AAPI Weekly Highlights: A STEM Sector that Reflects America’s Diversity

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AAPI Highlights, August 5, 2013

Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about President Obama's plan to simplify the tax code for businesses and give working families a better bargain, the President's meeting with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan's meeting with AAPI DREAMers, the launch of the Healthy Engaged Youth (HEY!) Project, and more agency announcements.

President Barack Obama signs a line worker's shirt after touring the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tenn., July 30, 2013. (Official White H

President Barack Obama signs a line worker's shirt after touring the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tenn., July 30, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

A Plan to Simplify the Tax Code for Businesses and Give Working Families a Better Bargain

President Obama traveled to Chattanooga, Tennessee last week to talk about the first and most important cornerstone of middle class security: a good job in a durable, growing industry. “We should be doing everything we can as a country to create more good jobs that pay good wages,” President Obama said. And plenty of independent economists, business owners, and people from both parties are already in agreement on some of the ingredients that we need for creating good jobs. Read more about President Obama's speech at Amazon's Chattanooga fulfillment center. Watch President Obama’s weekly address on securing a better bargain for the middle class.

President Obama Meets with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

Last month, President Obama met with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) at the White House to discuss a range of important issues facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. The President thanked CAPAC for their work to expand the middle class within AAPI communities and among all Americans, and said that he looks forward to continuing to work with them. The President stressed that the Administration continues to urge the House to take action to pass commonsense immigration reform that would secure our borders, crack down on illegal employment, offer a path to earned citizenship for undocumented persons, and modernize our legal immigration system so that it once again addresses our needs and reflects our values as a nation. He thanked CAPAC for their ongoing efforts on this important issue and both sides agreed on the need to pass immigration reform now to help grow the economy, create jobs and reduce the deficit. Read more about President Obama's meeting with CAPAC.

Coding for All: A STEM Sector that Reflects America

White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett met with eleven Champions of Change at the White House last week. On the White House blog, Jarrett writes, “Yesterday, I joined eleven Champions of Change at the White House to honor their achievements toward making science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) industries more inclusive for underrepresented communities. The Champions of Change are an amazing group of ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things. They are sparking imaginations, and captivating young minds, all across the country. From teaching computer science to high school students, to encouraging young women, and urban teens to code, to writing children's books, to providing low-income students with programming classes—they are doing phenomenal work for our country's youth, and their futures.” Read more about Valerie Jarrett's meeting on STEM.

A One-Stop-Shop on the Health Care Law for Businesses Big and Small

As we implement the Affordable Care Act, we continue listening to the needs of the business community. Based on our many conversations with leaders of our nation's businesses, large and small, today we are launching Business.USA.gov/healthcare, a one-stop-shop where employers of all sizes can go for information on the Affordable Care Act. Read more about the new online tool for small business owners or try it out.

Securing the Right to Vote for All Americans

President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez met last week with civil rights leaders, and state and local elected officials at the White House to discuss how to safeguard every eligible American's right to vote in light of the recent Supreme Court decision on Shelby County vs. Holder. The Supreme Court's decision invalidating one of the Voting Rights Act's core provisions, upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent. Read more about the meeting on voting rights.

WHIAAPI Announcements

AAPI DREAM Riders Inspire

Last week, Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan met with a group of AAPI DREAMers called the DREAM Riders. On the White House blog, Sec. Duncan writes, “I was inspired by the stories of the DREAM Riders and their friends and family— stories often rooted in hardship and heartbreak as their parents strive to make ends meet — stories of success and struggle as they try to obtain the best education that our country has to offer. The DREAM Riders and I discussed the significance of a meaningful pathway to earned citizenship for undocumented individuals and our collective efforts to ensure passage of commonsense immigration reform. The Senate has passed this legislation in a strong bipartisan vote for legislation in the Senate, but the House of Representatives has not yet taken action.” Read about Secretary Duncan's meeting with the AAPI DREAM Riders.

Healthy Engaged Youth (HEY!) Kickoff Webinar

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities will host a webinar with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday, August 8, from 3:00-4:00 PM EDT about Healthy Engaged Youth! (HEY!), a youth-driven initiative to engage and educate fellow youth and community members about the new options for health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Read more about the webinar. Please RSVP by emailing whitehouseaapi@ed.gov with your name and organization by Wednesday, August 7, 2013.

