SAPHA - South Asian Public Health Association - logo
SAPHA - South Asian Public Health Association - logo

Newsletter- April 2024

April 2024 Newsletter

VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 4

Public Health for South Asian Americans

Last week marked National Public Health Week in the US, where organizations, including SAPHA, highlighted critical public health issues such as civic engagement, healthy neighborhoods, climate change, new tools and innovationsreproductive and sexual health, emergency preparedness, and the future of public health. You can check out the posts on our social media platforms.


Additionally, over the past year, our board conducted a thorough review of research within the South Asian American (SAA) population and the South Asian Diaspora. Despite the significant presence of multiple focused organizations, SAAs remain among the most understudied groups, disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases.

We plan to publish our findings in a report later this year, which will shine light on the health disparities experienced by SAAs, the influence of social determinants of health (SDOH), and provide research and policy recommendations.


Notably, national databases often fail to capture a representative sample of SAAs, limiting data on crucial health conditions like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, mental health, infectious diseases, and cancer. To bridge this gap, researchers are initiating studies tailored for the SAA population, such as the OurHealth Study and the Rutgers-led South Asian Diet Study. However, there's still a pressing need for more research with underrepresented groups like Indo-Caribbeans.


We at SAPHA are dedicated to uplifting work that addresses these health disparities amongst SAAs, especially in the areas of cardiovascular diseases, mental health, and social determinants of health.


By advocating for more research and tailored interventions, SAPHA aims to reduce health inequities and address the unique needs of the SAA community. You can help support our goal participating in the previously mentioned study and reaching out to us to share your work!

Indian American Impact 2024 Summit & Gala


We are thrilled to share that Indian American Impact's 2024 Summit & Gala: Desis Decide will take place on May 15-16 in Washington, D.C.!


This isn't just another gathering; it's a rallying cry for Indian and South Asian Americans to recognize the pivotal role we play in shaping the political landscape of our nation. In the upcoming 2024 election, our community has the potential to be the margin of victory, influencing outcomes and determining who represents us on the national stage. 


Don’t miss it — RSVP today at iaimpact.org/summit!

Seizing the Moment: Environmental Action for South Asian Americans


As we approach Earth Day on April 22, it's essential to reflect on our collective responsibility towards environmental protection, particularly as South Asians. Throughout history, Asians and those within the Asian diaspora have been at the forefront of the environmental justice movement. Our home countries in South Asia face some of the most severe impacts of climate change, including intensified heat waves, cyclones, droughts, and floods. With our rich landscapes of mangrove forests, coral reefs, and diverse ecosystems, these environmental challenges hit close to home. With an increase in environmental disasters, the urgency for action is palpable.


However, as South Asian Americans, we face another layer of concern, considering the United States' historical role as the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses. This reality poses significant risks to sea levels, extreme weather events, and overall climate stability, impacting both our homeland and adopted country.


In response to these challenges, SAPHA has taken proactive steps by participating in the Climate Health Organizing Fellows Program. This educational initiative aims to empower health professionals to develop and advocate for climate solutions. Through this program, our team, "Desis for Environmental Safety Interventions (DESI)," consisting of President Samira Khan, Communications Co-chair Thoin Begum, and Research Co-chair Anto Paul, is working towards establishing a South Asian Climate Health Justice coalition. Our goal is to advocate for health equity and justice within the South Asian community.


This initiative is especially crucial as many South Asian ethnic enclaves across the United States, such as those in Jackson Heights, Queens, face environmental challenges such as limited green spaces and high air pollution. Through interviews conducted with South Asians in Queens, New York, the DESI team discovered that many individuals do not connect their living environments with their health outcomes, while others feel they lack the time to address environmental concerns.


In response, SAPHA is collaborating with community and faith-based organizations to identify and address the environmental and health priorities of South Asian Americans. We invite you to join our efforts by becoming part of our working group, as we strive to create healthier living and working environments for all South Asians. 


Now is the time for South Asian Americans to unite in the fight for environmental justice, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

Casteism in the US


Casteism, characterized by actions or structures that aim to constrain, impede, or categorize individuals based on their perceived caste, predominantly traces its roots to India. Its impact on public health is profound, fostering social exclusion and perpetuating health disparities among marginalized groups, notably the Dalit community, which comprises those formerly labeled as "untouchables" or "Scheduled Castes." April marks Dalit History Month, a period dedicated to spotlighting the history, culture, and contributions of Dalits, fostering awareness about their struggles, achievements, and resilience, while also combating caste-based discrimination and advocating for social justice and equality.


