Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Recognitions well deserved!

On December 21, 2010, RAMS received three Certificates of Recognition from Sai-Ling Chan-Sew, LCSW, Director of the Child, Youth, & Family System of Care in the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

The RAMS Child, Youth, & Family Outpatient Services was recognized for
  • Exceptional agency-wide compliance in providing a detailed picture of children, youth, and families served by completing the "Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths" assessment, and

  • "For its commitment to the implementation of the Second Step program, a research based violence prevention curriculum that emphasizes the development of social and emotional skills to help students succeed in school and in life"

The RAMS Wellness Centers (Behavioral Health Services) program was recognized for

  • "Its commitment to the implementation of Seeking Safety, an evidence-based, manual-guided cognitive behavioral therapy for co-occurring PTSD and substance abuse issues"

A huge CONGRATULATIONS to our program staff for all of their hard work and accomplishments!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We're known for our Cookies too!

A recent article in local neighborhood paper The Potrero View talked about the writer's journey "Hunting Dogpatch for the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie". It just so happens that RAMS Hire-Ability's very own Cafe Phoenix is in the Dogpatch neighborhood, and we were listed amongst notable Potrero purveyors such as Serpentine and Mr & Mrs Miscellaneous as one of the chocolate chip cookie finds!

Cafe Cook/Trainer Phil Woods was interviewed for the piece by Potrero View staff writer Bill Slatkin: "Meanwhile, I checked out the cookie offered at the Cafe Phoenix, owned by [RAMS] Hire-Ability, the training and job placement nonprofit located south of Dogpatch on Indiana Street. Cook and baker Phil Woods produces a firm and tasty two-ounce cookie sold for $1.25, which ranks with the best in the neighborhood. And while recognizing there’s an art to doing it correctly, [Woods] emphasized what he called the “exact science” of using fresh ingredients in the precise amounts, baked at the ideal temperature for just the perfect amount of time. Those specs remain a trade secret."

This blog writer has also tried the cookies herself, and they are absolutely delicious, crispy along the edges, with a substantial chewines. Thank you, Phil!

To read the article in its entirety and discover more about where the GOOD chocolate chip cookies can be found in the Potrero, click HERE.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

2010 Community Service Award from NCSPP

On December 3, RAMS was presented with the 2010 Community Service Award from the Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology:

"In recognition of your longstanding commitment to advocating for and providing community-based, culturally competent, and consumer-guided services to the residents of San Francisco, and in deep appreciation for the high quality psychodynamic training that you provide to mental health service providers. Your program serves as a model for the compassionate, socially responsible, and culturally-informed practice of psychodynamic psychotherapy and training."

RAMS was recognized for its contributions to both patients and therapists-in-training, and for serving as an inspiration to those committed to providing psychodynamically-informed treatment to everyone, regardless of financial circumstance, immigration status, or ethnic & cultural background.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November activities

RAMS staff were quite active in the community during the month of November!

Program Director of RAMS Asian Family Institute Eddie Chiu, PhD, was a featured presenter at the Problem Gambling Regional Summit in Santa Rosa, held on November 19. This was part of the California Problem Gambling Technical Assistance and Training Project of the National Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA) intended for service providers and the general public to "Learn about the issue of problem gambling in California and its impact on individuals, families, and communities; Prevention and intervention methods and resources, including clinical treatment and resources for financial protection; and Current and future directions in problem gambling prevention, treatment, and policies." The two topics which Dr. Chiu spoke about were 1) Assessment and Treatment of Problem Gambling, and 2) Family Centered Problem Gambling Interventions.

RAMS Deputy Chief / Director of Clinical Services Christina Shea, LMFT, was interviewed together with Judy Young, Executive Director of Vietnamese Youth Development Center, for the Cantonese Journal weekly show on KTSF Channel 26. Interviewed by Anni Chung, Executive Director of Self-Help for the Elderly and co-host of the Chinese Journal (Cantonese show), the episode aired on November 20th. Ms. Shea and Ms. Young represented as co-chairs of the Asian & Pacific Islander Health Parity Coalition (APIHPC). They introduced the work and achievements of APIHPC, discussed the goals of APIHPC for 2010-2011 - media campaign on “de-stigmatization” of mental illness and service seeking behaviors, outreach/education of promoting mental health in API community, advising Department of Public Health on culturally competent services for API, and asking the API community for feedback and advice on service delivery - and spoke with the audience about considering the behavioral health helping professions as potential careers.
Photo credit - cbcastro on Flickr

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Promoting Equality in Schools

The Wellness Centers program shall be featured in a presentation by RAMS Wellness Centers Behavioral Health Counselor Ulash Dunlap, MS, PPSC, at the 6th World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders. This will be held on November 17-19, 2010 in Washington DC.

The title of Ms. Dunlap’s presentation is “Promoting Equality in Schools: Lessons Learned in Working with Immigrant Youth”. Ulash Dunlap (Behavioral Health Counselor, RAMS, Inc.); Kavoos G. Bassiri (President & CEO RAMS, Inc.); Deborah Bryant (School District Nurse, San Francisco Unified School District - SFUSD); Kristin Chun (Director, Behavioral Health Services/Wellness Centers Program, RAMS, Inc.)

The presentation will explore how RAMS is successfully and collaboratively working on-site at the schools to support the mental health needs of immigrant students vital work which, in turn, helps to promote equality. RAMS provides the integrated behavioral health services component of school services, including mental health & substance abuse treatment. During RAMS tenure, students have been surveyed bi-annually by ETR & Associates (outside evaluator) to assess satisfaction with services. In the most recent survey of all Wellness Centers, results support that, as a result of meeting with a RAMS Counselor, there has been improved psychological well-being & skills around managing school & home life.

