Vasudev N. Makhija, MD

Vasudev N. Makhija, MD

Dr. Makhija, a psychiatrist in New Jersey,  is a Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association. He is the Founder and President of SAMHIN, South Asian Mental Health Initiative and Network, a non-profit organization. He continues to be involved in the operations and development and implementation of SAMHIN’s programs. In 2023, under Dr. Makhija’s leadership, SAMHIN was the recipient of American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s award for Advancement of the Minority Mental Health.

Dr. Makhija is the Past-President of New Jersey Psychiatric Association, Chair of Council on Member Services (2013-2017), and served as Chair of the Program and Awards Committee of NJPA (2006 – 2010).  Dr. Makhija served on the Union County Mental Health Board for six years until March 2013 (Chair 2011 – 2013). He is a recipient of Golden Merit Award for his contributions to NJPA. In 2010 Dr. Makhija received an Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Dr. Makhija serves as Clinical Supervisor of Jana Raksha Community Care Program, a volunteer-run program of Arsha Bodha Center in Somerset, NJ. Arsha Bodha Center is an ashram dedicated to the traditional teaching of Sanskrit, meditation, Vedanta, Bhagavad Gita, and spiritual practices. Jana Raksha Community Care Program is a spiritually-based free support program for the community.


Pinki Patel

Pinki Patel is a computer engineer with 35+ years of experience in various technical and managerial roles. She began her career in 1988 at Bell Communications Research and worked in technical and managerial positions. In her management role as a director and later as an executive director, she had global responsibility to manage staff in the U.S., Sweden, Canada, China, and India. After working for 30+ years, she took a retirement from Ericsson as an executive director but it lasted only three years. Due to the passion for her profession and high energy, she decided to go back to work. Currently, she is working as a General Manager for Wipro Limited where she has responsibility to manage engineering programs for Wipro’s customers in North America. My passion is to successfully drive forward, resolutions in further developments of complex projects and find solutions to situations that involve multilayered multidisciplinary team efforts using an eagle’s eye view, combining the big picture with intricate details of a crisis.

Pinki brings extensive management skills to SAMHIN and also holds a Mental Health First Aid USA certification issued by the National Council of Behavioral Health. She is trained to assist with mental health and addiction screenings, provide initial support and guidance, and help people experiencing depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis, and substance abuse. She has a long track record of being an avid volunteer. She is also a registered yoga instructor and has taught yoga to kids and adults. She has a strong desire help people facing mental challenges and through her work with SAMHIN will help fight the stigma associated with mental illness.


Priya Jaisinghani, MD

Dr. Priya Jaisinghani is an Endocrinologist who completed her training at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell, NY. Dr. Jaisinghani received a distinction in service to the community through her work at the The Boggs Center in medical school and was inducted into the AOA Honor Society in 2019 during her residency. She has a vested interest in minority health, media, and mentorship.

Satishkumar H. Patel

Satishkumar H. Patel, MD

Dr. Patel has been in private practice of psychiatry for more than ten years in New Jersey. He is board certified in the Child & Adolescent psychiatry. He has served as a volunteer for SAMHIN for several years. Through his involvement Dr. Patel has become acutely aware of the barriers and challenges to help seeking in the South Asians. As an immigrant from South Asia, he has a vested interest in addressing the mental health needs including stigma of the South Asian community. He was previously an Assistant Professor/Clinical Assistant Professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Patel brings his valuable experiences to serve SAMHIN.

Minoo Christian

Minoo Christian, MSW

Ms. Christian has been working in the HIV field since 2003. She started as a community-based medical case manager at an AIDS service organization, assisting marginalized clients to navigate the healthcare system in Detroit. Many of her clients were minorities with complex psychosocial issues including homelessness, incarceration as well as histories of mental illness, substance abuse and/or trauma. This work developed her passion for public health and mental health, especially with minority populations.

Trained as a social worker, Ms. Christian has experience outreaching in the field, facilitating treatment groups, developing programs, coordinating public health operations, conducting trainings, writing/managing grants, and leading planning councils/committees. She works at Rutgers University-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School-Eric B. Chandler Health Center, where she provides programmatic and fiscal oversight of the Infectious Disease Department grants.

Ms. Christian has volunteered with SAMHIN since 2018 on multiple projects including editing blog posts and marketing materials, creating video content for Coming Out Day, implementing a workshop for suicide prevention, and writing grants to help SAMHIN initiatives. As a Board Member, she hopes to serve her community by continuing this meaningful work and helping SAMHIN grow.