However, casteism transcends borders, emerging as a global issue that affects marginalized communities worldwide, including within the United States. Here, casteism mirrors racism, contributing to disparities and marginalization, particularly among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) populations, whose experiences are often sidelined, resulting in substandard palliative care and inadequate pain management. Within the US healthcare system, entrenched structural inequities further compound disparities in access to care, posing a pressing concern for South Asians who are frequently overlooked due to the pervasive model minority myth.


Casteism's influence extends beyond India to South Asia and its diaspora, shaping attitudes within public health systems and perpetuating inequalities in healthcare access and treatment based on perceived social hierarchies. In the US, manifestations of casteism and social segregation manifest in disparities in end-of-life care, lower rates of hospice utilization, and the neglect of complementary and alternative medicine practices favored by specific cultural and ethnic groups.


Although the specific expressions of casteism may vary across regions, such as social segregation in countries with religious or cultural majorities like Bangladesh, the underlying issues of marginalization, discrimination, and inequitable healthcare access remain pervasive across contexts.


In March 2023, Equality Labs initiated a groundbreaking campaign for SB-403, a bill introduced by Senator Aisha Wahab to ban caste-based discrimination in California. Despite Governor Gavin Newsom's veto, the bill's journey through the legislature marks a crucial step in addressing caste-based discrimination in the US.

Research Opportunities

Additional Reads

A Proclamation on National Public Health Week, 2024

Meet 13 Asian and Asian Diasporic Nature and Environment Writers

Find something to do this Earth Day


SAPHA mourns the life of 19-year old Bangladeshi youth, Win Rozario, who was killed by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Read our complete statement on our website.


The recent update of Statistical Policy Directive No.15 (SPD-15) by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) marks a significant shift in how federal agencies handle race and ethnicity data, the first update since 1997. Read about it on our website.

In Case You Missed It: Dil Se: A Virtual Town Hall on South Asian Cardiovascular Health

Last month, SAPHA hosted a virtual Town Hall in partnership with the OurHealth Study team to discuss cardiovascular health and the need for additional research amongst South Asians. You can catch the full event on youtube. Additionally, our town hall was featured in NRI Pulse, you can read the article on their website. Finally, for more information on the OurHealth study and to enroll, check out their website.

Organizational Spotlight


Equality Labs is a transnational South Asian feminist organization working to end caste apartheid, gender-based violence, Islamophobia, white supremacy and religious intolerance. Co-founded in 2015 by Dalit artist and activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan to address the global need for healing and reconciliation from the trauma of caste, the organization has made numerous impacts in the areas of civil rights, digital security, and leadership development. Examples include conducting the first ever U.S. survey on caste in the diaspora, providing leadership training to over 350 organizations and companies, and the addition of caste protections at many institutions including all 23 California State University campuses. You can also check out their podcast series “Caste in the USA” hosted on all forums. 


Follow Equality Labs and their work on X (formerly Twitter)Instagram, YouTube and Facebook

South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series


Our Spotlight Series delves into the remarkable careers and journeys of public health pioneers, with a special emphasis on the South Asian community. In our upcoming fourth episode, we feature Sharmila Rao Thakkar, an independent nonprofit and philanthropic advisor and consultant based in NYC.


Check out our third episode on Spotify or YouTube and stay tuned for Ms. Thakkar’s feature next week!

Thanks for checking out SAPHA!


Support SAPHA as we work towards advancing health equity and well-being within the South Asian community. Your contribution fuels vital research, advocacy, and outreach efforts aimed at tackling pressing public health challenges. Join us in making a meaningful difference today.

Know someone who might enjoy these newsletters?

Ask them to sign up for our email list here.

DONATE
Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin  Instagram
South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series

SEASON 1 | EPISODE 3

South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series

SAPHA ventures further into the realm of podcasts with our newest release! Welcome to Episode 3 of the South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series, where we delve into the remarkable careers and paths of public health trailblazers, with a particular emphasis on the South Asian community.