What Do the New CLAS Standards Mean for AAPI Behavioral Health?

Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services unveiled the enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (CLAS Standards), expanding the scope and improving the clarity of the first CLAS standards issued in 2000. The CLAS standards are intended to advance health equity, improve quality, and help eliminate health care disparities by providing a blueprint for individuals and health care organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services. So what do the CLAS standards mean for AAPIs, behavioral health care systems and practitioners? More on the new CLAS standards effect on the AAPI community.

Agency Highlights

Healing Communities and Remembering the Victims of Oak Creek

Marking the one-year anniversary of the murders at Oak Creek, Attorney General Eric Holder writes, “This Monday, August 5th, marks the one-year anniversary of the senseless murders of six Sikh worshippers – Satwant Singh Kaleka, Paramjit Kaur, Prakash Singh, Ranjit Singh, Sita Singh and Suveg Singh – at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, in Oak Creek, at the hands of a lone gunman. This heinous act of hatred and terror also seriously injured several other worshippers, as well as Oak Creek Police Lieutenant Brian Murphy, who was shot 12 times at close range while attempting to save others. In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, individuals and communities of faith across the country were badly shaken. Millions were affected deeply – because we are a nation that has always cherished the right to worship and practice one's faith in peace and liberty. The attack in Oak Creek was particularly jarring not only because of its scale, and the number of victims involved, but also because it occurred in a place of worship; of fellowship; and – above all – of peace.” Read Attorney General Holder's full blog post.

New Report Shows Real Benefits of the Affordable Care Act

The Department of Health & Human Services issued a new report highlighting the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Thanks to the health care law, Americans who have insurance have more choices and stronger coverage than ever before. For individuals who don't have insurance, or families and small businesses who buy their coverage but aren't happy with it, a new day is just around the corner. The health care law is already providing better options, better value, better health and a stronger Medicare program. Learn how the Affordable Care Act is helping people in your state.

Department of Education Invites Districts to Apply for $120 Million in Race to the Top Funds to Support Classroom-Level Reform Efforts

The U.S. Department of Education announced that it has finalized the application for the 2013 Race to the Top-District competition, which will provide nearly $120 million to support bold, locally directed improvements in learning and teaching that will directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness. "The Race to the Top-District competition is an opportunity for trailblazing districts across the country to implement models of personalized learning so that every child graduates college and career ready," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The program is designed to support teachers and school leaders in their use of innovative strategies as we seek to build a stronger future for America's students." Read more about the funds here.

Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the Student Loan Compromise

In response to Congress' compromise on student loans, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released a statement saying in part: "I applaud the bipartisan compromise reached by President Obama and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, offering relief to millions of students and families across the country. The law will cut rates on nearly all new federal student loans and save undergraduates an average of more than $1,500 on loans taken out this year. It is an encouraging step forward in our effort to keep college affordable. Read the full statement here.

Census Bureau's New Tool Puts Congressional District Statistics at Your Fingertips

The U.S. Census Bureau has released My Congressional District, the first interactive tool geared exclusively toward finding basic demographic and economic statistics for every congressional district in the U.S. This Web app uses the latest annual statistics from the American Community Survey, providing the most detailed portrait of America's towns and neighborhoods. Read more about the new tool or try it out.

Grant Opportunities

NIH: Research Project Grant

The Research Project Grant (R01) supports a discrete, specified, circumscribed project in scientific areas that represent the investigators' specific interests and competencies and that fall within the mission of the participating NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs). The R01 is the original, and historically the oldest, grant mechanism used by the NIH to support health-related research and development. Research grant applications are assigned to an NIH IC based on receipt and referral guidelines and many applications are assigned to multiple ICs with related research interests. This grant opportunity opens on 8/7/13. Find out more about this funding opportunity.

NIH: Behavioral and Social Science Research on Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to encourage behavioral and social science research on the causes and solutions to health and disabilities disparities in the U. S. population. Health disparities between, on the one hand, racial/ethnic populations, lower socioeconomic classes, and rural residents and, on the other hand, the overall U.S. population are major public health concerns. Emphasis is placed on research in and among three broad areas of action: 1) public policy, 2) health care, and 3) disease/disability prevention. The open date for this opportunity is 9/5/2013. Find out more about this funding opportunity.