Keeping a Balance Perspective on the Tragic Killings in Santa Barbara, CA

May 28, 2014

RE:  Keeping a balanced perspective on the tragic killings in Santa Barbara, California.

Much has been written over the past few days about another mass killing, this time in Santa Barbara, California. It is ironic and bitterly painful that at the heart the incident is a young Asian American male.  It is ironic because this occurred at the end of Asian Pacific Heritage Month which is dedicated to celebrating the richness of Asian Pacific American heritages and cultures.  It is bitterly painful because Elliot Rodger felt others “thought less of me because I was half-Asian………I was feeling different because I am of mixed race…….which made me different from the normal  fully-white kids that I was trying to fit in with.”  It is doubly ironic because May is also national Mental Health Awareness month yet mental health remains a topic that is still difficult to discuss in many communities.

On May 8th, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus hosted a community roundtable in Washington DC to listen to the mental health concerns of AANHPI community members, to hear what type of legislation and policies are important to improving the overall mental health and wellbeing of AANHPIs. The next day the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islander, WHIAAPI and the US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, hosted an all day meeting with consumers, policy makers, providers and administrators on ways to improve the quality of care for AANHPIs, including redefining what mental health means for diverse populations.

A challenge in writing an article like this is to present a balanced perspective.  One that acknowledges that being bi-racial did influence Elliot Rodger’s sense of self worth without making this an article on being Asian American or bi-racial.  It raises issues around mental health but caution must be made to not see this as further proof that individuals with mental health problems are violent and the simple answer to gun control is to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental health problems. We may never know the whole story but clearly there are complex issues that need to be addressed.

Watching the videos of Rodger are chilling but it is important to get beyond our attempts to understand his need for retribution and assess what brought him to this point.  It is dangerous to play armchair therapist about someone we know about only through the media but his commentary on racism, anger towards women, resentment for not being wealthy, being bullied and feeling isolated raise critical issues that we as a society need to discuss. Mass killings shine a spotlight on the problems for a few days and weeks then fade away until the next sensational story makes the headlines and evening news.  The real tragedy, however, is what goes unnoticed by the public on a day to day basis. It is the emotional and/or physical scars of the person who does not act out but keeps the pain hidden inside.  It is about the violence perpetrated on another, one person at a time.  It is about what happens to Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, to African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, to women, LGBT communities and immigrants.  It is about bullying and being bullied, of surviving traumatic events and looking for answers to what gives meaning to our lives.

Another challenge is finding ways can all become involved.  Experts cannot predict with any certainty who will become violent but they do know the factors that increase the likelihood of preventing violence.  We know that having stable relationships and support, being valued and having opportunities to feel competent are all essential factors in leading healthy lives.  The problem with focusing on mental health is placing the emphasis on the problems, of seeing it in terms of pathology or a diagnosis.  Mental health is also about creating healthy environments, of focusing on a person’s strength.  It is finding ways to engage with each other, of eradicating our own biases around racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and anti-immigrant sentiments.

July is Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness month. At the end of July and beginning of August, the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, NAAPIMHA will host a national three day summit on the University of Colorado, Boulder campus. The intent is to develop leadership among Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander college students.  It will build on their Friends DO Make A Difference campaign to help student leaders raise awareness around mental health among AANHPIs on their respective campus.   Congressman Mike Honda, 17th Congressional District of California, founded the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus “a bipartisan Caucus comprised of 58 Members of Congress committed to the belief that all communities deserve a safe environment to thrive, and our nation is in urgent need of solutions that eradicate bullying offline and online”.  President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force” to build ladders of opportunity and unlock the full potential of boys and young men of color”.  These are but a few of the ways you can get involved. NAAPIMHA is also pleased to work alongside fellow members of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, a coalition of twenty nine national organizations who continue to address the many issues facing AANHPI communities from health, mental health, substance use, civil rights, housing, economic development, immigration, education, women’s issues, LGBT issues and a host of other concerns.  Mental health impacts each of these topics and in turn is influenced by these issues.  For further information go to www.naapimha.org; honda.house/gov/cabc; www.samhsa.gov; www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper; www.whitehouse.gov/aapi; and ncapaonline.org.

DJ Ida, PhD

Executive Director

NAAPIMHA

djida@naapimha.org

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President Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

NAAPIMHA would like to congratulate the fourteen individuals who will serve on President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.   This is a very impressive list that will serve our communities well.  We look forward to working closely with the new Commissioners as well as continuing to work with the staff of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to insure that mental health remains an area of focus as we work to improve the overall health of our communities.

