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

Newsletter - Winter 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 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!

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


Punam Parikh Modha 

Vice President

Nazeera Dawood
Newsletter prepared by Susmita Paul
SAPHA New Logo
Dear SAPHA Members, 

A belated welcome to the New Year! We present you with the South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) Winter 2016 Newsletter.
We have the opportunity to welcome a new President, Nazeera Dawood, as well as four new board members: Simran Sabherwal, Shibani Ray-Mazumder, Sana Hashim and Monideepa Becerra. You can see their biographies and contact information on our brand new website. Also, 
we'd like to welcome a new intern, Stefanie Joseph, who will be joining the Communications Committee. 
Within this letter, you'll find a recap of SAPHA's work at APHA, information about our collaborations with the
Centers for Disease Control and
Nova Sante Health, as well as an overall summary of all of SAPHA's accomplishments in 2015. We end with a spotlight on the
South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI). And lastly, we remind you to consider joining SAPHA as a member to take advantage to our signature project, our
book, titled "Health of South Asians in the US: An Evidence-based Guide for Policy and Program Development," as well as our alumni mentoring network. 

Happy reading!
SAPHA Board 2016

Letter from our President Nazeera Dawood 

Dear SAPHA Member, 
Thank you for placing your trust in me as President and in the other newly-elected Board members to lead South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) into the future. I would like to thank our immediate past president, Ami Shah, the Executive team Vaibhav Jain, Yousra Yusuf and Punam Parikh for their leadership, Board members Dhara Thakar, Phani Veeranki, Memoona Hasnain, Neelum Aggarwal, Shipra Singh and Isha Weerasinghe for their hard work, and our dedicated interns for their highly supportive roles. We welcome our new board members Simran Sabherwal, Shibani Ray-Mazumder, Sana Hashim and Monideepa Becerra for the 2016-18 term.
There are many people who are hurting and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to connect the dots and get our community the help it needs. I am honored to be able to chair the South Asian Public Health Association for the next two years. I first joined SAPHA as a board member in 2013. In the three years that I have served as the Chair of Partnership committee, I have had the opportunity to play a supporting role in the growth of SAPHA. Moreover, the experience that I bring to SAPHA is diverse. Each experience has had its own value. From having practiced medicine in India, conducting clinical research at an academic setting, leading non-profits, practicing public health leadership at a local health department, taking charge of administration at the county Chairman's Office, and ultimately, to have recently run for office, I have a wide array of skills and experiences that I am exciting to bring to SAPHA. I believe this experience will come into play as the 2016-18 board as I help transform SAPHA from being an operational board to being an aspirational, governing board. And I am excited to help SAPHA continue to advocate for the health and rights of the South Asian American communities today.
I believe I speak for all the Board when I thank you for your commitment thus far. Also, we kindly ask you to continue to participate and share your ideas with us, and to invite all your colleagues to join us. Being a SAPHA member, you will have voting rights and eligibility to run for the SAPHA Board of Directors; eligibility to chair a SAPHA committee; access to exclusive member-only portions of the website; and advanced access to our book. And, as always, though we encourage you to become a SAPHA member, please remember you do not have to be a member to participate. Visit to learn more.  
Below are some highlights we would like to share with you. Please continue reading this newsletter to learn more.
  • SAPHA is pleased to receive a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation. We have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CDC Travelers' Health Program, where SAPHA will serve as the premier organization to increase awareness among people about staying healthy and precautions to be taken while traveling to South Asian countries. Please see the associated section in the newsletter for more information about these resources.
  • Our signature project, a book, titled "Health of South Asians in the US: An Evidence-based Guide for Policy and Program Development" will be launched during the course of this year.
  • As we move forward in 2016, the SAPHA Board will meet virtually every month to discuss our plan to a sustainable SAPHA. SAPHA board will transform from an operational Board to a governing Board. We thank Nova Sante Health Inc. for their free video conferencing services. And as always, we invite you to join us-become a member today!
Working together, we can continue on our path to meet the goals of improving the health of South Asians and the communities within which they live.  
Thank you again and wishing you the best of the best for 2016.
Nazeera Dawood

Spotlight On: Our New Board Members
After much consideration, SAPHA is exci
ted to welcome the four following public health and medical professionals to our team:
Simran Sabherwal,
Shibani Ray-Mazumder,

Monideepa Becerra, and Sana Hashim. We are very excited to have all of them on board, and cannot wait to see how they contribute in the years to come!
Below are brief biographies of the new board members. You can read extended bios
on our website

