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Three Indian-origin Americans in Obama campaign team

Three well-known Indianorigin Americans, actor Kalpen Modi (Kal Penn), California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Sai Iyer, who served as a White House intern in 2011 have been appointed to the 35-member national cochairs of the Obama Campaign.

In all the Obama Campaign released a list of 35 campaign co-chairs who will act as key surrogates and ambassadors in the run up to the November presidential elections in which incumbent Barack Obama is seeking re-election.

"The president’s national cochairs will be tremendous assets on the ground as we build the biggest grassroots campaign in history," Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina said in a statement. "They each share the President’s vision for a future where every American can have a fair shot at success, where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded," Messina said.

An eminent Hollywood actor, Kalpen Modi is the former White House Associate Director for the Office of Public Engagement. Kamala Harris is the powerful Attorney General of California and Sai Iyer is a Student at the Virginia Commonwealth University and OFA (Obama For America) volunteer leader from Virginia.

Sabith Khan to groom American Muslims for public service

A Mysore-born Indian public affairs specialist has been charged with revitalizing the Muslim Public Service Network (MPSN) that grooms young American Muslims for public service and to take on civic leadership positions.

"I believe that MPSN needs to form strong alliances with organizations in the US, while working to stabilize its flagship Summer Fellowship program," said Sabith Khan, the new executive director about his task of revitalizing the organization founded in 1994.

"I believe we need to also engage our stake-holders and community in a creative way, so they come together and give back and re-learn the meaning of community development," said Khan, who "lived in Bangalore for most of my life" before coming to the US.

Over the last 18 years, a few fellows of the program have gone on to make a name in public service. The most prominent is Rashad Hussain, son of a mining engineer from Bihar, who was named by President Barack Obama as US Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). "The American Muslim community is among the richest, best educated communities there is, and has been consistently giving back to the country," Khan said. "But one area where it lacks substantial contribution is in the area of public policy."

"With my understanding of public policy and civic engagement, I believe I can make a deep impact on the organization and help it move forward; and grow in size and also partnerships/ alliances," said Khan, who holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

"MPSN is at a stage where they needed someone to stabilize the program and also grow its support base, while maintaining its high quality programming. I believe I will be able to do that, going forward," he added.

Poonam Alaigh named Perminova advisor

Indian-American Dr. Poonam Alaigh has been appointed to the board of advisors in Perminova, a developer of webbased software for leading cardiology centers of US.

A board-certified internist with a vascular medicine specialty, Dr. Alaigh also has a comprehensive knowledge of health policy, healthcare reform, cost-effective care and quality outcomes, along with expertise in organizational and corporate management. She was Commissioner of Health and Senior Services for the State of New Jersey, where she led an executivelevel state agency with a $3.8 billion budget and 1,700 employees and answered directly to the Governor. Her key responsibilities included state and national healthcare policy, public health, senior care and quality and regulatory oversight of healthcare institutions in New Jersey.

"Perminova is fortunate to have on its Board of Advisors an MD with Dr. Alaigh’s tremendous expertise in healthcare policy, along with organizational and corporate management," said Craig K. Collins, Perminova President and CEO. "In this fast-changing era for healthcare, her knowledge will be extremely beneficial to our high-growth health technology company."

Dr. Alaigh received her medical degree from Lady Hardinge Medical College at Delhi University in India and later an MS in Health Care Policy and Management at SUNY at Stony Brook in New York.

Akshay Desai heads Republican party's state finance panel

Akshay Desai, who studied medicine in India, has been made the chief of the Republican Party of Florida's finance committee. "...I am grateful that Desai has agreed to accept this crucial role," said RPOF's chairperson Lenny Curry.

"In this election year, we need the resources for victory, and Desai's long history of work for the state and our party make him a proven leader. A.K. and I are ready to roll up our sleeves and win," a statement quoted Curry as saying. Desai has been a member of the Florida State Board of Education since 2007. He received his medical degree in India, and earned his Master's in Public Health Administrative Medicine from the George Washington University.

Desai is currently president and CEO of Universal Health Care Group, which he founded in 2002, and serves the health care community through several associations. He previously served as commissioner and chairman of the Health Committee on the White House Commission on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders 2005-08.

[ BY R. PADMANABHAN ]

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