Meet the Team: Reanna Felix, Policy Intern, and Sarah Dang, Digital Communications Intern

AAPCHO
AAPCHO
Jul 15 · 5 min read

Welcome to our blog series, “Meet the AAPCHO Team,” where you’ll have a chance to get to know our staff! Meet two of our summer interns, Reanna Felix, Policy Intern, and Sarah Dang, Digital Communications Intern, as they answer a few questions!

Reanna Felix

How did you hear about AAPCHO?

I was introduced to AAPCHO as part of the US-Asia Institute’s IMPACT! Program, which is a professional development program that introduces Filipino-American college students to roles and responsibilities in becoming engaged in their community and beyond. After doing more research about the organization and seeing how well it aligns with my academic interests and curiosity towards learning more about civic engagement and policy, I interviewed and was paired with AAPCHO!

Who is an Asian American and/or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander health champion that you think people should know about?

Bretman Rock. Bretman Rock is such a big advocate for mental health within the Asian American (AA), Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NH/PI) community, especially within the Filipino community. As a queer Filipino-American influencer or “digital celebrity” from Hawaii, he utilizes his 40 million followers across various platforms to shed attention on mental health, HIV/AIDs testing, nutrition, fitness, and self-care. He’s reached such a vast audience and has definitely played a pivotal role in highlighting Asian and Pacific Islander culture on mainstream social media.

I believe mental health is vital to one’s overall health and wellbeing, moreover, I believe it is an issue that it’s not talked about enough within the AA and NH/PI community as it is often disregarded, creating a reluctance to seek professional help. Influencers and micro-influencers such as Bretman Rock are slowly breaking down the stigma towards mental health and mental wellbeing, providing younger and even older generations to unpack their thoughts and traumas. So share, like, repost, and keep the conversation going!

What are you most looking forward to during your internship with AAPCHO?

As an observation-driven learner, I’m most looking forward to seeing how an organization like AAPCHO works — like how the AAPCHO staff can make solutions to health-related problems become realities for the AA and NH/PI community. I’m looking forward to seeing the inner workings of the organization and the role each department plays, along with the results and the positive impact AAPCHO has on communities.

What are your plans after your internship with AAPCHO?

After finishing my first year of college, I get questions about the future alot. Honestly, I don’t know exactly where I’m heading, but I know not everything is set in stone. I have yet to experience an in-person college class, moreover, set foot on my college campus. I definitely plan to do that after my internship. Jokes aside, I hope to find more opportunities interning at other health organizations or AA- and NH/PI-focused organizations. Who knows? I may change my major or plan to take next summer to explore Asia on a solo trip. It’s just a thought.

One thing’s for sure: you will always find me fighting and advocating for healthcare access for the AA and NH/PI community.

What is your favorite or go-to childhood comfort food?

I’m sorry I can’t pick just one: shrimp spring rolls, fried tofu bites, and veggie bibimbap.

Sarah Dang

How did you hear about AAPCHO?

I learned about AAPCHO from an amazing friend of mine, Kristine Alarcon, who I met while volunteering for Kollaboration San Francisco (KollabSF). KollabSF is a non-profit organization in the Bay Area, providing a space for local Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA)artists and musicians to share their craft and to work against the discrimination APIDAs face in the entertainment industry. My network to AAPCHO actually stems further back to high school when my grandparents connected me to one of AAPCHO’s health centers, Asian Americans for Community Involvement’s (AACI). I joined AACI’s youth program “Betting on Our Future (BOOF)” where I met my mentor who introduced me to KollabSF when I graduated from high school.

Who is an Asian American and/or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander health champion that you think people should know about?

The person I thought of is someone who challenged my perspective and broke down the facade society in the United States displays. This person is Paul Fong, a notable AA who once served as a California State Assemblymember and is a founding member of various organizations in the Bay Area including AACI. In addition to his work in government and the community, Paul Fong plays a large role in academia. In high school, I had the honor to take Professor Fong’s ethnic studies course at Evergreen Valley College as well as showcasing his efforts and success as a representative of AACI’s youth program at AACI’s 2018 gala. His passion for change, AA and NH/ PI advocacy, and education empowered me to learn how to best serve and support my community as a fellow Asian American. I believe his past experience, accomplishments, and advocacy is what has allowed others and myself to thrive from the fruits that grew from the seed he, and along with many others, planted in the Bay Area.

What are you most looking forward to during your internship with AAPCHO?

With a new space and new team, I look forward to building interpersonal and professional relationships with AAPCHO staff and interns. I am very excited to meet new colleauges, who work to support communities that face certain health disparities; to advocate for health equity; and to build a stronger interconnected network in the Bay Area. I am also excited to practice and learn new digital communication skills as one of the communications interns this summer. Social media is now one of the most used platforms for communication and I believe it is a critical skill to have to better inform and engage with our communities. I will also be developing a storytelling campaign with a goal to uplift the different perspectives of AAs and NH/PIs that are not often shared on social media. I am excited to collaborate with others to cultivate a space for these uncommon stories to be celebrated and uplifted.

What are your plans after your internship with AAPCHO?

My next journey after my internship with AAPCHO is to study abroad in South Korea. I will be studying the language and culture as well as volunteering for local communities. I am honored to embark on this privileged journey, where I hope to gain skills to better understand other ways of living, thinking, being, and loving. After my study abroad journey, my undergraduate journey will also come to an end. I will be graduating in the Fall and will focus on (physical therapy) clinical experience while preparing my application for a Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate school. I hope to work with Olympic athletes and youth athletes in the future!

What is your favorite or go-to childhood comfort food?

A very difficult dish to make… Pho! My mom’s pho has always been a meal where I was happy eating the same dish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I love the warm soup and the veggies/herbs make the dish even better!

AAPCHO: Meet the Team

Meet the AAPCHO Team