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SAPHA - South Asian Public Health Association - logo

Newsletter - June 2023


Nurturing Inclusivity: Spotlighting LGBTQIA+ Advocacy in South Asian Communities

Happy PRIDE! June is a time of celebration and honoring the trailblazers of the LGBTQIA+ movement. While significant progress has been achieved in many parts of the world, it is crucial to acknowledge that some countries still subject individuals to legal discrimination, criminalization, and persecution based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Research indicates that LGBTQ adults and youth face a higher risk of suicide, particularly during their teenage years and early 20s.

Within the South Asian population, many individuals encounter stigma and societal pressures due to cultural expectations, notions of honor, and the desire to conform to traditional norms. This can result in struggles with self-acceptance, mental health challenges, and strained relationships with family and community.

Nevertheless, an empowering movement is emerging among LGBTQIA+ South Asians who are advocating for visibility, acceptance, and equal rights. SAPHA aims to seize this month as an opportunity to highlight organizations and researchers who are creating safe spaces to foster dialogue, education, and ultimately nurture acceptance and inclusivity. Stay tuned on our social media channels for more updates!


On May 8th, the South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) joined the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) Coalition members: Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), Papa Ola Lōkahi, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA), APPEAL -- Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), and National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) in Washington DC for a roundtable discussion with Secretary of Health, Xavier Becerra, and moderated by WHIAANHPI to discuss critical issues concerning health equity for the AANHPI community. It was inspiring to see the Secretary's commitment to addressing these challenges and promoting a more just, equitable and accessible healthcare system. You can read more about this event here.

In addition to this, SAPHA was invited to the White House to attend a special screening of 'American Born Chinese,' where President Biden and Ke Huy Quan spoke about the struggles and accomplishments of the AANHPI community.

SAPHA President, Samira Khan, was also invited to be a panelist at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Legislative Leadership Summit for the 'Breaking the Stigma: Addressing Mental Health in our Community' panel on May 9th and discussed the crucial role of understanding the barriers to addressing mental health in the AANHPI community in order to promote overall well-being and equity.

A full video of this panel can be accessed here.

Lastly, On June 7th, SAPHA was honored to partner with the Indian American Impact Summit again this year on the health panel titled “A South Asian Health Agenda” alongside VOT-ER and ASANA Voices. SAPHA President Samira Khan was invited to moderate the session featuring esteemed panelists Dr. Sejal Hathi, The White House Senior Policy Advisor for Public Health; Dr. Alka Kanaya, Professor of Medicine at UCSF and Principal Investigator at MASALA Study; Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Dr. Meena Seshamani, Director for the Center for Medicare. The conversation touched upon various topics of concern for South Asian Health, with an overall theme of a need for an integration of health policy and research with community outreach. By bridging these essential components, we move closer to the goal of attaining health equity and making a profound, tangible impact. It was also great to have representation from previous and current SAPHA Board members (Gayatri Malhotra and Anmol Sharma respectively) at the Summit. Over the past 24 years, SAPHA has been run entirely by volunteers and operated virtually. It is the unwavering dedication and passion of colleagues like these that have allowed SAPHA to grow and to sustain momentum and create a meaningful impact.

Research & News Highlights

South Asian Soar launched their Abortion Care Guide (ACG) by & for South Asians in 20 South Asian languages! The ACG provides medically-factually & accessible information on abortion methods, logistics, and aftercare, and it was created with support of @plannedparenthood, @respond_crisis, and @_artivistt. To find the ACG in your language, visit! 💚 –

Body Image, Eating, and Wellness among South Asian Women Study

Are you a South Asian woman between the ages of 18-30? If so, you are invited to participate in a research study at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

Description: In this study, you will complete online health questionnaires assessing your eating habits, emotional well-being, and cultural values. Please note that all of your responses will be kept strictly confidential. Surveys take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Eligibility: You must identify as South Asian (i.e., descend from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and/or the Maldives), be a female at least 18-30 years old, and must have lived in the United States for at least 3 years.

Compensation: All participants who successfully complete the surveys will receive a $10 Amazon gift card for their time.

To get started, please click on this link: 

If you have any questions, please contact the study coordinator, Neha Goel, at

Reading Recommendations

Epidemiology of Diabetes and Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Among Asian American Adults

Culture, diet, economic factors and more affect CVD risk among Asian Americans

Uniting for Equity: Celebrating Juneteenth and Advancing Public Health Through Solidarity

SAPHA would like to shed light on the significance of celebrating Juneteenth as a South Asian and explore the intersections of public health, solidarity, and collaboration. Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, offers an opportunity for us to reflect, learn, and contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society.

Juneteenth, a momentous occasion in American history, holds relevance for public health, as it highlights the importance of community well-being, equality, and justice. By coming together as South Asians, we can engage in activities that promote understanding, support, and collaboration with the Black community.

Education and awareness play a crucial role in public health. Take the time to learn about the history and significance of Juneteenth. Understanding the struggles faced by African Americans and the importance of their emancipation will foster empathy and help address health disparities rooted in systemic injustices.

Engaging in dialogue and collaboration between the South Asian and Black communities is another way to promote public health. By attending cross-cultural events and joining community organizations that focus on racial justice, we can build strong relationships, work together on initiatives, and address health inequities faced by marginalized communities.

Supporting Black-owned businesses is not only an economic contribution but also a public health action. By shopping at their stores, dining at their restaurants, and using their services, we can uplift the economic status of the Black community, which in turn enhances community well-being.

Public health is also about amplifying voices and challenging stereotypes. Take the initiative to share stories, achievements, and art from the Black community on your platforms. By doing so, we promote understanding, dismantle stereotypes, and contribute to a more inclusive narrative of health and well-being.

Finally, collaboration in public health initiatives is essential. Supporting causes and organizations that work towards racial justice, equality, and improved health outcomes is a tangible way to make a difference. By donating, volunteering, or offering our skills, we can actively contribute to a more equitable society for all.

As South Asians, let us embrace the spirit of Juneteenth, standing in solidarity with the Black community. By educating ourselves, engaging in dialogue, amplifying voices, and supporting initiatives, we can play a vital role in promoting public health, equity, and social justice.

Wishing you a meaningful Juneteenth celebration!

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.

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South Asian Public Health Association

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