Simran Sabherwal, PhD
Dr. Sabherwal is currently a Project Manager at the Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science (ACCORDS) at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research interests include women's health and empowerment, maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, positive youth development, gender-based violence, Asian-American health and well-being, and implementation science.
Shibani Ray-Mazumder, ScD, PhD
Dr. Shibani Ray-Mazumder is a Clinical Health Psychologist at the New York University Langone Medical Center. Dr. Ray-Mazumder's research interests include risk assessment of vulnerable populations, identifying predictive factors associated with positive aging and resilience and promoting the assessment and treatment of emotional health among palliative and geriatric care patients. She has presented her findings at national and international conferences.
Monideepa Becerra, DrPH, MPH
Dr. Becerra is an Assistant Professor at California State University, San Bernardino with research emphasis on health disparities among racial/ethnic minorities and vulnerable populations. She also serves as a board member on the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, a non-profit organization aimed towards improving the social and natural environment through activities such as public policy, community health workers, etc.
Sana Hashim, MPH, CPH, CHES
Ms. Hashim is Project Coordinator of the Maryland Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT NOW) at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control. Ms. Hashim holds her Master of Public Health and Bachelor of the Arts in Anthropology, both from New York University. Additionally, she holds both CPH and CHES certifications, demonstrating her commitment to the advancement of public health practice.

Spotlight On: Our New Communications Intern
My name is Stefanie Joseph, I am an undergraduate student majoring in Biological Anthropology at Binghamton University, and I hope to work in the field of Global Health. Along with coursework, I am also involved in the organization Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) at Binghamton University. This is a student organization that seeks to improve access to medicine in low-income communities and low and middle income countries, and to increase research and development of drugs for neglected tropical diseases.
I am excited to intern at SAPHA because of the opportunity to get a taste of work-related experiences. As a South Asian myself, I have a keen interest in health issues affecting South Asians and South Asian-Americans, particularly in the area of diabetes, a disease prevalent in our community. Additionally, my sister was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and my family has a medical history of diabetes and hypertension. Health, disease and the management of it have always fascinated me. And more importantly, I would like for all communities to have equal access to health care and medicine. I love my culture and am excited for an opportunity at SAPHA to find a way to help our community and help residents gain knowledge on different diseases and disorders.
When my sister was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, our family's world turned upside-down. This event was a pivotal point in my life, and served as the primary catalyst for my interest in public health. I am determined to assist people like my sister and others facing illnesses. If there is a way to prevent disease from developing in the first place, I am driven to find that out as well.

APHA 2015 Recap
During APHA 2015, from October 31st to November 4th, SAPHA gathered as a group in the McCormick Center in Chicago. We were incredibly honored to welcome U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Dr. Vivek Murthy and the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health Dr. Nirav Dinesh Shah. A record number of guests and SAPHA Members helped us welcome Dr. Murthy and Dr. Shah, both of whom gave brief remarks and then participated in a question and answer session moderated by our Memberships Committee Chair Dhara Thakar Meghani.
At Chai & Chat, we conducted an exercise where we asked guests where they would like SAPHA to be in the next 2-3 years. Some wrote down questions and feedback on post-it notes, which we then shared with each other. Most recommendations from guests included wanting SAPHA to deliver more press releases, to blog more regularly, to focus on research, and to continue engagement.
We hear your calls for increased momentum, and we invite you to join us, by blogging with us, joining SAPHA has a member, and getting involved with our Research Committee and other Committees. We envision that the SAPHA Book (to be released in Spring '16) will be one way of bringing more visibility to our organization and help us pitch for funding. Through all of this, we are honored to have your support.
Lastly, SAPHA also participated in the events sponsored by the Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus (APIC). Outgoing SAPHA President Ami Shah attended APIC business meeting and presented information to the board about SAPHA and the upcoming book. We are excited to share that APIC is aware of SAPHA and is eager to continue its relationship with us. Moreover, we are excited to share the news that APIC President Elena Ong has been elected as a voting member to the APHA governing body. SAPHA realizes what this signifies for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in public health, and we congratulate Elena Ong on this significant achievement.

SAPHA's 2015 Accomplishments

  • SAPHA solidified partnerships with federal agencies!

    • SAPHA partnered with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to
      provide information of pre-travel vaccines to individuals traveling to South

      Asian countries
  • SAPHA advocated that the U.S. Senate support continuation of the
    Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health ("REACH")

    Program funding for 2016

  • SAPHA continues to support the National Coalition of South Asian
    Organizations (NCSO)

  • SAPHA endorsed the oversampling of Asian Americans for CDC's

    National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

SAPHA Partnership with CDC: for Travelers!


As mentioned before, SAPHA is pleased to receive a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation. We have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CDC Travelers' Health Program, where SAPHA will serve as the premier organization to increase awareness among people about staying healthy and precautions to be taken while traveling to South Asian countries.


