VCU trauma surgeon receives Immigrant Achievement Award

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Recognized for his outstanding efforts as a surgeon and humanitarian, Rao Ivatury, M.D., director of trauma and critical care surgery at the VCU Medical Center has received the 2003 Washington Immigrant Achievement Award.

Presented in Washington D.C. last month, the award is given annually by the American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) to honor outstanding contributions by immigrants.

Ivatury's vast experience in treating victims of trauma and his most recent efforts to save a victim of the sniper rampage last fall, attracted national media attention, as well as the attention of the AILF award nominating committee.

"We first learned about Dr. Ivatury, through an interview he did with NPR during the sniper shootings. Everyone on the [awards] committee, unanimously nominated him," said Rhiannon Jacobsen, a development associate for AILF. "He represents many immigrants in the medical field and is a tremendous role model for all citizens."

Ivatury was born in India and received his medical degree there from Andhra Medical College in Visakhapatnam. He immigrated to America in 1975 and began a 20-year tour of duty honing his trauma skills in the Trauma and Critical Care Unit at Fort Apache in New York's South Bronx, during one of that area's most violent periods. His experience filled a book - "The Textbook of Penetrating Trauma" - that has become the bible for the management of penetrating injuries.

"It is a great honor to be recognized and to be in the company of these accomplished individuals. There are many more immigrants who deserve this award more than I." Ivatury said. "I appreciate what the AILF does for immigrants in these roubled times and thank them for this privilege."

Other immigrant achievement honorees included, Flory Jagoda, a musician and composer from Bosnia; Luis Reyes; a restaurateur from El Salvador; and Roeland van der Marel, Ph.D., an astronomer from The Netherlands. Previous winners include Placido Domingo, Sammy Sosa, Ismail Merchant, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This year's winners were chosen from 20 nominees.

The AILF is a non-profit educational and charitable organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of immigration law and policy, and the values of immigration to American society.

This is the eighth year the AILF has presented the Washington Immigrant Achievement Award.