Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays from RAMS

Wishing you a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season
From all of us at RAMS

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Inaugural 2013 Staff Awards for Outstanding Service

RAMS is pleased to announce the first annual Awards for Outstanding Service. There will be three individuals that will be honored in the following ways…
  • Consumer/Community Advocate Award: This award honors an individual who has been an outstanding voice for consumer empowerment by promoting client centered decision-making & change, access to information & resources, and creating relationships that foster hope, safety, and a sense of self-efficacy. S/he is mindful not only of consumer needs, but also of the needs of the larger community. S/he goes above and beyond the “call of duty”, outside her/his regular responsibilities to advocate on the behalf of the organization, consumers, their communities, and the “cause” at large.

  • Excellence in Service & Cultural Competency Award: This award honors a skilled & compassionate individual who exemplifies the values and ideals of RAMS’ mission in her/his work & interaction with staff, consumers, and the community. S/he has given superior, sustained commitment to quality services, along with unwavering dedication to serve the organization (including other staff, consumers & their communities) with professionalism, integrity, respect, and humility. This individual is not only skilled at what s/he does, but also values diversity, is able to conduct self-assessments, manage & embrace the dynamics of difference, acquire new cultural knowledge, and adapt to the cultural context of the people s/he serves. S/he has a lasting positive impact on the organization and the communities.

  • Rising Star/Leadership Award: The award honors an individual that has shown exceptional promise in leadership by demonstrating their skills within the organization and our communities. S/he has shown accomplishments in improving the operations of a program, the administrative/supportive functions, and/or the lives of consumers and community we serve using an effective and efficient approach. This individual leads the way with fresh energy, strong ability, and steadfast commitment.

To be considered for this recognition, anyone working at RAMS may self-nominate or be nominated by anyone else within the agency. A committee representing staff and management personnel will review all nomination submissions and notify the final award recipients. All nominations will be collected in January with awards being presented in 2013 at a RAMS event. Each recipient also receives $1,000.

RAMS is excited to be able to have this annual recognition for staff, and will be making the announcement early next year!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meet RAMS - Alison Ching, LMFT and Yuka Hachiuma, LMFT

On October 30, 2012, in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors commended individuals in each supervisorial district for their work in the mental health field. We are proud to announce that Supervisor Eric Mar awarded RAMS counselors Alison Ching, LMFT and Yuka Hachiuma, LMFT with Certificates of Honor as the individuals representing the Richmond District of San Francisco.

Here’s why:

Alison Ching, MA, Ed.M., MFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 15 years of experience in the human services field. Beginning as a Research Assistant Intern for one of the first U.S. studies on HIV and substance use in Asian American populations, Ms. Ching has since worked with a range of culturally diverse communities of children, youth, and families providing clinical assessment, psychotherapy, and health education. She has been working at RAMS, since 2006, as a Behavioral Health Counselor for teens and families providing culturally competent assessment, therapy, and crisis intervention services for students on-site at Washington High School and Lincoln High School (and previously Burton High School) through the Wellness Initiative. She exhibits passion and dedication to working with culturally diverse youth and families, while demonstrating tireless advocacy and providing effective client-centered mental health services.

Yuka Hachiuma, MS, MFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with 10 years of experience in the mental health field. A bicultural, bilingual Japanese-speaking therapist, Ms. Hachiuma works at RAMS as a Mental Health Counselor providing culturally competent counseling to youth and their families, on-site at Washington High School. Specifically, she serves students & families with limited resources and youth receiving special education services while providing consultation to school faculty and administrators. While at RAMS, Ms. Hachiuma previously served as the first Coordinator for the agency’s launch of the Summer Bridge program, a summer mentoring program for San Francisco high school students designed to promote awareness of psychological well-being and foster interest in the helping professions. She continuously exhibits unwavering commitment to serving the diverse San Francisco community of children and youth, while modeling and inspiring compassionate & quality mental health care in the field.

Please join RAMS in congratulating Alison and Yuka for this commendation, and in celebrating all the honorees of the various San Francisco districts!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The San Francisco Wellness Initiative

If you'd like to read more about how the Wellness Centers program is structured, the San Francisco Wellness Initiative website is a great place to start.

The mission of the SF Wellness Initiative is to improve the health, well-being, and educational outcomes of San Francisco Unified School District high school students.  RAMS, Inc. is the core provider of behavioral health services for the Wellness Initiative. 

Check out the latest videos (featuring RAMS staff!) from the San Francisco Wellness Initiative YouTube page to learn more about how San Francisco collaborates to support the health of our adolescents.

Monday, October 1, 2012

2012-2013 Interns and Trainees off to a Great Start!

True to RAMS commitment to fostering the next generation of culturally competent clinicians, each year the agency offers a variety of internship placements.  This year, RAMS has about 30 new interns and trainees possessing a vast range of skills and knowledge, languages spoken, educational backgrounds, and disciplines who are serving the client community in seven of RAMS programs – Asian Family Institute; Adult/Older Adult Outpatient Services Clinic; Broderick Street Adult Residential Facility; Child, Youth & Family Outpatient Services Clinic; Fu Yau Project; PAES Counseling & Pre-Vocational Services; and Wellness Centers Program.  The interns and trainees have undergone an orientation and training process in September with seminars ranging from working with children & families and adult/older adults, to confidentiality & privacy policies, mandatory reporting requirements, response to crisis and suicide intervention, cultural humility and competency principles, engagement, and strategies…and so much more!  Now that the majority of “orienting” is done, RAMS is looking towards the next phase of applying theory and clinical knowledge into practice, fostering professional growth and development through supervision and ongoing trainings and seminars, and offering enriching experiences in community mental health settings.