To honor the 25th anniversary of the South Asian Public Health Association, each episode guarantees insightful conversations, inspiring stories, and an in-depth examination of the significant achievements of past SAPHA board members, molding the framework of public health.

Episode 3

Arnab Mukherjea, DrPH, MPH

Our third episode features the esteemed Dr. Arnab Mukherjea, a distinguished figure in the field of public health. Dr. Mukherjea is not only an Associate Professor & Department Chair of Public Health at California State University, East Bay, but also a passionate trailblazer in public health research and advocacy, with a keen focus on South Asian communities. Additionally, Dr. Mukherjea has played significant roles within SAPHA, serving on its Executive Board of Directors from 2004 to 2009, including two terms as Co-Chair (2004 - 2006; 2007 - 2009) and Chair of its Communication Committee (2007 - 2009), and later as a Special Advisor to the SAPHA President in 2018 - 2019, making notable contributions to its mission and initiatives over the years.

Listen to us on Youtube!

Listen to us on Spotify!

Learn more about Dr.Mukherjea below:


Dr. Arnab Mukherjea, PhD, is a trailblazing force in the realm of public health, particularly in his dedicated efforts to combat health disparities prevalent within South Asian communities. Serving as the Associate Professor and Department Chair of Public Health at California State University, East Bay, Dr. Mukherjea's profound commitment to research and mentorship has garnered widespread recognition. Dr. Mukherjea's research endeavors are characterized by his innovative utilization of community-engaged methodologies to understand and address contextual and culturally-framed risk factors affecting Asian & Pacific Islander subgroups, with a particular focus on South Asians. His current studies delve into the role of resilience and trauma on health behaviors and outcomes among South Asians in the United States, as well as an assessment of the efficacy of community-engaged approaches to improve colorectal cancer screening among diverse South Asian subgroups in California. Furthermore, Dr. Mukherjea plays a pivotal role in leading recruitment efforts for South Asian participants in the Collaborative Approach for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Research and Education study, underscoring his unwavering commitment to advancing research initiatives aimed at promoting health equity.


 Beyond his academic pursuits, Dr. Mukherjea's dedication to mentorship is evident through his active involvement with organizations such as SAPHA and the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health (API Caucus). He serves as a formal and informal mentor for members of SAPHA, welcoming the opportunity to expand his network of mentees to advance an agenda of South Asian health equity in the United States through research, practice, policy, and advocacy. Dr. Mukherjea's transformative contributions offer invaluable insights and pathways towards addressing health disparities and promoting equitable healthcare access. Dr. Mukherjea earned his undergraduate (BA in Molecular & Cell Biology/Neurobiology with a minor in Education) and graduate degrees (MPH in Health & Social Behavior with a specialization in Multicultural Health; DrPH in Applied Health Disparities Research) from UC Berkeley, followed by postdoctoral training at UC San Francisco and UC Davis.


Listen to us on Youtube!

Listen to us on Spotify!

Thanks for checking out SAPHA!

We are continuously exploring innovative methods to enhance the health and wellness of our diverse South Asian communities. Through advocacy, education, and nurturing impactful community partnerships, we strive to make a difference! Explore our mission further or contribute to our cause by visiting sapha.org!


If you appreciated this podcast and wish to aid our efforts in producing compelling content, kindly consider making a donation to support us.

DONATE

Subscribe to SAPHA’s Spotlight Series to hear more captivating discussions with trailblazers in public health.



Follow us on Youtube and Spotify to be the first to access our podcasts!

Know someone who might enjoy these emails?

Ask them to sign up for our email list here.

Facebook  X  Linkedin  Instagram  YouTube
March 2024 Newsletter

VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 3

Breaking the Silence: Sexual Health Challenges in the South Asian American Community

Picture credit: Feminism India

March is a time to celebrate the remarkable achievements of women worldwide. March 8, observed International Women's Day, honoring trailblazers like Kalpana Chawla, Bibha Chowdhuri, and Shobhana Johri Verma. However, amidst the celebrations, SAPHA aims to shed light on sexual and reproductive health disparities among South Asian Americans (SAAs).


The overturn of Roe v. Wade disproportionately impacts SAAs, particularly sexual assault survivors, immigrants, and those marginalized due to caste, gender identity, or socioeconomic status. Sexual health services often receive little to no attention within SAA communities, exacerbating existing disparities. These services include preventive care, health promotion, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) screening and treatment, yet discussions around sexuality remain limited for females and even less for males.


