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SAPHA - South Asian Public Health Association - logo

SAPHA Spotlight Series - January 2024

SEASON 1 | EPISODE 1

South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series

SAPHA is kicking off the year with a new initiative - a podcast series! Our podcast, the South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series, will delve into the remarkable journeys and career trajectories of trailblazers in public health, with a special emphasis on the South Asian community.

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the South Asian Public Health Association, each episode this year will bring you insightful conversations, inspiring stories, and a closer look at the impactful work being done by previous SAPHA board members shaping the future of public health.

Episode 1

Featuring Ushma Upadhyay, PhD, MPH

Our inaugural podcast episode features the esteemed Dr. Ushma Upadhyay, a SAPHA co-founder and the editor of the very first issue of SAPHA’s Brown Paper, Join us as Dr. Upadhyay shares her career journey, insights into reproductive health, and her pivotal role in co-founding SAPHA in 1999.

Listen to this episode on Youtube

or

Listen to this episode on Spotify

Learn more about Dr. Upadhyay below:

Dr. Upadhyay is a Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, specializing in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences as well as core faculty of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH). As a public health Social Scientist trained in epidemiology and demography, with expertise in abortion safety, access, and medication abortion, Dr. Upadhyay serves as the Principal Investigator for the California Home Abortion by Telehealth study, evaluating telehealth's safety, effectiveness, and acceptability for abortion in 22 states. She is also leading a study on interest in a late period pill. In addition to her impactful research, Dr. Upadhyay is the Co-Director of the UCGHI for Gender and Health Justice.

Additional Resources:

In our podcast, Dr. Upadhyay highlighted the work of one of her mentees, Sneha Challa, PhD, MPH. You can learn more about her work here.

You can also check out the books mentioned in the podcast:

 It’s NOT the Stork! ; It’s So Amazing and It’s Perfectly Normal

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:

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

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VOLUME 2 | ISSUE 10

In our vision for better health and well-being for South Asians in the USA and the communities in which they live, the South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) vehemently opposes and condemns all forms of discrimination, racism, and bigotry. We stand against violence and aggression directed at both Palestinian and Israeli civilians and express deep concern regarding the surge in religious attacks in the U.S., stemming from political rhetoric in response to the Gaza humanitarian crisis and the dehumanization of innocent lives.

The South Asian diaspora is well familiar with the enduring ramifications of colonization, which lead to the persistence of generational trauma and has significant implications on health [1]. Our pathways to liberation from these systems of oppression are intertwined. As an organization dedicated to addressing public health issues impacting South Asians in the U.S., we are deeply concerned about hateful rhetoric used by politicians, mainstream media, and others in power. This inflammatory speech mimics the dehumanizing rhetoric used by politicians and the media following 9/11; and the recent rise in Islamophobic attacks are directly related to this harmful rhetoric.

We strongly urge all to contact their representatives to demand an immediate ceasefire and the cessation of financial support by the United States for this ongoing genocide.

Action

In Solidarity,

The SAPHA Board of Directors

[1] Misra, S., Tankasala, N., Yusuf, Y. et al. Health Implications of Racialized State Violence Against South Asians in the USA. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 9, 1–8 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-021-01219-w

Celebrating South Asian Diversity in the United States: Hidden Cultures and Health Challenges

As we embrace Global Diversity Awareness Month this October, we recognize the importance of fostering respect and inclusivity by celebrating the diverse cultures and backgrounds that enrich our global community. This observance encourages activities and discussions that emphasize the value of diversity, highlighting its pivotal role in social, economic, and intellectual progress. In the spirit of this month, SAPHA casts a spotlight on South Asian cultures in the United States, shedding light on their unique public health challenges and advocating for solidarity and awareness.

PC:https://www.vox.com/identities/22380197/asian-american-pacific-islander-aapi-heritage-anti-asian-hate-attacks

Featured  South Asian Cultures

Bhutanese, Nepali, Sindhi, Maldivian, Burmese, Bengali, and Assamese Americans communities brought their distinctive cultures and stories to the US, contributing to the rich tapestry of our nation.

Unique Public Health Challenges

Many of these communities arrived in the US as refugees and asylum seekers, and their journey left them grappling with mental health issues, stemming from the trauma experienced as refugees and the adjustment to a new lifestyle.

Others face specific health disparities, including an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and a higher prevalence of hepatitis B. These health disparities can be attributed to a combination of genetic factors, lifestyle, and limited access to healthcare.

Barriers Faced by These Communities

All South Asian communities are more likely to face a common set of challenges that affect their health and well-being, including limited access to healthcare, language barriers that hinder effective communication with healthcare providers, a lack of cultural competency in healthcare, economic hardships, and the stigma surrounding mental health.

