March 23, 2016 - A decade after it opened its doors, the South Asian Heart Center at El Camino Hospital commemorated its tenth anniversary and the revolution in detection and prevention of heart disease that it helped spark. Over 560 participants joined the celebration at the Center’s annual Scarlet Night gala, held Saturday, March 19th at the Santa Clara Convention Center. The event, the Center’s major fundraiser, raised $275,000.
Since its inception in 2006, the South Asian Heart Center’s outreach programs, seminars and community events have touched more than 50,000 individuals in the Bay Area community. The Center has screened over 6,000 participants, educated more than 1,500 physicians on the epidemiology of coronary artery disease and diabetes in the population and published its findings in peer-reviewed journals. The Center’s proven program has resulted in healthier lifestyle behaviors and the reduction of heart disease and diabetes risk in its program participants and is providing important new tools for primary care physicians to identify their patients who are at the highest risk.
"We have much to celebrate with this milestone anniversary," says Ashish Mathur, Executive Director of the Center. "We initiated our AIM to Prevent: Diabetes program, a 12-week intensive monitoring program. It aims at diabetics and those at imminent risk. We also began a partnership with Jain organization, as their collaborator for their ambitious Jain Wellness for Life initiative, that they are launching across all North American chapters. Most of all, we want to recognize and thank the more than 1,200 volunteers and 1,800 donors who have connected with us over these years and been a critical part of our success." Mr. Mathur also announced that the Center will have a special offer for women in honor in Mother’s Day and the important role women play in family health matters. The Center will pay for a woman’s lab work if she convinces her spouse to join the program. "By joining together, it gives spouses an opportunity to mutually reinforce one another’s health goals," he says.
Top volunteers were recognized at a special ceremony before the dinner began. The keynote address at Scarlet Night was delivered by Ronesh Sinha, MD, Silicon Valley internist who leads corporate wellness services at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, He is the author of the South Asian Health Solution and co-hosts a popular weekly radio show on South Asian health.
Another speaker was Center participant Nikhil Jakatdar told his own story of believing that because he exercised religiously, he must be immune to heart disease. Giving in to his wife’s strong "suggestion" that he enroll in the advance program at the Center, he learned that his only normal health measure was BMI—everything else was in the red. Six months later, a much humbler man stood before the assembled crowd to reiterate that "you cannot eat whatever you want, as long as you burn it off. I exercised 30 days a month, but that didn’t make a difference."
The gala featured a live auction, heart-healthy banquet and entertainment by UC Berkeley's Dil Se musical group, a dance performance by Bombay Jam, and singing by Komal Rizvi. Dancing, casino and a poker tournament followed the dinner and program.
The Scarlet Night lead sponsor is Heart 'n Spice the next generation nutrition and health pioneer that cooks and delivers meals personalized to an individual’s metabolism, and many other sponsors. Sujatha Suresh and Sharvari Dixit were the gala co-chairs.