Despite widespread support for sex education, students receive less today than in 1995, and many SAA households avoid discussing sexual and reproductive health altogether. This lack of dialogue contributes to gaps in data on birth control usage and knowledge among SAAs. STIs, including hepatitis B, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, pose significant risks, particularly for Asian women, and marginalized groups within the community often go overlooked in HIV and STI prevention efforts.


Sexual violence is a pressing issue within the SAA community, showing high proportions of survivors, with many perpetrators being South Asian or family members. Organizations like Sakhi provide essential resources to combat this issue. Immigrant SAA young adults face unique challenges related to sexual violence, including acculturative stress and intergenerational cultural conflict.


Numerous barriers, including cultural norms and gender stereotypes, set back access to sexual health services within the SAA community. Overcoming these barriers requires understanding and addressing these cultural and societal expectations. Educating SAA males on sexuality and reproductive health from a young age, despite cultural modesty, is crucial for improving sexual health outcomes.


We encourage initiating open, fact-based discussions on sex education with family members, despite discomfort. To assist in starting these conversations, here are some resources:


  • The Banyan Tree Project - Shares information on HIV stigma in the Asian & Pacific Islander Community
  • South Asian Sexual and Mental Health Alliance (SASMHA) - Defines key terms
  • South Asian Youth in Houston Unite (SAYHU) - Provides personal stories and relatable content
  • South Asians for Abortion - Understand your reproductive rights (or the lack thereof)

Research and News Highlights

Picture credit: nyc.gov

This month, we're highlighting colorectal cancer (CRC), which is particularly pertinent for SAAs. CRC screening rates are low, especially among uninsured immigrants, and many SAAs lack awareness of CRC, its risk factors, and the importance of screening. Physicians play a crucial role in improving CRC screening by engaging in open conversations with their patients and providing culturally sensitive information. Targeted education on CRC tailored to the SAA population can help address specific barriers such as language and acculturation issues, ultimately enhancing screening rates. Find your nearest endoscopy center using this tool and take proactive steps towards CRC prevention and early detection.

March is National Nutrition Month


In last month’s newsletter that featured Heart Health month, it was highlighted that South Asian Americans face a significant burden from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) with a twice higher risk compared to White adults. For National Nutrition month, we stress the importance of a healthy balanced diet for CVD prevention and management. Studies show that diets such as intermittent fasting, vegetarian, and plant based, have been linked with a lower risk of CVD and related conditions but there is a lack of culturally tailored resources for South Asian Americans living with CVD. In addition, with Ramadan approaching, studies have shown that dietary intakes shift and those observing Ramadan should consider food practices and dietary intakes that are healthy and balanced.


Tips for practicing healthy nutrition in March:

  • Consume a balanced diet and one rich in healthy plant-based foods, liquid plant-based oils, high fiber, and lean protein.The MASALA study webpage has tips and recipes for healthy eating and a South Asian Nutrition Tool has been developed
  • Stay hydrated is also important for maintaining health
  • Obtain a pre-medical assessment, especially if observing Ramadan or living with CVD to determine any considerations such as medication or lifestyle adjustments

Watch this video to learn more!

Hot News


Stem cell study offers clue to South Asians’ increased risk of cardiovascular disease

Older Asian Americans hesitant to participate in MRI research

Doctors urge more CPR training for South Asians (video)

Khmer Girls in Action Fight Against Sexual Harassment 

Partnering with Purpose


Interested in collaborating or partnering with SAPHA? We would love to hear from your organization about your work with the South Asian community. We have a variety of ways to work together whether joining a strategic coalition, spotlighting your organization’s services, hosting a town hall, or highlighting policy or a recently published report. Reach out to us at partnership@sapha.org to schedule time to meet about how our goals align and how we can support each other’s vision to uplift our communities. 

South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series


Our  Spotlight Series dives into the extraordinary careers and journeys of public health pioneers, with a special focus on the South Asian community. Episode three features Dr. Arnab Mukherjea, an Associate Professor & Department Chair of Public Health at California State University, East Bay (Cal State East Bay).


Check out our second episode on Spotify or YouTube and stay tuned for Dr. Mukherjea’s story later this week!