April 24, 2014

 President Obama Announces his Intent to Appoint Fourteen Individuals to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint fourteen individuals to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  This Commission is charged with working to improve the quality of life of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) through increased participation in and access to federal programs.  These members will advise the President on innovative ways to engage AAPIs across the country and to improve their health, education, environment, and well-being.  Hailing from all over the Nation and from across a wide range of disciplines, these accomplished individuals will work to advance the inclusion of the AAPI community and to uplift the community’s contributions to America.

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders:

  • ·         N. Nina Ahmad – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Michael Byun – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Ravi Chaudhary – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Lian Cheun – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Billy Dec – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Bill Imada – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Kathy Ko Chin – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Dee Jay Mailer – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Diane Narasaki – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Shekar Narasimhan – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Mary Ann Young Okada – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Maulik Pancholy – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Linda X. Phan – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • ·         Lorna May Ho Randlett – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

President Obama said, “I am pleased to announce that these experienced and committed individuals have agreed to join this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.”

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders:

Dr. N. Nina Ahmad, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Dr. N. Nina Ahmad is co-owner and Executive Vice President of Government Affairs for JNA Capital, Inc., a real estate finance and development company based in Philadelphia that she helped to co-found in 1994.  Dr. Ahmad also serves as the Administrator of ​​Global City Regional Center, LLC, a position she has held since May 2013.  From 1992 to 2005, Dr. Ahmad served as Bower Research Fellow and then held a joint assistant professorship at Wills Eye Hospital and at the Ophthalmology Department of Jefferson Medical College.  Also during this time, Dr. Ahmad served as the Director of Molecular Biology for the Research Department of Wills Eye Hospital.  In 2011, Dr. Ahmad joined the Philadelphia Foundation’s Board of Managers.  In 2009, Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia appointed her Chair of the city’s Commission on Asian American Affairs.  Dr. Ahmad received a B.S. in Chemistry from the Lawrence Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Byun, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Michael Byun is currently the Executive Director of Asian Services in Action, Inc., a position he has held since 2009.  Previously, he held other roles at that organization after joining it in 2003.  From 2002 to 2003, he was Assistant Director of Major Gifts for the Oberlin College Office of Development.  From 2001 to 2002, he was Assistant Director of Development for University of Washington Development & Alumni Relations.  Mr. Byun is the Past President of the Ohio Asian American Health Coalition.  He serves on the Ohio Governor’s AAPI Advisory Council and the Board of Directors of the National Coalition of Asian Pacific American Community Development.  He advises the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, which serves AAPI health clinics around the country, and is a founding member of AIM for Equity, a coalition of over 30 national and local AAPI organizations.  Mr. Byun is a 2010 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow.  He received a B.A. and an M.P.A. from the University of Washington.

 Lt. Col. Ravi Chaudhary, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Lt. Col. Ravi Chaudhary is an Air Force officer, currently serving as Executive Officer to the Commander, Air Force District of Washington, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.  Lt. Col. Chaudhary has logged over 3,000 flight hours as a pilot and flight test engineer, including over 700 combat hours.  Previously, Lt. Col. Chaudhary served as Commander of the U.S. Air Force’s 317th Recruiting Squadron from 2011 to 2013. From 2009 to 2011, he served as Chief of Strategy Integration in the Air Force Strategic Plans and Programs division as well as speechwriter in the Secretary of the Air Force Executive Action Group at the Pentagon.  From 2001 to 2009, Lt. Col. Chaudhary served a C-17 Pilot in a variety of operational, deployed, staff and leadership roles for Air Mobility Command, and from 1993 to 2000 he was an Aerospace/Flight Test Engineer for Air Force Materiel Command.  Lt. Col. Chaudhary’s awards include the NASA Stellar Award, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, and Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals.  Lt. Col. Chaudhary received a B.S. from the United States Air Force Academy, an M.S. from Saint Mary’s University, and a Masters in Military Operational Art and Science from the Air Force’s Air University.

Lian Cheun, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Lian Cheun is the Executive Director of Khmer Girls in Action (KGA).  Before joining KGA, Ms. Cheun worked for a number of organizations, including Asian Immigrant Women Advocates and the Asian Migrant Center, which is based in Hong Kong.  From 2000 to 2002, Ms. Cheun served as an Early Academic Opportunity Program college counselor at Skyline High School and Castlemont High School in Oakland, CA.  Ms. Cheun received the 2013 Panther Award from the California Reinvestment Coalition for her efforts to help students organize for better health services and student outcomes.  Ms. Cheun received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.P.A. from the California State University at Long Beach.