How can counselors and school-based mental health professionals serve immigrant youth in culturally appropriate ways? Grounded in both theory and practice in the schools, this presentation focuses on immigration trends, acculturation, stressors, mental health, language needs, health care, and challenges in working with immigrant youth in schools. Through case scenarios and lessons learned by RAMS and Wellness Centers staff, this presentation outlines the practical counseling, and collaborative and community interventions that culturally competent school counselors and mental health professionals may want to consider when working with immigrant youth.

Friday, November 5, 2010

NAMI Listens

Kavoos G. Bassiri, LMFT, CGP, President & CEO of RAMS, was invited to participate in the most recent National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Listening Session, which was a gathering to help NAMI better understand issues affecting the AAPI community and draft recommendations to move forward. The objectives for this meeting was to
- Bring together Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders (consumers, family members and providers) to engage in an open dialogue with NAMI regarding mental health in this community
- Elicit feedback and recommendations for NAMI to successfully engage AAPI communities
- Identify existing resources and opportunities to improve mental health education and supports for AAPI communities

21 people from all over the US with a variety of experiences and perspectives (people living with mental illness, family members, providers, researchers, NAMI and non-NAMI members), were invited & attended this event on November 4th & 5th in Los Angeles.

This Listening Session was organized by the NAMI Multicultural Action Center and facilitated by Jei Africa, PsyD, MSCP, CATC.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Guest Post - Mia Veroy, Program Coordinator

Today's guest post is from Mia Veroy, Program Coordinator at both the RAMS Hire-Ability Vocational Services Employee Development Program as well as the new Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate program being offered by RAMS and San Francisco State University. Starting on September 14, the Certificate Program's goal is "to prepare consumers and/or family members with the basic skills & knowledge for entry-level employment in the behavioral health system of care and with academic/career planning that supports success in institutions of higher learning".


It’s finally here…. good things do come to those who wait, or those who pursue and don’t give up on their dreams and passions!

After months of deliberation, preparation and anticipation, RAMS is proud to unveil the Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate Course. Funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), this groundbreaking 12-week basic counseling program offers participants a targeted and thorough curriculum prepared by collaborators RAMS and San Francisco State University’s Department of Counseling.

In the months leading up to the first class, we received an overwhelming response and support not only from the San Francisco community, but from neighboring counties as well. Various community and business organizations have shown their support and enthusiasm for the program through a variety of ways: Philippine International Aid has generously donated scholarships to students and Straits Restaurant and Metromint have contributed food & beverages. The interest generated during the program’s promotions validates the great need and high demand for peer support in the community. One consumer aptly summarized peer support by saying, “this is the wave of the future”. It has been long coming, but the future is here.

Over 80 applications were received and the Admissions Committee faced the challenging task of selecting individuals for the 20 slots available. In an effort to stay true to the mission, the program is proud to report that there is a diverse group of students from various cultural backgrounds and experiences who represent the wide demographic of San Francisco’s population.

Six sessions into the program, we are awed by the level of enthusiasm, engagement, and commitment of everyone in class. In such a short time, we have witnessed friendships developed, support provided, and cultures shared. We have our work cut out for us and have a long way to go, but if the past few weeks, in any way, reflects the overall direction and future, it most certainly looks very bright!
- Mia
For a link to our webpage, click HERE
Photo credit: Jeezny on Flickr

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thank you Kristina Quinones!

Abstract painter Kristina Quinones was instrumental in organizing a fundraiser event for RAMS last year in which her fellow studio artists donated pieces for auction, with all proceeds going to RAMS.

She currently has a showing titled “As Above, So Below” at Nieto Fine Art, 565 Sutter Street @ Mason Street, through October 29th. She is also one of the artists at SOMA Artists Studios participating in the upcoming Open Studios event on the weekend of October 16-17.

To see more of her work, please check out her website at www.kristinaq.com . You can also click on the picture to your left if you'd like to read the article which recently appeared in ArtSpan magazine.

We'd like to thank her for her continued support for our organization, and urge you to check out her shows!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Meet RAMS - Eddie Chiu, PhD

Dr. Eddie Chiu, Director of RAMS Asian Family Institute, was invited and presented at the 15th International Conference on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma, held in San Diego by the The Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT), an international resource and training center at Alliant International University.

The presentation, given on September 11, 2010, was titled "Addiction, Trauma, and a Developmental Process of Treatment and Recovery". Dr. Chiu presented on the topic of Gambling Addiction and Domestic Violence in Asian American Communities.

Click HERE to read coverage from Sing Tao USA newspaper in Chinese

Photo credit: Ravages on Flickr

Monday, August 23, 2010

Guest Post - Yuka Hachiuma, MFTi

Today's guest post is from Yuka Hachiuma, MFTi, Mental Health Counselor at RAMS who also served as the Program Coordinator for the Summer Bridge program. Taking place from June 14 to August 6, Summer Bridge was an 8-week summer mentoring program for San Francisco high school students, designed "to promote awareness of psychological well-being and foster interest in the helping professions".

Oh, the places you'll go!
"Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to great places.
You're off and away. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go....

-- Dr. Seuss, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

In the final week leading up to the end of Summer Bridge, when I stopped to reflect on the past weeks spent with the Summer Bridge participants, the opening lines of Dr. Seuss's classic children's book popped into my head. The book is about life and its challenges, but is also an optimistic encouragement to the reader to go out and conquer the world.

