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Board of Directors

SAPHA Board
The Board of Directors is an elected group of professionals representing a diverse set of disciplines, skills, and expertise and is committed to furthering SAPHA’s mission. Our Board members serve a two-year term; nominations for new Board members occur every September and elections are held in November. If you are interested in running for the Board or have other general inquiries, please contact us at saphaboard@gmail.com .
Yousra Yusuf

Yousra Yusuf, MPH

President (2015-Current)
Yousra Yusuf, MPH is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to that, she was the Project Coordinator at the New York University Center for the Study of Asian American Health. In this position, she was managing the Community Health Resources and Needs Assessment project, a large scale health needs assessment project in diverse, low-income Asian American communities in the metro New York area. In her role, she coordinated partnership building with community-based organizations, organized events in communities to administer surveys, and worked on data management and dissemination.

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Ms. Yusuf completed her Masters in Public Health at SUNY Downstate School of Public Health with a specialization in Epidemiology and a research focus in maternal health. She has an extensive background in public health research and teaching in the fields of community health research, health disparities, and health advocacy. Her research interests are in immigrant health, health disparities, and women’s health in underserved, community-based research settings. Ms. Yusuf is involved in various capacities in several community-based, non-profit organizations serving the Asian and South Asian community in New York and abroad.

S. Shahrukh Hashmi

S. Shahrukh Hashmi, MD

Vice President (2016-Current)
Dr. Hashmi is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, in Houston, Texas. He is also the Director of the Bioinformatics Core in the Pediatrics Research Center, where his responsibilities include assistance and promotion of both clinical and non-clinical research. Although he has published across a wide array of medical disciplines, his own personal interests lie in Genetics and Congenital Anomalies. Of recent, he has been involved in assessing access to health care in underserved populations and health concerns among South Asians.
Trushna Rao-Nadig

Trushna Rao-Nadig, MS(ENT), MBA

Treasurer (2018-Current)
Trushna's background encompasses 35 years of practice as an ENT specialist in India, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, currently balancing between home, family, yoga, and public health awareness and part-time ENT Specialist. Having schooled in India and UK, her under-graduate Medical Degree and post-graduate ENT Degree were conferred by the M. S. University, Vadodara, India. Trushna achieved her MBA, specializing in Technology and Healthcare Management, from the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia, and Brenau University, respectively. She has a Diploma in Teaching Healthcare Professionals from Queen’s University, Belfast, Ireland.

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Having achieved success as an ENT Surgeon, her focus has shifted to community services, public health awareness, and promoting the health benefits of yoga. With her global experience with disadvantaged communities, she brings an emotionally intelligent level to SAPHA, with empathy and compassion. Her accomplishments include setting up various time and cost-saving initiatives in her department in Ireland, mentoring medical and nursing students, and being on the Medical Examiners' Panel of Ireland. To assimilate the sidelined illiterate groups in Toccoa, NE GA, into their local community, she spearheaded the first representation for the Center at the Annual Sheriff's Christmas Parade and Festival of Trees Competition. Trushna is a family-oriented person and takes humble pride in supporting her ENT-practicing husband, her 3 self-confident, community-oriented children, and her pets. She is a caring, fun-loving individual who enjoys hiking and exploring the NE Georgia mountains with local groups. Yoga is her life-harness which she externalizes as the Medical Lead of the Safety Committee Member for the International Day of Yoga Celebration NPO (registered 501(c)3) held annually in Atlanta by the Indian Consulate. Devoting time to her family, friends, keeping connected with extended family, as well as staying conversant with current trends in all fields of life are favored leisure time activities.

Gayatri Malhotra

Gayatri Malhotra, MPH

Secretary (2020-Current)
Gayatri is a public health professional at EngenderHealth, an international women’s health organization with the mission to implement high-quality, gender-equitable programs that advance sexual and reproductive health and rights. As a member of the Business Development team and the Communications team, Gayatri supports proposal development activities, manages reporting processes for grants, and designs online content. Previously, Gayatri served as a Research Associate for Sattva, a social impact consulting firm, in Bangalore, India. She has also worked as a public health researcher for George Washington University (GW) in Washington, DC, and Girl Rising in Delhi, India.

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Gayatri holds a Master of Public Health in Global Health Epidemiology and Disease Control from GW Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is passionate about empowering women and girls through education, access to healthcare, and breaking down gender-stereotypes that prevent them from achieving their full potential. As a Research Associate in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at GW, Gayatri was a part of a study testing the effectiveness of a gender-sensitization curriculum implemented in government schools in India. Through her research, a gender equality scale was developed to better understand adolescents’ gender attitudes, norms, and perceptions. Gayatri’s research experience also focused on building social media campaigns and utilizing celebrity influencers in India to inspire and increase awareness on topics such as education, human trafficking, gender-based violence, and gender stereotypes among India’s youth. Gayatri is a native Hindi speaker and her hobbies include strolling the streets with her DSLR camera, attending music concerts, and eating all the desserts DC has to offer.

