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

Newsletter - Fall 2016

South Asian Public Health Association
SAPHA Quarterly Newsletter

Winter 2016

In This Issue

SAPHA is the premier South Asian-related public health organization in America, in existence since 1999. SAPHA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of South Asians and the communities in which they live in America.
Join Our Mailing List

Become a SAPHA Member! 

We invite you to join us! You can start by becoming an active part of our free listserv, joining and asking your colleagues to join SAPHA as a member, and volunteering to help one of SAPHA's committees. 

Being part of SAPHA is an opportunity to network with other professionals invested in the health of South Asians in the United States and to promote the health of South Asian communities. Be sure to visit our membership page at to get more information on how to become a member of this exciting organization.

Join a SAPHA Committee!
Business Meeting
SAPHA is currently seeking dedicated professionals to join one of SAPHA's Committees:




Membership/ Nominations

Partnerships/Local Groups


SAPHA Committees meet regularly via conference call to discuss how to advance the mission and goals of SAPHA and to better serve the South Asian community. For more information visit SAPHA'S committee's page!

Simran Sabherwal
Sana Hashim
Monideepa Becerra
Punam Parikh Modha
Isha Weerasinghe 
Shibani Ray-Mazumder
Partnerships Chair
Shipra Singh
Communications Chair
Memoona Hasnain
Research Chair
Phani Veeranki 
Sustainability Chair 
Dhara Thakar Meghani 
Memberships Chair
Vaibhav Jain 
 Yousra Yusuf

  Vice President

Nazeera Dawood
Newsletter prepared by Susmita Paul,
Shipra Singh,
and Musarrat Rahman
SAPHA New Logo
Dear SAPHA members,
Welcome to the SAPHA winter newsletter! For those of you back to school, we wish you all the best in the academic year ahead, and for all of you, we're thinking of you as we move into winter.
Here are a few key updates from our end. As the summer progressed, we at SAPHA have been actively working towards meeting our vision. We are progressing with the publication of the book, "The Health of South Asians in the United States: An Evidence-based Guide for Policy and Program Development" by Hasnain M, Parekh P, Nagaraj CN (editors). Moreover,
we are continuing to build our partnership with the CDC, and we are building our vision for the future.
Members from SAPHA had an informal get-together at the annual APHA conference in Denver, Colorado. It was a small but meaningful gathering and we were able to share our thoughts about advancing our collective vision for SAPHA. Our group is a sum of its parts; everyone's input is important and valued. We are looking forward to another gathering of SAPHA colleagues at next year's APHA conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
Please contact Shipra Singh at if you have any questions or want to learn more, and we hope to see you all next year in Atlanta!
An important part of our vision includes a robust membership, and as such, we encourage you to invite your friends and colleagues who are interested in SAPHA to join us.
Lastly, in light of the recent Presidential election, SAPHA would like to emphasize it's belief in unity, inclusion and diversity. We would like to reaffirm our commitment to improving the health and well-being (including mental health, safety and security), of South Asians and the communities in which they live within in the United States.
The SAPHA Board 2014-2016

SAPHA Fundraising Drive during this Holiday Season
Dear SAPHA members, 
SAPHA is planning to launch new initiatives next year to build the next generation of healthcare professionals that address the health issues of our community. Some of these initiatives include SAPHA Mentoring Program, SAPHA Annual Online Public Health Conference, and the launch of 2
edition of SAPHA book. In this context, SAPHA will be organizing a fundraising drive during this holiday season to raise funds for these initiatives. We hope you make a donation during this fundraising drive and be an integral part of success stories of these initiatives. 
You will hear from us soon. 
SAPHA Sustainability Committee
Phani Veeranki (Chair)
Madhubhanti Chatterjee (Committee Intern)
Nazeera Dawood (SAPHA President)

SAPHA Partnerships Campaign

Do you, or anyone you know, work at a local or national non-profit, medical, or public health organization dedicated to advocating for the needs of South Asian Americans? SAPHA is currently broadening its boundaries to engage with more South Asian professionals, and those dedicated to issues concerning South Asian Americans today, with an overarching aim to improve overall health of our communities.
SAPHA is striving to forge new connections and build new relationships with similarly-minded institutions. Through the partnerships we create, we hope that we will be able to work together to promote the health and well-being of the community. We hope that these partnerships will provide a working relationship to share resources, communicate healthy lifestyle education, promote materials, and collaborate on future research initiatives.
If you or anyone you know is interested in learning more about what partnering with SAPHA entails, please feel free to contact us at today.

Spotlight On: Musarrat Rahman
Currently studying at: New York Medical College 
Degree: Master of Public Health
Major: Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion
I was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and immigrated to New York City when I was 7 months old, and have lived here ever since! I am currently a study consultant at Clinical Directors Network Inc, and a research intern on the LGBTQ health project at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. I am also working on my master's thesis project on HPV and self-screening in women.
My research interests center around sexual and reproductive health. I am interested in studying patient-provider health disparities related to sexual health discussion and risk-taking behaviors in HIV/STD transmission. Growing up South Asian meant there were certainly topics related to sexual health that were considered taboo or inappropriate to discuss with family or friends. This can cause misunderstanding, stigma or even embarrassment, but I want to change that outlook within the South Asian community so there is a sex-positive communication related to sexuality and disease. I hope my time with SAPHA will be a great learning experience and a way to become more vocal about South Asian health!