Dil Se: A Town Hall on South Asian Cardiovascular Health


SAPHA recently partnered with OurHealth, a nonprofit research initiative that enables South Asian-identifying individuals to contribute to cardiovascular research by sharing their samples, their clinical information, and their voices. 


Later today at 5PM EST we will be hosting a town hall with the OurHealth Study investigators. During this event, we'll discuss:

  • The risk of CVD for South Asians
  • The importance of genetics and biomarkers in assessing CVD risk
  • Information about the Our Health Study and how you can get involved as a clinician, researcher, patient, or advocacy organization
REGISTER

Support SAPHA in advancing health equity and well-being within the South Asian community. Your donation enables vital research, advocacy, and outreach initiatives addressing pressing public health challenges. Join us in making a meaningful difference today.

DONATE

Have an idea for an upcoming newsletter?

Send us content through our submission form.


Know someone who might enjoy these newsletters?

Ask them to sign up for our email list here.


To learn more about SAPHA, check out our website:

South Asian Public Health Association

Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin  Instagram
South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series

SEASON 1 | EPISODE 2

South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series

SAPHA continues its journey into the world of podcasts with our latest installment! Introducing the second episode of the South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series, where we dive deep into the extraordinary careers and journeys of public health pioneers, with a special focus on the South Asian community.


In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the South Asian Public Health Association, each episode promises enlightening discussions, motivational narratives, and an intimate exploration of the impactful contributions made by former SAPHA board members, shaping the landscape of public health.

Episode 2

Featuring Umair Shah, MD, MPH

Our second podcast episode features the distinguished Dr. Umair Shah, Secretary of Health for the state of Washington, and also the first South Asian to assume this role in the state’s history. Dr. Shah is a trailblazer in public health with a distinguished career spanning two decades, marked by leadership roles in emergency medicine, public health innovation, and advocacy for underserved communities. Dr. Shah has made significant contributions to SAPHA while serving on the Board of Directors, and especially during his time as SAPHA President in 2009 and 2010.

Listen to this episode on Youtube

or

Listen to this episode on Spotify

Learn more about Dr. Shah below:


Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, made history when he became the first Asian-American physician of South Asian descent to serve as Secretary of Health for the state of Washington, appointed by Governor Jay Inslee in December 2020. Taking on this pivotal role during the challenging winter wave of COVID-19 and the rollout of vaccines, Dr. Shah transitioned from his previous position as Executive Director and Local Health Authority for Harris County Public Health in Texas, where he served nearly five million people.


With a rich academic background, including a BA in philosophy from Vanderbilt University, MD from the University of Toledo Health Science Center, and an MPH from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Dr. Shah has had a diverse career spanning clinical practice, public health administration, and leadership roles in prestigious organizations such as the Association for State and Territorial Health Officials and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.


Throughout his career, Dr. Shah has been recognized for his contributions to public health, receiving awards such as the Milton and Ruth Roemer Prize for creativity, the APHA’s Public Service Award for Outstanding Service in Emergency Health, and the NACDS Foundation’s Excellence in Patient Care Award. Known for his commitment to equity, innovation, and community engagement, Dr. Shah continues to be a beacon of leadership and advocacy for underserved communities in the realm of health and healthcare.

Listen to this episode on Youtube

or

Listen to this episode on Spotify

Thanks for checking out SAPHA!


We are constantly finding new ways to promote the health and wellbeing of all our South Asian communities. We do this through advocacy, education and fostering meaningful partnerships in the community! Learn more about our mission or make a donation at sapha.org!


If you enjoyed this podcast and would like to support our work so that we can continue to put out engaging content, please consider donating to us:

DONATE

Subscribe to SAPHA’s Spotlight Series to hear more captivating discussions with trailblazers in public health.



Follow us on Youtube and Spotify to be the first to access our podcasts!

Know someone who might enjoy these emails?

Ask them to sign up for our email list here.

Facebook  X  Linkedin  Instagram  YouTube
February 2024 Newsletter

VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 2

Heart Health Month


February is American Heart month, aimed at raising awareness about cardiovascular health and promoting heart disease prevention. These health conditions are particularly concerning for South Asian Americans, who typically  have elevated baseline risk and earlier onset of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to other ethnicities. Much of this risk is attributed to increased consumption of high fat and processed foods, high levels of stress and a genetic predisposition as South Asians tend to have higher lipoprotein(a) levels than other ethnic groups. 

