AAPI Weekly Highlights: The Administration Works to Bring Relief to Typhoon Victims

AAPI Highlights, November 13, 2013 

Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about the Administration’s work to bring relief to typhoon victims, President Obama’s commemoration of Veterans Day, the funding of health centers focused on the NHPI community, 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.

First Lady Michelle Obama joins students for a Bollywood Dance Clinic in the State Dining Room of the White House, Nov. 5, 2013. (Official White House

First Lady Michelle Obama joins students for a Bollywood Dance Clinic in the State Dining Room of the White House, Nov. 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

The Administration Works to Bring Relief to Typhoon Victims

This week, President Obama spoke with President Aquino of the Philippines to express deep condolences on behalf of the American people for the lives lost and damage caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, one of the strongest storms to ever hit land. Read the President's statement on Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. 

The Administration is working with Team Rubicon to deploy a team of incredible, courageous American veterans to the Philippines and all the areas damaged by Typhoon Haiyan. Just as they did after Hurricane Sandy, these veterans will be using the skills they learned in uniform to help others recover from this terrible storm. The Administration also is cooperating with the Philippines Typhoon Disaster Relief Fund established by The mGive Foundation, a U.S. nonprofit organization, to coordinate donations via mobile phones to benefit victims of the typhoon. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is working to assure the people of the Philippines and the many Americans of Filipino heritage that the State Department is working as hard as possible to provide essential assistance to help the Philippine people and their government recover from this tragedy. Read more about how the United States is working closely with our partners in the Philippines to provide rapid and effective relief.

President Obama Commemorates Veterans Day

This Veterans Day, the President honored those, past and present, who put on the uniform of the United States military and put their lives on the line. On Monday morning, the President hosted a breakfast in the East Room of the White House for veterans and their families. In attendance was Richard Overton from Austin, Texas. Mr. Overton is the oldest living World War II veteran. The President honored Mr. Overton in his remarks at Arlington National Cemetery, and thanked himfor his selfless dedication and his courage when he faced adversity. Read more about President Obama’s commemoration of Veterans Day.

First Lady Michelle Obama Celebrates Diwali at the White House

Last Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed guests to the White House for a Diwali celebration. The celebration started with the First Lady surprising local students at a Bollywood dance clinic and trying out some moves herself. Then the First Lady spoke during a reception in the East Room: “We’ve celebrated this holiday here at the White House every year since Barack took office. And there’s a reason why we've done that,” she said, “When we say that we want to make the White House the ‘people’s house,’ we mean all people. We mean that we want to honor and embrace all of the many cultures and faith traditions that make us who we are as Americans. And Diwali is very much one of those traditions.” Read more about the First Lady’s Diwali celebration.

The Time is Now: President Obama Meets with Business Leaders on Immigration Reform

Last week, Senior Advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett joined the President, Vice President and senior Administration officials for a meeting at the White House with a group of top U.S. business leaders to discuss the importance of commonsense immigration reform to bolster U.S. economic growth, and improve the climate for business and job creation.  These leaders shared with the President their desire to see our broken immigration system fixed, both because it is the right thing to do, and because it will be good for the U.S. economy. Read more about the meeting with business leaders on immigration reform.

WHIAAPI Announcements

Blog Post: Working Together to Strengthen our Community Health Centers

On a recent trip to California, as part of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Strong Start, Bright Future back-to-school bus tour, WHIAAPI Advisor on Community Engagement Maria Pastrana Lujan had the opportunity to visit Operation Samahan (Tagalog for “working together”), a community health center located in National City, CA that predominantly serves the Filipino American community and low-income, uninsured families and individuals. During Maria’s visit, she learned about the organization’s humble beginnings forty years ago, when a group of volunteer doctors and nurses began seeing Filipino American and Latino patients, focused on providing primary and preventive care. Read more about Operation Samahan and other health centers focused on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities who have received investments from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Affordable Care Act.

