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

Newsletter - Summer 2015

SAPHA Summer 2015 Newsletter

South Asian Public Health Association
SAPHA Quarterly Newsletter

Summer 2015

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 in our work! 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!

SAPHA 2015 Board Members

Neelum Aggarwal

(Communications Chair
Nazeera Dawood
(Local Chapters/ Partnerships
Vaibhav Jain 
Memoona Hasnain
(Research Chair)

Dhara Thakar Meghani 
(Membership Chair)

Punam Parikh Modha 

(Vice President)

   Yousra Yusuf


Ami Shah
Newsletter prepared by Melanie Wathugala and Susmita Paul

Summer 2015 Newsletter: UPDATED 
An earlier version of this newsletter had some minor spelling errors, including that of a board member's name, which have now been corrected in this version. Please see below for the most updated version of the Summer 2015 newsletter. We apologize for the error. Happy reading!


SAPHA New Logo

Dear SAPHA friends, 

It is our great pleasure to welcome you to the South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) Summer 2015 Newsletter. Since our last correspondence, SAPHA's Board has been vigorously working on a number of initiatives.


 Here are a few highlights from our efforts.

* The American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting in Chicago is Saturday, October 31 to Wednesday, November 4. The SAPHA Board will be there to participate and strategize plans and activities for the next year. The SAPHA Board will host a Chai & Chat on Sunday, November 1 from 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM and we invite you to come join us. Please stay tuned for the location.

* Our signature project, a book, "Health of South Asians in the US: An Evidence-based Guide for Policy and Program Development" will be launched at the Chai & Chat. We are all very excited about the Book. The Research Committee volunteers have put lots of energy, time and sweat to complete this project. We are seeking sponsorships at this time to cover the printing and publishing costs. If you are interested to become a sponsor, please reach out to us at

* SAPHA's Local Partnerships Committee is very excited to sign a concrete partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's (CDC) Travel Health Program. SAPHA will serve as the premier organization to increase awareness among people traveling to South Asian countries. The purpose of this outreach program is to develop, implement, and evaluate a program to determine if word-of-mouth travel health education programs can improve acceptance of pretravel vaccines, medicines, and preventive behavior among high-risk travelers.

* And yes, the Membership Committee is kicking off its membership drive this July. Please consider joining our team of professionals by visiting the membership sign up link on this page
Professional ($50) and student-level ($30) memberships are available. As a SAPHA member, you will have voting rights and eligibility to run for the SAPHA Board of Directors; eligible to chair a SAPHA committee; invitations to events hosted by SAPHA and partner organizations (e.g., SAALT, APIC, etc.); access to exclusive member-only portions of the website.

* We would like to honor Melanie Wathugala, our Communications intern for her great work in creating the newsletters for SAPHA. Melanie will be starting medical school at the University of Southern California this fall (congratulations, Melanie!), and Susmita Paul will be filling her shoes. We only wish Melanie the best of the best hoping she will consider returning to our organization in the coming years. Thank you, Melanie!!!

As SAPHA continues to grow & recruit dedicated team members while keeping the institutional knowledge base and sustainability on the forefront, we request you to become an active part of our listserv, join SAPHA as a member and consider volunteering in our committees. Be on the lookout for a call for new Board members in the coming weeks. We would like for you to join the dedicated SAPHA Board of Directors and become a part of improving the health of South Asian communities in the US.

Thank you. And happy reading!

Happy Summer,

SAPHA Board 2015

Spotlight On: Our New Communications Intern


Susmita Paul was born in Bangladesh and moved to New York City when she was four years old. She has lived in Jamaica, Queens, since then, and identifies strongly with her parents' and neighbors' own transnational identities. She is a senior at Williams College and hopes to pursue an MPH, and eventually a PhD in medical sociology, after she graduates. 

At Williams, Susmita is an Allison Davis Research Fellow, and receives funding and support to conduct acad
emic sociological research. Now, she is writing a thesis in medical sociology, on the competing definitions of cultural competency.
She has previously presented her work, on the role of race concordance in primary care physician preferences of South Asian immigrants, at the Eastern Sociological Society's 2015 annual meeting. This summer, she is interning at the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health, where she works with the DREAM (Diabetes, Research, Education, and Access for Minorities) project's Bangladeshi community health workers to help immigrants in the city with their diabetes control and management.

A simple email to SAPHA, asking to volunteer, turned into an opportunity to be the next communications intern, which she is very excited about!


Spotlight on: CSAAH

The NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health (CSAAH) is a partnership of the NYU School of Medicine, Department of Population Health, Section on Health Equity, several healthcare and public hospital organizations and more than 55 community and government partners serving the NYC Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander American community.  


CSAAH is the only research center of its kind in the United States that focuses on Asian American health and health disparities. Asian American communities have been historically considered the "model minority" with assumptions that this community is particularly well-off, well-educated and has fever health concerns. These assumptions have led to inadequate research in Asian American communities, making it a poorly understood group. CSAAH disseminates their exciting, groundbreaking research through publications, trainings, and symposiums. This past year, CSAAH co-sponsored the 7th Biennial conference called "Moving the Dial: Advancing Health Equity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders" with the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF). 

Yousra Yusuf, MPH, is a Project Coordinator at CSAAH. She believes

the field of public health has a lot to offer and can be of tr
emendous benefit to advancing health care on a bigger scale. Working in this field allows her to create that ripple in the ocean of change towards health equity for underserved populations.
Currently, she is managing
the Community Health Resources and Needs Assessment (CHRNA) project which is a large-scale, health needs assessment project in diverse, low-income Asian American communities in the metro New York area. 


To find out more about CSAAH, feel free to contact Yousra at

healthtalkerCDC's Health Talker Program


Ten million travelers a year travel abroad from the US with the purpose of visiting friends and relatives. These types of travelers are at higher risk for illnesses like malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, and hepatitis A than other travelers, partly because less than 30% of them seek pretravel care (i.e. vaccines). South Asian travelers have been known to be at even higher risk with more cases of typhoid fever than other groups of travelers.


The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) hopes 
that the Health Talker model will help prevent infection and spread of these infections. The idea is that people prefer getting and sharing information in conversation with friends and family. Health Talker campaigns have volunteers who will share the information with people they know. The program is starting in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. 

SAALT Summit 2015 Recap

The National South Asian Summit 2015 hosted by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) and South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA) was an incredible gathering of advocates and leaders in Washington, DC from April 10-13, 2015. True to its theme "Claiming Our Power: Mobilizing Diversity, Building Vision, Demanding Justice", the summit offered multitudes of sessions addressing issues affecting South Asians in the US and offering creative solutions practiced by organizations while providing an opportunity to strategize and build allies with people and organizations working for the same cause.


As part of the summit, SAPHA Board Member, Yousra Yusuf, presented posters on our upcoming book and our work in the Local Partnership Committee. In addition, SAPHA Board Member, Isha Weerasinghe, presented on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at a panel called "A Culture of Health Care and Coverage."

What you can do!


--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! 


--Like SAPHA on Facebook and Follow on Twitter

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 Stay updated with SAPHA's latest news, events and happenings by 
liking our Facebook Page
nect with other colleagues in the field by posting questions or comments on the wall.

Also, follow SAPHA on Twitter: @saphainfo!

Health Conferences



    For a more complete list of these conferences, please check out our website
    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!



    NOTE: In an earlier version of this newsletter, we misspelled Yousra Yusuf's last name and had a few spelling errors. All such mistakes have been corrected. We sincerely apologize for the error. 

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