What You Can Do to Make a Difference

It's crucial that we all support these communities in their journey to better health and well-being. Here are ways you can make a difference:

Advocate for Inclusive Healthcare Policies: Advocate for policies that support healthcare access for immigrants, regardless of their legal status.

Promote Cultural Competency: Encourage funding and programs that facilitate language access and cultural competency training for healthcare providers.

By joining hands in solidarity, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable world where everyone has access to the healthcare they need and deserve. 

Breast Cancer Awareness 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. ​​South Asians are among the fastest-growing ethnic minorities in the United States, and breast cancer rates are rising along with the population. Like most Asians, South Asians are often seen through the lens of the model minority stereotype. 

PC: Teri Pengilley for the Guardian

One study using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data found that South Asian women were diagnosed with breast cancer at a significantly younger age  than non-Hispanic white women. Additionally, incidence of breast cancer is increasing among South Asian women. Incidence of the disease is increasing at a rate of 1.9% a year, with 1 in 8 South Asian women in the United States facing a lifetime breast cancer risk. Obesity and weight-related disease may play a role in the increased risk observed. 

There is significant stigma related to breast cancer among the South Asian community. Stigma not only adds mental health pressures but it can also lead to delayed care or to avoidance in seeking support from a community that is otherwise traditionally all-embracing. We can help by helping patients by providing culturally relevant materials and resources, including information about the disease in their native language so they could refer to it and share it with family members.

South Asians come from collectivist communities where if one person gets sick everyone bands together. Therefore, it is important to keep that sense of community and remember that its not just about the patient but also their families. 

You can spread breast cancer awareness and minimize risk within South Asian communities by: 

  • Promoting open discussion addressing stigma 
  • Raising awareness about risk factors
  • Promoting the importance of regular mammograms and breast self-exams 
  • Becoming an ambassador
  • Advocating for culturally sensitive care through integration of core cultural values into clinical practice

Domestic Violence 

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The aim of this month is to educate people about domestic violence issues and promote efforts to support victims and hold abusers accountable.

PC: https://kaurlife.org/2014/09/19/faces-domestic-violence/ 

South Asian Americans are disproportionately impacted by interpersonal violence (IPV). Recent studies show that a significant number of SA women have either witnessed violence in their own relationships or between their parents. Factors such as immigration status, and living with in-laws impact the rate of IPV in the South Asian Community. SA women who have lived in the US for less than 3 years, are "far less likely to be aware of IPV-related services available to them". Of SA women who have imported IPV, 15% of the state "experiencing emotional abuse from in-laws." There are many long-term impacts of DV and IPV, one being impacts on mental health.  People who have experienced DV are "Twice as likely to develop major depressive disorder," with one-fourth meeting the criteria for depression.

A recent study on IPV among SA Women during the COVID-19 Pandemic depicted that depressive symptomatology was positively associated with economic abuse among the South Asian sample. This further highlights the long-term impacts of DV and IVP on mental health. 

RSVP here!

This month we celebrate Indigenous people, Indigenous Peoples' Day is a holiday that honors and celebrates the history, culture, and contributions of Indigenous peoples in North America. It serves as an alternative to Columbus Day, recognizing the rich and diverse heritage of Native American, First Nations, and Indigenous communities while acknowledging the complex history of colonialism and its impact on Indigenous populations. Indigenous Peoples' Day is a call for greater awareness, respect, and solidarity with these communities. SAPHA recently published  a Land and Labor Acknowledgement, available on our website

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!

DONATE

We need your help!

The SAPHA Research Committee is building a repository of South Asian public health topics and of authors conducting related research that will be accessible on our website. We are also seeking any information about student researchers conducting South Asian public health research to highlight during AAPI month in May. Please fill out this Google form if you have any suggestions.

Have an idea for an upcoming newsletter?

Send us content through our submission form.

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To learn more about SAPHA, check out our website:

South Asian Public Health Association

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VOLUME 2 | ISSUE 2

Check out SAPHA's new website!

Here are some of the features:

  • our current and past achievements
  • SAPHA's Brown Paper, which reviews health research and literature on South Asians in the the US
  • community resources and information in mental health, COVID-19, and LGBTQIA+, and other key public health issues
Untitled Design

Follow and DM us on Instagram!