This story came to mind because the message is very applicable to the first group of Summer Bridge graduates. Many, if not most, of them have already experienced various challenges in their lives. These stories came out in the experiential activities we did and engaging discussions we had as we got to know each other throughout the program. The group worked together to create a safe, respectful space where everyone could be themselves while learning and having fun together. There were definitely times when opinions clashed and feelings were hurt. But, they managed to work through their differences and created deeper relationships as a result. What is most notable about this group is their resilience in the face of these challenges, and their desire to give back to their community in the future. This blend of life experience, psychological insightfulness, and community focus makes them very well-suited to pursue a career in the helping professions. My hope is that the Summer Bridge graduates will use this experience as a launching pad to learn more about themselves, pursue their interests, and create opportunities to make good choices for themselves in their lives.

Spending the summer with this group of amazing youth has been an inspiring experience for me, and it has renewed my passion and commitment to nurturing the next generation of mental health professionals. For that, I have them to thank.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Presenting aplenty at AAPA and APA

The Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) 2010 Annual Convention, "Expanding Our Horizons: The Next Decade in AAPI Psychology", took place on August 11 at University of San Diego, California. RAMS was well-represented at this illustrious annual event, with presentations from:

Dr. Katherine Eng, Psychologist at the Adult/Older Adult Outpatient Clinic:
"The Future in the Field: Effective Techniques and Programs in the Clinical Training of API serving clinicians", a panel presentation together with Helen Hsu & Jennifer Lee. The symposium presented best practice techniques and programs in the training of clinicians to work effectively with Asian American Pacific Islander populations.

Ulash Dunlap, Behavioral Health Counselor at the Wellness Centers program:
"Post-partum Depression Among Asian and Asian American Women: Cultural Considerations and Treatment", a panel presentation together with Juli Fraga and Denise Kwok. This session explored ways that mental health providers can provide better screening, early intervention, and clinical support for Postpartum Depression (PPD) among Asian and Asian American women.
"Creative and Culturally Responsive Outreach with South Asian American Populations" – DoSAA-sponsored, a panel presentation together with Nima Patel, Anjuli Amin and Razia Kosi. Therapists facilitated a discussion focused on building bridges to South Asian (SA) communities through the use of outreach services.

Poster sessions were also featured at the convention, including a presentation from RAMS and Alliant International University-CSPP, represented by Drs. Eddie Chiu, Director of Asian Family Institute, and Tai Chang from CSPP: "Training Asian American psychologists for the real world: Integrating program evaluation and clinical training in a community mental health setting" Chiu, E. Y., Ph.D., Chang, T., Ph.D., Okubo, Y., Ph.D., Adams, L. A., MA., Bassiri, K. G., MS., Kwan, K., Ph.D., Shea, C., MS.

The American Psychological Association (APA) 2010 Annual Convention took place immediately following the AAPA, August 12-15. RAMS staff Ulash Dunlap, together with co-presenters Anjuli Amin and Daisy Singla, gave a talk titled "South Asian Women through Multiple Lens: Health, School, and Religion/Culture". In an attempt to understand and shed light on the various acculturative processes that South Asian women encounter in their daily life, this symposium addressed three important areas for counselors to consider: school, health, and religion.

Let's give a round of applause to our distinguished presenters!

Photo credit: seretuaccidente on Flickr

Friday, August 13, 2010

And the winner is...

The RAMS Raffle fundraiser was a success!

The raffle drawing reception was held on August 12 at Vespa San Francisco, located at 1450 Franklin Street. Wine and light snacks were served, and attendees had the opportunity to admire the exotic & vintage car collection on the ground-level showroom. RAMS gratefully acknowledges Vespa San Francisco / Cars Dawydiak for hosting this reception, and Walter Dawydiak for his generous donation. Check out their website http://www.vespasf.com/.

The winning raffle tickets were drawn by Pete Surber, Sales & Operations Manager at VespaSF. The lucky winners are:

Hai-Yang Sun, Grand Prize of 2010 Vespa S50 Scooter
Ray Montella , 2nd place Prize of a night's stay at Hotel Vitale, and 2 tickets to Aquarium Of The Bay

Hoa Truong, 3rd place Prize of a Flip Ultra Video Camera and tripod

Kimya Rahnema, 4th place Prize of 2 show tickets to Yoshi's San Francisco

Congratulations to the winners! Thank you to all of the raffle participants and ticket buyers for your enthusiasm and your support!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Raffle Drawing at VespaSF on Thursday August 12

Less than one week to go until the Summer Scooter Sweepstakes contest draws to a close!

The raffle drawing reception shall be held at Vespa San Francisco, located at 1450 Franklin Street (between Fern St & Bush St), from 5:30-6:30pm. The actual raffle ticket drawing shall commence at 6:00pm sharp.

Winner names shall be drawn for four prizes:
- 4th prize: 2 show tickets to Yoshi's San Francisco
- 3rd prize: Flip Ultra Video camera
- 2nd prize: 1 night stay at Hotel Vitale and 2 tickets to Aquarium Of The Bay
and of course,
- Grand prize: A 2010 Vespa S50 Scooter

The prize winners do not need to be present to win, and will be notified on Friday August 13 if they are not at the reception in person.

For more details, check out our events page at www.ramsinc.org/events
Photo credit: carloalberto on Flickr

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Celebrating Mental Health in Diverse Communities

In celebration of Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, the National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Mental Health (NNED) offered a webinar to highlight minority mental health. This was a two-part series: One webinar was held on July 7, focusing on Latino & American Indian communities. The most recent was held on July 28, featuring Asian American, African American, and LGBTQ communities. These two webinars highlighted the ways communities across the country are celebrating minority mental health.

RAMS CEO Kavoos Bassiri, LMFT, CGP was one of the featured presenters at the July 28 webinar, together with DJ Ida, PhD, Executive Director of NAAPIMHA; Kathy Wright, Executive Director of the New Jersey Parents' Caucus; and Caitlin Ryan, PhD, ACSW, Director of the Family Acceptance Project.

Click HERE for more information on the webinar, on NNED, their upcoming presentations & events, and how to join the network.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Walking on sunshine... and don't it feel GOOD!

