Meet the SAMSA Team!

SAMSA was co-founded in the summer of 2020 by a team of five medical students who saw the need for a unified national platform in the US to support South Asian medical students. With a passion for cultural competence in healthcare and for community building, SAMSA leaders envision a connected network of future physician leaders.

Akanksha Srivastava

Co-Founder & Co-President

Welcome! I’m Akanksha, an M3 at Boston University School of Medicine. I grew up in a quaint New England town and moved to Boston for my Bachelors degree in Psychology and Biology with a focus in cell/molecular/genetics at BU. I took some time off before medical school to explore psychiatry research. My current interests lie at the intersection of women’s health and culturally competent care. During my free time, I enjoy cooking, running, and reading. I’m looking forward to working with SAMSA to achieve our mission!

Email: asri18@bu.edu

Twitter: @akankshasri18

ANEESHA Pydi

Co-Founder & Co-President

Hi there! I’m Aneesha, a current M3 at Boston University School of Medicine. I was born and raised just outside of Los Angeles and then moved across the country to complete my Bachelors in Medical Sciences and Psychology at Boston University. I am interested in surgery and women’s health, and am passionate about delivering culturally competent care. In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, traveling, going to concerts, and spending time with family and friends. I’m very excited for SAMSA to create a network of future physician-leaders!

Email: aneeshap@bu.edu

Twitter: @AneeshaPydi1

Pooja Polamarasetti

Co-Executive Director

Hi! My name is Pooja and I’m an M2 at Wayne State University. I’ve lived in Michigan for most of my life and recently graduated from the University of Michigan in 2020, studying Biomolecular Science and Gender and Health. During medical school in Detroit, I have worked at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic and I am also involved in my Student Senate and local chapter of American Medical Women’s Association. I’m passionate about learning and teaching about advocacy in medicine and am especially interested in the ways nutrition, socioeconomic status, and environment affect health. I hope to inspire our growing network of South Asian students and physicians to lead careers immersed in awareness, compassion, and effective care for the whole patient. When I’m not reading, I love to dance and sing (not professionally) and explore new types of foods and cultures!

ANURAG MODAK

Co-Executive Director

নমস্কার! My name is Anurag Modak and I am a second-year medical student at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. I was born in Kolkata, West Bengal, India and lived briefly in Ghent, Belgium before moving to the United States. I spent my formative years in central Jersey. I graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University Honors College in 2020 with a B.A. in Cell Biology and Neuroscience. My passion for addressing the challenges faced by South Asian communities encompasses the realms of both research and entrepreneurship. My diverse research interests include protein engineering, neurosurgery, and South Asian health and my work has been published internationally in peer-reviewed journals including the Biochemical Journal, Journal of Clinical Hypertension, Indian Heart Journal, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, and World Neurosurgery. In addition, I developed a technology to sanitize water with sunlight and co-founded Sulis Water International, Inc., a social innovation venture addressing the global clean water scarcity, starting with India. In my free time I enjoy traveling, learning about the histories and cultures of other nations, reading, and watching sci-fi shows and movies. I am excited to help SAMSA grow and draw more attention to South Asian health and the work of South Asians in medicine!

Mariam Chaudry

Newsletter Chair

Hi there! My name is Mariam Chaudhry and I graduated from Rider University with a bachelor’s degree in biology. I was raised by the shores of Newark Bay in a small city named Bayonne. Surrounded by a blend of various cultures and identities, I grew to appreciate the unique differences in people. I am always eager to engage in a riveting conversation about the customs and ideas of different cultures over a brewing cup of chai. As a member of SAMSA’s social media team, I hope to contribute my part in spreading awareness about South Asian health disparities in America. In addition, I am excited to learn from a community that fosters young South Asian physicians to promote cultural competence in the healthcare field.

Nikita Gourishetty

Editorials Chair

Hello! My name is Nikita Gourishetty, and I am a second year medical student at A.T. Still University of Osteopathic Medicine. I am originally from San Jose, California, and am currently residing in New York City. In my gap year, I worked at Planned Parenthood as a health educator. I am passionate about advocacy work, especially in underserved areas. In my free time, I like to write stories, read, and travel! I am very excited to build connections and bring more voices to our community.

Luke Mascarenhas

Mentorship Co-Chair

Hi there! I’m Luke Mascarenhas and I am a current M4 at Texas A&M College of Medicine. I was raised for most of my life in Coppell, a suburb just outside of Dallas, TX. I completed my Bachelors in Science in Neuroscience at UT Dallas and my Master of Science in Pharmacology at Tulane University School of Medicine. I am interested in Orthopedic Surgery, especially sports medicine. One of my passions is providing mentorship for my peers in medicine as well as undergraduate pre-medical students. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. I’m very excited for SAMSA to continue providing mentorship for future physicians.

