Origins of SAIA

According to recent epidemiologic studies, there is a great shift east in terms of incidence and prevalence of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) now in Asia, particularly South Asia. There is little awareness in the general population and patients, families and clinicians alike struggle to diagnose, and treat this disease. Additionally, there is a lack of treatment options, exorbitant costs, plus the mistrust towards the medical systems and stigma around having a bowel disease only compound the challenges of pursuing medical and/or surgical care. The South Asian diaspora too faces a number of challenges as a result of healthcare disparities, similar psychosocial barriers including the stigma associated with IBD and lack of adequate access to culturally competent care.

As such, team IBDesis (a group of South Asian patient advocates from around the world) has teamed up with a group of multidisciplinary South Asian clinicians to form the first-ever patient-clinician collaborative known as South Asian IBD Alliance (SAIA).

South Asia is a hugely diverse region, consisting of 8 countries, multiple languages, cultures and religious faiths.

The South Asian diaspora is amongst the largest in the world. A recent study estimates that over 25 million people of Indian origin live in other parts of the world. In addition, millions trace their origin to other countries in South Asia.

SAIA's Key Aims and Goals

The South Asian community faces significant stigma and psychosocial barriers to treatment and surgery. SAIA’s primary goal is to come together as patients (via Team IBDesis) and multidisciplinary clinicians (from South Asia and the diaspora) to work together to do the following:

  • Create patient education around IBD
  • Promote professional development of multidisciplinary providers in the IBD space
  • Develop key research ideas on multidisciplinary topics and execute to showcase need for better care and treatment options
  • Pursue more affordable medication access via pharmaceuticals and payers.
  • Develop a robust clinical trial program

Learn more about SAIA’s Leadership team here.

SAIA's Three Pillars

The three committees, or pillars of SAIA, the Patient Outreach & Advocacy Committee, the Professional Development Committee, and the Research Committee represent our commitment to holistically improving IBD care for the South Asian community. Learn more about SAIA’s three pillars here.