In the previous blog post, we introduced our Summer Bridge program for high school students. Yuka Hachiuma, MFTi, is the Program Coordinator for Summer Bridge as well as a Mental Health Counselor at our Child, Youth, & Family Outpatient Clinic program. Together with Yuka, and counselors Ken Lee, LCSW, and Cecilia Nepomuceno, PhD, RAMS is certainly keeping those students busy during the summer! Here's an update from Yuka about Summer Bridge:

"We received a great response of over 50 applicants--which was all through word of mouth! The 21 participants selected for Summer Bridge range in age from 15-19, come from all parts of the city, and reflect the diversity of the communities in San Francisco. We kicked off the program with a retreat, which featured a Ropes course at Fort Miley (check out the photos). Despite some initial grumbling, everyone had a great time pushing themselves past their comfort zone and getting to know each other in the process. It's hard to believe that we are already half way into the program! Time truly flies when you're having fun.

The participants in this pilot year of the program are a really focused, inquisitive group that is very open to learning and experiencing all we have to offer in the program. They have also repeatedly demonstrated their capacity to both challenge and support each other. We are really excited to be working with this amazing group of youth. It's even more exciting to think that they may go on to become our colleagues in the future. I am confident that they will be successful in whatever path they choose for themselves."

Quality time outdoors - what a great way to spend the summer!

Up high in the sky at the Ropes course

Thank you so much for the update and for sharing the pictures with us, Yuka!

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's the "good" kind of Summer School

In keeping with RAMS commitment to community involvement, training, and “growing our own” mental health professionals, RAMS has started the Summer Bridge program, an eight-week summer mentoring program for people ages 16 to 20, currently enrolled in or recently graduated from SFUSD high schools. This summer program provides participating students with classroom learning, field trips to various providers and agencies, guest speakers, and networking opportunities with future schools and potential employers. The purpose of this program is to promote awareness of psychological well-being and foster interest in the helping professions (social worker, counselor, psychologist, therapist, etc.).

This program started on June 14, and will go through August 6, 2010. We are now halfway through the program, so far it’s been a blast!

Big smile for the Group Shot!

Click HERE to learn more about Summer Bridge. This program is funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's Official!

In a previous blog post, we announced that a resolution was presented by Senator Leland Yee to propose that May 10 would be annually recognize statewide as Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day. On July 6, 2010, this resolution was accepted and approved by the California Senate and Assembly and officially Chaptered into the California Legislature.

Click HERE to see the language of the resolution.

Posted at right is a Fact Sheet in support of this resolution, and a list of the various organizations which joined RAMS to advocate for this very important day of recognition. We at RAMS are honored to have played an instrumental role in this resolution, and are looking forward to working together with community members and leaders in recognizing and raising awareness about the importance of mental health in the Asian Pacific American community. So keep May 10 posted on your calendars!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Become a Peer Specialist in the Mental Health Field

Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. and San Francisco State University Department of Counseling are jointly developing and will be offering the Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate program starting in Fall 2010. Funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), the primary goal of the Certificate program is to prepare consumers and/or family members with the basic skills & knowledge for entry-level employment in the behavioral health system of care and with academic/career planning that supports success in institutions of higher learning.

This first-of-its-kind certification course features interactive classes, job shadowing, and career assistance planning. As a student at SFSU, participants have access to the University’s Library, Computer Labs, Student Health Services, Disability Programs and Resource Center, and Counseling and Psychological Services Center, and Childcare Center as well as the College of Health & Human Services Student Resource Center.

This course is being offered for FREE! Actually, it's better than free: All students who successfully complete the course will receive a $250 stipend. Additional scholarships are being offered to Filipino American students, through the Philippine International Aid.

An Open House shall be held on August 3 at San Francisco State University’s Downtown Campus (see the flyer, at left). Come and meet the Program Coordinator and instructors, ask questions about the course, and get help with the application. Classes are scheduled to start September 16.

Click HERE to learn more about this exciting program, and to download a brochure and the application for enrollment from our website http://www.ramsinc.org/. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION IS AUGUST 16, 2010.

For more information, please contact the Program Coordinator, Mia Veroy, at miaveroy@ramsinc.org or (415) 282-9675 ext 229.

Friday, June 25, 2010

An Update From Chloe Dao

Chloe Dao, Winner of Project Runway Season 2 and internationally-recognized designer, now has a blog! In her first post, she shared her thoughts about her visit to San Francisco as a featured guest panelist at the RAMS 35th Anniversary Gala Event "Changing Reality: Voices of Asian Pacific American TV Stars". Thanks, Chloe!

Click HERE to see her blog!

Save The Date - July 17, 2010

In recognition of July as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and the recent passage of the healthcare reform Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010, the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) will host a Town Hall Meeting in San Jose, California in collaboration with RAMS, as well as the Santa Clara County Mental Health Department, Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), and California Reducing Disparities Project.

This is an opportunity to meet with Congressman Mike Honda and Assemblyman Mike Eng to address the impact of mental health of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities in California. As stated in NAAPIMHA's announcement about the event: "Mental health is an issue that is frequently ignored yet impacts every aspect of our lives and is itself impacted by our physical health, employment, education, housing and immigration status. We continue to see suicide among our students, depression in our elders, and post traumatic stress disorder among our refugee and immigrant populations and co-occuring substance use disorders, yet we face challenges in having adequate resources to meet our growing needs. Please join us for this important meeting and have your voices heard. Both Congressman Honda and Assemblyman Mike Eng are very supportive of mental health and want to hear what the community has to say as we develop a statewide and national agenda to improve the overall health and well being of our community."

