By JUDY OTTO
It is fitting that, as a new president took the helm of the Central Florida Association of Physicians from the Indian Subcontinent (CAPI) in December, a new and powerful arm of the organization also made its debut alongside him. During the preceding year, current President Vijay Patange, MD, had worked tirelessly alongside his CAPI executive committee colleagues to develop the structure and purpose of the new Philanthropy Committee, which will facilitate and regulate CAPI's future charitable efforts and endowments to deserving entities and individuals within the Orlando community.
CAPI's stated mission and purpose are built around service and support to their community; the new Philanthropy Committee enhances CAPI's ability to execute that mission: "The Committee was formed to create guidelines for the future, with special attention to transparency and accountability in decision-making," Patange explained. "As president, this allows me to direct funds to charities of the members' choice."
Where the CAPI membership has previously raised and donated money and time to various local and national charities and foundations on a less formally-structured basis that depended on general membership involvement, now the process of earmarking and expediting delivery of endowments rests with the Philanthropy Committee's five members--the current president, president-elect, a past president, and two elected representatives from the membership at large. Funds are raised exclusively from member contributions to the CAPI Foundation; Individual member donations to a favored charity or beneficiary are also matched by organizational funds.
In practice, the Committee's work is expected to increase the organization's efficiency in disbursing awards, thanks to oversight and consensus from the experienced decision-makers who comprise the Committee.
Patange was initially drawn to the CAPI organization by personal ideals that mirrored CAPI's mission of serving others through charitable efforts.
Patange learned early, during his childhood in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India, the value of both education and service. "My father, a textile engineer, always said that education is the key to success in life - a jewel no one can steal. I adopted my parent's mantra - to serve others first, to share and be selfless."
The profession of medicine is a natural choice for those who hope to help others; Patange attended medical school at the Government Medical College at Nagpur, India. During his pediatric residency at home in Mumbai, he discovered a fascination for radiology that captivates him still.
"I realized that radiology touched every specialty of medicine, so I was able to help a variety of patients and clinicians. I jointed Tata Memorial Hospital as a radiology resident and completed a post-graduate degree in radiology from the University of Bombay in 1992," he said.
After marrying his wife, Rita, he moved to the United States in pursuit of his passion for advanced studies and higher learning. He finished a residency in radiology from the University of South Alabama and a fellowship in nuclear medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Determined to excel in the field, he completed an additional fellowship in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) at Cincinnati's MRI Education Foundation/The Christ Hospital.
In 2001, he relocated to Orlando and joined the Medical Center Radiology Group, where he has been a partner for 15 years. He has served as Chief of MRI for Orlando Health, Chief of Radiology at South Lake Hospital in Clermont, and has been invited to serve as director on the South Lake Hospital Foundation Board. He is active as an educator for residents, medical students, and conference attendees.
A career rich in giving and serving was paralleled by his early membership in CAPI, which was then regarded as a great networking platform for doctors and dentists, but grew and evolved rapidly into a strongly charitable entity. Patange began volunteering, which helped to hone his organizational skills, and he was soon encouraged to join CAPI's leadership team.
At the end of the day, Patange finds it gratifying to be involved in a purpose larger than his own daily duties for his job and cherished family, including children aged 12, 15, and 17, "...without whose unconditional love and support this journey is not possible."
"Capi gave me an opportunity and a platform to serve others as I have been helped by many friends and mentors along the way. It is a rewarding journey--and I am blessed."