Spotlight On: Amal Bhatnagar
First Aid For All
Currently studying at: Northview High School 
Founder, First Aid For All
First Aid For All is a student-led nonprofit organization that alleviates medical inequality both domestically and internationally by distributing first aid kits to the underprivileged, spreading awareness around the community, raising funds to support programs, and volunteering with other similar organizations. Run by just high school students, First Aid For All has impacted more than 1,000 people across the globe. The nonprofit was started two years ago by Amal Bhatnagar during his sophomore year in high school.Just some accomplishments they've made:

Under the Distribution Approach, First Aid For All has conducted mission trips in Jamaica and India in which members went to slums, orphanages, girls defense centers, schools and churches in the rural areas. Additionally, First Aid For All has inspired a petition in Oakland, California, thus affecting the ideologies of people across the country. It has additionally organized CPR/AED Certification workshops.

Under the Awareness Approach, First Aid For All has presented at two hospitals-- Northside Hospital and DeKalb Medical Center-- and a healthcare camp. Additionally, its key members have presented at a city council to approach government officials. Not to mention, its founder has been interviewed on Atlanta Business Radio X, a business network that features growing entrepreneurs throughout Atlanta. They also just worked with Microsoft to spread community awareness on World Humanitarian Day.

First Aid For All has also been awarded a finalist for the Georgia Nonprofit Trinity Awards for Health Awareness. The organization's accomplishments have most recently been awarded through the Daily Point of Light Award too. 

To learn more about First Aid For All, please visit their website at

Spotlight On: Dimple Patel 
South Asian Mental Health 
Currently studying at: The Illinois School of Professional Psychology- Schaumburg
Three years ago I started Team Patel in honor of my Mom. I was hesitant and scared to do anything because I worried about what the reaction I would get from others. For years, I never publicly said what happened to my Mom. I would avoid answering how she passed because I did not know what to say or how to say it. How do you say that she committed suicide? Or answer follow-up questions like: did you know she was depressed; why did she do it; or did you not see the signs? For the most part, I did not have the answers to these questions and I was not ready to face what happened. Sadly, that is pretty common in our culture. We do not discuss mental health issues or seek out professional services. As a future psychologist, I started to think about how competent I would be if I kept avoiding it and not processing it through. This is a major issue in the South Asian community. 
I decided to participate in the 2014 AFSP Walk in Chicago. I was not ready to share who I was walking for just yet, but it was helping me become more comfortable. On my Mom's four-year anniversary, I finally decided that this was the year I wanted my voice heard and it was the best moment of my life. Sharing my Mom's story and what my family went through has opened up so many doors. In addition, it has allowed others to open up, share their own stories, ask questions, and where to obtain psychological services for themselves or others. Every year I spend a lot of time on the Chicagoland - Out Darkness Walk and am thankful for everyone that has walked, donated, and looked at our page! The conversation starts with us.

SAPHA Membership Campaign

We are always accepting new members!

SAPHA depends on its members and their donations to continue to do its work. Your donation goes back to the South Asian American community in the United States. This is done through: SAPHA's work with fellow partner organizations; its research, programming, and advocacy; and its sustained connections and collaborations with important stakeholders in American medicine and public health.

Please consider renewing your membership today. And if you are already a member, consider sharing the news of our discounted membership with your friends, colleagues, and extended networks, whether through school or work.

We thank you in advance for your help.

Join a SAPHA Committee
Our committees meet via conference call at least once a month to discuss how to help promote the work of SAPHA and advocate for our members. By participating in a committee, you can gain invaluable experience working with experts in the field that could advance your professional goals!
Please note that you must be a SAPHA member (paid annual membership dues) to be eligible to participate on a Committee and vote. For more information, please email the Chair of the Committee you would like to join. Each Committee Chair's contact information is available on our website.
SAPHA's success depends on the commitment and hard work of its committees and look forward to your participation!

Check out our new website and our blog! 
SAPHA launched our new website during the Chai & Chat at the American Public Health Association conference in November 2015, which you can view here. We welcome any feedback you may have as you peruse the site.  
We are also excited to debut SAPHA's blog,

Voices of SAPHA. Voices  is a place where writers can share and discuss their experiences working with different South Asian populations across the US. The blog is meant to humanize the academic works that have been published about the population. The editor-in-chief is Pavitra Krishnamani, an MD candidate at Thomas Jefferson University. If you are interested in sharing your past work, or contributing your future writing, consider contacting "Voices of SAPHA" here for more information.

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Stay updated with SAPHA's latest news, events and happenings by 
liking our Facebook Page

Connect with other colleagues in the field by posting questions or comments on the wall.
And follow SAPHA on Twitter: @saphainfo.
Health Conferences

First Annual National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health

December 5-6, 2016, Chicago, IL. A conference on dynamic approaches to addressing the social determinants of health. (The Root Cause Coalition USA)
Monday, December 12, 2016, New York NY (New York Academy of Medicine)
December 14-15, 2016. Washington DC. (AcademyHealth)
Provides information for our 5th Cross-Cultural Health Care Conference, which will be held on February 17-18, 2017 at the Ala Moana Hotel on Oahu, Hawaii.
March 22-24, 2017, Austin, TX. A conference for public health professionals to learn about best practices and policies to reduce tobacco use-the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. (National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI))
March 27-31, 2017 Colorado Springs, Colorado The Art & Science of Health Promotion Conference brings together more than 600 health promotion and wellness professionals from across disciplines and settings, to learn about the most successful programs and the latest research in health promotion. The conference also features 2-day pre-conference Intensive Training Seminars focusing on a specific topic or skills.
The events listed in this section are for informational purposes only.
SAPHA does not necessarily endorse the organizations or events listed.  
Email SAPHA if you would like an event or research posted here!
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