SAPHA, Along With 50+ Organizations, Releases Joint Statement Outlining Public Health Gaps in COVID-19 Response

Posted on May 11th , 2020

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The South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) would like to thank the 50+ organizations that signed onto our joint statement on the impact of the pandemic response on our Asian American and South Asian American communities. It has been powerful to have Asian American and South Asian American organizations across the nation come together to share this important message. We hope this statement continues to elevate the public health needs of our communities during this challenging time.

The signed version of the statement can be found here. We encourage you to share this letter with your networks, post it on your social media, and use it as a tool for your advocacy efforts.

SAPHA is a public health organization focused on promoting the health and well-being of South Asians in the US through advocacy, education, and research. If your organization would like to collaborate with us, please email us at We are heartened by these partnerships and look forward to working together in the future.

Collecting Signatures! Joint Statement Outlining Public Health Gaps in COVID-19 Response

Posted on April 29th , 2020

COVID19 Joint Statement FINAL

Dear colleagues,

Last week, SAPHA released a statement to highlight public health gaps in the federal response to the pandemic that have particularly impacted Asian American and South Asian American communities.

Following feedback from the community, we are sharing a sign-on statement for organizations to express solidarity against the inadequate public health response concerning the health and well-being of our Asian American and South Asian American communities. Please feel free to circulate across your networks.

To add your organization’s name as a signatory to the joint statement, click here by 5:00 pm EDT on Sunday, May 3rd, 2020.

If you have any questions, feedback, or concerns, please reach out to us at

We thank you in advance for your partnership!

In good health,
Yousra Yusuf, MPH
SAPHA President

SAPHA’s Statement on the US Government’s Response to COVID-19

Posted on April 21st, 2020The world has been confronting a global pandemic that is putting our public health infrastructure to the test. In the US, there have been over 823,250 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, April 21st, 2020. Coronavirus disease has particularly affected cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Seattle, among others. The South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) is releasing this statement to highlight public health gaps in the US government’s response that have particularly affected Asian American and South Asian American communities.

New York City, which is home to the largest concentration of South Asians in the US, has recorded the greatest number of cases in the country. Neighborhoods with low median incomes have been particularly hard hit. Among them, neighborhoods such as the South Bronx and Queens are home to many South Asian Americans. These areas house many immigrant families living in close quarters with individuals employed in the service industry without telecommuting options. Many of these individuals are subject to employment instability and lack adequate health insurance or access to health care. Undocumented immigrants from our communities face especially harsh economic and healthcare challenges. Healthcare facilities in these neighborhoods are struggling with assisting a huge influx of COVID-19 patients while grappling with shortages of medical equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to safely provide care and ensure staff safety. Countless healthcare workers, including many from our own communities, are tirelessly providing care even at risk to their health.

Across the US, in addition to responding to the disease, Asian American communities are facing the challenge of racist attacks on individuals and businesses. Bigoted language from elected officials has intensified stereotypes and created an atmosphere of fear in the community. There has been no federal response even though over 450 civil rights, social justice, and labor organizations have signed a letter calling on Congress to denounce anti-Asian racism related to COVID-19.

In these unprecedented times, we need to employ novel strategies to ensure the health and well-being of all our communities. As we look past the first spike of this disease and the reported flattening of the curve across many areas in the country in the past few days, opening the economy without adequate plans in place would be detrimental to the health and economy of our communities.

SAPHA stands in solidarity with Asian American and South Asian American communities across the US to demand better investment and care. We express deep sadness at the lives and livelihoods lost as a result of this pandemic. We also convey worry for community members on the frontlines— from grocery stores to healthcare facilities— who are facing avoidable risks to their health.

SAPHA joins the wider public health community, demanding increased testing capacity and resources to meet the PPE shortages in healthcare facilities to respond to the current pandemic. SAPHA also strongly advocates for collecting and reporting disaggregated data by age, race, sex, and socio-economic levels of those who are tested, hospitalized, or lose their lives to COVID-19 to develop appropriate public health and economic resources and policies to better serve our communities.

SAPHA calls on all levels of the federal, state, and local governments to respond to the pandemic with appropriate public health measures that are in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and international recommendations. While this pandemic is a stark reminder of the ongoing inequalities in health in the US, we believe a robust and coordinated response that utilizes existing public health knowledge, resources, and skills has the potential for meaningful and lasting change.


The South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) promotes the health and well-being of South Asian communities by advancing the field of South Asian public health through interactions among health professionals and shared resources, focusing on research, education, communication, and advocacy.

SAPHA’s Statement on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Posted on March 22nd, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

The world is responding to an outbreak of the novel Coronavirus and the disease it causes named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (COVID-19). Towards the end of January 2020, the US Health and Human Services Secretary declared this outbreak a public health emergency in the US. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic.

In this statement, SAPHA is providing various sources to stay up-to-date on this rapidly evolving disease. For the latest information on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Additional resources: 

Steps to curb the spread of this virus:  

  • Practice social distancing — if you have to go out, avoid close contact with people 
  • Clean your hands often—wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds 
  • If you are sick, track your symptoms, seek medical care early and stay at home 
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow 
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces 

We urge folks to denounce misinformation and decry misconceptions based on racial prejudice, particularly, faced by Asian American communities. In this time of uncertainty, we stand in solidarity with Asian American communities to condemn any bigoted attacks.

To tackle this crisis, SAPHA supports the passing of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Bill in Congress. We support funding to address COVID-19 and urge the government to respond in a timely manner.

As we monitor this evolving global pandemic, please continue to interact with us through FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter, or send us an email at

In good health,
Yousra Yusuf, MPH
South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA)