Qualifications of Medical Staff at Chowchilla’s Prisons

by Heidi Strupp and Carol Kingery
Women’s Positive Legal Action Network (Women’s PLAN) works to reduce the suffering of women prisoners with serious diseases by challenging and decreasing the medical neglect, abuse, mistreatment and discrimination this population faces. The majority of our work is informed by regular visits conducted at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) and Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW). Years of hearing women’s medical horror stories inspired us to look up selected CCWF medical staff in public records. We thought you might like to know who is providing care to women prisoners and what specialty training, if any, they have.
For those readers who have access to the internet, we found this information from the following cites: www.docboard.org, www.certifieddoctor.org, and www.ama-assn.org. We encourage you to investigate the credentials of other doctors who may be treating you or your loved ones. Secondary certifications and licensing are recorded and regularly updated by the American Medical Association and are provided in the listed sites. Doctors are required to take part in re-education programs over the course of every year. The substance of these courses are not recorded. However, any certification or residencies are noted on the web sites listed. The below information was generated using the closest approximations of the doctors names and locations of practice that were available to the staff of Women’s PLAN.
Here are some of our findings:

  • Augustine Mekkam, Chief Medical Officer, CCWF – A Chief Medical Officer of a prison oversees all medical care prisoners receive, including prisoners with serious and complicated concerns. CMO Mekkam has a certificate in Internal Medicine, is a non-member of the American Medical Association, and graduated from medical school recently in 1992. There is no record of any other specialty training or secondary certification.
  • Arani Surendra Reddy, MD – Dr. Reddy is contracted by both CCWF and VSPW to provide chemotherapy to cancer patients. Dr. Reddy has a primary practice specialty in internal medicine and is a non-member of the American Medical Association. Dr. Reddy has a certificate in Internal Medicine. There is no record of any secondary licensing or training in any other specialty such as oncology.

This is the first of a regular Women’s PLAN column in The Fire Inside.
We welcome feedback and ideas on future columns. You can reach us at: Women’s PLAN, 1611 Telegraph Ave., Ste 822, Oakland, CA 94612, (510) 839-7654, wplan@pacbell.net.