2023 #AANHPIhealth Heroes

AAPCHO #AANHPIhealth Heroes
4 min readMay 3, 2023


To commemorate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month (APAHM), we are highlighting #AANHPIhealth Heroes — individuals who are committed to improving the health of Asian Americans (AAs), Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NH/PIs). These heroes have made great strides to ensure that AA and NH/PI communities have better access to affordable, high-quality, and culturally and linguistically proficient health care that they need and deserve.

Meet this year’s #AANHPIhealth Heroes! Last year’s heroes can be found here.

Alok Sarwal, PhD

I am dedicated to Improving the health of Colorado’s underserved racial and ethnic minority communities through culturally appropriate community-based services and engagement. Through an organization he founded in 2003, he has made significant contribution to reducing health disparities and is recognized as a champion of health equity and social justice.

Alock Sarwal is the Chief Executive Officer at the Colorado Alliance for Health Equity and Practice.

Megan Inada, PhD

I feel so grateful I get to do the work that I do. I get to be a part of something bigger, to be a part of a community that is trying to change the world. To create a place where peopleʻs gifts and cultures are honored, where people have the agency to take care of their families in a way they are proud of, and access the services they need with dignity. This work gives me hope. It reminds me that there is a humanity out there that cares more about the health of the world (people and environment) than making money, that the return on investment has a hundred-year time frame, and where process is just as important as outcomes.

Megan Inada, Ph.D., is a Research Coordinator at Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services.

Romeo Alfred

We all know the devastating impact diabetes has on the overall RMI population. Yet, our screening campaigns are showing that a growing number of our younger generation are now at risk of getting the disease. I simply want to be one of the few who are doing something about it.

Romeo Alfred is the Chair at Kwajalein Diak Coalition (KDC).

Lucy Nguyen

As a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, I experienced that service providers rarely shared the same background and language as my parents and only provided care and services in English. This made it even more difficult to access quality care and resources as an uninsured family. I believe that communities deserve equitable service delivery and access to life-saving care and I believe as CHWs, we are able to help that become reality.

Lucy Nguyen is the Program Manager at Austin Asian Community Health Initiative.

George Cruz

The work we do here at Marianas Health and throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is very important because our people deserve access to quality health care, the same as anyone on Guam, Hawai’i or California. The best way to do this is to think outside of the box, and to maximize all the available resources of technology to increase access to quality care, be it intervention, treatment and, most importantly, prevention. And the collaboration and partnerships we build locally, regionally and nationally helps bring our people’s story of their struggles to life, and connects us to resources that our islands would not have known or been afforded.

George Cruz is an Administrator at Marianas Health Group.

Alka Kanaya, MD

Our research team works to shine a light on Asian American communities that have been hidden, voiceless, and dismissed. We want to answer questions that are most relevant and important for our communities. Our studies have shown that one size doesn’t fit all and that it is very important to build upon personal cultural beliefs and behaviors to improve health.

Alka Kanaya, MD is a Clinical Investigator and Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.

Anamaria Akapito Yomai, MD

As a physician who strives to provide compassionate care that knows no borders, I serve in community health because the power of change is heightened when serving the untouched and unreached communities. And as a Chuuk native myself, I choose Chuuk Community Health Center because it takes one to know one, and there is no place like home.

Anamaria Akapito Yomai, MD is the Medical Director at Chuuk Community Health Center.



AAPCHO #AANHPIhealth Heroes

The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations — dedicated to promoting advocacy, collaboration and leadership to improve AA and NHPI health.