Photos by Rasik Mehta
The first-ever Indian and South Asian Health Expo, organized by the Indian Medical Association of New England and INDIA New England news, as well as 15 community and professional organizations, drew rave reviews from the approximately 700 attendees. Many well-known doctors in attendance also had high praise for the event, which was held all day on April 27 at the Marriott Hotel in Newton, Mass.
The event, which was free for the attendees, brought the area’s major hospitals and health-care providers together with the Indian and South Asian community in New England to educate them about common diseases and their prevention. The Health Expo is the first major collaborations with community groups on such a large scale, according to organizers.
“History was truly made for IMANE at the super successful first mega community Health Expo. Mahatma Gandhi also said it so beautifully, it is indeed true that a ‘small body of determined spirits fired by unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history,'” said Dr. Manju Sheth, president of IMANE. “It was only possible because of the hard work of my IMANE ‘dream team,’ the unconditional faith of INDIA New England News and Upendra Mishra, the fabulous speakers, the numerous volunteers, the exhibitors, the supporting organizations, the goodwill of friends and, above all, due to the entire South Asian community, who came in large numbers to learn about their health and spend their day with us.
“I want to thank each and every one of you who were part of this journey for last four months,” she added. “Community service is a very important mission for me as IMANE president and this expo was a very special step in fulfillment of this dream.”
Founded in 1978, the Indian Medical Association of New England is an organization for medical professionals of Indian origin in the New England area. Based in Waltham, Mass., IMANE organizes and supports numerous professional and social activities for the benefit of its members and the communities they serve.
A former IMANE president, Dr. Dinesh Patel gave some very positive feedback on the Health Expo. He said that the event was well organized from the Web page to registration to the exhibition to the speakers.
“When the objective is to serve the community in health care arena the likelihood of constructive collaboration with organization and leadership is possible,” Patel said. “IMANE President Dr. Manju Sheth and her hard working dream team and INDIA New England leadership Upendra Mishra and their team proved the point.
“The community from all over responded in tons and appreciated the Health Expo,” he added. “The fact that the room was full from beginning to end says it for itself.”
Dr. Salil Midha said that the speakers were very well received and, if anything, the biggest problem was that the room was so full it was standing room only. “I liked the opportunity for the audience to ask questions and answers and that approach is very helpful to community,” he said. “Several of the people who attended the lectures came to me personally to ask for help and participate in future sessions.”
“I am very pleased to be part of Health Expo. I thought IMANE and INDIA New England did splendid job in organizing the event. Registration was easy and the place appeared to be well managed,” Midha added. “I had the opportunity to visit several vendors and booths and most of them were very cordial and helpful to most questions. I am thankful to all the organizers for a job well done and hope we can make this an annual event.”
“It is extremely useful to have community educational events like this, more than ever before, since the public is often confused by some of the media reports and internet misinformation over common health issues,” said Dr. Om Ganda, who was a speaker at the Health Expo. “I was impressed by the attendance at this, first of its kind, meeting, and it was gratifying to see people’s interest in my talk on diabetes, a real current threat to our society. I must say that people who stood outside in the halls missed something they could have used. The comments from those who attended were extremely positive, and it was clear they want to learn more on regular basis.”
“We have received wonderful feedback from attendees, exhibitors and everyone who was involved in putting together this great event. Throughout the day, we had about 700 people pass through the exhibition hall and talks,” said Upendra Mishra, publisher of INDIA New England. “The Health Expo is now going to be an annual event in Boston. Dr. Manju Sheth and INDIA New England team have already started to work on the 2014 Health Expo and on a series of health-related workshops and seminars.”
The speaker lineup included: “Indian Diet: Friend or Foe?” — Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, CDE; “Heart Disease: Prevention and Management: an Indian Perspective” — Dr. Salil Midha; “Yoga Therapy for Your Health” — Jay Gupta; “Success Unprecedented: Unleash the Power of Mind to Realize Your Full Potential” — Dr. Sanjiv Chopra; “Osteoporosis: the Silent Disease” — Dr. Onaly Kapasi; “Key Issues in Woman’s Health and Wellbeing” — Dr. Pankaj Shah; “Diabetes in Indians: What We Need to Know to Protect Us and Our Children” —Dr. Om Ganda; “Primary Prevention with Ayurveda” — Pratibha Shah; and “Anti-Aging Therapy: Rejuvenation for the Face: Something Old and Something New” — Dr. Sonal Pandya. The talks were moderated by Dr. Suresh Reddy and Dr. Sapna Aggarawal.
The Health Expo was sponsored by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and supported by the following organizations: American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, Association of Pakistani Physicians of New England, Ekal Vidyalay, Gujrati Association of New England, the India Association of Greater Boston, the India Association of New Hampshire, the India Society of Worcester, the Indian American Forum for Political Education, Indian Americans of Lexington, Learnquest Academy, New England Hindi Manch, NetSap Boston, Saheli Boston, the United India Association and Vision Aid.
Exhibitors included: A+ Home Medical Supply Co., Ameriprise Financial Services Inc./Jai M. Dev, Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, Dwarikamai Health & Wellness Center, Elder, Service Plan Of The North Shore, EyeNetra, Gourmet India, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Holistic Health & Beauty Care, Indian Circle for Caring USA Inc., Indian Medical Association of New England, INDIA New England News, Lahey Center for Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, Lebro Center for Well Being, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, New York Life/Ritu Agarwal, New England Healthcare Billing, One World Cuisine, Rang Manch Events, Savsani, The School of Royal Yoga Inc., The Etiquette Academy of New England, United India Association-Bone Marrow Drive and YogaCaps Inc.