Aayush Visaria

Research Committee Chair

Hey! I’m Aayush, a postdoctoral research fellow at Rutgers Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Science. I’ve spent my entire life in NJ – completing a BA in Cell Biology & Neuroscience at Rutgers, an MPH in Biostatistics at Rutgers School of Public Health, and my MD at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. I’m passionate about research related to chronic disease prevention and have dabbled in several activities over the years, including North American Disease Intervention, a non-profit focused on diabetes and hypertension awareness, and academic research leading to peer-reviewed publications in Indian Heart Journal, Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health, American Journal of Cardiology, among others. I’ve been fortunate to be able to work with various South Asian research organizations in the past and hope to help close the large gap in South Asian-representative research in the United States through our SAMSA research initiatives, while also providing students with exciting research opportunities. I aim to start internal medicine residency in July 2022 after completing my fellowship!


Research Committee Member

Hi! My name is Pooja and I’m an M2 at Wayne State University School of Medicine. 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.

Sumaiya Islam

Research Committee Member

Hello! My name is Sumaiya and I am a current M2 at the CUNY School of Medicine. I entered into the 7-year combined B.S/M.D. Program at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education and CUNY School of Medicine from high school. I completed my bachelors with the B.S./M.D. program and now am continuing with my medical education. I moved from Bangladesh when I was 8 and have been living in New York City since. I am very passionate about health disparities and health equity, and as a future physician, I believe in bridging the gaps to provide access and opportunities to the underserved. In my free time I love taking pictures, visiting my local restaurants, traveling, and sometimes, taking really long naps. I am very excited and am looking forward to working with such a dynamic and driven group of future health care professionals!

Fariha hameed

Research Committee Member

Hi! My name is Fariha, and I’m an MS3 at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. I’m a Southern California native, attended UCLA for undergrad, and have loved exploring Houston and training in the Texas Medical Center the past 3 years. During my time in medical school, I have been able to participate in research projects that study the efficacy of novel heart failure devices, the use of ECMO in COVID-19 patients, and the use of point of care ultrasound echocardiography. I served as President of my school’s chapter of SAMSA to showcase the vibrancy of our culture, advocate for minority patients, and broaden cultural competency in healthcare. I currently hope to pursue residency in IM and potentially a fellowship in cardiology. Being on SAMSA’s research team allows me to combine my interests in cardiovascular health and promoting research in South Asian populations.

Brinda Raval

Research Committee Member

Hi! My name is Brinda and I’m an M3 at New York Medical College. I’ve lived in New York for most of my life. I attended Sarah Lawrence College (in Bronxville, NY) and graduated in 2018. At Sarah Lawrence, I was able to study a wide range of subjects that interested me, including philosophy and religion, psychology, history of medicine, and Ayurveda. I’m really interested in how diet and lifestyle affect health and am excited to be part of a SAMSA research project that explores this further! I stay in touch with my creative side by being part of the editorial team of my medical school’s student journal (Quill & Scope), learning new dance styles, and cooking my favorite dishes.

Email: braval2@student.nymc.edu

Moizz Akhtar

Research Committee Member

Hello, my name is Moizz and I am a 4th-year medical student at A.T. Still University in Arizona where I have been involved in community service, mentoring, and was part of a community project educating special needs students on nutrition and emergency first aid. I also recently gave a presentation on COVID-19 variants, mRNA vaccine technology, and COVID-19 myocarditis. I am from the Chicago metropolitan area and completed my Bachelors of Science in Psychology: Concentration in Natural Science with minors in Biology and Neuroscience at Loyola University Chicago. During my time, I worked in the Children’s Memory Study lab researching STEM learning and neurocognitive development in children. I went on to pursue graduate studies in Anatomical and Translational Sciences at George Washington University and worked in the Genomic Medicine lab. There I contributed to projects in identifying RNA biomarkers to be used as a clinical diagnostic tool for coronary artery disease and appendicitis. I joined the SAMSA’s research initiative to learn more about South Asian health and to help leverage ways in translating our research into clinical use.

Email: sa201424@atsu.edu

ANjitha saji

Research Committee Member

Hi! My name is Anju Saji and I am a 3rd year medical student at UT McGovern Medical School in Houston. I was born and raised in Kuwait, lived in New Mexico, then in Kerala, India, and finally moved to Houston, where I completed my BS in Anthropology and Biology. I served as the VP of my school’s SAMSA chapter last year, have formerly taught mental health literacy to refugee/immigrant women through English conversation classes, and am currently involved in the Global Health Concentration at my medical school, am helping develop an anal cancer screening protocol, and am coordinating a lecture series for Doctors For Change. I look forward to working with my research team members to help fill in some of the gaps within South Asian healthcare, and to make the results we find readily available to physicians delivering care to our community.

Email: Anjitha.A.Saji@uth.tmc.edu

ShivanI Reddy

Research Committee Member

Hi! I’m Shivani and I am a 2nd year medical student at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed). Prior to moving to Michigan for medical school, I’ve lived in California and attended UC Davis where I pursued a Bachelor of Science in Cell Biology. At medical school, I’ve been actively involved in volunteer work with a local organization aimed at improving health literacy in the Kalamazoo community. Additionally, I participate in leadership roles across different organizations, such as the Cardiology Interest Group, Internal Medicine Interest Group, and Nutrition and Medicine Interest Group. I am really interested in lifestyle intervention-based healthcare approaches and am excited to work with SAMSA to expand the knowledge on this topic, especially as it applies to the South Asian community. In my spare time, I enjoy tutoring high school students, creating fusion food recipes, and exploring iOS app development!

ALizah Ali

Research Committee Member

Hi! My name is Alizah Ali, I’m an M3 at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA. I spent most of my adolescence in Karachi, Pakistan, moving to Boston, MA for my undergraduate in Biology at Boston University. During that time I was able to develop quantitative analytic skills with The Davies Marine Population and Genomics lab. Since medical school, I’ve been able to work on several research projects related to genomics, proteomics, neurology, mental health, social and racial healthcare. I’m interested in working with minority populations, especially those with immigrant backgrounds, which I hope to do throughout my career while pursuing a residency in Neuropsychiatry. In my spare time, I enjoy writing, and pursue this by participating in open-mics for the Muslim Writers Collective and as an editorial board member in our school’s literary journal.

Email: AIAli@msm.edu

Instagram: @alizahali0419

Joel James

Research Committee Member