Shivan Chokshi

Mentorship Co-Chair

Hey ya’ll! My name is Shivan and I am an MS2 at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Texas blood courses through my veins–I was born and raised in Dallas and completed undergrad at UT Austin in Business Management! I’ve been passionate about mentorship and advocacy since high school and I hope to inspire the next generation of youth in the same way elders inspired me! Since starting medical school, I’ve developed an interest in Surgery and am excited to explore that over the next few years. Outside of school, I enjoy traveling, eating, watching Netflix for hours on end, and dancing!

Email me: snchoksh@utmb.edu

Twitter: @snchoksh

Ananya Ravi

Events Co-Chair

Hey everyone! I’m Ananya, an incoming M1 at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. I was born in India and grew up in Michigan for most of my life. For undergrad, I went to the University of Michigan, where I graduated with a degree in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience and a minor in medical anthropology. My background and education have made me extremely passionate about the influences our cultural background have on how our worldview of health and illness. I’m looking forward to working with SAMSA’s national board and help expand our national events to include health education and advocacy for members of our South Asian community! After graduating, I moved to San Francisco to work as a medical assistant in an ENT practice before starting medical school. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking and hiking! Looking forward to a great year with SAMSA.

Ramsha Khan

Events Co-Chair

Hi there! I’m Ramsha, a second year medical student at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. I am currently living in Arkansas with my family, but am originally from Connecticut. I graduated from the University of Connecticut (yes, I went to lots of basketball games) obtaining a dual degree in Molecular & Cell Biology/ Human Development and Family Studies. I am interested in providing culturally competent care to my patients, as well as, working with low income communities! My passions are always developing, but for right now I’d love to go into Internal Medicine. During my free time, I love to bake, try different kinds of bubble tea, and spend time with my family & friends. I am so excited to build connections with the South Asian community, as well as, our future physician-leaders!

Email me: rkhan@acheedu.org

Prerana Katiyar

Engagement Co-Chair

Hey there! I’m Prerana, an M2 at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. I grew up in Fairfax, VA and then moved to Pittsburgh to pursue my B.S. in Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating in 2019, I worked for a year in federal healthcare consulting prior to starting medical school. I am passionate about surgery, as well as bridging disparities in access to care as well as other health inequities. In my free time, I enjoy dancing, arts and crafts, and exploring New York City! I am very excited to work with SAMSA to help build a stronger community of South Asian physicians that promote growth and change in the field of medicine.

Puja Desai

Engagement Co-Chair

Hello! My name is Puja, and I am an OMS-II at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. I was born and brought up in Michigan, but I’ve moved around between the USA, France, Germany, Switzerland, and India. I graduated in Spring ‘20 from Case Western Reserve University with my B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a focus in Biomechanics. I’m passionate about research, dancing, and discovering local restaurants and coffee shops! I’m very excited to facilitate mentorship and community connections within SAMSA this year!

Email me: desaipuj@msu.edu

Natasha Muppala

Membership Co-Chair

Hello! I’m Natasha Muppala and I’m an OMS-2 at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine, currently based in Seattle. During medical school, I currently serve as VP of our SAMSA chapter, Treasurer of our OB/GYN club, and I’m also a research assistant. I was born in Texas, but then raised in Saudi Arabia for almost a decade before making my way back to Houston, TX. I recently graduated from Trinity University in 2020, where I majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and minored in Religion. Being of South Asian origin, born an American, and raised in the Middle East has taught me that what makes a home is not a particular place but where one finds community. That’s why I’m very excited to help SAMSA grow and cultivate a supportive environment for future South Asian physicians! In my free time, I enjoy dancing, singing, playing my guitar, and spending time with family and friends. I’d love to connect with you!

Zoreed mukhtar

Membership Co-Chair

Hello, my name is Zoreed. I am a medical student and I currently serve as National SAMSA’s Membership Co-Chair. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology Honors from the University of Central Florida. I am passionate about improving gender equity in healthcare leadership, bringing awareness to health care disparities, expanding access to more affordable care for underserved populations/rural communities, and increasing access to reproductive health care across the country. In my free time, I like to participate in local politics and watch Lakers games. I look forward to meeting our new members!

Email: mukhtarzoe@gmail.com