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!

Sanjana Ayyagari

Webmaster

Hi! My name is Sanjana and I am an OMS-I at Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. I am from Houston, Texas, and graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Biochemistry and minors in Psychology and Chemistry in Spring 2021. I am greatly interested in women’s health, rural medicine, teaching, and advocacy. In my free time, I work as a professional portrait and event photographer and I love meeting new people, traveling, and engaging my creative side through this craft. I am extremely excited to be a part of this growing network of South Asian students and to help advocate for South Asians in medicine!

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.

DHIVYA KANNAN

Mentorship Co-Chair

Hi there! My name is Dhivya Kannan and I am an OMS 3 at Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. I’m from Bentonville, Arkansas and graduated from The University of Tulsa. I was born and raised in Arkansas and have been able to see a variety of socioeconomic populations; my passions arise from my experiences in these communities and wanting to advocate for and provide medical care to lower income communities and minorities. I’m involved in the SAMSA chapter at my medical school and have been able to organize many impactful events and I am even more excited to be involved with SAMSA on a national level. In my free time I enjoy hiking, spending time with family and friends, and trying new coffee shops! I’m looking forward to being a part of this organization to bring more awareness and help build strong connections within the South Asian Physician community! 

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.

puja shah

Be The Match Chair

Hi y’all! My name is Puja Shah and I am a second-year medical student at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. I have spent a majority of my life in Houston. I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Integrative Biology. Prior to medical school, I was heavily involved with minimally invasive surgery research. I continue to be passionate about outcomes research, volunteering at local free clinics, and mentorship within the South Asian community. Outside of medicine, I enjoy traveling, cooking/baking, and Garba season. I am really excited to be a part of SAMSA as I feel it is a great way to connect South Asian physicians and medical students from diverse backgrounds. I’m looking forward to serving as your Be The Match chair and helping further SAMSA’s community initiatives!

Email me: pushah@utmb.edu

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

alekya vinta

Public Relations Chair

Hi! My name is Alekya Vinta, and I am an OMS-II at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. I am from Northville, MI and went to University of Michigan – Ann Arbor for undergrad. I double majored in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience & Biology, Health and Society with a minor in Business. After graduating, I moved to New York City to work for a year within the healthcare consulting field. During my free time, I like to do brush and digital calligraphy, play tennis, and go to concerts. I am passionate about advocating for healthcare access and equity as well as engaging with my local community. I am excited to be involved in SAMSA and look forward to building connections with other South Asian medical professionals.

Email: vintaale@msu.edu