The Grand Release of SAHNA Survey Results at India House


Back row, from left: Sarvesh Bhavaraju, Dr. Hardeep Singh, Lakshmi Naik, Dr.
Deborah Banerjee, Dr. Lewis Foxhall, Dr. Sanjay Sethi, Dr. Mala Pande, Dr.Lovell
Jones, Dr. V. K. Dorai, Dr. Sunil Krishnan,
Front row, from left:Alpa Shah, Meena Agrawal, Dr. Sewa Legha, Dr. Anu Rao,
Kanchan Kabad, Dr. Beverly Gor, Gayathri Rao, Beth Allen, Arlene Mathews and
Gayathri Kongovi.
Photos: Bijay Dixit

By Vanshika Vipin

HOUSTON: The Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN) in collaboration with the MD Anderson Cancer came together to announce the completion of the project: SAHNA- South Asian Health Needs Assessment. Indian American Cancer network is a cancer resource network to educate and support the Indian American community. On February 22, an event was organized at India House, to announce the completion of the successful health survey “The Release of South Asian Health Needs Assessment (SAHNA) Survey Results to the Community”.

It was a proud moment for everyone who was involved in the project and Kanchan Kabad, president of IACAN mentioned that a study of this magnitude on health-needs of Indian Americans has not been done anywhere in the US. She spoke in length about the multi phased, multi year project and involvement of people across segments to make this possible. Infact the total number of volunteer hours expended were over 1000 hours across who participated in all phases – survey development, pilot testing and recruitment.  She mentioned how results from the SAHNA study will be useful in developing culturally appropriate educational and intervention programs to reduce cancer and chronic disease risk in the community. It will guide researchers and open up the avenues in designing studies that are relevant to Asian Indians. The data can also be used to apply for funding to support programs to address the health issues in the community. The data can be used to make health policies to help Indians.


From left: Gayathri Rao, Lakshmi Naik, Alpa Shah, Dr. Sewa Legha, Sarvesh Bhavaraju,
Kanchan Kabad, Hon Consul General P. Harish, Dr, V. K. Dorai, Dr. Sanjay Sethi, Dr.
Snehal Desai, Dr. Anu Rao, Meena Agrawal and Gayathri Kongovi

The first speaker for the evening, Dr. Lewis E. Foxhall, MD, Vice President for Health Policy and Professor, Clinical Cancer Prevention at The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center spoke about this initiative thereafter. Furthermore, Dr. Umair A. Shah, MD, PhD, Executive Director at Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPHES) spoke about Health Matters in context to a ‘Local Public Health Perspective’.

The ‘SAHNA Report” was released by Consul General of India, Parvathaneni Harish with the deserved accolades that followed.  Dr. Deborah Banerjee, MS. PhD, Bureau Chief, Director’s Office at Department of Health and Human Services, City of Houston was invited to share her thoughts too. A brief presentation on the results was made by Dr. Beverly Gor, EdD, RD, LD, Staff Analyst, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research for Effectiveness at Department of Health and Human Services, City of Houston.

 Key findings of the study were:
91% considered their health as excellent, very good or good
88% had some form of health insurance
41% of males and 29% of females were vegetarians, although almost 50% of the participants were overweight or obese
14% reported having diabetes
30% reported that they or a family member had had cancer and of those affected the most frequently reported types of cancer were Breast, Leukemia or Blood, Prostate and Colorectal.
Participants appeared to lack knowledge of cancer and source for cancer information

The learning’s of the survey was presented by Dr. Hardeep Singh MD. M.P.H, Chief of Health Policy, Baylor College of Medicine, Director of Houston VA Patient Safety Center of Inquiry under the topic: “Moving Research into Action: What I Learned from the SAHNA Survey”.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Lakshmi Naik, one of the founder members of IACAN who excels in patient counseling and navigation. The event ended with a Q&A session followed by refreshments of healthy food choices.

For further information about IACAN email at, or visit or call  713-370-3489