Registration for townhall is free at http://www.naapimha.org/

Town Hall Meeting
San Jose Buddhist Temple
640 North 5th Street, San Jose, CA
July 17, 2010
8:30am – 4:00pm

Picture from Flickr by fenchurch!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Celebrating API Cultures

Together with RAMS and other API-focused service providers in the community, the Asian Pacific Islander Family Resource Network (APIFRN) held a Cultural Competency training on June 24, 2010 titled "Celebrating API Cultures". The aim of the workshop was to increase awareness of and sensitivity to the complexity of how culture of origin and immigration interface with family's priorities and needs. Panelists represented the Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Samoan, and Vietnamese cultures, and food selections from all ethnic groups were served for lunch.

This was the second time RAMS worked with APIFRN to put on this well-received training for commmunity providers; a similar training was previously done on April 8, 2010.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Advocacy at work

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors held a Budget Hearing on June 21, 2010 regarding the proposed cuts to the funding for social services programs in fiscal year 2010-2011. These budget cuts would significantly impact community-based organizations that provide vital services to some of the poorest and most vulnerable populations in the City. At the Public Hearing held at 4:00pm, RAMS joined many other service organizations to provide testimonials about the importance of continuing the funding for these essential social, medical, behavioral, and mental health services to the San Francisco community.

Waiting for hours in the hallway outside the chambers

Writing and rehearsing our words (each speaker has a 2-minute limit)

Finally inside the chambers after an entire afternoon in line

Testifying before the Board of Supervisors Budget & Finance Committee

Thank you to all of our community members and fellow service providers for taking the time out of their busy schedule to speak out about the importance of social services, and to advocate for the City's most needy and underserved residents.

The San Francisco Human Services Network (of which RAMS is a member) has a dedicated webpage with detailed information on the proposed FY2010-2011 budget and advocacy efforts of nonprofit human services organizations (click HERE to view their site).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

RAMS Raffle & Summer Scooter Sweepstakes

We are thrilled to announce that we are now holding the “RAMS Raffle & Summer Scooter Sweepstakes”!

Buy your tickets for a chance to win the GRAND PRIZE of a 2010 Vespa S50 Scooter, perfect for cruising around San Francisco during the warm late-summer weather! Enjoy the fresh sea air and the sights & sounds of summer as you ride around town on your new Vespa, never worrying about looking for parking spaces again! Donated by VespaSF / Cars Dawydiak, the Vespa S50 has a retail value of *$3,200, and the winner has the option of selecting from a range of classic Vespa colors. The winner also has the option of taking the $3,200 as credit, to apply to a larger Vespa scooter upgrade/purchase at the VespaSF shop.

*Vehicle tax and registration is not included in the prize value. The new owner of the Vespa shall be fully responsible for tax, registration, and all other vehicle fees as required by CA law.

The SECOND place prize is a package for a One Night Stay at the Hotel Vitale in a Deluxe City View King Room, and two tickets to the Aquarium Of The Bay at Pier 39. Spend a perfect summer day soaking up the sun at the beautiful San Francisco Embarcadero waterfront and checking out the marine life in San Francisco’s only waterfront aquarium, and end your excursion by relaxing at a luxury boutique hotel by the bay. This prize has a $452 value.

The THIRD place prize is a Flip Ultra video camera. This compact digital camcorder records up to 120 minutes (4 GB capacity), and comes complete with a fully-adjustable tripod. Its size makes it perfect to have on-hand to capture all of summer’s most memorable moments. This prize has a $160 value.

The FOURTH place prize is a gift certificate for a pair of tickets to Yoshi's Jazz Club in San Francisco. Yoshi’s is located in the historic Fillmore District near Japantown, a destination for music and food lovers alike. The gift certificate will be exchanged for pair of tickets of the winner’s choosing, with a value of up to $60 each ticket (a total value of $120).

RAMS is selling raffle tickets NOW until until August 12, 2010.
- Each ticket is $5.00.
- Or, buy six (6) tickets for $25.00.

Raffle Drawing:
The Raffle Drawing will be held on Thursday, August 12, 2010 at a reception in San Francisco. You need not be present to win. More details to come.

If winners are not present at the Raffle Drawing Reception, they will be notified by phone and email (based on the contact information provided at the time of ticket purchase). The winning names will also be posted on the website shortly after the drawing.

Raffle Rules & Regulations:
• Must be 18 years old to purchase raffle tickets
• Raffle ticket purchases are not tax-deductible, per federal law.

100% of all proceeds from the RAMS Raffle & Summer Scooter Sweepstakes shall benefit RAMS and its programs.

For more information, you may contact Katelynn Luong at katelynnluong@ramsinc.org or (415) 668-5955 ext. 315.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Meet RAMS - Eddie Chiu, PhD

The National Council on Problem Gambling recognized the 2010 "Year's Best in the Problem Gambling Field" Award Winners at the 24th National Conference on Problem Gambling in Portland, OR on June 11th.

Eddie Chiu, PhD, Director of Asian Family Institute at RAMS, received the annual Treatment Award, which is given to recognize achievement in the direct provision of services to problem gamblers and their families. Dr. Chiu was recognized as a pioneer in developing and providing culturally-specific services for the Asian Pacific Islander community.
Click HERE to find out more information about the Problem Gambling services at RAMS AFI Clinic.
Click HERE to see an article in the Sacramento Bee, and HERE to see an article in Asian Week, about Problem Gambling in the API Communities.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cultural Competency is our Specialty

The Harm Reduction Therapy Center (HRTC) has been engaged by the Community Behavioral Health Services (CBHS) to deliver a series of trainings in San Francisco on the topic of Cultural Sensitivity.

