Our mission is to educate, support, empower and advocate for Asian and Pacific Islander (A&PI) communities—particularly A&PIs living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.

Your help is integral to keeping our services open.

Please consider making a donation now!


FOLLOW A&PI WELLNESS CENTER!

Follow A&PI Wellness Center on Facebook!

Follow A&PI Wellness Center on Twitter!


FOLLOW THE BANYAN TREE PROJECT!

Follow the Banyan Tree Project on Facebook!

Follow the Banyan Tree Project on Twitter!

Check out our videos on YouTube!


 

Donate your miles to A&PI Wellness Center!


In this special Year in Review Issue:


EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LANCE TOMA REFLECTS ON 2010

If I may, I would like to “talk story” for a bit as I reflect upon the year.  We began 2010 with a chapter defined by dark clouds and stormy weather.  Revenues were down, as a number of funding sources had been decreasing over the course of several years.  One year ago January I made the difficult decision to layoff several key agency positions and close down our offices in counties outside of San Francisco.  While this was a drastic change of course for the clients we served in Alameda and San Mateo counties, we got leaner as an organization and sharpened our focus on the core of our organization.  This began our next chapter.

Chapter 2: Calibrating our Compass.  We looked inward and defined what was truly core for A&PI Wellness Center.  For 23 years, we have been a beacon of hope for A&PIs living with HIV in San Francisco.  Since our founding, we have needed to fight and advocate for resources to attend to our health needs.  Over these 23 years, we have been evolving to not only prevent HIV and care for those living with HIV/AIDS, but to serve our clients and our communities holistically – with mental health and substance abuse services, with Hepatitis services, and with primary medical care services.

Chapter 3: Finding True North.  By the middle of 2010, we were navigating our way to better weather.  We were successful in winning a 5-year CDC HIV prevention funding award.  We obtained our primary medical care license from the State of California.  And, we worked closely with our clients to develop and launch our Consumer Advisory Board which had its first meeting in June.  Later in the year, we were awarded additional 5-year federal grants from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). 

On the policy front, our national advocacy strategy was effective as evidenced when the National HIV/AIDS Strategy was released by the White House in July – Asian American & Pacific Islanders and the transgender community were not ignored.  We followed this win by ongoing advocacy meetings with CDC and White House officials.  We ended the year with the pivotal news from the Levi Strauss Foundation – that we would be receiving a two-year public policy grant for $100,000.  This is our first grant in our 23 year history to specifically fund our public policy and advocacy efforts.

Chapter 4: The tide is high in 2011.  It is clear to me that our organizational purpose is more necessary now than ever.  We have a new 112th Congress in Washington DC, a new governor in Sacramento, and a new interim mayor in San Francisco.  With all these political changes, we will need to keep our advocacy strength up for the sake of our clients’ and communities’ health.  Our partnership with Levi Strauss Foundation will enable this.  We will also need to follow the changes of health care reform so that our uninsured and under-insured and undocumented clients are protected.  The launch of our free Wellness Clinic in March will enable us to do this.  We must keep pace with our nation’s health care reform, and our Wellness Clinic is positioned to fill foreseeable gaps in this reform so that our communities are not left behind.

Not only is the tide high but my hopes are high.  A&PI Wellness Center emerged from 2010 an even more dynamic and agile organization.  We are unafraid to make decisions that ultimately lead us to long term stability and strength.  We will continue to do this in 2011.  Thank you, our supporters, for your commitment to and faith in our organization.  We are stronger because of you.


LIVING WELL NETWORK'S HOLIDAY PARTY

On December 16, the Living Well Network's clients gathered with their guests, children and families for the Annual Client Holiday Party. A festive and plentiful holiday dinner was sponsored by Gilead Science, as well as a presentation on "Wellness." During the event, raffle tickets for prizes were given out to clients, and children had the opportunity to pick out holiday presents. Executive Director Lance Toma greeted the clients and spoke about the sustainability of our Care Services and the opening of the Wellness Clinic in March 2011. Estee Longah dazzled the attendees with a holiday performance. Clients expressed many thanks for the holiday celebration and thanked Lance for his presence at the event and his leadership.


