SKN Foundation gala to discuss South Asians’ heart health

Headlined by three top celebrities from India, Sep 16 gala to take up disease that affects South Asians most

By Venkatesh Raghavendra and Payton Souders

The Sri Krishna Nidhi (SKN) Foundation will host its 2022 Hope Fundraising Gala in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on Sep 16 with a unique conference on heart health of the South Asian population.

The event will be headlined by three prominent celebrity guests from India: composer Salim Merchant, television presenter and reality TV host Mini Mathur, and filmmaker Kabir Khan.

Read: House panel advances South Asian heart health bill (May 12, 2022)

Merchant, of the Salim and Sulaiman Merchant brother duo, is among India’s most respected composers, having scored more than 100 films.

Mathur has hosted four seasons of the hugely popular Indian Idol. Khan is an award-winning director, screenwriter and cinematographer, who works across fiction and documentary.

All proceeds from the gala, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, will go towards the foundation’s Special Needs Community Outreach Program (SCOPE) and the SKN South Asian Diabetes Center at Saint Peter’s University Hospital.

“Diabetes is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease in south Asians,” said Dr. Naveen Mehtrotra, who has been the driving force of the foundation. “One in five South Asians are afflicted with diabetes and half may remain undiagnosed. SKN has been a leader in helping our community understand and manage these risk factors.”

It takes a collective effort to raise awareness, create access for care and then make an impact. This is where the role of established leaders in the community comes to the fore.

Read: South Asians are at four times greater risk of heart disease (December 24, 2021)

“SKN is working for our community at the grassroots level. As this is our home now, it is critical for us to support the groundbreaking work that is being done by SKN,”said Sunil Bagaria, President of GDB International Inc. and Co Gala Chair.

“I am so proud of our community for coming to together to support one another on health. This event is one chapter in SKN Foundation’s long journey towards a healthier, happier community,” adds Sonalika Ahuja, President of Beyond Media, Inc. and a board member of the foundation who has woven all aspects of the event together.

The gala is positioned as part of a larger “heart conference.” The international research conference with the theme, “Advancing South Asian Cardiovascular Health,” will feature renowned experts, and provide a platform to researchers, providers, patients, caretakers and community stakeholders to share their perspectives and collaborate.

Read: ‘South Asians at four-times greater risk of heart disease’ (September 11, 2021)

It is driven by the fact that South Asians are among the fastest growing racial/ethnic groups in the US and bear a highly disproportionate burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

South Asians have the highest CVD rates among all racial/ethnic groups in the US, with a significantly higher prevalence of coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Given the reach of SKN Foundation and its philanthropic as well as service mindedness, both the awareness and lessons from the conference is bound to reverberate across the North-East region and the rest of the United States.

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