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2 Indian American women named ‘Champions of Change’ by the White House

Manjusha P. Kulkarni, Ranjana Patel among 11 recognized.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: Two Indian American women have been named as Champions of Change within the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community for their efforts to promote President Barack Obama’s controversial Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) legislation.

Manjusha P. Kulkari (courtesy of White House)

Manjusha P. Kulkarni and Ranjana Patel were named among the 11 healthcare-related professionals announced by the White House. The purpose of the program is honor and recognize ordinary individuals who work to promote widespread change and reform in their own respective areas of the country.

Kulkarni is the Director of the South Asian Network (SAN), which is a community-based organization in Southern California that is “dedicated to advancing the health, empowerment and solidarity of persons of South Asian origin,” according to the White House. She has been vocal in her support of Obamacare, urging South Asians in her community to register for the federal program.

Before her time with SAN, she worked as a Senior Attorney for the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) in Los Angeles, where she “worked to improve access to quality health care for low-income individuals through administrative and legislative policy advocacy and litigation.” Kulkarni has also been vocal in getting people to sign up for Covered California, the state’s official health benefits exchange program.

Ranjana Patel (courtesy of White House)
Ranjana Patel (courtesy of White House)

Patel is the Program Manager of the Asian Health Coalition’s partnership consortium, which works towards education, outreach, and enrollment for underserved AAPI communities across the state of Illinois. She has been responsible for spreading the word about critical healthcare policies to the state’s South Asian community, working with political and cultural leaders to get people covered.

Before her time with the Asian Health Coalition, Patel was with the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Oak Park Department of Public Health, and the University of Chicago. She has worked extensively with outreach regarding HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, the latter two of which are particularly common within the South Asian community.

The other nine men and women named as Champions of Change for the AAPI community are: Teresita Batayola, Sophie Duong, Howard J. Eng, Minja Hong, Priscilla Huang, Amy Jones, Cathy Phan, Bruce Thao, and Cathy Vue.