AAPI Weekly Highlights: A Clean Energy Revolution

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AAPI Highlights, September 23, 2013

Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about the Department of Energy’s report on clean energy technologies, President Obama’s recognition of Citizenship Day, and more agency announcements.

As a reminder, you can read about our work at www.whitehouse.gov/aapi and you can follow us on Twitter: @WhiteHouseAAPI for the Initiative, @KiranAhujaAAPI for Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the Initiative, and @Inouye44 for Shin Inouye, White House Director of Specialty Media.

President Barack Obama writes a school excuse note for Alanah Poullard, 5, while visiting with Wounded Warriors and their families in the East Room du

President Barack Obama writes a school excuse note for Alanah Poullard, 5, while visiting with Wounded Warriors and their families in the East Room during their tour of the White House, Sept. 19, 2013. Alanah asked for a note to show her kindergarten teacher. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

A Clean Energy Revolution – Now

For decades, America has chased after the promise of clean, domestic energy. But even as costs fell and technology matured, that clean energy future seemed to linger just beyond our reach. Critics often said this new world would “always be five years away.” Today, that is changing. In recent years, costs for numerous critical clean energy technologies -- wind power, solar panels, super energy-efficient LED lights and electric vehicles -- have fallen significantly. The accompanying surge in deployment has been truly spectacular. Such a surge is tantamount to topping the barricades -- a level of cost reduction and market penetration that will enable a full scale revolution in the relatively near term. A new Department of Energy report, "Revolution Now: the Future Arrives for Four Clean Energy Technologies" documents this transformation and what it means for America’s energy economy. The clean technology revolution is upon us. Read more about clean energy.

President Obama at the Memorial Service for Victims of the Navy Yard Shooting: “We Can’t Accept This”

On Sunday, President Obama spoke at a memorial service to honor the victims of the Navy Yard shooting, and to thank first responders for their work. “We know that no words we offer today are equal to the magnitude, to the depths of that loss,” the President told the families of the victims. “But we come together as a grateful nation to honor your loved ones, to grieve with you, and to offer, as best we can, some solace and comfort.” President Obama explained that this is the fifth time since taking office that he’s grieved with communities ripped apart by gun violence. Read more about President Obama’s remarks at the Memorial Service for Victims of the Navy Yard shooting.

Countdown to Affordable Health Care

Today we’ve reached yet another milestone on the road to affordable health care: 100 days to coverage. For years, millions of Americans have been denied the security and peace of mind of having health insurance. Too many have been priced out, locked out, or dumped out by insurance companies. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, all of that is changing. January 1, 2014 -- 100 days from today --marks a New Day, when coverage will be more accessible and affordable. On that day, coverage begins for those who signed up in the Health Insurance Marketplace by December 15, 2013. The Marketplace is a new, simpler way to purchase health insurance –all in one place. You can go online to find and compare options, see if you qualify for lower costs, and select coverage that meets your needs and budget. See what else is happening on January 1.

A Nation of Immigrants: President Obama Recognizes Citizenship Day 2013

America was founded as a beacon of freedom, inclusion, and opportunity for the world, and has since thrived – powered largely by our unique diversity and constant influx of fresh energy, talent, and ideas. This is who we are, and what makes us great. On September 17th, we paused to recognize National Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and to reaffirm our pride as a nation of immigrants. In more than 180 naturalization ceremonies taking place this week, over 18,000 new citizens are being welcomed into the American family. Read more about Citizenship Day 2013.

WHIAAPI Updates

Agency Spotlight - Department of Defense: Expanding Opportunities for AAPI Small Businesses

Over the past year, the Department of Defense (DoD) took a number of steps to improve opportunities for AAPI small businesses. For instance, DoD collected and compiled data on the Department contracts awarded to AAPI small business to establish performance baseline. Through this analysis, DoD was able to determine that most AAPI small business awards were made via GSA. DoD therefore issued guidance to maximize use of GSA schedules and Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts, guidance that should have an overall positive impact on AAPI-owned small businesses. In addition, DoD continues to analyze AAPI small business data to identify participation rates by geographic region. In FY12, for instance, more than half of the awards to AAPI-owned small businesses in just four states: VA, CA, HI, and AL. Finally, approximately $47 million in small business innovation research awards were made to AAPI-owned small businesses in FY 12. Read more about the work of the Department of Defense.

Agency Updates

Behavioral Health and the Affordable Care Act for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

The Affordable Care Act provides an opportunity to increase access to care for millions of individuals in this country, including Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. This webinar is the fifth in a series of outreach efforts conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, and the National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse, NAPAFASA. Please join us for an opportunity on September 27, 2013 at 12pm to talk about best ways to engage the community and get an update on how ACA will impact behavioral health services for our communities. RSVP for the webinar here.

Education Department Awards More Than $2.7 Million to 12 Colleges to Strengthen Minority Participation in STEM-Related Fields

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that 12 colleges and universities that serve large minority populations will receive $2,748,619 in grants to strengthen education programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Under the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP), 10 awards were made for Institutional Projects, one award for Cooperative Project, and one award for Special Project. Read more about the $2.7 million in awards.

Obama Administration Announces a Coordinated Effort to Protect Consumers by Preventing and Detecting Potential Fraud in the Health Insurance Marketplace

Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez met at the White House to kick off a comprehensive interagency initiative to prevent, protect against, and, where necessary, prosecute consumer fraud and privacy violations in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Representing key state partners in this critically important effort to protect consumers were Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler and Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. Senior White House officials also attended the meeting. Meeting participants reaffirmed their ongoing commitment to protect consumers from potential threats in this area. Read about the initiatives highlighted by the interagency officials.

Nearly 6 in 10 uninsured Americans can pay less than $100 per month for coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace

A new report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that 56 percent, or nearly six in ten of the people who don’t have health insurance today may be able to get coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for less than $100 per month. Beginning on October 1, individuals and families will have a new way to shop for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. They’ll be able to compare their options using side-by-side information about price, quality and benefits. With one application they’ll be able to see if they qualify for premium tax credits or Medicaid that lower the costs of coverage right away. Coverage through the Marketplace starts as early as January 1, 2014. Read more about the report.

Grant Opportunities

NIH: Harvesting the Neuroimaging Cornucopia for Pancreatic Islet Imaging Reagents for Diabetes Research (DP3)

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourage DP3 applications from institutions/organizations to allow researchers with access to major clinical nuclear molecular imaging facilities to screen their libraries of existing positron emission tomography (PET) or single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) neuroimaging agents that are already approved for use in human subjects research in order to find tools to enhance in vivo study of the beta cells of the human pancreatic islet. Diabetes ensues with the loss or dysfunction of beta cells and the inability to monitor their mass is an enormous barrier to understanding the natural history of human diabetes or the course of disease in an individual patient. Because human pancreatic islet beta cells are distinct from those of rodent models of diabetes and yet have many of the neurotransmitter systems found in the human brain, screening of existing human neuroimaging agents directly in human subjects and human tissues may be a cost-efficient way to identify promising beta cell imaging agents. Award ceiling is $300,000. Funding opportunity closes February 20, 2014. Read more about this opportunity.

HUD: Assisted Living Conversion Program (ALCP)

The ALCP provides funding for the physical costs of converting some or all of the units of an eligible multifamily development into an ALF or SEH, including unit configuration and related common and service space, and any necessary remodeling, consistent with HUD or the state's statute/regulations (whichever is more stringent), including compliance with all applicable accessibility laws. Typical funding will cover basic physical conversion of existing project units, as well as related common and service space. Closing date for this opportunity is November 18, 2013. Read more about this opportunity.