CONSUMER ADVISORY BOARD

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus. Vivamus elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim. Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aenean imperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem. Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. Nullam quis ante. Etiam sit amet orci eget.


CDC AWARDS BAY AREA COLLABORATIVE HIV PREVENTION GRANT

In August, the Centers for Disease control and prevention awarded A&PI Wellness Center, Asian Americans for Community Involvement and Asian Health Services $1.9 million over 5 years to fund a collaborative HIV prevention project specifically targeting A&PI men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Bay Area.

CDC is funding HIV prevention programs implemented by community-based organizations and collaborations that “reflect local prevention priorities and serve persons at high risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV.” In San Francisco, HIV rates among A&PIs increased almost six-fold (487%) from 1990 to 2000. Since A&PIs comprise a third of the general population in the Bay Area, small percentage increases in HIV actually affect large numbers of people. High levels of HIV risk behavior have been observed among A&PI MSM, yet only one CDC approved evidence-based intervention specifically targets this population—and that intervention was developed more than 10 years ago.

The collaborative will use community and group interventions in addition to counseling and HIV testing to decrease HIV risk at individual and community levels. Community members will share personal stories, interweaving identity, sexuality, and health.


TM4M

tm4m (transmen for men) is a program like no other in the country and the first group ever to serve TMSM (transmen who have sex with men) specifically as well as the sexual partners of TMSM. Our goal is to provide information, education and support to transmen who have sex with men and the men who have sex with transmen. We put on monthly educational workshops and discussion groups, have social events, do outreach, publish informational materials and continuously work to foster acceptance and build community within the larger MSM community. In 2010 we were able to represent our community by participating in many local events like SF Pride, Up You Alley and Folsom Street Fair. We’ve also had over 25 groups, over 200 participants, with almost 100 of them being brand new folks to TRANS:THRIVE. tm4m is a collaborative effort co-sponsored by Eros, Trannywood Pictures and TRANS: THRIVE (a program of the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center).


PRIDE!

2010 was the 40th anniversary of SF Pride, and A&PI Wellness Center was in the thick of the celebration. A&PI Wellness Center put together a large parade contingent with API Equality, the Gay Vietnamese Alliance, Cal Queer & Asian, South Bay Queer & Asian, and the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance.

Tita Aida once again played host to the crowd at the API Pavilion and Stage, with headliners American Idol finalist Ramiele Malubay and Singapore Idol finalist Justin Jap, with additional performances by La Monistat, Freeplay Dance Crew, Rice Rockettes, the Ladies of ASIA SF and Ryo Q. In the Pavilion, booths featured different A&PI-serving organizations and businesses. A&PI Wellness Center provided 30 HIV tests. Tita Aida estimates that between 30,000 to 45,000 people came through the API Pavilion at some point during the day.

TRANS:THRIVE also hosted the San Francisco Pride Trans Pavilion, together with Transgender Law Center, Original Plumbing and EL/LA. On the Friday before Pride at the Trans March & Gathering, T-LISH core group members performed on stage, and our mobile testing unit provided free testing in the park.


GLITTER BALL

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus. Vivamus elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim. Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aenean imperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem. Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. Nullam quis ante. Etiam sit amet orci eget.


NATIONAL A&PI HIV/AIDS AWARENESS DAY

May 19, 2010 marked the 6th National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awarenss Day. A&PI Wellness Center's Banyan Tree Project coordinates and supports awareness day activities and commemorations across the nation. 2010 also saw a large increase in the reach of our public service announcement and website.

The public service announcement targeted young gay and bisexual men, to address the alarming increase of new HIV infections among this group. The PSA also talked about how 1 in 3 A&PIs living with HIV don't know. The PSA was picked up by various television stations and cable providers, as well as web sites like HULU. We estimate that the PSA had the potential to reach over 60 million people through these distribution channels. Our partnership with HULU also help to drive the largest number of visitors to the Banyan Tree Project website ever. We had over 60,000 hits to our homepage, and nearly 48,000 new visitors.