Are you traveling out of the country any time soon? Before you pack your backs, consider that traveling to visit family members and friends can put you at a higher risk for some diseases. The best way to stay healthy on the go is to see a healthcare provider. Another quick way is to gain information on vaccines and advice on travel recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Heading Home Healthy Initiative 
is the product of a cooperative agreement with Global TravEpiNet (GTEN) and the CDC to improve the health of international travelers, especially those visiting friends and relatives. Two online tools were developed through the GTEN agreement: the Travelers' Rapid Health Information Portal (TRhIP) and the Pre-Travel Providers' Rapid Evaluation Portal (PREP). TRhIP prompts travelers to input their age and destination(s), and then offers the user customized health recommendations for their trip. In contrast, PREP is intended for healthcare providers. Providers can type in basic demographics and health information about their patient and receive a customized list of travel health recommendations. Both tools are free to access and use. And SAPHA encourages all those traveling in the months and years to come to take advantage of the CDC's free tools. 

Spotlight On: SAAPRI

South Asian American Policy & Research Institute
(SAAPRI) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization established in 2001 to serve South Asian Americans in the Chicagoland area, by using research to formulate equitable and socially responsible pubic policy.
SAAPRI's work has included research and policy initiatives on civic engagement, hate crimes, access to health care, economic development, and immigration.  

SAAPRI leads the Chicago South Asian Deferred Action Coalition, partnering with Indo-American Center, Apna Ghar, and Chicago Desi Youth Rising on conducting outreach and education about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which concern important needs of undocumented individuals.  SAAPRI released the 2015 Civic Engagement Report that analyzed data from the United States Census Bureau, the Voter Activation Network, and other recent research to highlight voter registration, engagement, and mobilization among South Asian Americans in Illinois. In Illinois, there are more than 242,000 South Asian Americans; between 2000 and 2010, Illinois' South Asian population grew by over 55% and South Asians are the Midwest's fastest growing population group.
SAAPRI conducts research on emerging issues of importance to South Asian Americans in response to community needs.  Projects are designed to create dialogue and better understanding, drawing from SAAPRI's expertise in community-based research and collaborations with partner organizations, academic institutions, and community members.  In 2009, SAAPRI coordinated a
health research initiative for the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Center for Minority Health to identify the health access needs and disparities facing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in Illinois.  In 2015, SAAPRI partnered with Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) 
to convene
us groups including South Asian business owners to discuss health and well-being. 
Further, in 2015, SAAPRI co-authored a Chapter for the Second Edition of the SAPHA Brown Paper titled a "Sociodemographic Profile of South Asian Americans," which highlights key sociodemographic information about South Asian Americans, including a historical overview and population evolution over time.

SAAPRI advances public policy by responding to community issues and formulating data-driven solutions.  SAAPRI voices the community's concerns to public officials at the local, state, and national levels; conducts outreach to community members and media; works strategically in cross-racial coalitions; hosts public forums; and participates in speaking engagements to various audiences.  SAPHA is proud to spotlight SAAPRI, and encourages its members to learn more about SAAPRI and the excellent work it does.
about SAAPRI's projects,
with SAAPRI, or

SAPHA thanks Nova Sante Health 

SAPHA is excited to announce a partnership with Nova Sante Health Inc. Based in Los Altos, CA, 
Nova Sante Health
, is a healthcare technology company comprised of technology, healthcare professionals and an advisory board of medical professionals and experts. They offer solutions in medical and software technologies, business processes, and HIPAA compliant secure and encrypted data/voice/video networking.
NSH's Healthcare Platform offers collaboration, community based imaging solutions, remote patient vitals monitoring, and hospital re-admission reduction solution for hospitals, ACO groups and individual medical practice offices. NSH provides a mental and behavioral health wellness platform for mental and behavioral healthcare providers, including speech therapists. In addition, NSH also provides a lactation platform for lactation services providers.
Many thanks to Nova Sante Health for providing web and video conferencing services to SAPHA for free this year. We are grateful for their services. And if you and your institution are in need of video conferencing or a whole host of other healthcare and technology solutions and services, we encourage you to contact Nova Sante Health

Join a SAPHA Committee
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!

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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.
And follow SAPHA on Twitter: @saphainfo.

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, 

is a place where writers can share and discuss their experiences working with the 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"
for more information.

Health Conferences
1. Introduction to NHS Medical Device Training, February 2, 2016, London, UK
2. Webinar on FDA New Electronic Data Capture Guidance, February 10, 2016, 10am PST 1PM EST
3. Parks and Recreation in Public Health, February 10 to 12, 2016, Bloomington, Indiana
4. 2016 Association of Academic Physiatrists, February 16 to 20, 2016, Sacramento, California
5. Preventative Medicine 2016, February 24 to 27, 2016, Washington, DC

2016 Association for Community Health Improvement Annual Conference

March 1 to 3, 2016, Baltimore, MD

International Conference on Urban Health, April 1 to 4, 2016, San Francisco, CA
Global Health and Innovation Conference, April 16 to 17, 2016, New Haven, CT
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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