About Us

The Be Well Initiative (BWI) has its roots in human suffering, specifically aiding the Nepali diaspora, profoundly impacted by the 2015 Nepal Earthquake.

Nepali Americans found comfort/solace among people from all walks of life, including White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) friends. Deeply empathetic to the Nepali diaspora, these allies also guided collaborative thinking to alleviate suffering in our adopted homeland. Scientists, advocates, professionals, and community leaders systematically gathered to join hands and problem-solve. Organizations such as NAAPIMHA, Ohio Dept. of Mental Health, ASIA, SANN, ACRS and Adhikaar have supported our efforts with their experience and credibility.

BWI Statement

What we stand for

  • Developing psycho-social support for individuals, families, and the entire community.
  • Building a mind-body health and wellness “prevention” as well as early counseling intervention infrastructure that supports everyday family and community health and vitality.
  • Being a resource in dealing with potential future disasters.
  • Evolving resource bridges between communities and government, non-profit, and private resources.

A model is envisioned for individuals, families, and even communities as a whole:

  • to progressively strengthen psycho-social health and mind-body well-being.
  • to increase a sense of sharing, openness, and psychosocial connection within a variety of personal to communal group settings.
  • to more effectively use existing community resources for stress-transition resilience and to close resource gaps, and 4) through education, prevention, and early intervention, live healthier and more productive lives.

As the BWI team of experts probed into emotional wellsprings and stories of individuals, families and groups, qualitative knowledge about Nepali diaspora community health and wellness emerged. Identified key stress factors are as follows:

  • Life in the United States
    Pursuing the American Dream
  • Balancing act
    The emotional and societal expectations of families back-home is another pressure-packed dimension in this population’s “survival of the fittest” chase of the “American Dream,”
  • Sacred Spaces
    Individuals’ mind-body space is so sacred that one does not disclose even when the mind itself is in crisis. (Of course, shame can also impede sharing.) Consequently, too many minor mind-body issues are not addressed until the eruption of severe depression, personality disorders, domestic and substance abuse and, even, suicide.
  • Outreach
    BWI plans to increase its outreach to the Nepali and South Asian Diaspora.
  • Cross-Cultural Partnership
    BWI continues its outreach to other immigrant communities for mutual learning and shared resources and support.
  • Resource Development
    BWI is developing partnership with CBOs for federal (SAMHSA) and private grants.

BWI Team

Profile picture of Dr. Damber Kumar (DK) Gurung

Dr. Damber Kumar (DK) Gurung

Public Health Program Convener

Profile picture of Mark Gorkin

Mark Gorkin

MSW, LICSW, The Stress Doc, Motivational Psychohumorist and a writer.

Profile picture of Dr. Surendra Bir Adhikari

Dr. Surendra Bir Adhikari

Research Lead, Mental Health Administrator of the Ohio Mental Health & Addiction Services

Profile picture of Anshu Basnyat

Anshu Basnyat

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, The Empowered Parent

Profile picture of Krishna Desar

Krishna Desar

Community Liaison/Event Planning Coordinator

Profile picture of Bibhaw Pokharel

Bibhaw Pokharel

Community Outreach and Media Specialist

BWI Youth Wing

Profile picture of Kshitij Neupane

Kshitij Neupane

Director of Youth Initiatives
Clinical Research Program Coordinator at John’s Hopkins University School of Medicine, managing oncology trials. B.S. in Neuroscience and Psychology from George Mason University.

Profile picture of Vardaan Gurung

Vardaan Gurung

Nuclear engineer for the Navy in Washington, D.C., and lives in Columbia Heights. He went to school at MIT in Boston.

Profile picture of Bibek Basnet

Bibek Basnet

Grew up in Kathmandu and came to the states for college. Very interested in community building and likes to organize events to bring together the Nepali youth diaspora in DC. He is passionate about music, spirituality, and personal growth.

Profile picture of Prajjwal Dangal

Prajjwal Dangal

Ph.D. student in computer science and lives in DC. Hobbies include reading, hiking, meditating, participating in civic activities and convincing people that everything is just a dream.

Profile picture of Subham Gurung

Subham Gurung

11th grader at Lake Braddock Secondary School, Northern Virginia. Plays travel soccer, is on the school track team and is a member of Key Club.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, feelings, or urges, contact emergency services at 911, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255