A picture of Representative Janice D. Schakowsky
Janice S.
Democrat IL 9

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  • Honoring Ms. Abha Pandya

    by Representative Janice D. Schakowsky

    Posted on 2015-01-27

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    SCHAKOWSKY of illinois in the house of representatives Tuesday, January 27, 2015 Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize Ms. Abha Pandya, who is retiring at the end of this month from the position of Chief Executive Officer of Asian Human Services, Inc. (AHS) after 20 years in leadership at the organization. AHS is Chicago's largest social service agency serving the needs of the pan-Asian and other immigrant and underserved communities residing in metropolitan Chicago. Ms. Pandya joined AHS in June 1994 as the Executive Director, and in 2004 she became the Chief Executive Officer. In 1994, AHS had a staff of six employees and a budget of $294,000. Under Ms. Pandya's leadership, AHS has grown nearly 40 fold--having a budget of approximately $15 million in fiscal year 2015, and a staff of 115 full-time employees.

    Ms. Pandya is a truly remarkable leader. She always completed what she set out to do, including big projects that are important to the community, such as opening several Federally Qualified Health Care Clinics, providing dental services to the community, and opening education and job training centers. I attended many wonderful ribbon cuttings of AHS projects under Ms. Pandya's leadership.

    AHS is a multilingual, functionally diverse, not-for-profit social service agency that provides direct services to over 27,000 clients a year. Its excellent staff speaks 24 languages and includes people of different ages, genders, ethnicities and races.

    Under Ms. Pandya's leadership, AHS opened Illinois' first federally- funded primary care and dental clinic to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate clinical services to Asian immigrants and others; a comprehensive mental health program, the only state-funded program for the Asian community in Illinois; a large community health education and prevention program; an extensive family literacy program; and a job training and placement program. In 2011, AHS received $2.8 million in capital funds from the state and federal governments to start an expanded primary care and dental clinic, and the new clinic became fully operational on September 3, 2013. In 2014 AHS received federal funding to establish an additional primary care clinic in my district, in Skokie, Illinois.

    AHS will be naming one of their clinics the ``Abha Pandya's Family Health Center'' to honor her contributions. It is an extremely well- deserved honor.

    Ms. Pandya has advocated extensively at the federal, state and city levels on behalf of Asian and other immigrant and refugee communities in Chicago for a more equitable distribution of resources, greater access, and linguistically appropriate services. She has served on the Governor's Multicultural Services Committee, and on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Council on Urban Affairs, the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly, the metropolitan Board of the United Way of Chicago and the Chicago Council of the United Way.

    Ms. Pandya received a B.A. with honors from Elphinstone College, University of Bombay, and a master's degree with distinction from the University of Delhi, and an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She will be spending time with her family, including her grandchildren, in California. I thank Ms. Pandya for her leadership and service. I will miss working with her in her leadership role at AHS, but I know she will continue to look for ways to serve our community.


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