Research Opportunity 


 OurHealth studies health and genetic information of South Asians living in the United States to better prevent and manage cardiovascular disease risk to tackle heart disease. South Asians represent 23% of the global population and have twice the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to Europeans, they are significantly underrepresented in genetic studies and research. Learn more about their study and become a participant to drive their research forward. 

February 4 is recognized as American Cancer Day. Studies show that SAAs have a lower risk of cancer compared to blacks, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, or other Asians. There is a slightly higher risk among SAAs compared to whites.  Additionally, there is a severe lack of research and tracking of cancers among SAAs. Despite the low rates of cancer incidence in comparison to other sub-groups, cancers are the second leading cause of death for Asian-Indian immigrants. 

In particular, the high incidence of oral/mouth cancers in both Indians and Asian-Indian immigrants may be due to the use of cultural smokeless tobacco (CST) products such as paan, paan masala, and gutka, which may contribute to the high rates of CVD and oral cancers, which are widespread among SAAs. 

Of the few studies conducted with SAAs, they have found that there are disparities among SAAs with colon cancer. SAAs were less likely to have received a timely colonoscopy compared to Hispanics. Age, health insurance, poverty group, and education were significant predictors. While there are several on-going local and national campaigns to increase colonoscopy, they are not targeted to SAAs. 

Additionally, hepatitis B and C are endemic in South Asian countries. These infections are problematic due to factors such as inadequate sanitation, healthcare infrastructure, and preventive measures. Chronic hepatitis B and C infections can significantly increase the risk of liver cancer. Unlike other cancers, the incidence of liver cancer is increasing, particularly among Asian Americans. 

South Asian Health Initiative launched the Supporting Taxi Drivers to Exercise through Pedometers (STEP) and the Smokeless Tobacco Product Prevention and Awareness Network (STOP PAAN) programs to help SAAs reduce their risks of cancers through  targeted, linguistically- and culturally-adapted campaigns.

Advocating Together


The South Asian Youth Initiative (SAYI) is a student-led organization at Yale University, aimed at creating community amongst young South Asians and South Asian-Americans from all over the US while also serving as a forum for activism, discussion, and solidarity. Follow along to learn about their recent conference and stay connected with their progress. 

The Power In Numbers campaign is a national community-led effort to drive lasting policy change and investments in civic engagement that empower and ensure our AANHPI communities are respected, recognized, and prioritized.


Campaign Goals:

  1. Push state & federal policymakers to meet the policy needs of AANHPI communities on key data equity issues to ensure we are visibilized and prioritized
  2. Publish accurate and timely data-powered insights & tools on AANHPI communities to create positive social and policy impact
  3. Amplify and engage AANHPI communities at the state and local level to demonstrate our power in numbers and increase investment in civic engagement



Together, we have the #PowerInNumbers.

Celebrating Black History Month

As we celebrate Black History Month, it is important to recognize the interconnectedness and shared struggles among diverse communities.

From the civil rights movements of the 1960s to contemporary struggles for racial justice, South Asians have stood shoulder to shoulder with Black communities in the fight against systemic racism and discrimination. Yet, as we commemorate Black history, we must also acknowledge the complexities within South Asian communities, including issues of colorism, casteism, and anti-Blackness. It's a time for self-reflection and solidarity, to confront these internal prejudices and work towards building a more inclusive society for all.

As we honor the achievements and resilience of Black people throughout history, let us also reaffirm our commitment to allyship, amplifying Black voices, and continuing the fight for justice and equality, not just during Black History Month, but every day of the year. 


Recommended readings:

Long History Black Asian Solidarity

Black Lives Matter’s Movement to fight for Freedom, Liberation and Justice 

South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series


Our  Spotlight Series dives into the extraordinary careers and journeys of public health pioneers, with a special focus on the South Asian community. Our second episode features Dr. Umair Shah, Secretary of Health for the state of Washington, and the first South Asian to assume this role in the state’s history. 


Check out our first episode on Spotify or YouTube and stay tuned for Dr. Shah’s story later this week!