Funded by Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), the project’s goal is to deliver 16 trainings in 2010-2011 aimed to improve the CBHS workforce’s understanding of the cultural & linguistic issues and needs that affect recovery and resil-iency, and improve access to mental health services, for the following ethnic and cultural groups: African Ameri-cans; Latinos/as; Asians and Pacific Islanders; Native Americans; Russians; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Questioning (LGBTQIQ) consumers; Transitional Age Youth; and Older Adults.

Due to our strengths as service providers with special focus in cultural competence with the A&PI and Russian-speaking communities, RAMS was tapped to provide two of these culturally-focused trainings: one focused on A&PI-Americans, and one focused on the Russian-speaking population.

The first training, "It Takes a Village: Culturally Sensitive and Community-Based Approaches in working with Asian & Pacific Islander Americans ", took place on May 20, 2010. Through didactic and case examples, presenters from RAMS provided an overview of cultural & clinical issues and current trends in working with the Asian & Pacific Islander community, including: Cultural Factors in Assessment; Culturally Adapting Psychotherapy; Domestic Violence; Problem Gambling; and working with Asian immigrant youth in school-based setting. Attendees were trained on how culture can affect the presentation of mental illness.

The second training, "Current Perspectives: Working with the Russian-speaking Community". was held on June 10, 2010. Through didactic and case examples, presenters from RAMS provide an overview of cultural & clinical issues and current trends in working with the Russian-speaking population, including: Nostalgia: Complex Reactions to Immigration; Psychiatric Care & Cultural Factors; Ethnocultural Factors in Substance Use/Abuse Counseling; and Wellness Practices. The Russian-speaking community constitute a significant & diverse racial group and it is critical that service providers have the under-standing of the cultural & clinical implications in serving this community. The Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet Union often face challenges due to language & cultural differences and immigration issues, in obtaining behavioral health and social services.

With over 30 years of experience providing culturally competent services to the community, RAMS continues to play a key role in defining and implementing culturally competent mental health and integrated behavioral health services in San Francisco. The agency's philosophy of care reflect values that recovery & rehabilitation are more likely to occur where the mental health systems, services, and providers have and utilize knowledge and skills that are culturally competent and compatible with the backgrounds of consumers and their families and communities, at large.

Click HERE to read more about our Cultural Competence Philosophy and Practices.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Community talks in the Richmond District

San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, who represents District 1 (includes the Richmond District where many RAMS programs are located), invited "local service providers, activists, residents, and homeowners" to hold a community discussion on May 20 about the upcoming budget cuts anticipted for the Fiscal Year 2010-2011. RAMS Chief Executive Officer Kavoos Bassiri, LMFT, CGP was one of the invited speakers at this meeting.

Coverage was provided by local newspaper The Richmond Review.
Click HERE for the article.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche

June 2, 2010 was the 5th Annual Evelyn Lee Diversity and Cultural Competency Training, an annual event for all RAMS program staff (named in honor of the late Dr. Evelyn Lee, former Executive Director at RAMS).

This year, we had the honor of having esteemed author Ethan Watters as our featured presenter. His latest book is titled "Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche", which is described as revealing that the most devastating consequence of the spread of American culture has not been our golden arches or our bomb craters but our bulldozing of the human psyche itself: We are in the process of homogenizing the way the world goes mad. He is also a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Discover, Men's Journal, Spin, Details, and Wired. A frequent contributor to NPR, Watters' work appeared in the 2007 and 2008 Best American Science and Nature Writing. He co-founded the San Francisco Writers Grotto, a work space for local artists.

He was a featured guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Ethan Watters
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Click HERE for an essay written by Mr. Watters for the New York Times Magazine, titled "The Americanization of Mental Illness", which is also an excerpt from the book.

Joining him onstage was Kwong-Liem Karl Kwan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, SF State University, Dept. of Counseling, and formerly a tenured faculty in the Department of Educational Studies at Purdue University (1996-2005) and University of Missouri at Columbia (2005-2008). His research focuses on the development and assessment of counseling constructs specific to Asians and Asian Americans. Dr. Kwan is past program co-chair and conference co-chair of Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) annual conferences. Serving as the event Discussant was Alvin N. Alvarez, Ph.D., Professor, SF State University, Dept. of Counseling; Member of the RAMS Board of Directors; Past President, Asian American Psychological Association; and Co-Editor of Asian American Psychology: Current Perspectives, the first textbook written to welcome those who are new to Asian American psychology, and includes contributors from the leading experts and emerging scholars and practitioners in the field.

Here's a video of Ethan Watters as a guest on The Agenda with Steve Paikin. He is joined by Dr. Salman Akhtar, who was a featured speaker at an event presented by RAMS this past November 2009.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Slideshow from Soleil Portraits

Yana Rudakov of Soleil Portraits put together a slideshow of the RAMS Changing Reality event on May 12.

Click HERE to view her slideshow.

Click HERE to view her blog entry about the event.
Thank you, Yana!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

When Reality Looks Like Me - Hyphen Magazine

Hyphen Magazine blogger Joy Tang wrote a recap of the RAMS Changing Reality event for the online magazine.

"And as I was sitting in the back of the room, stirring the ice in my water, something started happening. I started feeling stuff. And I think it was hope? I think it was something like hope."

Click HERE to read "When Reality Looks Like Me: RAMS 35th Anniversary Gala Review".

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Changing Reality

Left to right: Senator Leland Yee, Victor Jih & Tammy Jih, Hung Huynh, Chloe Dao, Pamela Ling

The night was a success! We are grateful to the Hotel Kabuki for hosting the event, and to our event contributors DJ Pauly Paul, Echoes of the Dragon Chinese Drum Ensemble, Frank Jang Photography, Gobba Gobba Hey, Mariluz Design, and Soleil Portraits, for donating their time and services, and especially to our featured guests and all of our donors & supporters who made this event a night to remember.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Can you tell we're excited?

