AANHPI Leadership Council is a representative voice of the AANHPI communities with a responsibility to provide advice to Compassion & Choices and to support its mission to empower, educate and advocate for end-of-life choices for all communities, especially as it uniquely pertains to the AANHPI Communities.
- On an annual basis, or as needed for new initiatives, the Council will review and advise on the initiatives of Compassion & Choices so that its research, policy and advocacy agenda, and community education efforts reflect the culture and needs of the AANHPI communities.
On an on-going basis, the Council commits to supporting the work of Compassion & Choices within and on behalf of the AANHPI communities in these three primary areas: education, advocacy, empowerment.
Mahina Paishon Duarte, CEO of Waiwai CollectiveMahina Paishon-Duarte is co-founder and chief executive officer of Waiwai Collective, a regenerative urban oasis, a kīpuka, for creatively growing community, culture, and commerce. As a social entrepreneur who has also led several educational and cultural organizations, her vision and mission are one and the same–to catalyze positive, lasting change for Hawai‘i in one generation. Most notably, Mahina is the founding executive director of Paepae o Heʻeia, the first modern Hawaiian fishpond that created ground-breaking ʻāina-based education programming for students from preschool through post-doctoral levels. She gained public sector experience as a policy program manager with NOAAs Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, as well as head of school for both Hālau Kū Māna and Kanu o ka ʻĀina public charter schools. Additionally, Mahina is deeply committed to honing her cultural practice and does so at various traditional schools and wahi pana including Nā Kālai Waʻa, Hālau o ke ʻAʻaliʻi Kū Makani and at Heʻeia fishpond. Mahina holds degrees from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, and Hawaiʻi Pacific University; and serves on a number of not for profit boards in the areas of education, living culture and arts, and economic development.
Ben de Guzman, Director of the Washington, D.C., Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs
Ben de Guzman is the Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA). The agency is the largest one of its kind in the country, centering AAPI residents of the nation’s capital and serving as a liaison to city government. He comes to MOAPIA from the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, where he served as the Community Outreach Specialist. During his tenure there, he helped the agency assume the lead role in presenting the 32nd Annual 17th Street High Heel Race, a time-honored institution of the District’s LGBTQ community.
He has been a leading voice at the local and national level on issues of racial equity, immigrants' rights, veterans affairs, and LGBT justice for twenty years. As an advocate for equity and recognition for Filipino veterans of World War II, he played a key role in two of the most significant legislative victories on behalf of these soldiers. He led communications and outreach strategies for the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project that led to the passage of the Filipino Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Act in 2016. He also served as the National Coordinator for the National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity, where he organized a national legislative campaign that created the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund in 2009.
For almost ten years, he was principal staff at the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), where he managed the policy and programmatic work for NQAPIA and its federation of 40 Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander LGBT groups around the country. As the public face of the organization, he spearheaded efforts to promote both national LGBT campaigns around comprehensive immigration reform and a national LGBT Pride Month campaign from Asian American/ Pacific Islander advocacy organizations.
His work in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities has spanned across the age spectrum. As a trainer for OCA: Asian Pacific American Advocates APIAU Leadership 101 program, he has trained over 1,000 youth and college students. As the National Managing Coordinator for the Diverse Elders Coalition, he led a national program to coordinate cross-sectoral work to bring together elders of color, LGBT elders, and Native American/ Indian American elders to engage the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.
He has authored articles and op-eds that have appeared in mainstream and special interest media, anthologies, and academic publications, including the Encyclopedia of Asian American Issues Today. In 2015, he received a Community Service Award from Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and is pleased to come to MOAPIA and help recognize exciting new leaders moving forward.
Ben is the son of Filipino immigrants and was born and raised in New Jersey. He first moved to the District in 1997 and is a proud resident of Ward 1.
Dr. Sue Royappa, MD, MPH - CMO of HealthSecure EMR and Director of HealthSecure Foundation
Dr. Royappa is an internal medicine physician with extensive and diverse experience in clinical medicine, healthcare technology, public health, nonprofit and education. She is passionate about using technology to increase awareness, develop tools, improve access and ultimately reduce inequities in healthcare.
After running a successful private medical practice in Dallas for over a decade, she pivoted to healthcare technology and public health in order to reach larger groups of people suffering from chronic disease. Her mission is to enhance physical, mental and emotional health in all stages of life by promoting healthy lifestyle choices and advanced medical care planning. When not working at her health informatics company, she is engaged in improving healthcare resources for the Indian community both in the US and in India. She conducts several mental health webinars and workshops for college students in India and provides supportive and palliative care via telehealth to patients with COVID-19 in India.
As the Chief Health Officer for the city of Hideaway, she is actively involved in educating and guiding the community and its leadership in health matters. She was instrumental in implementing the city’s COVID-19 antibody survey through the CARES fund. With the help of local volunteers who she also trained, she established two hotlines for assisting with quarantine of close contacts, isolation of positive cases and vaccination of eligible residents. Through her monthly health column in the city newspaper and presentations to local organizations, she motivates her community to take control of their health.
Since the terminal cancer diagnosis of her dear friend in 2011, and his loss the following year, Dr. Royappa has also been advocating for a good death as an extension of a life well lived. She hopes to make a meaningful impact in the end-of-life care of the Indian community in the US through Compassion and Choices.