On May 15, 2020, NAAPIMHA launched Asians*in Focus as a direct response to the growing racist attacks against individuals of Asian descent. NAAPIMHA wanted to create a space for individuals to tell their stories and the impact of COVID19 using the healing power of art in all its creative forms. The A*iF project was brought to life by a small group of Asian American women advocates from around the country who are dedicated to making a difference.
Our stories will be told BY us and ABOUT us.
Asians*in Focus recently created the heART’s hope which was started through a generous donation by the Sevelo family to honor Nicholas Fatu Sevelo who ended his life at the age of 18. On November 14, 2020, Fatu’s family held a 5k Memorial fundraiser to honor and celebrate his life and raise awareness around suicide. It is the hope of the Sevelo family and NAAPIMHA that we can prevent others from experiencing the pain of losing a loved one to suicide.
Goal of HeART’s Hope: Prevent Suicide by...
Raising awareness around mental health and suicide prevention
Engaging the AAPI community using creativity in all its forms
Focusing on hope, resilience, and celebrating being AAPI
The Asians*inFocus Team
Dr. Sriya Bhattacharyya - she/they
Sriya is a Psychologist-Activist and works for the Center for Health Equity at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Health Equity Research Lab at Harvard Medical School based in the Bronx, NY. For over a decade she has used arts in healing trauma, research, and social change projects nationally and internationally, and believes in the power of art for individual and collective transformation. When she's not working, she loves to kayak, hike, and attempt to grow vegetables in her garden.
Allyson Goto - she/they
Allyson Masunaga Goto is a fourth generation Japanese-American living in Colorado. Growing up she was inspired by her grandparents and their involvement in the JA community - a place where they found belonging. Now, after returning home from college, She currently works for a local health department and focuses on a project dedicated to addressing food insecurity in the most disproportionately impacted communities in the Denver-Metro region. When not working Allyson enjoys gardening, fishing, and doing DIY projects around the house.
DJ Ida - she/her
Dr. DJ Ida has over forty years of experience working with Asian American/Pacific Islander communities. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology and helped establish numerous organizations, including the Asian American Educational Opportunity Program at the U of Colorado, the Asian Pacific Development Center, a specialty mental health clinic in Denver and the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association. She has served on numerous advisory boards including the US Dept HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Advisory Board, Mental Health America, the Annapolis Coalition for Behavioral Health Workforce, the Hogg Foundation and the UC Davis Medical School Center for Eliminating Health Disparities. She received the Robert Wood Johnson Award for Health Equity for her efforts to focus on the impact of mental health on the health and wellbeing of ethnically diverse and linguistically isolated populations. She was the primary author for the Office of Minority Health’s Integrated Care for AANHPIs: A Blueprint for Action (2012). In 2001 she served as a peer reviewer for the Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity and was a contributing author for the Eliminating Disparities for Racial and Ethnic Communities Subcommittee report for the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health as well as the Annapolis Coalition on Behavioral Health Workforce’s paper An Action Plan for Behavioral Health Workforce Development. In an effort to improve the quality of care for AANHPIs she helped develop Growing Our Own to train clinicians on how to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services; Achieving Whole Health to train community members to become Wellness Coaches; and the Mental Health Interpreters Training to work in mental health settings recognizing the unique challenges faced when interpreting with immigrant and refugee populations.
Janet Namkung - she/they
Janet is a community organizer and social entrepreneur. She currently works with the National Endowment for the Humanities. Previously, she helped found a tele-therapy company, worked with the Council of Korean Americans and OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates. She served as a Commissioner on Mayor Bowser’s Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Community Development, on the Board of Directors of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, and as Chair of the DC Chapter of Service Year & AmeriCorps Alums. She is a PROUD New York City native and currently resides in Washington, DC. Follow her IG @hyun_ne.
Jen Nguyen - she/her
Jen is a Chinese American and AAPI advocate born in Colorado and currently residing in Seattle. Jen currently works as an Inpatient Pediatric Mental Health Therapist who currently works at Seattle Children's Hospital on the Psychiatric and Behavioral Medicine Unit. She has been active voice in the AAPI community in Colorado through appointment to Mayor Hancock's AAPI commission, volunteering, leading the largest national cultural dragonboat festival. Jen loves to go curling, cycling and craft in her spare time!
Pata Suyemoto - she/her
Dr. Pata Suyemoto is a feminist scholar, writer, educator, diversity trainer, mental health activist, jewelry designer, and avid bicyclist. She earned her PhD. from the University of Pennsylvania and did her research on anti-racist education and issues of race and racism. She is the co-chair for the Greater Boston Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition and the chair of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (MCSP) Alliance for Equity’s People of Color Caucus. Pata is one of the authors of Widening the Lens: Exploring the Role of Social Justice in Suicide Prevention – A Racial Equity Toolkit. She has spoken and written about her struggles with depression and is a co-founder of The Breaking Silences Project www.thebreakingsilencesproject.com, which is an artistic endeavor that educates about the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American young women. She is also a long-time volunteer for Asian Women for Health and is a trainer and wellness coach for the Achieving Whole Health program. Pata is also member of a number of boards and committees including the MCSP’s Executive Committee, the planning committee for the annual Asian American Mental Health Forum, and the Department of Public Health’s Suicide Prevention Community Advisory Board. She is active in AAS’s Impacted Family and Friends (IFF) Division, the Attempt Survivors/Lived Experience (AS/LE) Division, and the Cultural Competency Committee. Her claim to fame is that she rode her bicycle across the country in the summer of 2012.
Courtney Ozaki - she/her
Courtney Ozaki is a third and fourth generation Japanese American cultural connector and creative producer. She is the founder of the Japanese Arts Network (JA-NE) - a national resource for artistic collaboration and connection which celebrates and advances the work of Japanese artists in America by providing access to resources and developing programs and platforms that support and strengthen visibility. Courtney is also a professional Japanese taiko is the Business Manager for the Taiko Community Alliance, a national organization that 'empowers the people and advances the art of taiko. She is passionate about the melding of ideas, and the integration and interdependence of arts sectors, and she is motivated by the impetus that an inclusive arts culture leads to a more productive and empathetic society.
Ellen Park - she/her
Ellen is a second generation Korean American and is currently an undergraduate student at Tufts University where she studies Community Health and Child Study & Human Development. Her passions and research areas of interest include advocating for Asian American mental health through culturally-informed interventions and utilizing creative arts to heal and empower communities through community-based participatory research. In her free time, Ellen enjoys reading and writing poetry, listening to podcasts, and going on long walks/runs with friends!