opportunities in education wealth housing jobs and pursuing happiness,” said Dr Ramanathan Raju, President and CEO of New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

Dr Raju was addressing an investiture ceremony of America Tamil Sangam that bestowed its highest honor Tamil Ratna (Jewel Among Tamils) at a function attended by leading Indian-American physicians in Hotel Madras Woodlands in New Hyde Park recently. John Joseph, Executive Vice President of America Tamil Sangam presided over the meeting.

Dr. Ramanathan (Ram) Raju heads the largest municipal health care system in the nation. Dr. Raju was appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in January 2014 to lead the 37,000 employees of this $6.7 billion corporation, which includes 11 acute care hospitals, five nursing homes, six large diagnostic and treatment centers, more than 70 community-based health centers, a large home care agency, and one of the New York area's largest providers of government-sponsored health insurance, MetroPlus Health Plan, the plan of choice for nearly half a million New Yorkers. Last year, HHC facilities served 1.4 million New Yorkers -- including more than 475,000 uninsured.

Prior to accepting the role of President and CEO at HHC, Dr. Raju was the Chief Executive Officer for the Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) in Chicago, Illinois, and the third largest public health system in the country. During his tenure there, Dr. Raju turned the financial status of the system around, improving the cash flow by over 100 million dollars. Dr. Raju began his medical career at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn and went on to serve as the COO and Medical Director at HHC's Coney Island Hospital.

In 2006, he became the HHC Chief Medical Officer, Corporate Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President. Dr. Raju attended Madras Medical College to earn his medical diploma and his Master of Surgery degree. He underwent further training in England and was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. Dr. Raju is also a physician executive, having obtained an MBA from the University of Tennessee and CPE from the American College of Physician Executives.

“I have chosen a profession which brought me so much joy and my work in the last decades to eliminate the health care disparities that exist in our country has been very fulfilling. The people from Tamil Nadu are always at the forefront of social justice issues in this country and this is because of the rich traditions we carry in our social fabric and greatness we carry in our service. As we continue our mission to bring our greatness and our service to all New Yorkers organizations like America Tamil Sangam have a special place in our minds and hearts,” he said.

“I want to thanks President of America Tamil Sangam Prakash and other officers for spearheading the efforts to awaken the civic responsibilities amongst Tamils across this country. Thanks for the singular honor and I humbly accept the award. It is great to return to the roots and I am privileged to hail from a historically rich country and happen to be born in a state which represents one of the ancient civilizations,” Dr Raju said.

Dr Madan Raj, a leading pain management physician of Long Island and officer of Madurai Medical College Alumni Association, in his address said Dr. Raju has a reputation for helping people.

“Mayor Bill de Blasio hired him to run the largest health care system in the country or even in the world because of his unique credentials as a surgeon trained in three continents Indian sub-continent, Europe and North America for years and skill set of a business leader with a heart to help others,” he added.

Dr. Raju even as a student in MBA was passionate about finding ways to help underprivileged community to access healthcare. His passion for helping others and improving the health of underprivileged people is legendary. May Bill de Blasio knows very well what Dr. Raju has in his package.- unique credentials and qualities as a physician leader.

It is amazing to see an international medical graduate - one of us- who has achieved to become the President & CEO of the New York Health and Hospital Corporation. He has achieved this with his credentials and earned his stripes with hard work. This can happen only in the US, he said.

Dr. Robert D’Esposito president of Nassau County Medical Society who presented the Tamil Ratna Award on Dr Raju praised his spirited public service and a zeal to provide healthcare to the uninsured. He said it's appropriate that America Tamil Sangam should honor one of its proud son who has become a leader in health care system.

Capt Stanley George, the highest ranking Indian-American officer of NYPD in his remarks praised the role of America Tamil Sangam for honoring one of its illustrious sons of Tamil Nadu. Dr Raju’s work on preventing an outbreak of Ebola could go down in the history of New York City.

America Tamil Sangam also honored Dr Karthi k Ramasamy, a leading plastic and cosmetic surgeon in Chennai for his fight against obesity especially childhood obesity in schools.

Eminent Indian-American physicians such as Dr Dattareyudu Nori, a world-renowned oncologist and others attend the event. Josh Joseph in his remarks said America Tamil Sangam founded by Prakash M Swamy stood in the forefront of honoring and recognizing prominent Tamils be it they are in India or in the US. Jaya Sundaram, secretary welcomed the gathering and Koshy Ommen, treasurer proposed a vote of thanks. Calai Chandra, vice president of ATS and Dr Arul Veerappan, a renowned cardiac care researcher of Cornell University spoke.

- Asian Tribune -

Dr D'Esposito, center, presenting the award to Dr Raju while scientist Dr Arul Veerappan, Dr Madan Raj, Jaya Sundaram and John Joseph look on.(Photos by Nala Singham)
A section of the packed audience
Dr Raju addressing the gathering
Dr Ramanathan Raju
diconary view
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