Where we will:

  • spotlight our board of directors
  • engage with other South Asian organizations and influencers
  • post about upcoming events

Celebrating Black History Month

Black History is American history, it tells the story of how white supremacy culture came to dominate American society and our lives. It is a celebration of incredible African American individuals like Martin Luther King Jr., Serena Williams, Jackie Robinson, and Sojourner Truth among many other trail blazers. SAPHA recognizes the achievements and hardships of black communities across the US and acknowledges that the American black and Asian experiences are intertwined.

Race has played a critical role in American society from as early as the late-15th century, when the early settlers first arrived on this land. During this month we are reminded of the diversity of the US.

Racial inequities in health

The Black-Asian Tension

Shared Solidarity of Asian and Black

Communities

Unpacking Ethnic Policies 

PC: Chelsea Beck/NPR

The recent Lunar New Year Massacre, Atlanta-area spa shootings, and COVID-19 fueled anti-Asian racism have led us to ask why the Asian-American story is missing from US history. While Asians came to the US well before several white European immigrant groups, we have largely been forgotten and ignored. That is changing as we are gaining representation in government and media. This is our opportunity to tell the Asian American story.

Research & News Highlights

ASATA's 13th annual Bay Area Solidarity Summer is now accepting applications! (Deadline: March 19)

Bay Area Solidarity Summer (BASS) is a 5-day political action camp for South Asian American activists, ages 18–23. It’ll be in Oakland, California from Thursday, August 10 to Monday, August 14, 2023.

More details at SolidaritySummer.org and on this Instagram post.

Why join our cohort? BASS will strengthen your skills as an organizer working for a just, equitable, and sustainable world:

  • learn concrete skills for creating real-world change
  • sharpen your analysis of race, gender, and power
  • explore the 100+ year history of South Asian activism in the U.S.
  • connect with a multi-generational community of peers and mentors

The training is low-cost or free, and includes curriculum, readings, and access to mentors and a network. Applications close on Sunday, March 19.

Curious? Get all the details and see the applications form at www.solidaritysummer.org.

Reading Suggestions

Recognizing American Heart Month

Given the increasing South Asian population in the United States, SAPHA advocates improving the health of South Asian communities, to further the overall health of our nation. South Asians represent approximately 25 percent of the world's population – yet they account for 60 percent of the world's heart disease patients. South Asians are more likely to die of heart disease than the rest of the US population. South Asians also have a higher risk of heart disease compared to other Asian groups. South Asians are more likely to experience increased risk factors including diabetes and atherosclerosis. Here are some tips you can use to reduce risk. The CDC provides resources for everyone.

We need your help!

The SAPHA Research Committee is building a repository of South Asian public health topics and of authors conducting related research that will be accessible on our website. We are also seeking any information about student researchers conducting South Asian public health research to highlight during AAPI month in May. Please fill out this google form if you have any suggestions.

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

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VOLUME 2 | ISSUE 1

Earlier this month, the Asian American community experienced back to back tragedies during the Lunar New Year season. First was the mass shooting in Monterey Park, CA, with 11 victims, all Asian American. The second mass shooting happened only two days later in Half Moon Bay, where seven people, five Chinese, and two Latinos, were killed at two Northern California mushroom farms. The South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) expresses our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the recent victims of these horrific tragedies. 

 

We grieve for the losses experienced by the community. Lunar New Year is one of the most important and joyous holidays for many Asian Americans, and what should have been a time of celebration was instead upended by violence and tragic loss.  

 

If you reside in California, are in need of someone to talk to and would like support, we advise you to call 211, for connections to mental health resources. You can also call 988, which is the nationwide number for mental health crises support. The AAPI Equity Alliance has also compiled a comprehensive list of resources. 

 

We stand in solidarity with the Asian American community and implore the leaders of our nation to act against gun violence and keep all of our communities safe from senseless violence. 

 

Gun violence is a public health crisis.

 

Gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the United States, with 3,469 deaths, 397 injuries and 49 mass shootings in the past month alone. The epidemic of gun violence affects the health, well-being and public safety of our communities. While mass shootings are the most visible, as a public health organization, SAPHA knows that gun violence disproportionately impacts the Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities in the form of daily violence. 

 

This is why we urgently need comprehensive, evidence-based, community-driven policy solutions to prevent gun violence and support those who are healing in its wake. Taking this approach is the only public health solution that will keep our families and communities safe. We implore our elected officials to consider comprehensive and meaningful gun reform legislation to prevent the continued rise of gun violence and stop future tragedies like the ones in Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay, Uvalde, Buffalo, Chicago, New York, Hialeah, Atlanta, El Paso, Parkland, Newtown, and so many more. 

 

SAPHA stands in solidarity with our colleagues and communities to resist violence and uphold justice, equality, compassion and truth.  

