Navdeep Singh Selected for 2018 CAF-ApoPharma Distinguished Scholar Award

June 20, 2019 – The Cooley’s Anemia Foundation is proud to announce Navdeep Singh as the 2018 CAF-ApoPharma Distinguished Scholar Award recipient.  The award is in the amount of $20,000 and is presented to individuals with a clinically significant form of thalassemia who live in the United States and are pursuing postgraduate doctoral level studies in medicine or science. This award is made possible through a grant from pharmaceutical manufacturer ApoPharma to encourage and support the pursuit of higher education by members of the thalassemia patient community.

“ApoPharma is delighted to extend our congratulations to Navdeep.  Navdeep’s goals and aspirations represent values of innovation and a passion for excellence and are what we hoped to recognize in establishing the CAF-ApoPharma Distinguished Scholar award,” said ApoPharma President Dr. Michael Spino.  “We commend Navdeep for the critical research path he is embarking upon and wish him continued success in this work.”

Navdeep’s personal experiences as an individual with thalassemia and his exposure to patients with sickle cell anemia as a child inspired his passion for pain management. This passion led him to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Wayne State University, followed by a Master of Science in Nursing at Madonna University. He now works as a Nurse Practitioner specializing in pain management at the Beaumont Hospital, where he manages patients dealing with cancer pain, post-op pain, acute pain, chronic pain, and pain associated with sickle cell disease.

Navdeep is also currently pursuing a PhD at Wayne State University. He aims to produce research that can be applied in a clinical setting, with a goal of reducing health disparities related to the management of pain. Navdeep has presented at the American Society of Pain meeting, published an article in the journal Pain Management in Nursing, and attended the Pain Consortium at the National Institutes of Health. As a result of his exceptional work, Navdeep was chosen as a Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholar.

“The Foundation is honored to present the CAF-ApoPharma Distinguished Scholar Award to Navdeep,” says Peter Chieco, CAF Volunteer National President. “His pursuit of excellence is fueled by a deep commitment to improving the lives of patients, and we are so proud to support his efforts. CAF thanks ApoPharma for their ongoing support for individuals with thalassemia. We also thank the Scholarship Committee for their time and dedication in reviewing the submissions.”

“I feel very honored and humbled to be receiving this award,” says Navdeep. “This will aid me in pursuing my goal of reducing health disparities, and I am very grateful to CAF and ApoPharma for encouraging thalassemia patients to pursue all they can be.”

In addition to his focus on improving health disparities through his research, Navdeep is passionate about making an impact on health outcomes in developing countries. As an undergraduate, he traveled to South Africa and Kenya, where he educated patients with HIV on antiretroviral medications. As a graduate student, Navdeep visited rural areas of Haiti and the Philippines to help run travel clinics. “Doing the volunteer missions reminded me that I wasn’t alone in this healthcare struggle,” explains Navdeep. “I was inspired seeing that, even though these regions were quite poor, the people were resilient and in good spirits. Having thalassemia limited me from doing a full study abroad because I had to be back home every three to four weeks for a transfusion. However, I did make it a goal of mine to see the world, and I am proud to say I have visited 52 countries. I want to continue traveling, as these trips were life-changing and very humbling.”

Navdeep hopes to inspire other individuals with thalassemia to pursue their dreams. “To my fellow thalassemia patients, I want to say that we are a small group, but we are not a defenseless group. Don’t let anything stop you from obtaining what you want,” says Navdeep. “People are certainly entitled to privacy, but I hope people with thalassemia will be vocal and spread awareness. Get involved with your government so people can see there are faces attached to the ‘pre-existing conditions’ out there. Be a strong self-advocate in your physician’s office and ask, ‘When is my MRI, Dexascan, 2D Echo, PFT, referrals to endocrinology, etc.’ It’s your health, so take charge!”

CAF congratulates Navdeep on receiving the 2018 CAF-ApoPharma Distinguished Scholar Award, and we wish him much success in his future.

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