Governor Moore Announces Appointments to the Governor’s Commission on South Asian American Affairs

Published: 12/28/2023

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Wes Moore today announced appointments to the Governor's Commission on South Asian American Affairs, the body that advises the administration and state agencies on issues relating to Maryland’s rapidly growing South Asian American community. Gurpreet “Preet” Takhar will serve as chair.

The appointees represent diverse ethnic backgrounds and professional expertise, bringing to the commission both passion for and deep ties to Maryland’s South Asian American community. 

New appointees include:

Gurpreet “Preet” Takhar (Indian) is chief executive officer of Tru Health Now, which operates community health centers that provide a range of health care services, from primary to urgent care. In collaboration with Greater Washington Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the clinics organized food drives through local Gurdwaras and raised money to distribute personal protective equipment and medical supplies to underserved areas overseas.

Obaid Ahmad (Pakistani) is president of Euro-America Shipping and Trade, Inc. He serves on the Business Advisory Council for the Comptroller of Maryland as a trustee of the Maryland Democratic Party and coaches softball.

Dr. Bishal Bhandari (Nepali) is a clinical analytics scientist and healthcare quality professional with Medstar Health and is the co-founder of Aspirenix, which provides tech solutions and innovation in health care. He volunteers as a community health coordinator for the Lions Club of Baltimore Nepalese.

Arti Bhatt (Indian) is a diversity, equity and inclusion practitioner for the non-profit Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and serves on the racial equity committee for Frederick County Public School Board of Education. Previously, she also served on the Human Rights Commission for the state of Massachusetts.

Raj Borsellino (Indian) is currently vice president and director of national programming at the Truist Foundation, which partners with non-profit organizations to help fulfill their missions. Previously, he was a senior program officer with Robin Hood, one of the largest poverty fighting organizations in the country, and served as a board member for Immigrant Advocates’ Response Collaborative.

Kausik Das, PhD (Indian) is a professor of physics and director of the Center for Student Excellence at University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He is an author and speaker, member of the Indian Association of Salisbury and member of the governing body of the Hindu Temple of the Eastern Shore.

Preeti Emrick, JD (Indian) is the highest ranking Asian American in Anne Arundel County government as director of the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management. She previously served as Corporate Emergency Manager for University of Maryland Capital Region Health. She is a first generation Indian American, with a passion for advancing immigration and community issues for future generations.

Dr. Raza Khan (Pakistani) serves as the division chair of sciences at Carroll Community College and co-chair of the Maryland Collegiate Stem Conference. He is also the former president of the Islamic Society of Carroll County and an active member on the faculty advisory council of the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Preeti Menon (Indian) is the co-founder, co-president and executive director of the Children’s Institute of Cultural Appreciation and Understanding. She serves on the state events team as a volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and is the Parent Teacher Association president for her local elementary school.

Dr. Ahmed Nawaz (Pakistani) is a physician specializing in internal medicine. Through his work with the American Diversity Group and Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America, he provides community outreach and support at health fairs and food distribution centers all over Maryland.

Nivea Ohri (Indian) is an associate attorney with the Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. in Waldorf, where she represents clients in civil, domestic, criminal and real estate matters. She is a member of the Leadership Southern Maryland Candidate class of 2024; has served with the Judge Advocate General Corps of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. AIr Force; and is fluent in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English.

Sushma Potluri (Indian) is the president and owner of MKA Designs, Inc. in Frederick County. She serves as the Parent Teacher Association president of Urbana High School and launched heritage nights to help share her traditions and culture with the Urbana community.

Faisal Quader, PHD (Bangladeshi) is president and co-founder of Technuf LLC, and is a faculty member at the University of Maryland. He has led several nonprofit organizations, including the American Association of Bangladeshi Engineers and Architects, Bangladeshi Entrepreneurs Society of Talents, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Fahim Rafiq (Afghan) is a former police detective with the Baltimore County Police Department who now owns the small business ZiZa Kabob. He has earned the Commendation Award, Chief of Police Award and Community Service Award for his public service.

Dr. Shahid Rafiq (Pakistani) is a physician, entrepreneur and president and chief executive officer of Comprehensive Neurology Services with a focus on health care innovation and market disruption. He is a lifetime member of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent in North America.

Amarjeet Sandhu (Indian) is a successful entrepreneur and owner of several franchises, such as Exxon, Circle K and Subway. He is currently the president of Sikhs of DMV and was president of the Punjabi Club of Maryland for five years.

Devang Shah (Indian) is an immigration attorney, investor and entrepreneur who manages businesses in the hospitality, biotech and food industries. He is vice president of the National Council of Asian Indian Associations; a board member with the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation; and a board member with the Asian Intra for Community Service, where he helps eliminate disparities and promote equity in health care for the wellbeing of the AAPI community.

Harshid Shah (Indian) is director of delivery program management in Maryland's Department of Information Technology, where he is a leader in IT program and project management. He also serves as a trustee at Jain Society of Metropolitan Washington and as a director at the Federation of Jain Association in Northern America.

Aman Shergill (Indian) is an active volunteer in her community whose roles include co-founder and executive committee member of Communities United Against Hate, executive board member of the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington, and co-founder of EcoSikh Summer Youth Camp.

Archana Thakkar (Indian) is a medical professional with more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry. For the last 15 years, she has been a community outreach and public affairs volunteer with Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, a leading Hindu faith and social service organization.