 Billy Dec, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Billy Dec is the CEO and Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, a hospitality and entertainment development company in Chicago, a position he has held since 2002.  Mr. Dec is a regular Entertainment Contributor to ABC TV’s Windy City Live, a television program in Chicago that started in 2009.  He is involved in several philanthropic organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Lookingglass Theatre Company, and Maggie Daley’s After School Matters.  Mr. Dec also served as Director of Cultural Relations on the 2016 Chicago Olympic Committee.  He has received an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for Broadcast/Advanced Media and the Illinois Secretary of State’s Asian Pacific American Business Leadership Award.  Mr. Dec received a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a J.D. from the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Bill Imada, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Bill Imada is the Chairman and Chief Collaboration Officer of IW Group (formerly known as Imada Wong Communications Group), an advertising and public relations agency that Mr. Imada co-founded in 1990.  Prior to founding the IW Group, Mr. Imada was a Partner at the Imada/Schulte Group from 1987 to 1989.  Mr. Imada is the co-founder and former chairman of the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship, co-founder of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, and former president of the Asian American Advertising Federation.  Mr. Imada serves on a number of boards and advisory councils, including the Advertising Educational Foundation, California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, Center for Asian American Media, and Coalition for Asian Pacifics in Entertainment.  Mr. Imada received a B.S. from California State University, Northridge.

Kathy Ko Chin, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Kathy Ko Chin currently serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, a position she has held since 2010.  Previously, from 2002 to 2009, she was the Program Director for the Community Clinics Initiative, a joint project of Tides and The California Endowment.  From 1997 to 2002 she was an independent consultant to non-profits and foundations in areas of leadership development and strategic planning.  Ms. Ko Chin was the Associate Director at Asian Health Services from 1984 to 1997.  She has worked in a number of health care settings and community clinics across the country, including San Francisco General Hospital, the University of California San Francisco Institute for Health Policy Studies, Planned Parenthood SF, and South Cove Community Health Center in Boston.  Ms. Ko Chin received a B.S. from Stanford University and an M.S. in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dee Jay Mailer, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Dee Jay Mailer is the former Chief Executive Officer of Kamehameha Schools, a position she held from 2004 to 2014.  Prior to this position, Ms. Mailer served from 2002 to 2004 as the Chief Operating Officer of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a private foundation based in Geneva.  From 1999 to 2002, Ms. Mailer was Chief Operating Officer for Health Net of California.  Prior to that, from 1986 to 1999, Ms. Mailer served in various leadership capacities at Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Hawai’i Region, where she was named Chief Executive Officer in 1995.  She is the recipient of the University of Hawai’i Distinguished Alumni Award, YWCA Woman Leadership Award, and the Hawai’i Governor’s Proclamation of Service to Community.  Ms. Mailer received a B.S. and an M.B.A. from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

Diane Narasaki, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Diane Narasaki has served as the Executive Director of Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) since 1995.  While at ACRS, Ms. Narasaki co-founded and currently chairs the King County Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, a network of community organizations serving AAPI immigrants and refugees in Washington State.  From 1987 to 1991, Ms. Narasaki served as the Executive Director of the Northwest Labor and Employment Law Office.  Ms. Narasaki has served as Co-Chair of the Seattle Community Police Commission since 2013.  In 2012, she was a member of the Behavioral Healthcare Disparities Committee of the Washington State Governor’s Interagency Council on Healthcare Disparities.  She previously served on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council from 2010 to 2013 and the Washington State Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission from 1996 to 2003.  Ms. Narasaki received a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Washington and a Master’s degree from Seattle University’s Master of Nonprofit Leadership Program.

