BIMDA marks 20-year anniversary

Wayne T. Price at Florida Today

Congressman Bill Posey with award winners at the BIMDA (Brevard Indo-
American Medical and Dental Association) Saturday Night at the
Melbourne HiltOn at Rialto Place.
(Photo Credit: TIM SHORTT / FLORIDA TODAY)

MELBOURNE - About 350 people turned out Saturday for the annual gala of the Brevard Indo-American Medical and Dental Association.

The event, virtually a Who's Who of top medical talent and health leadership in the community, also marked the organization's 20th anniversary. It followed the organization's annual Regional Medical Expo and Continuing Medical Education Conference.

Both events, the gala and the conference, took place at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place.

In the two decades since its founding, the association, known as BIMDA, has been involved with a number of philanthropic efforts, from targeting homelessness by supporting the Space Coast Center for Mothers with Children to teaming up with the Salvation Army of Melbourne in its mission of providing education and community health.

BIMDA also promotes volunteerism among its members.

The group also develops charitable strategies, including providing support to local cultural organizations. In 2012, the group's charitable efforts won it FLORIDA TODAY's Organization of the Year award in recognition to its work helping others and for being a model of philanthropy.

A decade ago, BIMDA organized fundraisers that collected $200,000 to help victims of Hurricane Katrina and also $40,000 for Haitian earthquake victims and $150,000 for tsunami victims in Asia.

Keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, said of the organization "Through their commitment to education and devotion to charitable giving, BIMDA has become a pillar of Central Florida."

"This is a special organization, with truly good people who are dedicated to strengthening our communities,” Posey said.

BIMDA currently has about 180 members. Its current president is Dr. Sharad Vyas, a Palm Bay-based pediatrician.

"We are very thankful for the friendship that BIMDA has in the community and look forward to serving the professional needs of doctors, hospitals and educational institutions engaging in collaboration for the improvement of Brevard County,” said Glad Kurian, a vice president with the Melbourne office of Morgan Stanley, who is constantly networking throughout the county and spreading the word about the organization’s social and charitable efforts.

Kurian was one of 11 members of BIMDA who Posey awarded with a Congressional Medal of Recognition.

Also on hand for Saturday's event was Jeff Kiel, president and publisher of FLORIDA TODAY. Kiel spoke to the organization about FLORIDA TODAY's annual Reaching Out Holiday Fund campaign, which is celebrating its 24th anniversary. To date, Reaching Out has provided about a quarter million books and toys to families and seniors in need.

BIMDA members presented Kiel with a check for the Reaching Out Holiday Fund. The check was on the "Partnership Level," meaning a donation of least $1,000.

"I'm very appreciative of BIMDA's continued support of the FLORIDA TODAY Reaching Out Holiday Fund," Kiel said. "Their generosity will make a difference for our community."

Others receiving the Congressional Medal of Recognition medal on Saturday included:

  • Dr. Mahesh Soni, a pediatrician with offices in Palm Bay and Satellite Beach, who helped start the organization.
  • Dr. Subhash Rege, a Palm Bay-based dentist.
  • Dr. Mukesh Aggarwal, a leader in the Indian community since the local community first formed the Indian Association of the Space Coast in 1991. Aggarwal also is a pioneer in ophthalmology, serving Brevard County since the 1970s.
  • Dr. Ashok Shah, a Titusville-based internist who also serves on the board of Parrish Medical Center.
  • Dr. Homi Cooper, the senior-most physician in BIMDA, having served as a doctor for nearly 50 years. His occupational medicine and non-surgical musculo-skeletal medicine practice is in Melbourne.
  • Dr. Sudeshna Mitra, has an internal medical practice in Melbourne.
  • Dr. Abdul Karim, a cardiologist with a practice in Rockledge and serving Wuesthoff and Cape Canaveral hospitals.
  • Dr. N. Rao Kopuri, the group's first dentist president and currently in charge of all the organization's back-office operations. Kopuri is assisted in that effort by his wife, Dr. Aparna Kopuri, daughter Sri Kopuri and office staff.
  • Dr. Gobi Balaji, an internist with a private practice in Melbourne. He also serves on the the Health First Foundation board.
  • Dr. Ravi Palaniyandi, a supporter of numerous philanthropic and charitable organizations and cardiologist with Space Coast cardiology.  He recently was recognized by the American Association of Physicians from India, as an "Outstanding Physician of the Year."

Contact Wayne T. Price at 321-242-3658 or wprice@floridatoday.com.