 

Public health resources around gun violence from APHA can be found here.

 

In Solidarity,

The SAPHA Board of Directors

____

SAPHA is the leading voice on public health issues impacting South Asians in the United States. Since its inception in 1999, SAPHA has dedicated itself to promoting health equity and well-being of our broad and diverse South Asian American communities through partnerships, research, education, communication, and advocacy. Representing the South Asian diaspora, SAPHA aims to address the unique challenges facing South Asians and advance opportunities for people to reach their utmost potential health in the communities where they live, work, and play. 

RESEARCH & NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

A new study shows the impact of WhatsApp on the spreading of COVID-19 misinformation in the South Asian community

 

A recent study on the association of race and ethnicity with obstructive coronary artery disease demonstrated that South Asian patients had the highest risk of obstructive coronary artery disease.

 

The Biden-Harris Administration released its first-ever national strategy to promote safety and equity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Read more about it here.

 

INTRODUCING OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR 2023

We are pleased to welcome several new and existing board members to lead SAPHA's direction and vision in 2023. Learn more about our members and how they advocate for public health.

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VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 10

SAPHA had a memorable 2022 and we're so grateful to our community for making all our work possible. We're excited to share our accomplishments from this past year with all of you, and look forward to an even more exciting 2023.

SAPHA has actively supported the South Asian community through leading research, health education, advocacy, and collaboration for 23 years. If you'd like to support our mission of promoting the health and well-being of the South Asian communities in the United States, please consider making a donation!

From all of us at SAPHA, happy holidays and best wishes for a prosperous new year!

SAPHA's 2022 IN REVIEW

Keep an eye out for more updates from us in the new year!

Have an idea for an upcoming newsletter?

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To learn more about SAPHA, check out our website:

South Asian Public Health Association

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VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 9

THIS #GivingTuesday HELP SUPPORT SAPHA TO IMPROVE HEALTH OF SOUTH ASIANS IN THE UNITED STATES

Dear Colleague,

This #GivingTuesday, your generous gift will support the South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) to help us  continue promoting the health and well-being of the South Asian communities in the United States.

 

SAPHA has actively supported the South Asian community through leading research, health education, advocacy, and collaboration for 23 years. In 2022, we published a paper on the health implications of racialized state violence against South Asians; hosted a webinar on cardiovascular disease in South Asians; launched our monthly newsletters; highlighted inequities in social determinants of mental health among older South Asians at the American Public Health Association conference, endorsed the Heart Health Bill, and increased collaboration with community based organizations through our COVID-19 grant. 

This Giving Tuesday, join us by donating $23 in honor of how long we have supported the South Asian community in the United States.  

Your generous donation will support SAPHA to further its mission and allow us to create more services and support programs. Check out our website to learn more about our impact and please consider making a donation today!

DONATE TO SAPHA FOR GIVING TUESDAY

All donations are tax-exempt; SAPHA will provide a tax exemption letter.  

We are  grateful for your generous donation. Together, we can help improve the health and well-being of South Asians in the USA!

Sincerely,

SAPHA Board

ICYMI: SAPHA DISCUSSED LONG COVID WITH DR. SABIHA HUSSAIN

SAPHA recently sat down with Dr. Sabiha Hussain, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She is the director of the post-COVID recovery program and an interventional pulmonologist.

Dr. Hussain spoke to us about establishing a program focused on long COVID recovery, risk factors and challenges in addressing long COVID, and the impact of social determinants of health in management and recovery.

Listen to more insights from Dr. Hussain at the recording below:

INTERVIEW WITH DR. HUSSAIN

If you or someone you know has experienced long COVID, check out these resources compiled across federal agencies for support services.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM APHA

SAPHA Board members recently discussed their scoping review on social determinants of mental health among older South Asian American adults during the 2022 APHA Annual meeting. Check out our APHA abstract. We also hosted our annual Chai & Chat event!

BOOK RECOMMENDATION

The Trauma of Caste: A Dalit Feminist Meditation on Survivorship, Healing, and Abolition, written by Dalit American activist and executive director of Equality Labs Thenmozhi Soundararajan, is the first non-fiction book published in the United States that is written by a Dalit (caste oppressed) author to explore the issues of caste.

Check out this book and explore themes of healing and survivorship and ways that our communities might mend from centuries of caste violence. Although caste oppression is thousands of years old, the conversation in the United States is just beginning.

COMING SOON...

We will be launching SAPHA's brand new website by the end of 2022. Stay tuned for more information!

Have an idea for an upcoming newsletter?

Send us content through our submission form.

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To learn more about SAPHA, check out our website:

South Asian Public Health Association

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