BY MANPREET KAUR | UPDATED 09/21/17

 

My name is Manpreet Kaur and I recently graduated from University of California, Davis with a major in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior (NPB). I was the past Health Education Committee Member and Publicity/Outreach Coordinator for the Davis Chapter. My vision for this project is to organize health seminars, targeted specifically on South Asian Women’s Health. My motive for this topic came from the Preventative Women’s Health Workshop that was presented at this past year’s Pan-BPSHI Conference at UCLA. As a Sikh woman, I personally felt very touched from this presentation and wanted to effectively implement this idea into an action. 


The four general topics that I envision to present onare: Prevention and awareness of (1) Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Screening, (2) Cervical Cancer and Cervical Cancer Screening, (3) Mental Health Illnesses such as Depression, and (4) Social Justice Issues such as Domestic Violence. I plan to partner up with local gurdwaras and host a series of different workshops for Punjabi women and girls-- in an all-female space. We would invite a health professional who is an expert on the chosen health topic, who would introduce its background. Then, participants would be able to ask questions and we would help facilitate an open conversation about these topics.


The South Asian Women’s Health initiative is necessary because women in our community do not always openly discuss their health concerns or may not be well informed of recommended health screenings-- due to cultural barriers and gender stereotypes. I am personally very passionate about providing a platform for the females in our community to take control of their preventative health. I am hoping these workshops/seminars will help foster safe, confidential spaces for Punjabi women to learn about ways they can keep their bodies and minds healthy. Too often the women in our communities neglect their personal health, either because they lack health knowledge or they are too busy taking care of their families; therefore, these workshops would be spaces specifically dedicated addressing health concerns for women. 


I am also currently working on another side project related to blood and bone marrow donations informational sessions at the Sikh Gurdwara. Being a licensed phlebotomist at American Red Cross, I learned that there is a currently a strong need for donors. My interest to register Asian bone marrow donors started when I noticed that the AADP table rarely gets any signs ups at the BPSHI clinics/Gurdwaras; volunteers have an extremely difficult time recruiting sangat, while others struggle to communicate in Punjabi when explaining what the process of a bone marrow donor consists of. Our Sikh population has one of the lowest turnouts when it comes to these donations. By teaming up with AADP and Red Cross, we can get our population more involved and educated on these causes. With these short, organized informational session, the sangat will have more knowledge to make a more informed decision to register, help them understand the importance of these donations to help save lives, and promote awareness of ways to maintain healthy hemoglobin/blood-iron levels and blood pressure. My ultimate goal is to host a blood drive at a Gurdwara or a Sikh Convention Center by bringing the Red Cross team so that sangat can directly donate. 
 

Currently, I have made a tentative timeline of the dates of each health seminar, researched helpful websites and read relevant health articles, and brainstormed content for the first Health Seminar on Breast Cancer. I have compiled a list of potential contacts-- including health professionals and American Red Cross, and AADP representatives-- to contact for content-related resources and details for organizing the events. I hope to spread this idea of conducting health seminars for South Asian Women amongst other BPSHI chapters.