Here is our official press release announcing Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day:

Resolution Declaring May 10th as “Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day”

SAN FRANCISCO – Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. (RAMS) is pleased to be the lead in spearheading the effort to establish May 10th as “Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day”, in recognition of the importance of raising awareness about mental health in the Asian Pacific American community. The month of May is already established as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and National Mental Health Awareness Month; thus, establishing this day in May more closely aligns both awareness efforts.

Starting in the year of 2010 and each year thereafter, the City & County of San Francisco shall recognize May 10th as “Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day”, as it was introduced by San Francisco Board of Supervisor (District 1) Eric Mar and supported by the full Board. California State Senator Leland Y. Yee, Ph.D. introduced the resolution as SCR 97 at the State Senate and May 10th Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day is to be official in the State of California.

This resolution has been overwhelmingly supported by many major associations, such as American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers, Council of National Psychological Associations for the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Interests, California Marriage & Family Therapy Association, Northern California Psychiatric Society, National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, and National Latina/o Psychological Association.

There is a significant need for enhancing awareness of mental illness in the Asian Pacific American community. Approximately 25% of Americans in a given year are impacted by mental health conditions regardless of gender, age, race, religion and socioeconomic status, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Through the combination of psychosocial and pharmacological treatments and support, 70% to 90% of individuals with mental health issues have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life. Furthermore, Asian Pacific American (APA) communities are among the fastest growing and most diverse racial group in the United States though APA’s use mental health services at the lowest rate among ethnic populations. As such, there is a critical need to raise awareness about mental health within the APA community to de-stigmatize seeking help and enhance access to culturally competent community services.

“In establishing this reoccurring day, RAMS plans to launch Northern and Southern California Taskforces which would be the platform in order to formally collaborate on efforts,” says Kavoos G. Bassiri, President & CEO of RAMS, “As a community of Californians and Asian Pacific Americans, together, the groups will identify best practices and strategies on outreach & promotion as well as discuss pertinent issues relating to mental health, culturally competent healthcare practices, and the community-at-large.”

Founded in 1974, RAMS is a non-profit agency providing comprehensive, culturally competent services that aim to meet the behavioral health, social, vocational, and educational needs of the diverse San Francisco Area with special focus on the Asian & Pacific Islander American and Russian-speaking communities. Each year, RAMS serves over 15,000 adults, children, youth, and families, in over 30 languages in over 75 sites, citywide.

Happy Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day!

Over a year in the making, after months and months of work by RAMS CEO, Kavoos G. Bassiri, we are thrilled to announce that today, May 10, is the first annual Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day, to be observed and celebrated locally in San Francsico and statewide in California!

Presented and supported by District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar, a long-time supporter of RAMS, this resolution was voted on & passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on April 20, 2010.

Today, this resolution is being presented by Senator Leland Yee to the California Senate, in order for Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day to be recognized statewide.

As presented by Senator Yee :

SCR 97 (Yee)
Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day.
This measure would recognize May 10, 2010, and each May 10 thereafter, as Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day, and acknowledge the importance of raising awareness about mental health in the Asian Pacific American community.

The Asian Pacific American community is among the fastest growing and most diverse racial groups in the United States. Asian Pacific Americans have made remarkable economic, political, and social contributions, and are the majority in eight California cities and the second largest group in four California counties; and
WHEREAS, Approximately 25 percent of Americans experience and are diagnosed with a mental health condition in a given year, impacting all communities regardless of race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, and gender; and
WHEREAS, There is a critical need to raise awareness about and advocate for health care policies that increase the accessibility of mental health care services; and
WHEREAS, In this country there is a critical need to raise awareness about mental health, particularly within the Asian Pacific American community, to destigmatize seeking help, and to gain access to culturally competent community services; and
WHEREAS, Asian Pacific Americans use mental health services at the lowest rates among ethnic populations. This may be due to the substantial stigma that exists among Asian Pacific Americans, as well as cultural and linguistic isolation of the community, family, and individual; and
WHEREAS, There is an extreme lack of research regarding Asian Pacific Americans and mental health issues. A combination of psychosocial and pharmacological treatments and supports prove to be highly effective with 70 percent to 90 percent, inclusive, of individuals with mental health issues having significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life; and
WHEREAS, Raising awareness about mental health in the Asian Pacific American community encourages professional interest in health and human services careers, fostering a diversified workforce that reflects the community;

now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly thereof concurring, That the Legislature recognizes May 10, 2010, and each May 10 thereafter, as Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day, and acknowledges the importance of raising awareness about mental health in
the Asian Pacific American community; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.
Thank you to all of our supporters who made this all possible!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What it means to be a Vietnamese American Chef

Top Chef Hung Huynh, a featured guest at RAMS upcoming anniversary event, on the role and responsibility of being an Asian American & Vietnamese American Chef:

Video from The Asia Society (see other interviews and clips on their YouTube page here)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Roundup - May 2010 Upcoming Events

May 7: Senator Leland Yee, RAMS Chief Executive Officer Kavoos G. Bassiri, and representatives of RAMS and other API & mental health organizations shall hold a press conference regarding the proposed statewide Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day on May 10. This annual day of recognition was spearheaded by RAMS, and made possible with the widespread community and political support, including the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
(For more details on the citywide day, see May 10 below).

May 8: The 6th Annual Richmond District Health Festival shall be held from 10am – 2pm at the Richmond Recreation Center, 251 18th Avenue. This festival was sponsored by RAMS, along with Compassionate Community Care, Kaiser Permanente, and Self-Help for the Elderly as well as Senator Leland Y. Yee and Supervisor Eric Mar.