Shekar Narasimhan, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Shekar Narasimhan has been Managing Partner at Beekman Advisors since 2003 and Chairman of Papillon Capital since 2012.  Previously, Mr. Narasimhan was the Managing Director at Prudential Mortgage Capital Company from 2000 to 2003 and the Chairman and CEO of The WMF Group, Ltd. from 1988 to 2000.  From 1987 to 1988, Mr. Narasimhan was the Executive Vice President of Clark Financial Services, Inc., and from 1984 to 1986 he was the Corporate Vice President of Real Estate for the National Cooperative Bank.  Prior to that, Mr. Narasimhan was the General Manager of Greenbelt Homes, Inc. from 1981 to 1984.  Mr. Narasimhan has also served as Associate Director of Rural America, Inc. from 1979 to 1981, Director of Housing of the Human/Economic Appalachian Development Corporation from 1977 to 1979, and Executive Director of the David Community Development Corporation from 1975 to 1977.  Mr. Narasimhan is Co-Founder of the Emergent Institute (formerly known as the Indian Institute for Sustainable Enterprise) in Bangalore, India, a nonprofit institution training entrepreneurs to build social ventures.  Mr. Narasimhan received a B.S. from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi and an M.B.A. from the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Mary Ann Young Okada, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Dr. Mary Ann Young Okada is President and Chief Executive Officer of Guam Community College, a position she has held since 2007.  Previously, Dr. Okada served Guam Community College as Vice President of Financial Affairs from 2005 to 2007, Accounting Supervisor from 2003 to 2004, Controller in 2001, Assistant to the Vice President of Financial Affairs from 1994 to 2001, and General Accounting Supervisor from 1992 to 1994.  Prior to this, Dr. Okada was a Comptroller for the Guam Public School System from 2004 to 2005 and a Finance Manager for Pacific Western Enterprises from 1990 to 1992.  She has been active in community organizations, including the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the American Association of University Women – Guam Chapter, the Pacific Postsecondary Education Council, and Westcare Foundation Board – Pacific Islands.  Dr. Okada received a B.B.A. and an M.S. from the University of Guam and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.

Maulik Pancholy, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Maulik Pancholy is a film, television, and stage actor widely known for playing the role of Jonathan for six seasons on NBC’s award-winning series 30 Rock.  He also appeared in six seasons of the Showtime series Weeds and played Neal on the first season of the NBC series Whitney.  He is the voice of Sanjay, the title character in the Nickelodeon animated series Sanjay & Craig, as well as the voice of Baljeet in the Disney animated series Phineas and Ferb.  He shared the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series with the cast of 30 Rock in 2009.  He has also appeared in numerous films and plays.  Mr. Pancholy is active with a number of non-profit and social policy organizations such as Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the New York City Anti-Violence Project, and the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission.  He worked closely with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center on its exhibition “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation,” which opened at the National Museum of Natural History in February 2014.  Mr. Pancholy received a B.S. from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. from Yale University.

Linda X. Phan, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Linda X. Phan has served as Executive Director of Asian Family Support Services of Austin, an anti-violence organization supporting immigrant families, since 2005.  Previously, Ms. Phan was Communications Manager at the Texas Advocacy Project from 2004 to 2005 and Development Associate at the United Way Capital Area in 1999.  Ms. Phan has served on the Texas Council on Family Violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and the Austin Commission on Immigrant Affairs.  Ms. Phan received the Human Values Award from Art of Living Foundation in 2007, the Social Services Award from the University of Texas Division of Diversity and Community Engagement in 2010, and the Community Award from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce in 2013.  Ms. Phan received a B.A. in Biology and a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Texas at Austin.

Lorna May Ho Randlett, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Lorna May Ho Randlett is a Communication Specialist and Reach and Relevance External Relations Manager at McKinsey & Company, a position she has held since 2006.  She currently represents the Global Semiconductor Practice at McKinsey and worked in the U.S. State and Local and Infrastructure Americas Practices.  Previously, Ms. Randlett was the Communications Director of the San Francisco Unified School District from 2002 to 2006.  Ms. Randlett established LMH Consulting in 2001, and worked as a broadcast journalist in the San Francisco media markets.  She is active in the community, including serving on the San Francisco Library Commission and advising the civic innovation startup, Fusecorp.  Ms. Randlett received a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Strategies for Behavioral Health Organizations to Promote New Health Insurance Opportunities in AANHPI Communities

The US Department of Health and Human Services just released a series of documents on effective outreach strategies for African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans/Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.  NAAPIMHA is pleased to have taken the lead in developing the materials for AANHPI communities.  NAAPIMHA  would like to thank Dr. Rocco Cheng, Director of the API California Reducing Disparities Project,  Myron Quon, Executive Director of NAPAFASA as well as Juliet Bui and Larke Huang at SAMHSA for their input and guidance into this process.  NAAPIMHA will continue to work with its local, state, national and federal partners to advocate for improved health services that address mental health issues.  We are also interested in hearing about the impact of the Affordable Care Act is having on AANHPI communities.

Click here to read the full article.

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