Saman Aziz

Saman Aziz, MD, MHPE, MPH

Research Committee Co-Chair (2017-Current)
As a medical professional (MD, MHPE, MPH) interested in the unique yet intertwined areas of education, research, and public health, I strive to find ways of better equipping myself to merge these three areas and translate it into providing excellent care for patients. The breadth of my expertise covers a wide area of clinical research. I have served as a Research Specialist/Faculty for 14 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago, (UIC) Department of Medical Education for the assessment of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) core curriculum. I have been relentlessly involved in coordinating study design, protocol preparation, clinical study reports, and publications on rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and HPV vaccine awareness studies. I am highly motivated to solve the health care dilemmas of minority populations within my community. I look forward to SAPHA’s leadership role in my quest to approach problems from a systems perspective.
Shipra Singh

Shipra Singh, MBBS, MPH, PhD

Research Committee Co-Chair (2017-Current)
Dr. Shipra Singh is an Assistant Professor at the College of Health Sciences, Department of Health and Recreations Profession, University of Toledo, Ohio. Currently, her research aims to examine the challenges faced by minority population in approaching and utilizing health care services, and specific stressors faced by these groups that may contribute to the disparities, and specifically investigate it through a gender lens that impacts mental disorders. She has taught several undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Michigan School of Public Health on Women’s Health, Psychosocial Aspects of Health, and Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities.

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Shipra attended medical school in India and continued her Medical Externship at SIU School of Medicine, Springfield, Illinois. She completed her doctoral training in Public Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Her dissertation work examined the impact of immigration-related factors and acculturative stress on depression and psychological distress among Asian American immigrants. Shipra joined Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD) India in 2011, which provides community-based rehabilitation for the disabled. She worked with the ‘Women with Disability Program’, where she conducted in-depth interviews with women living in rural communities, and conducted a training workshop for providers and lay community organizers to identify and build strategies for the health concerns of women with disabilities.

Anto Paul

ANTO PAUL, RN-BC, MS/MPH, CDE, CPHQ

Research Committee Co-Chair (2020-Current)
Anto Paul is a population health nurse with a public health background. He completed his Masters in Public Health from Hunter College New York. Last 10 years, he has been working in chronic disease management in various capacities. He is a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and Board Certified Advanced Public Health Nurse (PHNA-BC). From 2008-2010, Anto worked as a diabetes educator in the South Asian community-based research program. He was instrumental in developing the first South Asian diabetes education program in New York City in primary care settings. This experience helped him to understand the various aspects of chronic diseases and their impact on the South Asian community.

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Currently, Anto is working as a population health nurse, where he is coordinating the chronic disease data available through disease-focused registries and reports. The information from these datasets helps design and develop public health interventions in a defined population and to reduce the impact of chronic diseases among that population. This approach is also useful in helping health leaders better understand the relationship between social determinants and their impact on population health.

Paroma Mitra

Paroma Mitra, MD

Membership and Partnership Committee Co-Chair (2020-Current)
Paroma Mitra is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and an attending psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital, New York City Health and Hospitals. She also has a degree in Public Health from Boston University. Additionally, she holds two fellowships in Geriatric Psychiatry and Public Psychiatry. Dr. Mitra works primarily as a clinical psychiatrist and is involved in teaching medical students, residents, and fellows. Dr. Mitra teaches classes on Geriatric Psychiatry and individually supervises third-year medical students and residents at all levels of training.

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Dr. Mitra has trained at Harlem Hospital Center and Columbia University School of Medicine in Adult Psychiatry. Her clinical work primarily includes working with persons with chronic mental illness and she presently works in the psychiatric emergency room at Bellevue Hospital and the adult outpatient clinic. She has a particular interest in older adults given her fellowship, in women’s health, and neurocognitive disorders. Her interest also lies in community health and policy and access to care for the chronically mentally ill. Bellevue Hospital has granted her the opportunity to work with persons with severe mental illness as well as work in forensic settings. Dr. Mitra’s research interests include work in addiction medicine and has published on the same. Her ongoing work includes book chapters in Geriatric Psychiatry including therapy in older adults and substance use in older adults. She is a well-respected member of the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry and is often asked to present her work at the annual conference of Geriatric Psychiatry every year. She contributes to writing for their self-assessment exams and mentoring young medical students and residents. Dr. Mitra has an additional interest in public sector psychiatry and is involved in teaching the global psychiatry module at the New York University School of Medicine, Public Psychiatry Fellowship. She also serves as a peer reviewer for the Global Psychiatry journal and reviews articles submitted to the journal from various corners of the world. Dr. Mitra is particularly interested in immigrant health and is often asked to consult for the Human Rights Clinic at Mount Sinai. Dr. Mitra’s interest in SAPHA comes from her interest in immigrant health and her interest in public psychiatry that has come from her public health background. In particular, she is interested in raising mental health awareness in the South Asian community, understanding particular needs in the South Asian community regarding mental health and substance use and cultural aspects of the same. One of her goals while working with SAPHA includes creating fact sheets and resources directly aimed at working with the South Asian community.

