Is this an effort to mask the blatant discrimination medical trainees from India have experienced at UAB? While striking deals with business and political leaders from India, does UAB mention that it has treated international medical graduates (IMGs) from India in a shameful fashion? Does UAB mention that a federal jury recently found that it had discriminated against Dr. Seema Gupta, an IMG from India, because of her Hindu faith?
Somehow, I'm guessing that subject doesn't come up in these high-level international discussions. But it has come up here at Legal Schnauzer. And we will continue to take an in-depth look at rampant discrimination against IMGs--from India, Pakistan, Germany--at UAB's family-medicine residency program in Huntsville.
UAB seems to have no qualms about mistreating its own trainees from India. But when the university has an opportunity to make money off India--or to score PR points with a "feel good" story about a sports hero from India--hey, it's full speed ahead.
What have we learned in recent days? UAB announced that it and Birmingham-based Southern Research Institute have entered into a drug-discovery joint venture with an Indian firm called Jubilant Organosys. Richard Marchase, UAB's vice president for research, says the deal could be extremely lucrative. "If we can get a steady stream of millions of dollars a year, we'd count it as a success."
Ashok Singhal, president of CFS Research Corp. in Huntsville and president of Alabama India Business Partnerships, says he expects to see more such partnerships down the road.
Marchase apparently can't wait. He notes that a blockbuster drug at Emory University had a payoff price of $500 million and hints that the Indian firm could help UAB achieve such a payday. "The upside potential is almost unlimited," Marchase said.
Ah yes, the sweet smell of money. UAB always likes that.
UAB also likes the sweet taste of "feel good" PR connected to India. That came yesterday in the form of a front-page news article about Baljit Singh, a goalie for India's national field-hockey team. Singh, considered one of the top goalies in his sport, recently received treatment at UAB for a possible career-ending eye injury. The story featured a photo of Singh wearing a UAB cap.
What's not so cute is UAB's established record of discriminating against its own trainees from India. And the university has done it while exhibiting breath-taking arrogance and hypocrisy. Get a load of this quote from Marchase, the research director who hopes the Jubilant deal will help UAB recruit against other top research universities: "We hope it will be an important recruitment tool and a potential retention tool."
Uh right, like the "retention tool" you used with Dr. Seema Gupta and at least two other IMGs from India in the UAB family-medicine residency program?
Speaking of arrogance, UAB continues to wine and dine prominent Indian leaders while trying its best to sweep the jury verdict in the Seema Gupta case under the proverbial carpet.
A number of UAB folks, including Provost Eli Capilouto, recently attended a reception that was part of a three-day visit in Alabama from Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former president of India.
Kalam was here to help announce that an Indian software company, Congruent Solutions Inc., plans to establish headquarters in Birmingham. News reports stated that the law firm of Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker, and the University of Alabama System, helped arrange the trip.
Someone evidently has done a splendid job of pulling the wool over Kalam's eyes. Consider this from The Birmingham News:
Economic ties with Alabama fit in Kalam's plan to help decrease poverty in India by the year 2020.
"The state is very progressive," Kalam said of Alabama. "The people are very happy people and hard-working."
Alabama, and its flagship university system, progressive? Dr. Kalam might want to check with Dr. Seema Gupta about that. He also might want to learn about what a federal jury found regarding UAB's treatment of IMGs from India.
In fact, one wonders if Dr. Kalam is aware of the discrimination that Dr. Gupta and other IMGs from India faced at UAB. Perhaps it's time he finds out.