RAMS aims to recruit a diverse group and, for academic year 2012/13, the agency did just that!  The intern and trainee group represents graduate programs of over 10 schools – California Institute of Integral Studies; Alliant International University/California School of Professional Psychology; Georgia State University; San Francisco State University; Smith College; University of California, San Francisco; and The Wright Institute, just to name a few.  And, to reflect the diverse languages of the client community, over 15 languages can be spoken by the group including Cantonese, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Malay, Mongolian, Russian, Spanish, and many more.  The interns and trainees also come to RAMS in different stages of their educational training with majority currently in their masters programs while others are pre-doctoral interns (RAMS National Asian American Psychology Training Center has been continuously accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1980), post-doctoral fellows, and post-masters interns in various healthcare disciplines – Psychology; Marriage & Family Therapy; Nursing; and Social Work.  RAMS even has different training focuses such as clinical and research.

RAMS actively retains high quality licensed clinicians to provide clinical supervision to the interns and trainees (many who are former RAMS interns and/or trainees themselves).  The agency is truly privileged to be able to be part of the group’s journey through the helping profession – for over 35 years, the agency has had this honor for many in the field and looks forward to continuing this tradition.

Pre-Doctoral Interns, Interns, and Practicum Trainees at RAMS
There are interns and trainees at almost every RAMS program, and although we are not able to include everyone's pictures, we are delighted to have ALL of them here contributing their skills and talents to RAMS! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Stereotype Threat: How it affects us and what we can do

RAMS is honored to have distinguished speaker Claude Steele, PhD, as our featured presenter for the 7th Annual Evelyn Lee Diversity and Cultural Competency Training on October 11.

This seminar will focus on the theory of stereotype threat, designating a common process through which people from different groups, being threatened by different stereotypes, can have different experiences in the same situation. It will illustrate its application in understanding group differences in performance ranging from the intellectual to the athletic, in a variety of settings such as the workplace and academia. The psychological experience of the individual and, particularly, on the experience of threats to the self and the consequences of those threats will also be discussed along with the concepts of self-image threat, self-affirmation, and its role in self-regulation, the academic under-achievement of minority students, and the role of alcohol and drug use in self-regulation processes and social behavior. Furthermore, the seminar will reveal interventions and strategies, from a community service provider perspective.

When: Thursday, October 11.  9:00am - 12:00pm (Registration 8:30am)
Where: Balboa Theater, 3630 Balboa Street, San Francisco (Next door to RAMS)

Dr. Steele is a renowned social psychologist who is currently the I. James Quillen Dean for the School of Education at Stanford University. Previously, he served as the 21st Provost of Columbia University, as well as a professor of psychology. He is best known for his work on stereotype threat and its application to minority student academic performance. His earlier research focused on the self (e.g. self-image, self-affirmation) as well as the role of self-regulation in addictive behaviors. Dr. Steele has also published articles in numerous scholarly journals and his recent book, Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, was published in 2010.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Trauma/Grief and Loss Counseling Services through the San Francisco high school-based Wellness Centers

RAMS, Inc. has had over a decade of partnership with the San Francisco Wellness Initiative, a collaboration between the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), SF Department of Public Health / Community Behavioral Health Services (SFDPH-CBHS), and Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF). The Wellness Initiative has established Wellness Centers in, currently, 16 of the public high schools in San Francisco. The Wellness Centers provide free, on-site, confidential health services to students including behavioral health counseling, nursing services, support and empowerment groups, and connections to health resources in the community. RAMS, specifically, is the core behavioral health services provider  with on-site counselors/therapists, clinical case managers, and an intern training program that recruits graduate students annually, to provide support  to over 1,500 students a year.  Over the course of our work, they have experienced a high volume of students regularly affected by frequent acts of community violence that occur several times (sometimes more) a year.  Each violent act simultaneously affects bands of students at several high schools at once and the volume of the problem outweighs the capacity of the Wellness Centers’ staff.  In response to this need, the Trauma/Grief & Loss Counselor (TGL) position was proposed by RAMS and funded through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) / SFDPH-CBHS in 2009.  The TGL Counselor is integrated, and is available to all 16  Wellness Centers and provides immediate response to and intervenes in schools when students or faculty are affected by school-wide crises, such as neighborhood violence or deaths of students and teachers.  The TGL Counselor provides debriefing, de-escalation, training, and short and long term group therapy. The TGL Counselor possesses a Master’s degree (mental health field), is bilingual & bicultural, and has clinical expertise in working with adolescents and trauma/grief & loss issues. 

Students are recruited for Trauma/Grief & Loss services in several ways. Following an incident of community violence or other tragedy (i.e. suicide or death of teachers) there is subsequent debriefing and containment at a school(s), after which students may directly agree to on-going group support.  The Wellness Center staff also may identify students who have been referred to them by teachers or academic counselors; and have exhibited symptoms of trauma; or have admitted some experience with being victims or witness to violence.  Staff will request TGL group services for these students. TGL services average about six groups per semester.

The curriculum for the Trauma/Grief and Loss groups is a combination of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Cohen, Mannarino, & Deblinger, 2006) and the Seeking Safety models (Najavits, 2007).  Both models are present-focused and components-based and aim to help group members learn new skills to cope with and manage symptoms of trauma.  Both have evidence that support their efficacy.

For the 2011-12 school year, the TGL Counselor provided services to 90 students and facilitated 11 groups at nine school sites.  The participant demographics were: 51% Latino, 25% African American, with the remaining being Filipino, Multi-racial, Caucasian and Other.  Approximately 70% of the youth had recently experienced the death of a family member or someone close to them while others had issues relating to immigration or other trauma (i.e. suicide or domestic violence).   

To evaluate the effectiveness of the services, students are administered a pre- and post-test during their participation,  based on the Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS) (Foa, et al.,2001) which measures their level of PTSD symptomology on a 1- 51 scale.  Students rating over 15 are considered to be above the clinical PTSD range.  The Wellness Initiative’s research partner, ETR (Evaluation, Training, Research) Associates collects the test data and reports annually on the outcomes. Consistently, the results have been promising.  In the 2011-12 group evaluation survey, 100% of the participants reported a decrease in their PTSD symptoms with an average 16-point drop.  Furthermore, 92% of group participants, at intake, were above the PTSD range; at the end of the group, only 44% of these students measured above the PTSD range.   

It is these hopeful outcomes that support our commitment to serving San Francisco’s youth in the Wellness Centers.  RAMS continues to solicit feedback from students about services to identify and further strengthen culturally competent, consumer-driven programming and how to effectively support youth experiencing trauma symptoms.
Photo credit - by FotoRita on Flickr

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Story from Judy Tseng

Following Mr. Ramey Ko and Ms. Bonnie Youn courageously sharing their stories, Ms. Judy Tseng shares her personal story to inspire others and encourage talking to someone & seeking help when needed. Thank you for making a positive difference!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fu Yau Project Summer 2012 Newsletter

Check out the latest Fu Yau Times, a semi-annual newsletter with great articles and tips on parenting and resources for the community. Check it out by clicking HERE.

About the Fu Yau Project:
The Fu Yau Project is one of the many Child, Youth & Family Services offered at RAMS. It is a collaboration of RAMS and Chinatown Child Development Center (CCDC) and is located at 720 Sacramento Street, in San Francisco's Chinatown district. This innovative program provides prevention and early intervention mental health services to the childcare community that cares for children, ages 0-5 years old. Services includes the following: On-Site Program and Child Observation; Clinical Consultation with childcare staff and families; On-Site Intervention with individual and groups of children; Parenting Classes and Support Groups; and In-Service Training for the childcare staff relating to child development and mental health related issues. The Fu Yau Project staff includes child psychiatrists, licensed and license-tracked clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists, all of whom reflect the unique language skills and cultural competence needed to provide services for the children, families, and teaching staff of the childcare programs.

Through the Fu Yau Project, RAMS currently provides services at more than 43 childcare centers, 8 family childcare providers, 5 family resource centers, and one after school site, which are located in over nine San Francisco neighborhoods.

Monday, June 18, 2012

30 Years After Vincent Chin

In 1982, Vincent Chin was the victim of a hate crime murder in Detroit. Thirty years later, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to face discrimination and bullying. In light of recent tragedies like the extreme hazing and subsequent death of Pvt. Danny Chen and the continuing effects of 9/11, what can Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders do to stand up against racism and discrimination?

The death of Vincent Chin's death is of great historical significance for our community, and marked a turning point for API involvement and awareness of social justice and equality.  RAMS is proud to be a co-sponsor for this event.  Join us on June 23rd for a live broadcast of a national discussion on hate crimes & bullying, followed by a lively local conversation and Q&A with leaders of local civil rights organizations, moderated by R.J. Lozada from local radio show APEX Express.

Here's the Facebook event page!

What: Vincent Chin 30: Standing Up Then and Now, a Bay Area Conversation
When: June 23rd, 2012 10:45am - 3:00pm
Where: 9th Street Independent Film Center Theater 145 9th Street San Francisco, CA 94103

Attendees can buy tickets HERE.

  • 10:45am - DOORS OPEN
  • 11:15am - 12:00pm BROADCAST of live Google Hangout "Vincent Chin 30: Standing Up Then and Now" from speakers across the US including Moderator Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man), Congresswoman Judy Chu (LA) - and speaking on location in San Francisco, Zahra Billoo (CAIR - SF, Executive Director)
  • 12:00pm - 1:00pm FILM SCREENING: "Vincent Who?". Food and light refreshments available in the lobby.
  • 1:00pm - 3:00pm LIVE DISCUSSION and Q&A Featuring Bay Area Civil Rights Leaders on Hate Crimes and Bullying Moderated by R.J. Lozada, contributor to APEX Express, a weekly magazine-style radio show on KPFA featuring the voices and stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders from all corners of our community. Speakers: Vincent Pan (Chinese for Affirmative Action, Executive Director), Ling Woo Liu (Korematsu Institute, Executive Director), Zahra Billoo (Council on American-Islamic Relations - SFBA, Executive Director), Angela Chan (Asian Law Caucus, Staff Attorney in Criminal Justice Reform Program)

Presented by
Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (SF Bay)
Center for Asian American Media

Co-sponsors (current as of 6/18/12): Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) Asian Law Caucus (ALC) Korematsu Institute Council on American-Islamic Relations SF (CAIR-SFBA) APEX Express KPFA 94.1 on Thursdays from 7-8pm Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA - NC) Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley (APABA-SV) San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association (SFLRLA) Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) Richmond Area Multi Services (RAMS)

Tickets will be sold for the duration of the event, depending on seating or standing room capacity. There will be a live stream of the event and a viewing area from the lobby. Proceeds will help meet the costs of production for the event.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Participating in the International Study of DSM Cultural Formulation Interview

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the handbook written by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and used by health care professionals as an authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders, is now in the process of finalizing its 5th addition. RAMS, Inc. is proud to serve as the San Francisco site for the DSM-5 Cultural Formulation Field Trial, studying the newly proposed Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI). This key addition to the Manual has been created to help clinicians more effectively assess cultural aspects of psychiatric diagnosis. In collaboration with UC Davis, RAMS is one of about a dozen sites in this international DSM-5 Cultural Formulation field trial study being led by the Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence at the New York State Psychiatric Institute with support from the American Psychiatric Association.

In the CFI, culture refers to the values, orientations, assumptions, and perspectives that may be influenced by an individual's membership in a social group or by aspects of an individual's background, such as ethnicity, class, race, language, and religion. The Cultural Formulation Interview focuses on assessing these cultural aspects of the patient's presentation and treatment expectations in order to make clinical care more culturally appropriate. Thus, unlike the standard patient history assessment, whose agenda of topics and direction is usually set by the clinician, the CFI attempts to address problems from the patient's standpoint. RAMS is excited to have been the site utilizing the Chinese language translated version of the CFI in order to better assess its content, clarity, and effectiveness within a particular ethnic and linguistic group.

From the Press Release from American Psychiatric Association: “As with every stage in this thorough development process, DSM-5 is benefiting from a depth of research, expertise and diverse opinion that will ultimately strengthen the final document," noted David J. Kupfer, M.D., chair of the DSM-5 Task Force. Feedback about the proposed changes, diagnostic criteria, and updates can be submitted through, which will be available until the comment period ends June 15. After that, the site will remain viewable but will be closed to comments as the Work Groups and Task Force complete revisions and submit criteria for evaluation by the Scientific Review Committee and the Clinical and Public Health Committee. The Task Force will then make final recommendations to the APA Board of Trustees. The final version of DSM-5 is expected to go before the Board of Trustees in December 2012. A more detailed update on the development and list of changes made to draft proposals since July 2011 can be found on

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

APA Heritage Month Closing Night Celebration Hosted by API Circle

Once again, RAMS is very pleased to be a community supporter of the exciting & fun API Circle event, which will be held as a closing night celebration for APA Heritage Month. After very successful events in San Francisco and Oakland, API Circle is heading down to San Mateo for the next gathering! 

You can definitely expect the same features …
  • GREAT people to mix and mingle with
  • TERRIFIC co-hosts and co-sponsoring organizations
  • Highlighting & supporting community non-profits and their work
  • Food & drinks: Adobo wings donated by Attic, sweet treats from Sugar Bowl Bakery, snacks from APA Heritage Foundation, fried noodles and fried chicken drumsticks from the Chinese American Democratic Club, freshly popped corn from Peter’s Kettle Corn!
  • Raffle drawings
 And there will be no cover charge!

Where:  Level 236 / Attic Restaurant             
              236 S B Street, San Mateo, 94401
When:  Thursday, May 31
             6:30pm - 9:00pm

Visit API Circle’s Facebook page at:

Festive ethnic attire is encouraged but business, business casual, or even just casual are fine ... come as you are!
See you soon - and please remember to invite your friends to join in too!


Co-Hosts: Chris Chang - Chris Do - Christine Padilla - Claire Chang - Clifford Yee - Gaynorann Siataga - Hochie Tsai - JJ Lara - Jenny Yu - Jimmy Ko - John Tam - Jonathan Leong - Kavoos Bassiri - Keesa Ocampo - Manufou Liaiga Anoai - Mary Nicely - Milton Hum - Myron Lee - Nadia Hussain - Patrick Cheng - Paul Miyamoto - Q Thang Do - Richard 'Juebop' Jue - Roji Oyama - Ruby Law - Sandra Siharath - Sherga Kong - Smiley Wang - Stephanie Balon Wong - Steven Lee - Susie Willemsz-Geeroms - Taiko Fujimura - Tamiko Wong

Co-Sponsors: - Asian American Donor Program - Asian American Recovery Services - Asian Business Connectors - Asian Business League - San Francisco (ABL-SF) - Asian Firefighters Association - Bay Area Benefit - Filipino Mental Health Initiative of San Mateo County - Girls/Boys Against Gang Violence - Miss Asian America Pageant - National Association of Asian American Professionals - San Francisco (NAAAP-SF) - Nihonmachi Street Fair - OCA-San Francisco - OCA-San Mateo - Pacific Islander Community Partnership - RAMS, Inc. - South East Asian Cultural Heritage & Musical Performing Arts (SEACHAMPA) - SF Asian Professionals - Slice of Mooncake: SF Asian Literature Club - - Taiwanese American Citizens League (TACL) - Taiwanese American Professionals (TAP-SF)

Raffle Prize Donors:
RAMS, Inc. - Love with Food - Rose Chung - Sandra Siharath - Stephanie Balon Wong - Tamiko Wong

Food Donors:
APA Heritage Foundation - Attic - Chinese American Democratic Club - Keesa Ocampo - Sugar Bowl Bakery - Peter's Kettle Corn

The API Circle is an alliance of San Francisco Bay Area Asian & Pacific Islander American leaders and organizations with the mission to create meaningful relationships and collaborative efforts that are cross-generational, ideologically neutral and diversely representative.

A Story from Bonnie Youn

Following Mr. Ramey Ko courageously sharing his story, Ms. Bonnie Youn shares her inspiring story in recognition of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day. Thank you to both for putting yourselves out there & making a difference!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Trauma, Grief, and Loss... and Wellness

In times when groups of students are affected by community violence, grief and/or loss, RAMS provides Trauma, Grief & Loss Counseling to provide roving crisis support as part of the Wellness Centers Program therapeutic services at the high school sites. 

Our counselor is able to provide debriefing, short to long term support groups, trainings to parents & teachers, and clinical consultation to other providers. We are pleased to share the “data snapshot” about our positive impact on addressing the trauma, grief, and loss that high school students have experienced as well as how we have supported them in the process of healing & growth.

View the document by clicking on the image below to enlarge (right-click and select any options to "Open").

Monday, May 21, 2012

Join us at NAMIWalks

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization working at the national, state, & local levels to raise awareness and provide essential and free education, advocacy and support group programs. Every year, the 9 local NAMI affiliates in the Bay Area work together to create the Annual NAMIWalk SF Bay Area to raise awareness for mental illness and raise funds to underwrite and support much-needed free local programs.

RAMS is pleased to participate in the Annual NAMIWalk SF Bay Area on Saturday June 2, 2012 to show support and help raise awareness around mental health issues. Please see: for more information. Contact RAMS Walk Team Captain, Anne Lowe, if you are interested in joining us on this walk!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Story from Ramey Ko

Ramey Ko shares a personal & inspiring story related Asian American Mental Health, in honor of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day - May 10, and the launch of Friends Do Make a Difference campaign.

 Mr. Ko is currently a Commission Member of the White House AAPI Initiative, and is a current Associate Judge of the City of Austin Municipal Court.  Click HERE to read his bio.

Happy Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day!

From all of us at RAMS, to all of our friends, supporters, clients, and community members.  We wish you good Mental Health for the coming year!
Remember, Friends Do Make A Difference!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

APA Mental Health on NPR

Local public radio station KALW 91.7 FM shall be airing a three-part series on Asian American mental health issues in time for APA Mental Health Day, starting this Wednesday May 9th at 5:00pm during the Crosscurrents news show. 

This first story shall feature a Q&A session as well as a profile of a family struggling to find care for their daughter, and shall re-air on May 10th at 8:50am during the Morning Edition.  The second story, about depression, suicide, and treatment for Asian American women, shall be airing on May 22nd at 5pm.  The third story will cover treatment and access to care for San Jose's Cambodian community (air date to be confirmed, as of this writing).

RAMS is honored to have been asked to contribute and assist in the making of this noteworthy program.  The entire series can be heard on air at KALW 91.7FM, but will also be available online at

A Letter from Congressman Honda

Congressman Michael M. Honda, Representative of the 15th Congressional District of California and Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, sent a letter to RAMS in support of the events on May 10 regarding Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day.

View the letter by clicking on the image below to enlarge (right-click and select any options to "Open").

Friday, May 4, 2012

Honoring Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day on May 10th

SAN FRANCISCO – Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. (RAMS) is proudly joining many others in the community to honor “Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day” on May 10th, as first established in 2010 by the State of California and the City & County of San Francisco, to recognize the importance of raising awareness about mental health and promote mental wellness 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 Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  Asian & Pacific Islanders (A&PIs) specifically make up one of the fastest growing ethnic communities in the United States, yet they have the lowest rates of utilization of mental health services among ethnic populations, which may be due to the substantial stigma that exists (since many individuals and families remain in denial or silence about their situation) as well as cultural & linguistic isolation of the community, family, and individual.  A&PI girls have the highest rate of depressive symptoms of any racial/ethnic or gender groups, according to a study released by the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI, February 2011).  A&PI women ages 15-24 have also been shown to have a higher rate of suicide than Caucasians, African Americans and Latinos in that age group (Center for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics).  According to another study, A&PI college students report higher levels of depressive symptoms than white students (NAMI 2011).  These disparities indicate the critical need to raise awareness & talk about mental health, de-stigmatize seeking help, and increase access to & support culturally competent services for the Asian American & Pacific Islander community.

In the honoring of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day in 2012, RAMS is pleased to be collaborating with the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA), and its partner interTrend Communications, in their national Friends DO Make a Difference campaign.  This creative and collaborative outreach effort will provide and distribute messages that focus on the importance and power of being a friend for someone facing mental health challenges. This project grew out of the successful What A Difference A Friend Makes campaign, created by the US Department of Health and Human Service’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  With the support and encouragement of SAMHSA, this project has tailored the message, art work and approach of the SAMHSA campaign to make it relevant to Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) students.  RAMS will focus on outreach to the youth population and help to pilot this project among high school students in San Francisco.   
Please join us at a special event on this day.

WHEN: Thursday, May 10th from 9:30am to 10:30am

WHERE: George Washington High School, 600 32nd Ave, San Francisco

WHAT: Join public officials, school district representatives, Bay Area local & national leaders, community advocates, stakeholder organizations/institutions, educators, and youth who will gather to recognize Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day and learn about the Friends DO Make a Difference campaign

Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc.

National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA), a non-profit organization with the mission to promote the mental health and well being of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

George Washington High School, a four-year comprehensive San Francisco public high school dedicated to the philosophy that every student entering its halls has the right to an education to maximize his/her potential

Click HERE to view & download the press release.

Email for more information.

The establishment of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day was an effort spearheaded by RAMS along with California State Senator Leland Y. Yee, Ph.D. and San Francisco Board of Supervisor (District 1) Eric Mar.  It was overwhelmingly supported by many major associations and community coalitions.  Since May is already established nationally as the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and as Mental Health Awareness Month, institution of this day in the month of May more closely aligns both awareness efforts. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Eighth Annual Richmond Community Health Festival on Saturday, May 12th

RAMS is proud to be a co-sponsor along with Senator Leland Yee, Supervisor Eric Mar, Kaiser Permanente, Self-Help For The Elderly, and Compassionate Community Care for the 8th Annual Richmond Community Health Festival.

View the flyer by clicking on the image below to enlarge (right-click and select any options to "Open").

The Health Festival will feature FREE clinical health services including blood pressure tests, body mass index tests, body fat tests, allergy advice, hearing tests, eyeglass cleaning, dental screening, bone density tests, Hep B screening and medical reviews. The fair will also feature FREE giveaways, food, health education offered by more than 40 community health organizations, children’s activities and family fun.

When: Saturday, May 12, 2012, 10am-2pm

Where: Richmond Recreation Center, 251 18th Avenue, San Francisco (between California and Clement)

Monday, April 9, 2012

CIIS Alumni Meet Urban Needs at RAMS

The Spring 2012 hardcopy issue of the community newsletter published by California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) features several CIIS alumni who are working at RAMS. 
You can read the feature story by clicking on the images below to enlarge (right-click and select any options to "Open").

Thank you to our amazing staff for sharing your personal stories!  What you do is an inspiration to us all!

California Reducing Disparities Project

RAMS, Inc., as a member organization of the Asian Pacific Islander Strategic Planning Workgroup (API-SPW) for the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP), is pleased to announce release of the draft report for public review & comment, from 04/06 to 4/26. Pacific Clinics, under the directorship of Dr. C. Rocco Cheng, served as the lead organization for the Asian & Pacific Islander Strategic Planning Workgroup, and Community Health for Asian Americans (CHAA), under the leadership of Ms. Beatrice Lee, served as the Bay Area regional lead agency.

The California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP) is a key statewide policy initiative funded by the California Department of Mental Health (DMH) as means to improve access, quality of care, and increase positive outcomes for racial, ethnic, and cultural communities. Launched in 2009, this two-year statewide Prevention and Early Intervention effort utilizes $3 million in Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) state administrative funding.

The CRDP is focused on five populations to which each will encompass its own Strategic Planning Workgroup (SPW):
African Americans
Asian/Pacific Islanders
Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ)
•Native Americans

•To view the detailed roster, please download HERE.

These Strategic Planning Workgroups (SPW) is comprised of community leaders, mental health providers, consumers and family members – all of whom work together to identify new service delivery approaches defined by multicultural communities for multicultural communities using community -defined evidence. Their goal is to develop population-specific reports (strategic plan) that will form the basis of a statewide comprehensive strategic plan to identify new approaches toward reducing disparities.

To view the CRDP Fact Sheet, please click HERE.

Funded by MHSA through the Office of Multicultural Services at the California Department of Mental Health, the API-SPW was formed to address mental health service disparities in the Asian Pacific Islander community by identifying unmet needs and collecting community-defined strategies in response to these needs. The API-SPW consisted of 55 members representing various Asian Pacific Islander communities in California, including community representatives, community organizers, community service providers, consumer advocates, and mental health service providers who have years of experience and expertise serving the API community in urban, suburban, and rural areas. In addition, the API-SPW sought inputs directly from community members through conducting twenty-three focus groups and interviews across the state.

Based on the contributions from the 55 members and 198 focus group participants, the API-SPW proceeded to define core competencies and selection criteria for promising programs relevant to the API community, making this report a true grass-root effort to address mental health service disparities from a community perspective. The spirit of such an effort is reflected in the API report, as it closely documents the information and feedbacks gathered from the API community in the last two years.

About API-SPW:
For information, please download HERE for the API Strategic Planning Workgroup organizational structure.

For more information on the API-SPW, click on the following links for the CRDP and the API strategy & the draft of the report. For comments, please email to by no later than April 26, 2012.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Save the date: May 14 & 15 Preparing for Healthcare Reform

May is API Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month!
SAVE THE DATE for May 14-15, 2012: Preparing Our Agencies and Staff for the Next Round of Healthcare Reform
Cost: no charge

Monday May 14th
Noon – 4:00
Target audience: Open to all but focusing on administrators – no limit on numbers
Content: policies, Medicaid expansion in California, Accountable Care Organizations, getting ready for the future

Tuesday May 15th
9:00 – 4:00
Target audience: providers and consumers – limited to first 50
Content: Preparing for integrated care, addressing common health problems in behavioral health settings, model AANHPI integrated care programs, looking to the future

Location: Fort Mason Center, Landmark Building A (between Buchanan and Marina Blvd), San Francisco, CA 94123

Registration Required: please use the following link to register

For information call NAAPIMHA at 303-298-7910

Directions to site:
Registration and agenda: Go to

View the flyer by clicking on the image below to enlarge (right-click and select any options to "Open").

Thursday, April 5, 2012

RAMS congratulates the Champions of Change

My Linh Vo, a clinical psychology student at JFK University who is also currently volunteering at the RAMS Asian Family Institute, was chosen as one of the White House AAPI “Champions of Change”. Her story was selected as part of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders' "What’s Your Story" Video Challenge. She writes about her experience, which you can read by clicking HERE.

As released from the White House, Office of Communications:
In the Fall of 2011, the White House launched the “What’s your story?” video challenge. The challenge aimed to highlight the personal stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country who have impacted their community through their dreams, experiences, and dedication to a cause. The White House received over 200 videos and 35 essays. From these entrees, the nine inspiring leaders were chosen to represent their communities as part of White House’s Champions of Change program.
The Champions of Change represent the millions of Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders who are making a difference in their community, many of whom continue to make a difference without being formally recognized. The nine leaders and organizations have stood out as demonstrating exceptional leadership in civil rights, immigration, community empowerment, LGBT engagement, anti-bullying, health, and the arts. Their work has been an integral part ensuring that the underserved among them are given a voice.
“These nine champions have demonstrated what it means to be a force of inspiration and change in their communities. It is because of their work that the AAPI community is as strong as it is today. And it is their leadership that will enable us better address the various needs of the underserved,” said Director of the Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson. “We are delighted to have them here at the White House to honor them for the work that they do.”
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities. On April 5th, the nine AAPI Champions will be honored for their work, and engage in a discussion about the work they have done to inspire their communities.

My Linh Vo is currently a doctoral student in clinical psychology at John F. Kennedy University in California, Vo is developing her skill set to provide culturally-responsive services to underserved, underrepresented, and marginalized individuals and families. She is passionate about her profession, rooted in her Vietnamese American immigrant background, and proud of her family history. She hopes to honor her family, teachers, mentors, friends, and many others who have come into her life through her community involvement, leadership, and advocacy work.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

DSM-5 Cultural Formulation Field Trial

RAMS, Inc. is proud to serve as the San Francisco field site for the DSM-5 Cultural Formulation Field Trial. In collaboration with UC Davis, we are excited to participate, as one of the 12 field sites in this international DSM-5 Cultural Formulation field trial study. 
You can read the article by clicking on the image below to enlarge (right-click and select any options to "Open").

Friday, March 30, 2012

Meet RAMS - The Wellness Centers

RAMS is proud to be the core behavioral health provider for the San Francisco Wellness Initiative whose mission is to improve the health, well-being, and educational outcomes of San Francisco’s public high school students by providing comprehensive, school based student health programming. Founded in 2000, the Initiative is made possible by a unique partnership between the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF), the San Francisco Department of Public Health/Community Behavioral Health Services (DPH/CBHS), and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). Leveraging the resources of each agency, the Initiative allows the school district, city departments, and community-based organizations such as RAMS to align and coordinate their efforts to address student health needs. Focused on prevention and early intervention in areas critical to student wellness, the San Francisco Wellness Initiative is one of the first networks of high-school-based health centers that has been brought to scale in a school district.

RAMS employs 21 Behavioral Health Counselors, 3 Clinical Case Managers, and a Trauma/Grief & Loss Counselor to work in 15 of the public high schools’ Wellness Centers throughout San Francisco. As a multidisciplinary team (i.e. psychology, marriage & family, counseling, social work), our counselors are able to provide mental health and substance abuse support services to approximately 1700 students each year including; individual & group counseling, assessment & triage, crisis intervention, consultation to teachers & parents, and case management services. Each counselor works as part of a team member of the Wellness Center, who is responsible for serving, primarily, non-academic needs of the students. In addition to RAMS, the core staff typically includes the Wellness Coordinator, a school health nurse, and a Community Health Outreach Worker (CHOW). In addition to providing confidential, behavioral health counseling and medical services to the students, the Wellness Centers’ team also works to link students and their families to resources outside of school, and to bring community based organizations that serve youth onto campus. Wellness Centers’ core beliefs take a holistic view of a student, maintaining that a student whose health & wellness is considered has the best chance for academic and personal success.

One example of the many activities and services provided to students is the Wellness Newsletter.  This is created by the Wellness Team at School of the Arts/Academy Arts & Science, and contributed to by Behavioral Health Counselor Shana Averbach.  Previous newsletters were also profiled on this blog.  Click HERE for the latest newsletter.

Photo credit: desk by Robert S. Donovan

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Business Community Supporters

We are proud to recognize two local business who are supporting RAMS in our community.

GoGo Senior Dog Veggies

The RAMS Hire-Ability production services is pleased to partner with GoGo Senior Dog Veggies, a local start-up online business. The inspiration of this business started when the owner, Steve Loving, was having difficulty finding good healthy dog snacks for his senior, diabetic dog, GoGo. He adopted the idea of introducing vegetables in GoGo’s diet to see if there would be a change in his health. Sure enough, GoGo has more energy and his diabetes is much more manageable. Now, many other dogs who suffer from chronic health conditions can enjoy these freeze dried vegetables either through snacks or as a regular part of their diet and hopefully see improvement with their health. Hire-Ability is responsible for managing the online orders, packaging and shipping of product. To learn more about this great business or to order product, please visit their website by clicking HERE.