Did you enjoy the content in this newsletter? Consider supporting SAPHA by making a donation. Every contribution, no matter the size, brings us one step closer to our shared vision of connecting people, ideas, and resources to advance the health of South Asian Americans. Together, we can create positive change in our community and beyond. 

DONATE

Have an idea for an upcoming newsletter?

Send us content through our submission form.


Know someone who might enjoy these newsletters?

Ask them to sign up for our email list here.


To learn more about SAPHA, check out our website:

South Asian Public Health Association

Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin  Instagram

VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 1

Letter from the SAPHA President

Dear Colleagues,

I hope this message finds you in good health and high spirits as we embark on another year of shared endeavors and growth. I am greatly honored to continue to serve as SAPHA’s President for a third year, working alongside both our steadfast continuing board members and the valuable additions to our team.

I would like to thank our outgoing board members for their incredible leadership: Trushna Rao-Nadig, Anita Balan, and Naveen Shoaib. A huge welcome back to our continuing board members: Ayesha Azam, Hena Bajaj, Malinee Neelamegam, Anto Paul, Aisha Bhimla, Thoin Begum, Nishka Bommareddy, Tarun Mohan Lal, Mushira Khan, Rubana Hossain, and Anmol Sharma. Thank you for your dedication. And a warm welcome to our newest board member, Amish Doshi. Your presence adds further strength to our collective mission.

This year holds special significance for SAPHA as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. Over the past quarter-century, our organization has been dedicated to advocating for the health priorities of the South Asian community, fostering collaborations, and addressing health issues and communicating knowledge and gaps about South Asian health. This milestone marks not only our rich history but also a renewed commitment to advancing the health and well-being of South Asian communities. Reflecting on the past year, SAPHA has achieved significant milestones, including hosting panel discussions and in person networking events, sharing monthly newsletters, and launching our new website and Instagram page. SAPHA’s impact extends to legislative advocacy, including advocating for the South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act, participation in national health campaigns, and establishing a noteworthy presence in Washington, DC, marked by engagements with the Secretary of Health, invitations to the White House, and continuous efforts to address health disparities and promote equity in South Asian communities. Our strategic plans prioritize addressing health disparities amongst South Asians with a special focus on cardiovascular disease, mental health,  and social determinants of health.

These accomplishments are a testament to the dedication and spirit of our board members and from all of you. We are grateful for your collaboration, encouragement, and engagement with us to advance our mission to promote the health and well‐being of South Asian communities in the US. With your continued support, we can achieve more in 2024.

I encourage each of you to share your ideas on how SAPHA can better serve you and to invite your colleagues to join us in our ongoing initiatives. For any inquiries or suggestions, please reach out to us at admin@sapha.org.

I look forward to advocating for our mission and celebrating SAPHA’s 25th anniversary together.

With gratitude,

Samira Khan, MPH

President

Introducing the 2024 Board

South Asian Public Health Association

Board of Directors

learn more about our board of directors here.

Support SAPHA's Annual Goals 

As we celebrate 25 years of SAPHA, we are excited to raise our voices to advocate for the health and well-being of South Asians in the US through creating internship programs for public health students and creating a research database! Will you help us fund these initiatives?

DONATE
What is your favorite section of the SAPHA newsletters?
Learning about SAPHA events
Reading about South Asian research
Learning about health disparities
Finding resources for South Asians

South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series

As we mark the 25th anniversary of the South Asian Public Health Association, we are excited to launch a podcast series that will unfold throughout the year. Each episode promises enlightening conversations, inspirational stories, and a deep dive into the impactful initiatives led by former SAPHA board members who continue to shape the future of public health.

Our inaugural episode features Dr. Ushma Upadhyay, PhD, MPH – a distinguished SAPHA co-founder and the editor of the inaugural issue of SAPHA’s Brown Paper.

Stay tuned! We will send you an email containing more information and links to this podcast next week.

Advocating Together

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), founded in 1996, is a coalition of 47 national organizations that represent the interests and issues pertaining to the greater Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander communities and provide a national voice for AA and NHPI issues. SAPHA is proud to be a member of NCAPA from 2020.

Have an idea for an upcoming newsletter?

Send us content through our submission form.

Know someone who might enjoy these newsletters?

Ask them to sign up for our email list here.

To learn more about SAPHA, check out our website:

South Asian Public Health Association

Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin  Instagram
cross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram