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

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 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!