A Celebration of Life Through Bollywood Dance and Music

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Partners with Shri Krishna Nidhi Foundation to Educate and Raise Cancer Awareness in the South Asian Community at September 24th Event
September 20, 2010

New Brunswick, N.J.– Seeking better health outcomes for one of New Jersey’s fastest growing populations, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) has partnered with the Shri Krishna Nidhi (SKN) Foundation and the Satrangi School of Fusion, to educate South Asian-Americans about their risks for cancer.  During a September 24 event at the St. Demetrius Community Center (691 Roosevelt Avenue, Carteret), an exciting style of community education will be featured through the use of Bollywood dance and music.  CINJ is a Center of Excellence at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The SKN Foundation is a community outreach education organization with the mission to address health disparities and to improve the delivery of culturally competent health care to South Asians, including the promotion of cancer awareness.

Bollywood, the Indian equivalent of Hollywood, has had a huge impact on the South Asian community and is an integral part of the daily activities of its members. This dance drama event designed as a celebration of life traverses the lifespan of a healthy person who is diagnosed with cancer and has to deal with the emotional and physical issues surrounding the disease. Preventive health messages from CINJ experts and other health professionals will be shared with the audience between acts. 

The event, which features 100 performers and begins at 8:00 p.m., also commemorates Minority and Multicultural Health Month. Tickets are a suggested donation of $15 and can be obtained by calling the Satrangi School of Fusion at 877-SATRANGI or by e-mailing or

“We are pleased to be working with the SKN Foundation on delivering important messages about cancer and cancer prevention to the South Asian community,” said CINJ Director Robert S. DiPaola, MD, professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  “This creative approach will allow us to share this very important information with hundreds of people.”

SKN Foundation Founder and Trustee Naveen Mehrotra, MD, MPH, who has a background in healthcare as a clinical assistant professor at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, says awareness of cancer is a key aspect of preventive health measures.  “There are many stigmas and fears associated with the word ‘cancer,’ as it is often equated to a death threat. The belief in the South Asian community is that if there are no problems, one should not visit the doctor or go for any preventive screenings. Therefore, many South Asians do not get needed medical care until it is too late,” said Dr. Mehrotra.  “Especially with women’s health, there are cultural barriers and priority issues where the woman leaves her health as the last issue to address. In her role as the family caretaker, she performs all of her obligations without taking care of herself.”

Data from the last U.S. Census in 2000 showed that in New Jersey, the South Asian-American population grew by 101,000 in the 1990’s to 181,000.  Census data now being compiled are likely to show further growth in this population.  The most common cancers that affect this group are breast, prostate, colorectal and ovarian.  CINJ and the SKN Foundation are working together to improve cancer awareness and provide educational information in a number of languages specific to the South Asian community.  

About The Cancer Institute of New Jersey

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. CINJ’s physician-scientists engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life.  To make a tax-deductible gift to support CINJ, call 732-235-8614 or visit CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. 

The CINJ Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides a mechanism to rapidly disseminate important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Hospital, Cooper University Hospital and Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Affiliate Hospitals: Bayshore Community Hospital, CentraState Healthcare System, JFK Medical Center, Mountainside Hospital, Raritan Bay Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton (CINJ at Hamilton), Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Somerset Medical Center, Southern Ocean County Hospital, The University Hospital/UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School*, and University Medical Center at Princeton. *Academic Affiliate

About Shri Krishna Nidhi Foundation

SKN Foundation is a 501C3 not for profit charitable organization with a vision to improve total wellness through education. The organization, which was inspired by several members of the Mehrotra family and their health problems, serves the South Asian community by promoting health education programs and raising awareness about various health issues. The organization is comprised of prominent community members including: Mrs. Alka Agrawal (EBC Radio), Mr. Raman Alaigh, Mrs. Sonal Bagaria, Mrs. Suman Bagaria, Assemblyman Upendra  Chivukula, Dr. Geetha Ghai, Mr. Kris Kolluri, Mrs.  Anchal Mehrotra, Mrs. Moti Mehrotra, Mr. Praveen Mehrotra, Dr. Meena Murthy, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Mrs. Jigna Rao, Mrs. Anika Sharma, Ms. Shikha Tandan, and Mr. Veeresh Tandan. Fore more information visit or call 908-643-5115.

About Satrangi School of Fusion

The Satrangi School of Fusion is one of the premiere and innovative fusion dance schools in the tri-state area. The school is known for its innovative fusion of Indian and western dance forms. The students of the academy were chosen to perform for a New Jersey appearance by President Obama in 2009.  Known for its eclectic style and unique approach to dance, the school has 19 centers in New Jersey. The Founder Director, Rohit Baxi, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma at the age of 2 years. He underwent a Syme’s amputation of the left leg to make sure that the sarcoma was removed. Even though he was given a prosthetic leg, he defied the odds and has been dancing ever since.  In Rohit's words, "Leg or no leg I think when one thing is taken away from you, you get another gift in another form. In my case it was dance. I think amputees around the world go through phantom pain, self image issues and personality issues. I went through all of them as no one expects one to be imperfect. I guess the lesson of life is to make your imperfection your strength and make it work for you around the society so you can move ahead and lead a normal life."



Michele Fisher


precision medicine at Rutgers Cancer Institute







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