Agency Announcements

Administration Issues Final Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Rule

As part of the President and Vice President’s continuing efforts to increase access to mental health services, the Administration issued the final rule implementing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. The action means that for group and individual market health plans, insurance companies must cover mental health and addiction benefits at parity with medical and surgical benefits. In January, the Department of Health and Human Services also released a letter to State health officials clarifying that Medicaid plans must also comply with parity requirements. Read more about the rule on mental health benefits.

U.S. Department of Commerce Unveils Report Showing how Universities are Fueling Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Keep America Competitive

The U.S. Department of Commerce last week unveiled “The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus,” a report that shows how universities across the country are supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in order to strengthen the regional economy, create jobs and keep America competitive. “The Obama administration is committed to fostering innovation and supporting entrepreneurs, both of which are key drivers of U.S. economic growth,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “The report unveiled today provides an important look at higher education efforts to advance the innovation economy in communities nationwide.”  Read more about the report.

VA Is Here to Help You Receive the Mental Health Care You Need

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is constantly seeking ways to increase access to quality mental health care for all of America’s Veterans. Veterans deserve to know their options when it comes to mental health care. VA operates the largest integrated health care delivery system in the country, with over 1,700 sites of care. Veterans can schedule appointments through mental health clinics at VA medical centers across the country, but that’s not the only way to get treatment. VA also offers mental health care through primary care clinics and 300 Vet Centers, where combat Veterans can seek readjustment counseling anonymously in a casual, non-clinical setting.  In places where we do not have facilities or services, VA works with community providers to ensure Veterans receive the care they need. Any Veteran in crisis should know that we have trained mental health professionals in our emergency rooms and answering the phones on the VA Veterans Crisis Line, where callers receive confidential support 24/7.  Just call 1-800-273-8255, press 1; chat online; or send a text message to 838255. The VA is here to help you. Read more about VA’s mental health care resources.

Department of Labor Event: 75 Years of the Fair Labor Standards Act

2013 marks two important anniversaries for American workers: the centennial of the U.S. Department of Labor and the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Join researchers, policy experts, advocates and workers to discuss the past, present and future of the FLSA, the American economy and worker protections. We will explore what it means to have a good job that provides economic security, the changing nature of the employer-worker relationship, and trends in paid leave policy.

You're invited to 75 Years of the Fair Labor Standards Act on Friday, November 15, 2013, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, held at the U.S. Department of Labor's Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Auditorium, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. RSVP here

Funding Opportunities

National Institutes of Health: NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) - Minority/Underserved Community Sites (UM1)

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) solicits applications from institutions/organizations to participate in the National Cancer Institute's Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) as NCORP Minority/Underserved Community Sites. The goal of NCORP is to build upon the scope and activities of NCI's previously supported community networks, the Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP). NCORP will be an integrated national network to: 1) design and conduct cancer prevention, control and screening/post-treatment surveillance clinical trials; 2) design and conduct cancer care delivery research; 3) enhance patient and provider access to treatment and imaging clinical trials conducted under the reorganized National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN); and 4) integrate disparity research questions into clinical trials and cancer care delivery research. The FOA closes on February 8, 2014. Read more about this opportunity.

National Science Foundation: Improving Undergraduate STEM Education

A well-prepared, innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce is crucial to the Nation's health and economy. Indeed, recent policy actions and reports have drawn attention to the opportunities and challenges inherent in increasing the number of highly qualified STEM graduates, including STEM teachers. Priorities include educating students to be leaders and innovators in emerging and rapidly changing STEM fields as well as educating a scientifically literate populace; both of these priorities depend on the nature and quality of the undergraduate education experience. In addressing these STEM challenges and priorities, the National Science Foundation invests in research-based and research-generating approaches to understanding STEM learning; to designing, testing, and studying curricular change; to wide dissemination and implementation of best practices; and to broadening participation of individuals and institutions in STEM fields. The closing date for applications is February 4, 2014. Read more about this opportunity.