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SAPHA - South Asian Public Health Association - logo

SAPHA Spotlight Series - April 2024

April Podcast Spotlight
South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series


South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series

SAPHA expands its podcast offerings with our latest release! Introducing Episode 4 of the South Asian Public Health Association Spotlight Series, where we explore the exceptional careers and journeys of public health pioneers, focusing on the South Asian community.

In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the South Asian Public Health Association, each episode promises enlightening discussions, motivational narratives, and an intimate exploration of the impactful contributions made by former SAPHA board members, shaping the landscape of public health.

Episode 4

Sharmila Rao Thakkar, MPH, MPA, CAP®

Our fourth episode features the esteemed Sharmila Rao Thakkar, an accomplished nonprofit and philanthropic advisor specializing in leadership development, program implementation, and resource development. With a background in health communications and public health, she has transitioned into a multifaceted role focused on fostering equity, social impact, and leadership within communities. Sharmila's dedication to public health and social impact is underscored by her leadership in crisis preparedness, community engagement, and collaborative partnerships, making her a respected thought leader in the nonprofit sector. Sharmila is also one of the co-founders and founding board members of SAPHA, where her contributions to SAPHA have been invaluable.

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Learn more about Ms. Thakkar below:

Sharmila Rao Thakkar, a seasoned philanthropy and nonprofit consultant based in New York City, brings over 25 years of experience to her work. She specializes in advising philanthropic leaders on strategic resource deployment, emphasizing alignment with values and interests. Holding the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) designation, Sharmila's expertise spans leadership development, program implementation, and equity & inclusion initiatives.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sharmila demonstrated her leadership as the executive director of the Staten Island Not for Profit Association, overseeing strategic direction, resource allocation, and partnership development to strengthen the nonprofit sector's response. Her background includes serving as the first non-family executive director of the Siragusa Family Foundation in Chicago, where she led operational and grantmaking efforts, fostering board professionalism and next-generation engagement.

As a consultant, Sharmila facilitates board development programs, guides leadership transitions, and advises on operational and programmatic enhancements. Recent projects include training on nonprofit governance, facilitating racial equity initiatives, and advising donors/foundations on strategic shifts and COVID-19 response efforts with an equity lens. Her commitment to social justice is evident through her involvement in DEI training programs and board service for various nonprofits.

Holding a Master of Public Health from Columbia University and a Master of Public Administration from the Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs, her academic background complements her extensive practical knowledge. Additionally, she holds a BA in International Relations from Brown University.

Listen to us on Youtube!

Listen to us on Spotify!

Thanks for your interest in SAPHA!

We are always seeking innovative ways to improve the health and well-being of our diverse South Asian communities. Through advocacy, education, and fostering meaningful community partnerships, we are dedicated to making a positive impact! Learn more about our mission or contribute to our cause by visiting!

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