CHAI Annual Awards – Winners Announced

CHAI’s Annual Awards and Benefit are just around the corner and the winners of this year’s awards have been selected!

The Radha Pathak Humanitarian Award

Mathuram Santosham, MD, MPH

Professor, Departments of International Health and Pediatrics

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Director, Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health

 m. santosham

Dr. Santosham was born in Vellore, India and obtained his MBBS degree from the Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research in Pondicherry, India in 1970. He subsequently moved to the US and obtained Board Certification in Pediatrics and an MPH degree from the Johns Hopkins University. He also completed a Fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Santosham is the Founder and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. He holds Professorships in the Department of International Health and the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University. He directed the Division of Health Systems for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health from 2000-2009.

Dr. Santosham is internationally known for his work on oral rehydration therapy, childhood vaccines and dissemination of pediatric prophylactics to vulnerable populations worldwide. Working in partnership with Native American communities, he conducted landmark vaccine efficacy trials, including rotavirus vaccine, H. influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccine, and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Native American children used to die from these diseases at rates 10 to 50 times the US average. Through his advocacy, these vaccines now save 3 to 5 million lives a year in the US and across the globe. In addition, Dr. Santosham worked with the White Mountain Apache Tribe to pioneer the use of oral rehydration solution (ORS), now known as “Pedialyte” in the US. Based on this evidence, ORS has become the standard of care for treating diarrheal dehydration, and is credited with saving 60 million lives since 1980. Dr. Santosham has become a global leader in the national and international dissemination of these public health strategies worldwide.

Dr. Santosham serves on numerous national and international committees to promote childhood health throughout the world. He consults for numerous international agencies including WHO, USAID, UNICEF and the Gates Foundation on aspects of child survival in over 30 countries. He is the author of over 250 peer reviewed journals and serves as a reviewer for several international medical journals. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Thrasher Research Fund Award for Excellence in Research (1988), Maurice Hilleman Lecturer at CDC (2008), and the Bob Austrian Orator, for International Symposium on Pneumococcas and Pneumococcal Disease (2006). He was also awarded the Indian Health Service Directors Award for Career Service in 2011, recognizing his personal dedication, commitment and contribution to the overall Indian Health Service Research Program and the global impact of his work.

The CHAI Be the Change Award

Shamyla Tareen, LCSW

Social Worker

Academic Coordinator at the University of Maryland School of Social Work

s. tareen

Shamyla Tareen, LCSW-C, is a social worker and Academic Coordinator at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She was born in Pakistan but moved to the US as an infant. She lived in Bethesda, MD until the age of 12, then moved to Peshawar, Pakistan, where she lived between the ages of 12-18. When she was 18, she returned to the US for higher education. She received a Bachelors of Science in Family Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.  After graduation, Shamyla decided it was time for a change of scenery (and weather) and moved to sunny Austin, TX where she received her MSSW at the University of Texas. After working as a therapist at a pastoral counseling center and as a community educator with SAHELI, an Asian domestic violence program, Shamyla moved back to the East Coast to be closer to her community. She worked in therapeutic foster care as a case manager and therapist for three and a half years in Baltimore City. Shamyla is a regular contributor to CHAI’s blogs, and has begun working on a fiction novel. She loves cooking, dancing, volunteering, and walking dogs.  She is also working on developing a part time private practice and becoming an adjunct teacher. For as long as she can remember, she has loved to write. She currently resides in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

CHAI is so excited to honor both of these inspirational awardees at the benefit to be held on November 15 at The Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC.

2013 awards flier

Event performer, D'Lo

Event performer, D’Lo

D’Lo is a trans/queer Tamil-Sri Lankan American writer/actor/comedian/music producer. He has performed and/or facilitated performance and writing workshops internationally.

This year, D’Lo became a board member or Brown Boi Project. D’Lo is also the creator of the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series which have taken place with South Asian and/or Immigrant Queer Organizations nationally.

Aside from touring the university/college circuit with D’FaQTo Life (pr. defacto), D’Lo tours Ramble-Ations: A One D’Lo Show which received the NPN Creation Fund Grant inclusive of residencies in 9 US cities and additional support from the Durfee Foundation Grant. His full-length stand-up storytelling show D’FunQT (pr. defunct) has toured internationally (SF, NY, Manchester, UK and 7-city tour in India and Sri Lanka).

Recent collaborations include D’Lo’s work as the sound designer for Cherrie Moraga’s play New Fire which premiered at Brava Theater and touring with Adelina Anthony on her 2-person show The Beast of Times. Recently, a documentary by Crescent Diamond based on D’Lo’s life/work, called Performing Girl, recently won the best short documentary award at Outfest 2013 and he most recently was a lead character for the short film LIT, a new HBO series LOOKING, and Mikki del Monico’s film ALTO.

Gowri Koneswaran, Esq., will be leading the poetry workshop, Lives Like Anthologies, and emcee'ing the event

Gowri Koneswaran, Esq., will be leading the poetry workshop, Lives Like Anthologies, and emcee’ing the event

Gowri K. is a Sri Lankan Tamil American poet and lawyer.  Her advocacy has addressed animal welfare, the environment, and the rights of prisoners and the criminally accused.  She has co-authored two peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and her poetry has been published in Beltway Poetry, Quarterly, Bourgeon, and Lantern Review.  Gowri was a member of the 2010 DC Southern Fried Slam team and has performed at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage, and the Smithsonian Floklife Festival.  She hosts open mics at Busboys and Poets, and BloomkBars, where she serves as poetry coordinator.  Gowri is a co-founder and communications consultant at Making It Slam and the senior poetry editor at Jaggery: A DesiLit Arts and Literature Journal.  She tweets on-the-spot haiku @gowricurry.

Workshop: Lives Like Anthologies

We have so many

stories to tell.  Our lives are

like anthologies.

“Lives Like Anthologies” is a poetry workshop that incorporates individual writing and group sharing.  Participants will explore creative expression and communal storytelling through poetry.

CHAI would also like to recognize and thank our many amazing community and individual sponsors, as well as our Nonprofit Allies, all who help to make this event and our work possible.

Event Sponsors

Chitranjan and Daisy Kuchinad


Cherian Verghese

Ambadas Pathak


D.R. Chaudhry

Shoba Nayar

Sushil Sharma

Veena Kapur

Elise Hancock

Nonprofit Allies

Indo-American Psychiatric Association,

South Asian Americans Leading Together,

National Alliance on Mental Illness, Maryland Chapter,

National Alliance on Mental Illness, Maryland Chapter,

Get your tickets today! 

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