UNIITE - Understanding the Need for
Interfaith / Intercultural Togetherness & Education
about UNIITE
current events
past activities
future programs
news & awards
support us

South Asian Hindus

OCTOBER 10, 2006

8:30 am to 12:30 pm

Hoppe Auditorium
St. Cloud Hospital
1406 6th Avenue N
St Cloud, MN 56303

Direction/Map to the St. Cloud Hospital

Direction to Hoppe Auditorium
Park in the north parking lot (the main visitor parking lot on the north end of the hospital). Enter Entrance E and follow the main corridor to Lobby D and the D Elevator. Take the D Elevator down one level to Level A. Turn left out of the elevator bay and Hoppe Auditorium is directly in front of you.

SEWA-AIFW volunteers
Krishna Saxena, M.D.;
Kusum Saxena, M.D.;
and Surendra Chaudhary, retired veterinarian

Rupesh Modi

Ms. Choden Bhutiya
South Asian Hindu graduate student,
St. Cloud State University

Ms. Gargi Dayama
South Asian Hindu graduate student,
St. Cloud State University


Each education offering has been designed to meet the Minnesota Board of Nursing continuing education requirements for four (4.0) contact hours. It is the personal responsibility of each participant to determine whether this activity meets the requirements for acceptable continuing education by the licensing organization.

Registration fee
$30 per session (pre-registration)
$35 per session (at the door)

50% discount for full time students. Please include photocopy of student ID with registration when mailing check

Continental breakfast included.

Registration form can be downloaded at:







8:30 9:00 am
Salient history, geography, of country of origin; demographics of South Asian Hindus in Minnesota and how they got here
Presenter: Dr. Surendra Chaudhary

9:00 9:10 am
What is my experience being a South Asian Hindu in St. Cloud? What brought me here?
Presenter: Rupesh Modi

9:10 9:20 am
Questions and Answers
Chaudhary & Modi

9:20 9:30 am

9:30 10:00 am
Salient religious and cultural characteristics of South Asian Hindus in Minnesota from a Hindu female immigrant's point of view
Presenter: Dr. Kusum Saxena

10:00 10:10 am
What aspects of my culture are vitally important to me? What aspects of my religion are vitally important in my thinking and practice?
Presenter: Rupesh Modi

10:10 10:20 am
Questions and Answers
Saxena & Modi

10:20 10:30 am

10:30 11:00 am
What health care related concerns of South Asian Hindus do health care professionals need to be aware of?
Presenter: Dr. Krishna Saxena

11:00 11:10 am
Role play: Simulating an actual situation of a South Asian Hindu patient in a health care facility; a volunteer from the audience comes up to deal with the situation; patient & volunteer give feedback to each other at the end
Presenter: Rupesh Modi

11:10 11:20 am
Questions and Answers
Saxena & Modi

11:20 11:30 am

11:30 am 11:40 am
Cultural performance, video, and discussion
Performers: Choden Bhutiya and Gargi Dayama
Folk Dance of the Hindu Festival of Light (Diwali)

11:40 am - 12:00 pm
Video Presentation of SEWA-AIFW
Presenter - Surendra Chaudhary

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
Questions & Answers
Saxena couple, Chaudhary, Modi, Bhutiya & Dayama



Series Planning Phase
Phase A
Cultural Healing Festival


All files are in pdf format




Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation
CentraCare Health Foundation
St. Cloud Hospital


Shivanthi Sathanandan
Nepalese Student Association
India Heritage Club
Lucy Bregman
Bruce Corrie
David Zander
Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota
Hmong Cultural Resource Center, Inc.
Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota
Sally Griffin
Jean Gunderson
Dan McKanan
Frank Lee
Jocelyn Ancheta
Kathy TwohyAngie Wilson
Carol Virnig
Cindy Eskandary
Mary Beth Nehl
Peggy LaDue
Gwen Dahlhoff
Joan Wilcox
Hani Mohamed
Julie Collins
Bette Schnettler
Diane Tuff
Hedy Tripp
Adela Gross
Don Ottenhoff
Robert C. Johnson
Paul Knutson
Tom Pendergast
Sandra Robin
Dia Cha





Dr. Krishna Saxena retired as Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Univ. of Minnesota and Director of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Children's Hospital and Clinics, Saint Paul. He was also Director of Medical Education, at St. Paul Children's Hospital from 1968 to 1990. He has published more than 60 scientific papers in various Medical Journals.

