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David Y.Ige | Press Release: DOH Receives Federal Grant to Establish AANHPI National Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health

Press Release: DOH Receives Federal Grant to Establish AANHPI National Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health

Published on September 9, 2022 in Latest news from the department, Press room

HONOLULU- The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) has received nearly $3.5 million from the United States Department of Health and Human Services to establish the first National Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health of Hawaiian Americans. Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) descent. .

The DOH will receive nearly $3.5 million in federal funding over the next five years. The Center of Excellence will promote culturally and linguistically appropriate behavioral health information and practices; establish a steering committee with participants from across the country to identify emerging issues; and providing training, technical assistance and consultation to practitioners, educators and community organizations. The main partners are Papa Ola Lokahi and San Jose State University.

“Truly responsive behavioral health services must address stigma and provide resources that address cultural trauma and culturally appropriate treatment,” said Marian Tsuji, associate director of behavioral health. “We are honored to lead this national center of excellence to bring together cultural practitioners, behavioral health experts and other stakeholders to ensure that we meet the systemic behavioral health needs of our diverse communities.”

“Today’s announcement is a key milestone in the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to eliminate health disparities affecting the AA and NHPI communities,” said Krystal Ka’ai, executive director of the ‘White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. “This new center will provide access to culturally and linguistically appropriate behavioral health services that are essential as our communities continue to struggle with the effects of the pandemic and anti-Asian violence.

AANHPIs are the fastest growing ethnic minority group in the country, but are the group least likely to receive care for mental illness. More than 76% of people in AANHPI who have been diagnosed with a mental illness and 93% of those with substance use disorders do not receive treatment.

The AANHPI Center of Excellence will develop infographics and other materials addressing behavioral health, including those that provide data disaggregated by race and ethnicity; provide guidance on best practices to improve engagement and retention of AANHPI behavioral health professionals; and serve as an accessible and trusted clearinghouse for evidence-based behavioral health resources and products.

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