Building student involvement, fostering civic engagement and enhancing community service to advance public health. 

Written by: Sangita Murali (D18)

On August 11th, the South Asian Medical and Dental Association (SAMDA) teamed up with the American Indian Foundation’s (AIF) Young Professional Chapter of New England to host two captivating speakers, Jayati Vaidya and Ace Bhattacharjya.

Jayati kicked off the event by introducing AIF and its mission. AIF is one of the largest development organizations in the United States dedicated to helping poor and marginalized people in India. AIF is committed to catalyzing social and economic change in India and building a lasting bridge between the US and India through high-impact interventions in education, public health, and leadership development.

What I love about this group is that AIF works closely with local communities and that AIF’s programs emphasize inclusive models that focus on the unique needs of girls and women to achieve gender equity as a basis for sustainable change.

Jayati wetted students interest in meeting AIF’s goals by offering many opportunities to get involved through the following programs:

    • Learning and Migration Program (LAMP): Provides quality primary education to children in areas of high migration who otherwise would likely drop out of school, while also advocating to communities and governments the universal right to education.
    • William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India: Builds a lasting bridge between the US and India by placing talented young American and Indian professionals in service with NGOs in India.
    • Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative (MANSI): A public-private partnership seeking to reduce maternal and child mortality by providing care, resources, and support to empower local communities to care for their mothers and children – and improve local health systems.

Jayati concluded her engaging presentation with a brief, eye-opening video that shifted our focus towards harsh realities that exist in our world today.. “that 800,000,000 people in India live off less than $2/day… and that’s over 2.5x the USA population living on less than we spend on our morning latte.”

Next up was founder of CEO of medicalrecords.com, former Director of Advanced Media for the United States Tennis Association/ US Open, inventor of Indian nachos, and inspiring speaker, Ace Bhattacharjya, who gave an interactive presentation on “11 ways to figure out if you have a good idea.” Ace left us with numerous words of wisdom. He encouraged us to utilize Google keyword planner to find out what other people are searching to buy on the internet as words. Ace highlighted the importance of getting people motivated, how to get customers, and how to make your idea brand-able.

Before Ace’s Q&A, ice cream was served to all attendees due to Ace’s intimate connection with Boston’s Best ice cream, Toscanini’s! It may have been the sugar rush, Ace’s upbeat personality.. or both.. but the crowd continued to pick Ace’s brain with questions about Non-Disclosure Agreements, where healthcare ventures fail, technology transfer offices and more long after his engaging talk. Ace cannot wait to visit Tufts Dental again and continue the dialogue we started!

Thank you to the entire SAMDA e-board for their interest in connecting with AIF, advertising for the event, and hosting our guest speakers. This event would not have been so successful without the energy and enthusiasm of Jayati Vaidya and Ace Bhattacharjya of course. We missed AIF organizers Isha Gulati, Arjun Kapoor, Nirmala Garimella, Suchitra Krishna and others at the event this time but look forward to connecting at future co-hosted SAMDA-AIF events soon!

If you would like to make an impact through AIF or have any follow-up workshop ideas you’d like to have Ace join us at, please contact Sangita Murali (D18) at Sangita.Murali@tufts.edu – we would be happy to set that up and cater to your interests.

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