He was the Founder President of the Hindu Society of Minnesota and continues to be active on it's Board of Trustees and other committees. Since the formation of the Hindu Society of Minnesota he had the privilege of serving as the first Chairman of the Board of Trustees and once again, later, for a total of 5 years.

Krishna and his wife Kusum Saxena, M.D., have lived in Minnesota since 1967 and are citizens of the U.S.A.


Kusum Saxena, M.D., was born, raised, and educated in India. She grew up in a staunch vegetarian Hindu family.

In 1967, she immigrated to USA with her husband and two children. She practiced medicine as a staff physician in Emergency Medicine department for 25 years at Region's [then Ramsey] Hospital. She was also Associate Professor Emergency Medicine, University of Minnesota, and Clinical Associate Professor Family medicine, U of M.

In 1986-87, Dr. Saxena was Director of the Minnesota Poison Control Center, 1986-87. She is Board certified in Emergency Medicine , Family Medicine, and Clinical Toxicology. She is also a Fellow as well as life member of American College of Emergency Physicians, American Academy of Family Medicine, and American Academy of Clinical Toxicology. Indeed, Dr. Kusum Saxena was the first Board certified Clinical Toxicologist in the State of Minnesota and the five states-zone, namely, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Presently she is retired from medical practice.

Kusum Saxena is one of the founder members of Hindu Society of Minnesota (HSMN). She has been a trustee of HSMN since its inception in 1977. She has been actively involved in activities of the Hindu Mandir (Temple), serving in various capacities over the years. Currently she is advisor to the religious committee of the Mandir, and in charge of programs which involve prayers, devotional songs, singing, and chanting.

Dr. Saxena is interested in Indian classical music, tabla-playing (percussion), and learning Spanish Language and culture. She loves to travel all over the world.


Surendra P.Chaudhary, DVM, MS. (University of Missouri)
Former Veterinary Medical Officer, US Department of Agriculture, F.S.I.S.

Surendra and his wife Raj immigrated to the US in 1966. After his graduation from the Univ of Missouri, in 1968, they moved to Minnesota for his graduate studies and post doctoral work in U of MN. After that, he served in the US Department of Agriculture as Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer in Food Safety and Inspection Service for 25 years before retiring a few years ago.

Along with his wife, Surendra has been engaged in the Asian Indian community from the beginning and has seen it grow from a couple dozen to a couple thousand. He was one of the founder organizers of the Hindu Society of Minnesota, which was the first place of worship for Hindus in the Twin Cities.

He organized and operated the first Asian Indian Cultural Radio program called 'Sounds of India,' which is now part of the records of the Historical Society of Minnesota. He co-chaired the US Airforce Academy Parents Club of Minnesota, an organization to support MN Cadets to Air Force Academy and build bridges. He founded Minnesota Asian Indian Democratic Association (MAIDA). For the past 8 years, he has been Chair of the DFL Precinct caucus and active in many other community activities. Last but not least, he along with his wife have founded an organization called SEWA Asian Indian Family Wellness, a Minnesota nonprofit to serve the needy in the community.

Surendra and Raj have two sons and a daughter. Their first son, Senator Satveer Chaudhary serves in Minnesota Legislature. Their second son, Major Ravi Chaudhary serves in US Air Force. Their daughter Bala Chaudhary is a Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona studying Ecological Biology.



Rupesh Modi was born in India but moved to Nepal in early childhood. Having completed his Post-Certificate Level studies (in Biology) at Kathmandu, he went to India for a year to acquire some extensive medical knowledge. After coming back to Nepal he studied sociology for two years. He also served as a volunteer for wildlife conservation in Nepal.

In pursuit of a strong technical foundation and better educational opportunities, he arrived in the United States in time for the fall 2005 semester at St. Cloud State University. During his very first semester, he volunteered at St. Cloud Hospital and intends to continue this service as long as he possibly can.

At St. Cloud State, he is involved in different activities in connection with Nepalese Student Association (N.S.A) and India Heritage Club (I.H.C). Rupesh has also offered many presentations in different communities in and around St. Cloud on Nepal and its culture.