Health care industry reaches out to South Asian community

Lamp lighting at the meet.

EDISON, NJ – The Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce (AICC) joined hands with New Jersey based pharmaceutical companies, health care providers, food suppliers and media organizations to spread the message on health and wellness at a day-long conference and exhibition event on June 2, in Edison, at the NJ Convention & Exposition Center.

This was a first of its kind event organized by AICC and was attended by over 1000 people.

The event was inaugurated with lamp lighting by dignitaries, including Edison Mayor Tom Lankey, Poonam Alaigh, former Commissioner of Health and Senior Services for the State of New Jersey, Councilman Vijay Patil, TV Asia Chairman HR Shah, Past AICC President and Rate Payer Advocate of NJ Seema Singh  and representatives of sponsoring organizations, such as Johnson & Johnson, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, NJ AARP, United Healthcare, Atlantic Medical Group, Parikh Worldwide Media and a host of local businesses.

In her inauguration speech, Alaigh made a startling disclosure about the health of new immigrants from South Asian countries. She said that seven out of 10 South Asians were affected by chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and other preventive illnesses.

“New arrivals from the South Asian region remain fairly healthy for the first ten years after they arrive in the United States, after which they fall victims to chronic diseases”, she pointed out. Alaigh praised the efforts of AICC to outreach to the Asian American communities and help them dedicate more time for prevention of diseases.

Thomas Coughlin, President and Chief Executive Officer BCB – Indus American Bank, honoring Manisha Roy, Presenting Sponsor Johnson & Johnson

Priti Pandya-Patel, president of Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce, welcomed guests and spoke about improving comprehensive health and well-being of people of South Asian origin.

According to Rajeev Krishna, co-chair of the outreach event, AICC was successfully building bridges between large companies, such as, Johnson & Johnson and local suppliers.

“It is necessary for the younger generation of entrepreneurs of our community to connect with the leadership of large companies. It is not about doing businesses, it is about supporting each other,” he said.

The first keynote speech, “Health for Humanity’, was presented by Pavan Heda, Global Head Strategy & Portfolio, J&J Medical Devices R&D.

Julian Hooks J&J Chief Procurement Officer, Corporate Tier, stressed J&J’s commitment to great citizenship through supplier diversity and supplier sustainability.

Thomas Coughlin, President and Chief Executive Officer BCB – Indus American Bank, honoring Sejal Dave Sharma, Robert Wood Johnson, Somerset – Event Sponsor

Arun Kumar, head of SAPNA J&J was very enthusiastic about connecting with the local Asian American community. J&J booths showcased products and services from their Consumer Products, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Ethicon Surgical Systems & Instruments and HPI (Health and Wellness Coaching) divisions. They also showcased their supplier diversity initiatives and Sahaja Meditation techniques.

The second keynote speech was given by Dhiren S. Dave, Division Chief of Urology and Director of Robotic Surgery, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset. The topic was very relevant to the community and was titled, ‘The Culture of Health. The importance of Prevention and Culturally Appropriate Care’.

RWJ-Somerset also showcased services from their Community Health, Radiology, Palliative Care, Maternal Health, Steeplechase Cancer Center, Nutrition and Performance Fitness groups. They were performing, free, on site BP and Glucose screening, with results being given immediately.

Tina Sabharwal Director of Urgent and Specialty Care of Atlantic Health System (AHS) made a presentation on “Why Go to Urgent Care vs. Emergency Care”.

J&J, promoters of Neutrogena and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery encouraged people to choose healthy sun safe behaviors, such as using sun screen daily, preventing skin cancer through cancer screenings and practicing self-exams.

Booths showcasing products and services.

St Peter’s University Hospital had a “Teddy Bear Clinic” for kids. Attending kids were shown and allowed to check on dolls with stethoscopes and given free teddy bears.

Goya foods workshop on diabetes showcased healthy cooking by Meriterese Racanelli, M.S., R&D Food Scientist and Nutritionist. They offered samples of heart healthy drinks and diet.

“Too much cholesterol contributes to a higher risk of cardio vascular diseases” she said. Their booth was very informative and provided a list of Goya foods with lower sodium, sugar or saturated fat.

Dr. Ashok Patel of Atlantic Health System conducted a workshop titled, Cardiac Arrthythmias – Nothing Beats a Healthy Heart.

UnitedHealth Care’s workshop on navigating Health Insurance, was given by Mummeet Pental Singh, Manager-South Asian Initiative.

FBI representatives spoke about Consumer Awareness and informed the audience about ‘Child ID’, a new free tool which could provide help finding a lost child.

Board members of Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce, with Priti Pandya-Patel, president of Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce (4th from left).

Cristina Anastasio from AARP presented a workshop on Prepare to Care – Elder Care Training.

At the Lions Club booth, there was vision screening, while those at the Whitlin Group booth did glaucoma testing.

Dr. Nuti Agarwal from India presented a workshop on “Homeopathy: A New Perspective in the Approach to treatment of Diseases”.

The event ended with an exclusive VIP reception sponsored by BCB Indus American Bank, featuring live music by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Food was catered by Moghul Caterers. Plaques were given out at the reception recognizing the various sponsors’ contribution to the event’s success. Certificates were given to approximately 30 youth volunteers, who were a phenomenal help at this event and possibly the future leadership of the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Founded in 1994 with the motto “None of Us is As Strong as All of Us,” the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce has evolved to meet the need for entrepreneurial leadership in the Asian Indian business community. It organizes and supports business expos, nonprofit cultural events, business and educational symposiums and humanitarian causes.  Based in New Jersey, the Chamber has memberships all over the country and has sent delegations to India.

Volunteers and guests at the meet.


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