On May 19, A&PI Wellness Center hosted a press conference on HIV and hepatitis B in the A&PI community. Moderated by Executive Director Lance Toma, panelists were Dr. Tri Do, an HIV epidemiologist, Ryan Ong Palao, better known as Ongina from TV's RuPaul's Drag Race, and Assembywoman Fiona Ma. Over 25 other events were held nationwide, from larger cities like Boston and New York, places with emerging populations like Tulsa, Oklahoma and Springdale, Arkansas, to far off in the Pacific, in the Federated States of Micronesia.


A&PI WELLNESS CENTER'S CSTEP & ONLINE TRAINING PROGRAMS

A&PI Wellness Center's two training programs, CSTEP and Online Training Program, were highly successful this year. CSTEP has two training components: CSTEP Treatment and CSTEP Benefits. Our CSTEP Benefits Training is a NEW multi-level benefits training and education program for service providers regarding various health and disability benefits programs. A&PI Wellness Center developed CSTEP Benefits in collaboration with Positive Resource Center. The Benefits Certification component offers providers the skills to effectively link consumers with available sources of income and health benefits. This year, CSTEP provided 10 trainings to 129 participants throughout California.

Based on our CSTEP Treatment Training, our Online Training Program uses web-based learning technology to provide HIV trainings nationwide. Training topics educate and prepare HIV and health service providers, peer educators and advocates to most effectively serve people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA), with a special focus on communities of color. To date, the Online Training Program has provided 4 HIV treatment related trainings to 353 participants, spread over 26 states and the District of Columbia, with 92.3% of participants providing positive feedback about the offerings.


WHITE HOUSE RELEASES FIRST NATIONAL HIV/AIDS STRATEGY -- A&PI WELLNESS CENTER ADVOCATES FOR ASIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER COMMUNITY

The White House formally released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) on July 13, 2010, a targeted plan to address the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the United States. To develop the strategy, the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) hosted 14 community discussions, soliciting input from more than 5,000 people in person and online. The strategy specifically prioritizes high-risk populations (defined as gay and bisexual men, African Americans, Latinos/Latinas, and substance users) in an effort to achieve three primary goals: 1) reducing the number of people who become infected with HIV, 2) increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV, and 3) reducing HIV-related health disparities.

A&PI Wellness Center has played a key role in advocating for the inclusion of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the NHAS. While we are pleased the NHAS acknowledges our community and the need for better surveillance of the HIV epidemic in emerging populations such as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities, but also called for actions that go beyond surveillance.

Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities are often inaccurately categorized as low risk. However, the most recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show AA and NHPI men and women have the highest percentage annual increase in new HIV infections, higher than any other racial or ethnic group. Preliminary projections indicate the HIV infection rate in AA and NHPI communities will surpass that of Latinos by 2015 and African Americans by 2020 if left unchecked.

In October 2010, A&PI Wellness Center and APIAHF drafted 16 targeted operational plan recommendations signed off by over 20 organizations and delivered this to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  APICHA and APIAHF testified additionally at a community operational plan feedback meeting at DHHS in October 2010 to ensure AA and NHPI  inclusion into the operational plan of NHAS.  The final operational plan was sent to the White House on December 9th, 2010.  The summary release will occur in late January 2011 which A&PI Wellness Center will be reviewing and developing a monitoring report thereafter.

HISTORIC ASIAN AMERICAN, NATIVE HAWAIIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER CONSULTATION AT THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, convened a historic Community Consultation focusing on Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) and HIV/AIDS during a two-day meeting on April 29th and 30th, 2010 in Atlanta, GA.  Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center along with Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) partnered closely with CDC to develop the agenda and over 35 organizations, community leaders, health department representatives and researchers.