NEHANDA T., MS

Membership and Partnership Committee Co-Chair (2020-Current)
Nehanda T., M.S., trained in clinical research and international health at the Barcelona Institute of Global Health and the University of Barcelona. She is interested in using structural determinants of health framework and participatory action research methods to advance community health among oppressed groups, including LGBTQ, women, and people of color. Most recently, they worked at the intersection of nutrition and foodways, interviewing women from rural regions, tribal members, and NGOs promoting agroecological models to study the impact of changing foodways landscapes on nutrition. Previously, they worked on a large-scale HIV-prevention structural intervention that worked to build power among sex workers. She has also worked with organic farmers to understand the impact of cash-crop farming on their livelihoods and food security; with shepherding communities to promote indigenous medical knowledge; with socioeconomically vulnerable children to improve their nutrition through evidence-based, culturally-sensitive diets; and with tribal members to catalog plant biodiversity and preserve tribal medical and food knowledge in one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. In her spare time, she enjoys amateur astronomy and making art.
Samira Khan

Samira Khan, MPH, CHES

Fundraising Committee Co-Chair (2016-Current)
Samira Khan received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from CUNY – The City College of New York in 2013, and a Master of Public Health from Hofstra University in 2016. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). She is currently working as a Clinical Research Manager at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. The research Samira manages focuses on examining the relationship between sleep-disordered breathing, specifically obstructive sleep apnea, and cardiovascular outcomes. She previously worked as a research assistant at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, working in research that focused on examining the effects of aerobic exercise on cognition in individuals with schizophrenia.

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Her public health research interests include examining and reducing health disparities in immigrant populations, focusing primarily on South Asian and Muslim communities and their social and behavioral determinants of health. Samira’s future goals include pursuing a doctoral degree and expanding on the research she conducted for her Master’s Thesis, which looked at the relationship between provider communication and patient understanding and how it influences health behaviors in a Muslim population. In November 2018, her thesis was selected for a roundtable discussion at the APHA conference.

Tauhid Mahmud

Tauhid Mahmud, MPH

Communications Committee Co-Chair (2020-Current)
Tauhid Mahmud is a senior medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. A firm believer in the concept of paying it forward, Tauhid is passionate about mentoring and supporting marginalized students. He helped develop the Muslim Health Professional Student Collaborative, a non-profit organization based in New York City, and chaired its mentoring program. He developed interview training workshops, mentorship handbooks, and resource guides with the aim of preparing students to accomplish their academic goals. In addition to mentorship, Tauhid has always been interested in the social and economic determinants of health. He completed a Masters in Public Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health between his second and third years of medical school. Graduating from the Health Policy and Management department, Tauhid utilizes his understanding of systems and how it impacts health to better care for his patients and his community. Currently, Tauhid is interested in how public policy, wealth, and corporatization of our healthcare systems impacts health outcomes.
Supriya Misra

Supriya Misra, ScD

Communications Committee Co-Chair (2020-Current)
Dr. Supriya Misra is an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the New York University School of Global Public Health. Her research focuses on improving population mental health and reducing health inequities for individuals with socially marginalized identities (e.g., by ethnicity, gender) and for socially stigmatized illnesses (e.g., HIV, psychosis). In particular, she uses mixed methods to investigate the roles of discrimination, stigma, and trauma on the onset and experience of these illnesses in both global and domestic settings, including among Asian Americans. Previously, she worked for several years in nonprofit management developing and implementing evidence-based health education and health technology tools to promote behavior change and co-authoring three textbooks on best practices in behavioral health. For over a decade, she has volunteered with community organizations serving South Asians in the United States. She earned her Sc.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and her MA and BA in Psychology from Stanford University.

Anita Balan, MPH

Chai and Chat Chair (2020-Current)
Anita Balan is a program manager at the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM). She manages a couple of grants funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to strengthen public health systems and national partnerships to protect and improve the nation’s health. She oversees the development of a curriculum to help physicians integrate population health principles within various work settings. In partnership with national organizations such as the American Medical Association and the Black Women’s Health Imperative, she manages a grant to build the capacity of healthcare systems to improve their screening, testing, referral strategies of high-risk patient population with prediabetes to CDC-recognized National Diabetes Prevention Programs. She has developed workshops, webinars, and other educational opportunities for physicians on health systems transformation, CDC’s 6|18 initiative, and the National Violent Death Reporting System. She provides staff support for the College’s Graduate Medical Education Committee comprised of program directors who manage the Preventive Medicine residency programs across the nation.

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Ms. Balan is passionate about chronic disease prevention, health education and promotion, public health advocacy, and eliminating health disparities. She earned her MPH from Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University and BA in Political Science from Rutgers University. She is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES). In her spare time, Anita enjoys theater, long walks, doing word puzzles, and practicing south Indian classical music and dance.