USINPAC is delighted for Indian American Rajiv Joseph who has been named a winner of the 6th Annual Steinberg Playwright Award

Rajiv Joseph, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Indian American playwright, has been named a winner of the 6th Annual Steinberg Playwright Award, an annual theater honor organized by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
He shares the honor with playwright Annie Baker and will accept a cash prize of $50,000.
Joseph was awarded for his latest work, “The Lake Effect,” which had its world premiere at Chicago’s Silk Road Rising in April. “The Lake Effect” is about two estranged Indian American siblings (played by Adam Poss and Minita Gandhi) who are forced to reunite when their father passes away and his newly revealed secrets change their perception of a man they thought they knew. “The Lake Effect” is also nominated for The Chicago-based 2012-13 Jeff Equity Awards, it was announced Oct. 3.

Previously, Joseph held the world premiere of the suspenseful drama “The North Pool” in 2011 in Palo Alto, Calif. His other works include “Huck and Holden,” “Animals Out of Paper” and “Gruesome Playground Injuries.” India-West has reported previously that Joseph’s first screenplay, a football-themed film titled “Draft Day,” had been selected for Hollywood’s prestigious “Blacklist” in December 2012.

Joseph, born in Cleveland, Ohio, is the son of a French-German mother and Indian father who credits his three years spent with the Peace Corps in Senegal for having a profound effect on him and preparing him for a writing career. He earned a B.A. in creative writing from the Oxford, Ohio campus of Miami University and a master’s degree in writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Joseph is best known for his incendiary drama “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” was first presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles before opening on Broadway with Robin Williams in 2011.

The play will open Oct. 5 at the San Francisco Playhouse and will run through Nov. 14, directed by Bill English.

Source: IndiaWest

USINPAC congratulates Indian American Sruthi Ramaswami who is amongst the winners of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, an award that celebrates inspiring, public-spirited, diverse young people from all across America, recently announced that 18-year-old Sruthi Ramaswami was among its 2013 national winners.

Each year, the Barron Prize honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. The top ten to 15 winners each receive a $5000 cash award to support their service work or higher education.

Ramaswami, an Indian American from California, was recognized for having founded the Mitty Advocacy Project, a network of over 1,000 students lobbying legislators to support bills that help the less fortunate by addressing social justice issues such as poverty and immigration.

Teams of students research issues such as poverty, education, immigration, and criminal justice, and then identify bills designed to address these issues. Students lobby legislators in Sacramento and have traveled to Washington, D.C. to do so at the national level. Five of the six bills they have lobbied for have been signed into law.

Ramaswami began her work as a high school freshman, invited by a teacher to prepare for and participate in Catholic Lobby Day, an advocacy event to mobilize Catholics in California to lobby state legislators. Inspired and empowered by that experience, she created MAP in her sophomore year to form a community of youth lobbyists to represent the interests of the less fortunate.

As the cornerstone of MAP, Ramaswami founded California Youth Advocacy Day, an annual event to promote civic engagement. For the past three years, over 600 high school students have taken part in the event, participating in issue-specific workshops led by MAP students and then lobbying their legislators at the state Capitol.

MAP has grown to involve 100 students at Sruthi’s school and has expanded to over 50 schools nationwide.

“I’ve learned that mobilizing people to believe in and work towards a common goal is not the purview of adulthood,” the teen stated in a press release. “Motivation and self-belief trump age.”

Source : IndiaWest

Walk World Walkathon Organization – Educate to Empower

AAPI-Tulsa Chapter has been in the forefront of organizing health educational walkathons through it’s sub-committee Walk World Walkathon Organization.
At the first WWW on 11-11-11 they promoted walking as the easiest way to exercise, and recycling for “Go Green World”. Countries from five continents participated in this walkathon.
At the second WWW on May 12, 2012 they promoted awareness of Hands Only CPR (CPR without mouth to mouth breaths).
At the third WWW on 12-12-12, they promoted childhood obesity awareness to help fight this national and global epidemic.
At the fourth WWW on Dec 16, 2012, they promoted “Unity in Diversity” and had friends from more than 30 different countries hold their national flags to indicate that childhood obesity affects everyone globally and that we are in this fight together.
On April 6, 2013, they organized the first ever school walkathon for childhood obesity awareness in Penn Elementary School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and educated the students, teachers and parents on how to tackle this epidemic. This is the first time that AAPI physicians got directly involved with their local communities and schools for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.
National AAPI is now helping to do similar events in schools and communities across USA with the tag line Be Fit-Be Cool.

At these events they are promoting “Let’s Move” initiative, especially the ChooseMyPlate and Presidential Active Lifestyle Award efforts. Also the 5-2-1-0 concept developed by the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau to fight this growing problem of obesity.
5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
2 hours or less of recreational screen time
1 hour or more of physical activity
0 sugary drinks. More water and low fat milk

Recently, Oklahoma Governor has proclaimed September Childhood Obesity Awareness month, urging individuals to show their support for this issue by wearing yellow. Yellow represents energy, motivation, pleasure, liveliness and optimism to help individuals lead healthy lifestyles. Sunshine yellow was chosen as sunshine is energizing like exercise that is being promoted to fight childhood obesity.

Presently, AAPI-Tulsa Chapter is trying to get President Obama to make a similar proclamation of Wear Yellow for obesity / childhood obesity awareness to promote healthy living. They developed a “50 States U.S. flag” with the 50 State’s flags in an alphabetical order around the U.S. stars & stripes flag to indicate our fight against childhood obesity in all 50 states.
We believe that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ when tackling this childhood obesity problem.


Uma Koduri, M.D., is Chair of National AAPI – Childhood Obesity Committee, Founder of Walk World Walkathon Organization and Founder and Past President of Tulsa chapter of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.