The Hawai’i Department of Health (DOH) was awarded nearly $3.5 million from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services to establish a national Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Behavioral Health Center of Excellence.
According to Hawaii’s DOH, $3.5 million will be distributed in federal funds to the DOH over the next five years.
The Center of Excellence aims to promote culturally appropriate behavioral health practices. It will also work with partners from across the country to identify emerging issues. Training, technical assistance and consultation will be provided to practitioners, educators and community organizations as well.
“This new center will provide access to culturally and linguistically appropriate behavioral health services that are essential as our communities continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic and anti-Asian violence,” Krystal Ka‘ai, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, said in a press release.
DOH also received nearly $700,000 from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to be put towards the Center.
According to SAMHSA’s website, the AANHPI Center of Excellence will create accessible infographics to address behavioral health, including those that provide data separated by race and ethnicity. The plan is also to develop the best practices for improving the engagement of AA and NHPI behavioral health professionals.
The Hawaii DOH stated in a press release that more than 76% of AANHPI individuals have been diagnosed with a mental illness and 93% of those with substance use disorder do not receive treatment.
“People grappling with mental health and substance use disorders need and deserve culturally responsive care to help them recover,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA, on SAMHSA’s website. “This Center of Excellence will instruct provider organizations on how to better serve members of the AA and NHPI communities across the nation.”
It will join SAMHSA’s other Centers of Excellence directed at behavioral health disparities, such as the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence and the Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity.
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