“With your help and advocacy, we will pass this Bill in the Full House next month,” Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal told delegates of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) during the 40th annual Convention held in San Antonio, TX on June 25th, 2022.
While expressing gratitude and appreciation to the physical fraternity for being in the frontline, especially during the Covid pandemic, the first ever woman Congress Representative of South Asian Origin, Rep. Jayapal, who is the Chair of Democratic Caucus said, “One of the legislations I have been very passionate about has been the Bill I had introduced in the Congress, South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act,” which has now been passed by the subcommittee of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, and she was hopeful that will pass the full House next month.
“As the first South Asian American woman ever elected to the House of Representatives, I am fully committed to not only raising awareness and educating the South Asian community about the risk factors for heart disease but also ensuring that those living with heart disease receive the care, treatment, resources and support they need,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “I am proud that this urgently necessary legislation passed committee and I won’t stop fighting until it becomes law.”
Heart disease is the number one Global Public Health problem. South Asians are at a four-times greater risk of heart disease than their western counterparts and have a greater chance of having a heart attack before 50 years of age. Heart attacks strike South Asian men and women at younger ages, and as a result, both morbidity and mortality are higher among them compared to any other ethnic group. They tend to develop heart disease ten years earlier than other groups.”
Dr. Ravi Kolli, the new President of AAPI, pointed out, “While South Asians make up only 23% of the global population, they account for 60% of all heart disease cases. And, tragically, the mortality rate for heart disease is a staggering 40% higher among South Asians. South Asian Americans are four times more likely to suffer from heart disease than most people, and experience heart problems nearly decade earlier on average.”
Dr. Kolli thanked Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal for her efforts in introducing the critical legislation, South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act, which has now passed the subcommittee of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee on May 11 and is now set to advance to the full House and for working with her colleagues to ensure its passage.
The South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act (H.R. 3131) is aimed at providing grants of up to $1 million per year to fund research and prevention of heart disease in South Asian communities. The bill establishes, or authorizes to be established, programs that support heart-disease research and awareness among communities disproportionately affected by heart disease, including the South Asian population of the United States.