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Special Program Focuses on South Asian Patients’ Health and Risks

A local and online South Asian Health Program provides resources tailored to South Asian patients’ specific health needs.


Did you know that South Asians are one of the highest risk groups when it comes to diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and they also die from heart disease at a much younger age? To ensure that our South Asian patients can live longer, healthier lives, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) offers a South Asian Health Program that provides services and resources tailored to South Asian patients’ specific health needs.

“Our South Asian patients not only comprise 12 percent of all our patients – the largest ethnic minority group – they are also three times more likely to get diabetes and twice as likely to have low levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol that protects against heart disease than any other ethnic group,” says Latha Palaniappan, M.D., M.S., a PAMF Research Institute investigator who together with Ronesh Sinha, M.D., leads PAMF’s South Asian Health Program.

Originally, the program provided resources to help educate South Asians specifically on the risks of diabetes and heart disease, but it has since been expanded to include services and resources that cover all aspects of health and wellness.

“Our program is a wonderful one-stop-shop resource for all South Asian health needs,” says Dr. Sinha. “We know that to truly improve the health of our South Asian patients we need to involve and educate the whole family – including mom, grandma and the children – and motivate them to make good health choices.”

Some of the highlights of PAMF’s South Asian Health Program include:

  • A South Asian health website that offers a range of health resources with special sections on heart health and women’s and children’s health, online tools such as South Asian body mass index (BMI) and diabetes risk calculators, a library of videos in English and Hindi, and much more.
  • A special South Asian physician consultation service, where the patient spends an hour with a physician who has extensive experience with South Asian health issues. Patients can ask their physicians to submit a referral, or schedule a consultation by calling 650-330-4523 or sending an email to prana@pamf.org.
  • Employer services – a range of resources and programs to assist employers in improving the health of their South Asian employees. Check the website or call 650-934-8613 for more information.

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