This festival will feature live performances from Chinese Lion Dancers, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and speeches by Senator Yee and Supervisor Mar. There will be over 40 community health organizations, children’s activities and free clinical services including bone density testing, dental check ups, Hepatitis B screening, spinal screening, medication review and much more. This event is completely free of charge to the public. Come enjoy a day of fun and valuable knowledge on your health and well-being. For more information, contact Susan Chan at 557-7857 or susan.chan@sen.ca.gov
Click HERE for a write-up from the Richmond Blog.

May 10: Today is Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day in San Francisco! This proposal of RAMS and Supervisor Eric Mar was introduced, and the resolution approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, on April 20, 2010.

May 12: RAMS 35th Anniversary Fundraiser Gala, aka "Changing Reality: The Voices of Asian American TV Stars". This will be held at the Hotel Kabuki on Wednesday May 12, reception at 5:30pm and program at 7:00pm.

May 22: Join RAMS at the 6th annual NAMIWalk SF Bay Area! NAMIWalk is a fundraising and awareness-raising 5K walk that will take place in 80 communities across the country in 2010. The San Francisco walk will take place from 9:00am-11:00am at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park. Check out their site at www.namiwalksfbay.org for more details.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meet RAMS - Christina Shea, LMFT

Christina Shea, RAMS Deputy Chief & Director of Clinical Services, was an invited speaker at the “International Spring Symposium: Immigration Trauma, Stress and Loss, and its Impact on Children and Families” as a community expert in the Asian immigrant experience.

This was held on April 28, 2010 in San Francisco, organized by the Child Trauma Training Institute.
Image Credit: "Prepararsi" by Alessandro Pinna

Monday, April 26, 2010

Five Stars!

We are thrilled to announce that Tammy Jih has just been added to the roster of celebrity guest panelists to our fundraiser gala "Changing Reality: The Voices of Asian American TV Stars". Tammy shall be joining her big brother Victor Jih - who together with Tammy had won the most recent season of Amazing Race - as well as MTV's The Real World San Francisco alumni Dr. Pamela Ling, Project Runway winner Chloe Dao, and Top Chef winner Hung Huynh, on our stage on May 12.

Here is a look at their reflections on their experience with the China leg of their race.

Monday, April 12, 2010

One month... and counting down!

We are excitedly preparing for our upcoming Fundraiser Gala and Celebrity Forum, which is exactly one month away on May 12!

This event will feature a talk with four Asian-American Reality TV stars: Chloe Dao, Hung Huynh, and Victor Jih, whose triumphs on their respective shows Project Runway, Top Chef, and Amazing Race were considered a winning representation of Asian America, and Dr. Pamela Ling, who broke ground as one of the first Asian American faces on mainstream television when she appeared on the 3rd season of MTV's The Real World. We will be speaking with our guests about their reasons for being on their shows, how their ethnic and cultural identities may have shaped their experiences, and their thoughts on API representation in the media and society, as well as the impact that their participation and subsequent accomplishments have had on the way mainstream media perceives and portrays Asian Americans today.

This event will be the first of its kind, and we are thrilled to be presenting this to you.  California State Senator Leland Yee shall be participating as our Moderator for the celebrity forum.

Meanwhile, our staff are have been diligently meeting and talking with various members of the San Francisco community, in hopes of securing donations and sponsorships, as well as ticket sales for our much-anticipated event. This event is a fundraiser, and financial contributions from our supporters will help RAMS continue providing much-needed mental health services to the Asian American community, and the San Francisco Bay Area as a whole.

For more information about our event, and to buy tickets, please visit our events page at http://ramsinc.org/events/

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meet RAMS - Brooke Miller, MFTi

Brooke Miller, MFTi, who is a Behavioral Health Counselor in the school-based Wellness Centers Program, recently published her piece “The Thing About The InBetween” in the CAMFT April 2010 newsletter. She also presented a workshop titled “Language of Body Image: Working With Women & Girls From Inside Out In Culturally Diverse San Francisco” at CBHS 1380 Howard on March 9, organized by the San Francisco Mental Health Board and GABHS (Gender Appropriate Behavioral Health Services) For Gals.

Brooke is also the intrepid blogger behind http://www.soapboxtherapy.com/. Go check it out!

The Wellness Centers Program is funded by the San Francisco Wellness Centers Initiative, which provides on-site medical/mental health & substance abuse counseling services & community resources to youth at San Francisco high schools & middle schools.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Meet RAMS - Ulash Dunlap, MFTi

Ulash Dunlap, MFTi, a RAMS Behavioral Health Counselor at the Wellness Centers Program, presented two programs – “Lessons Learned in Urban Schools: Conducting Groups With Latino and Asian Youth” on March 20, “Fearing the Knock of La Migra: Counseling Latino Immigrant Children in Schools” on March 21 – at the American Counselor Association Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.
Ulash shall also be presenting at the upcoming American Psychology Association conference in August, on “South Asian Women Through Multiple Lens: Health, School, and Religion/Culture”, and will be collaborating with RAMS staff on another proposal to present at the conference.

The Wellness Centers Program is funded by the San Francisco Wellness Centers Initiative, which provides on-site medical/mental health & substance abuse counseling services & community resources to youth at San Francisco high schools & middle schools.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

RAMS at Suwon International Mental Health Symposium

On behalf of RAMS, Chief Executive Officer Kavoos G. Bassiri was an invited speaker at the 2nd Suwon International Mental Health Symposium (titled “Communication and Solidarity in Mental Health), hosted by Ajou University Institute of Mental Health & Mental Health Network in Suwon and sponsored by Suwon government, Korea. This took place on March 18-20, 2010, in Suwon, South Korea.
The mental health services now being offered in South Korea were influenced by previous visits made by South Korean officials to RAMS in 2005-2007. It was impressive to see the advances being made in the types of public health programs offered in South Korea, knowing that they were influenced by what was being developed and offered at RAMS.