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Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about SAPHA below

Q: When was SAPHA formed?

SAPHA was established in 1999 to provide a forum for South Asian public health professionals and those interested in South Asian health issues to share information regarding the health status and concerns of the South Asian community in the U.S.

SAPHA connects people, ideas, and resources to bring about positive change. We support creating a space for innovative change to happen in the South Asian community.

Q: What is SAPHA’s vision?

SAPHA’s vision is to promote, improve and raise awareness of the issues that impact the health and well-being of South Asians and the communities in which they live. SAPHA offers linkages and interactions to encourage public health professionals to share and promote awareness and understanding of South Asian-related health issues, including the advancement of relevant research.

SAPHA addresses public health issues specifically impacting South Asians and their communities in the United States through its goals and objectives, including:

  • Providing a forum for mentorship, dialogue and resource-sharing among public health professionals working with South Asians and their communities;
  • Raising awareness of health risks and encouraging healthy behaviors among South Asians;
  • Increasing awareness of the value of culturally-appropriate services for South Asians in the United States;
  • Advancing leadership, networking and professional development of South Asian public health professionals; and
  • Encouraging and supporting research and academic communities interested in South Asian health issues.

Q: How is SAPHA working toward its mission?

SAPHA’s strategy in accomplishing its mission is to:

  • Share knowledge and resources across national communities;
  • Promote research and translate findings into meaningful public health programs;
  • Inform local and national health policy;
  • Link people with shared interests toward SAPHA’s mission;
  • Participate in and build coalitions with other organizations;
  • Mobilize funding opportunities; and
Compile and disseminate public health resources, particularly those pertaining to South Asians.

Q: What projects is SAPHA involved in?

SAPHA is currently working to strengthen its organizational structure by expanding membership; building its social media campaign, improving the website; increasing fundraising; and forming and strengthening the capacity of its local partnerships and chapters.

SAPHA has also created a series of fact sheets pertaining to health issues prevalent in South Asian communities–e.g. obesity, heart disease, diabetes and others.

SAPHA plans to publish a follow up to its groundbreaking Brown Paper report in Fall 2015, titled: Health of South Asians in the United States: An Evidence-Based Guide for Policy and Program Development. This publication will synthesize the most current evidence on cutting edge health issues for South Asian Americans.

Each year, SAPHA also plans and convenes its Annual Meeting at the American Public Health Association (APHA), bringing together new and old members to foster networking and collaboration.

Q: Who is considered South Asian?

A general definition of “South Asian” is immigrants and descendants from the following countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indo-Caribbean*, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

* Indo-Caribbean is a generalized term used to describe people who are and/or are the descendants of immigrants from South Asia.

Q: Why become a member of SAPHA, and how much does it cost?

SAPHA members are interested in increasing the visibility and awareness of South Asian public health issues through community engagement, education, research, advocacy and policy development. We encourage all individuals interested in advancing the South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) mission to join as a member. We offer two membership levels: Professional and Student. Annual membership dues for Professional members are $50 and $30 for Student members.

SAPHA is a non-profit organization that is run by a committed group of diverse professionals who have been elected to its Board of Directors and have volunteered their time and expertise to SAPHA. Funds collected by SAPHA will be used to further the vision and mission of SAPHA. Membership Benefits include the opportunity to participate in SAPHA elections, committees, run for the Board, receive access to a membership database, and more.

Q: Do I have to be South Asian to become a SAPHA member?

No! We welcome individuals of all backgrounds who are passionate about promoting the health and well-being of the South Asian community.

Q: How do I get more involved with SAPHA?

Beyond membership, there are several additional ways to get involved with SAPHA:

  • Become active in a local chapter or start one in your city or school. Contact us if you are interested in this opportunity.
  • Volunteer on a SAPHA committee: There are several volunteer opportunities available, including writing for the SAPHA Blog, supporting national communications for the SAPHA network, and much more. We are always eager to engage with volunteer and those passionate about the heath of South Asian communities in the U.S. Please contact us to voice your interest in volunteering and we will connect you with the appropriate committee.

Q: What is ‘A Brown Paper’ and how do I get a copy?

The creation and publishing of “A Brown Paper: The Health of South Asians in the United States” was the impetus for the formation of SAPHA.

This report, published by SAPHA in 2002, is a comprehensive set of leading health indicators for the South Asian community in the United States, detailing demographic information and health information ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes to care of the elderly and to intimate partner violence.

The SAPHA book, Health of South Asians in the United States: An Evidence-Based Guide for Policy and Program Development is a follow up to the Brown Paper of 2002 and will be available for purchase in Fall 2015. SAPHA members who have paid membership dues in 2015 will receive a discounted copy of the book.

Q: Who is represented on the SAPHA Board of Directors?

SAPHA is a non-partisan group of concerned individuals who are leaders in their respective South Asian communities volunteering their time and resources to work on behalf of South Asians and their communities. Click here to see our current Board of Directors.

Q: Are donations to SAPHA tax-exempt?

Yes. SAPHA is a national, non-profit organization that is 501(c)3 public charitable organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Services.

*Please note, SAPHA Membership dues are not tax-exempt.