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Our History

About Asians* in Focus

Asians* in Focus is an initiative created by NAAPIMHA in recognition that mental HEALTH takes many forms. We decided to create a space dedicated to the sole purpose of telling AANHPI stories, using the full range of artistic expression.

 

Asians* in Focus is launching Asians* Unmasked: a project using photography to capture this historical moment when COVID-19 forever changed our lives. We will continue to build on this project and invite you to join us on our journey as we bring into focus what it is to be Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

Meet The Team

DJ Ida

DJ Ida is a third generation Japanese American who has worked with AANHPI communities for over 40 years. She received her PhD in clinical psychology and spent many years providing direct clinical services. DJ has worked with community based organizations around the country served on numerous boards including the US Dept. HHS, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council; Mental Health America; the UC Davis Medical Center Health Equity Advisory Board, the Annapolis Coalition for Behavioral Health Workforce; and the Sakura Foundation. She helped develop Growing Our Own to help clinicians learn how to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services, Achieving Whole Health to train healthcare workers on integrated models of selfcare and Mental Health Interpreter to train interpreters to work in mental health settings. Her greatest love is working with AANHPIs to find creative solutions by using a broader public health approach that incorporates a cultural lens to identify what works, what doesn’t and trusting the wisdom and strength of the community.

Janet Namkung

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.

Courtney Ozaki

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.

Jen Nguyen

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!

Sriya Bhattacharyya

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.

Pata Suyemoto

Dr. Pata Suyemoto is a feminist scholar, writer, educator, artist, avid bicyclist and mental health activist. Pata is the co-chair of the Greater Boston Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition, a member of the program committee for the annual Asian American Mental Health Forum, and is the chair of the People of Color Caucus of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention. Pata has spoken and written about her struggles with depression and is a co-founder of The Breaking Silences Project www.thebreakingsilencesproject.com. Her claim to fame is that she rode her bicycle across the country in the summer of 2012.

Allyson Goto

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.

A Note From Our Team  Regarding The Name Change

Originally, we launched this project under the name "Living While Asian".  In response to feedback, we changed our name to Asians* in Focus. Please read the following for our official statement.

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