Advocacy & Outreach Committee
It is my goal to build South Asian Americans for Change into a platform where mental health guidance and resources are accessible and widely used. My passion for helping others was borne from my own mental health journey. Through my multiple pillars of support from my friends, courage instilled in me by my wife and son, and the faith of my family members, I learned the importance of self-care. I also learned what is truly needed in the South Asian community to manage the issues and hardships we face: easy access to help and the de-stigmatization of seeking it.
Creative Design and Event-Management Chair
Advocacy & Outreach Committee
Understanding of our South Asian American culture from personal experience, I've always accepted the expectations given to us. Show no weakness and make the right choices that represent my family. Now as a parent myself, I want my children to grow up without any stigma or concerns our culture has always implemented. I want them to feel, believe, and accept anything that comes their way and know they will always be supported by their community. I want their tomorrow to be better than my yesterday.
As an immigrant and member of the South Asian American community, I have personally felt and seen the effects of prejudices within the community and the difficulty in finding the right kind of support. Having seen these issues lead to the loss of the life of a close friend, I have been passionate about giving to mental health charities. Joining SAAFC has provided me with the opportunity to effect an even greater change. I plan to use my background in finance and project management to help the organization grow and maximize its impact within the community.
I have realized the impact of mental health and its effects on one's quality of life through my own experiences. After some reflection with family and friends, I came to understand that a knowledge gap exists when it comes to mental health within the South Asian Community, which is exacerbated by the stigma surrounding the topic. Working for SAAFC is one way I can help educate, raise awareness and provide support to our community to bridge this gap and improve quality of life
Head of Advocacy & Outreach Committee
Many of my loved ones have suffered the debilitating effects of untreated mental health conditions. Much of the pain these conditions cause could be avoided entirely if the South Asian community came together and rejected limiting beliefs. After having many conversations about these issues with one of my dearest and decades-long friends, Keerthi Channarasappa, and my loving husband, Sumit Shukla, the three of us decided to use our differentiated skills, passion, and networks to try and solve this issue, once and for all, so the South Asian community can come together, (finally!) heal and ultimately unleash the boundless impact we can have on the world.
Being adopted, growing up balancing two cultures, along with the societal pressures to be the “perfect” Indian female has led me to struggle with my own mental health. I continue to persevere through my own self-healing journey and want to be a voice for others going through their own journey. As a licensed social worker and mother of two young children, I hope to normalize that being open to discussing mental health, and seeking resources does not make them weak but instead enables them to be their best selves.
Co-Founder & Co-President
As both an immigrant and a physician, I see the impact of mental health struggles on everyone, especially in the South Asian community where social stigma often limits people from seeking or accessing care, leading to preventable tragic outcomes. I am grateful that from a young age, I have been able to process my own struggles and express myself through writing poetry. Through multiple conversations with one of my most cherished friends, Rupal, and her husband, Sumit, we discovered we have a unique opportunity to make a difference through the creation of SAAFC, and the art-centered Gala. I am incredibly excited to be able to combine my passion for art with my interest in helping transform the mindset of the South Asian community.
Education and Impact Committee
I am involved in SAAFC in order to bring about positive change for our South Asian American Community that has supported me throughout the years and through many mental health-related challenges. As an occupational therapist, I often see others struggling with mental health challenges and try to help my patients through these struggles. I am looking forward to working with SAAFC to destigmatize mental health in our community and improve access to care and resources for those who need it.
Head of Education & Impact Committee
I am a psychiatrist in the Philadelphia area and have spent my career managing a spectrum of mental and behavioral disorders. Despite this, my own mental and physical well-being often took a back seat, in part due to a lack of awareness and stigma in the South Asian community. By having more open dialogues about mental illness, I have been better able to prioritize my own health and wellness over the years. I am proud to help lead this effort for others through SAAFC.
Head of Operations Committee
Ignore and override is a common theme in the South Asian community and resultantly many are living the lives we think we should rather than the lives we want. My job is to inherently understand processes and how people and technology can optimize global supply chains. What I've learned is that people are the center and if the people feel supported and empowered, the process will be more agile, adaptable, and aligned. Over coffee chats, gym classes and strolls with some of my closest college roommates, we discussed these same themes, and through those conversations and the desire to take some action, the idea of South Asian Americans for Change developed. I look forward to utilizing my professional skills and experiences while working with my close friends on a cause I care deeply about.