We are extremely pleased with CDC's response to developing a deeper understanding of HIV/AIDS issues in AA and NHPI communities. From this meeting, CDC seemed very open to developing an expanded epidemiological profile across HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis to draw a clearer picture of current health and funding disparities. This alone is a huge win for our communities, as data drives resources for research and programs, a key focus of ongoing collaboration with the CDC. In the Pacific Island Jurisdictions, the CDC has committed to assess the current funding structure for health departments and Ministries of Health across HIV, STDs, TB and viral hepatitis and look at the critical capacity building needs for successful prevention in the region.

These commitments are truly historic and after almost 30 years into the epidemic, AA and NHPIs are finally receiving the attention that we deserve! In December 2010, A&PI Wellness Center with the APIAHF had a follow up meeting with the Director of DHAP and his senior team to discuss directions on moving our key recommendations forward. 


BLOOM

2010’s Bloom: Join the conversation was a remarkable achievement. Despite a trying year financially Bloom 2010 was our most successful annual fundraiser to-date – raising almost $115,000 – all while having a great time. We presented the Grassroots Award to Naina Khanna of Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Disease (WORLD) and the National Award to NBC’s star of Heroes, James Kyson Lee. A delectable spread of food from some of San Francisco’s top restaurants allowed guest to mingle while enjoying an exciting show by Ongina of RuPaul’s Drag Race and shopping for fun travel and adventure packages in our silent auction. We also took time to honor two courageous activists for their work fighting stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. 

Thank you to everyone in our community for helping make Bloom: Join the conversation our best event yet.


raMEN ART PROJECT: WE DRAW

In the summer of 2009, raMEN ran a series of art workshops revolving around the theory of art as therapy. There have been numerous case studies throughout the years that have reported that art therapy benefits patients with both emotional and physical illnesses. Looking for a creative outlet to diversify programming for clients, these workshops were created to give clients a sense of self-empowerment and accomplishment in learning a new skill as well as being able to express themselves in ways not normally afforded to them in their daily routine.

A few months later, these workshops were co-produced by program volunteer James Wang, a formally trained local artist, to facilitate a comprehensive figure drawing drop-in group. Renamed as the raMEN Art Project: We Draw, the group continued its roots into art therapy, but also provided a safe space for learning figure drawing often only available to art students and alumni.

The group has not been without its challenges; primarily space issues as well as lack of materials. Regardless the group has grown and created in itself a following of participants that reflect a different population, one that would not necessarily have come to the agency in the absence of this group. October 2010 was the workshop series 1 year anniversary.

raMEN Art Project: We Draw meets every 4th Thursday of the month at A&PIWC, from 6pm – 9pm.


WILL'S STORY

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus. Vivamus elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim. Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aenean imperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem. Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. Nullam quis ante. Etiam sit amet orci eget.


Health Education Recruitment and Outreach (HERO) Community Internship

In response to the lack of young HIV/AIDS prevention leaders in our community, the Health Education Department developed, in the summer of 2010, a community internship for young college students called the Health Education Recruitment and Outreach Community Internship, or, HERO. HEROs at A&PI Wellness Center were tasked with engaging in the public health practice to gain community based experience in health education. One of our HERO interns, Ryan Samn, a second generation Cambodian American, whose family grew up in the Tenderloin, gives light to his experience with our agency: 

“Learning about OUR community, I gained knowledge & greater respect for not only those in need, but also for those who GIVE their time & devote their energy into making this world a better place. At A&PI Wellness Center I met plenty of these people, people willing to go the extra mile for another's well being. At a humble age of 22, it was truly inspiring to see how I can help others & truly make a difference by following the examples of my peer leaders here at our center. This internship has truly changed my life, thank you Ben & everyone at A&PI Wellness Center!”

Ryan was a great help in conducting the community needs assessment for the Wellness Clinic, the HIV Testing clinic program, and also in the planning process for our men’s and youth health education programs.

 

Join us on November 30 and December 1 to commemorate World AIDS Day