Sports Basement

Sports Basement will be sponsoring a private happy hour event on Thursday, April 19th for RAMS. Not only will they be providing snacks, drinks, beer and wine, but everyone will also receive a 20% discount off their entire purchase during the event. 
WHEN:  April 19th, 6:00-8:00pm
WHERE:  1590 Bryant Street, San Francisco.  (415) 575-3000
Sports Basement engages with the community, hosting and helping hundreds of community groups and partners at their 4 store locations on an annual basis.  Click HERE for more information.

We would like to express our gratitude to these local businesses for supporting RAMS, and for providing us with these exciting partnership opportunities.

Check out a prior blog post HERE for more details on other RAMS Hire-Ability business partners.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

National Problem Gambling Awareness Week

RAMS is actively participating in National Problem Gambling Awareness Week, which is being held from March 4-10 this year.

As part of our ongoing outreach and awareness-raising efforts, Dr. Eddie Chiu, Director of RAMS Asian Family Institute, together with Kent Woo, Executive Director of NICOS Chinese Health Coalition, participated in a press conference held by NICOS at Donaldina Cameron House regarding Problem Gambling in the Chinese Community.
The press conference revealed new data which indicates a 10% increase in the number of Chinese seeking assistance in gambling-related problems, which signifies that the Chinese community has increased awareness of such problems, although overall usage is still relatively low compared to other population groups.  Issues such as youth gambling as well as success rates in gambling addiction were also discussed.

For more information and to view video coverage of the press conference, visit the KTSF Channel 26 website HERE.

RAMS collaborates with NICOS in offering problem gambling services, which provides assessment, counseling, support groups, outreach, and educational services for problem gamblers and their family members in the Asian American communities. The project also operates the Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-888-968-7888 and provides counseling, information and referral in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin languages/dialects.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Meet RAMS - Asian Family Institute Fee-for-service Program

The RAMS Asian Family Institute (AFI) has updated information regarding our Fee-for-service program offerings.

The services we offer include Testing & Evaluation, Psychotherapy, and Psychiatric services for both adults and children. Click HERE for our program brochure and more details on each of these culturally competent services.

Other services also available at AFI include the Problem Gambling Project (a collaboration with NICOS) and the CalWorks project (a collaboration with Westside Community Services.

The AFI multi-disciplinary staff team includes the fields of psychiatry, psychology, marriage & family therapy, clinical social work, and psychiatric nursing with diverse cultural backgrounds and experience in helping clients deal with a wide range of issues. The staff include bilingual and bicultural professionals who can provide services in Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Cambodian, Tagalog, and Russian.

To schedule an appointment or to receive more information, please call our intake coordinator at (415) 668-5998 ext 21. Your information will be kept CONFIDENTIAL, as required by law.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

RAMS co-presenting at the 2012 SFIAAFF: Himalayan Youth Voices Project

RAMS is again proud to be a community co-presenter at the 30th Annual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. The festival features over 100 films from America and around the world. This year, RAMS shall be co-presenting HIMALAYAN YOUTH VOICES PROJECT on Saturday March 10 at 1:15 pm.

From the CAAM website:

With funding from the Asian Pacific Fund and the Comcast Foundation, we collaborated with the grassroots organization Sahayeta at the first Himalayan Youth Summit in Oakland, connecting with youth from those three national backgrounds for an intensive media training workshop. From there, the Himalayan Youth Voices Project was born. The project was created and organized by Sapana Sakya, Public Media Director at CAAM.

The Project’s goal is to engage a growing but often invisible segment of the Asian American community in the Bay Area, and to give its youth access to the tools that enable them to tell their own stories. The youth participated in a ten-week workshop with CAAM and the youth media experts at TILT (Teaching Intermedia Literacy Tools).  The youth participants were introduced to both professional production skills and the media literacy skills necessary to navigate today’s digital reality.

RAMS is also honored to have been the recipient of grants awarded by the Asian Pacific Fund, and to be co-presenting this special film.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Integrated Care for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Communities: A Blueprint for Action

RAMS is excited to be able to share with our community the official copy of the Integrated Care for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders Communities: A Blueprint for Action: Consensus Statement and Recommendations.  This document truly represents a group effort, which RAMS was delighted to be a part of, and the Blueprint reflects years of dedication by so many individuals & organizations who have given to improving the quality of care for our communities.  The document was published, in January 2012, by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, and authored by DJ Ida, Ph.D., Janet SooHoo, MSW, and Teresa Chapa, Ph.D., MPA.  It was an honor for RAMS to be invited to participate in this process.  In addition, several staff from RAMS assisted & volunteered at the expert consensus meeting & summit that was held in San Francisco, hosted by National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association.  Please feel free to distribute this document so we can all build on the recommendations, educate stakeholders/providers/decision makers, and take action!

Click HERE to read the document online.

Friday, January 27, 2012

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for the Peer Specialist Certificate Program

RAMS, in collaboration with San Francisco State University, is pleased & very excited to announce the start of Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate program for the Spring 2012. The Brochure, Application, and Open House information is posted on the RAMS website (click HERE).

We are accepting applications through March 2, 2012, at 5:00pm.

About the Program: Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. and San Francisco State University Department of Counseling jointly developed and are offering the Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate Program. Funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), the primary goal of the Certificate program is to prepare consumers of community behavioral health services or family members with the basic skills and knowledge for entry-level peer specialist/counseling roles in the community behavioral health system or to further their career in the field.

For more information, you can also contact Christine Tam, Program Coordinator, with any questions at or by phone (415) 668-5955 x386.  You can also join us at our Open House - click on the flyer above for more details.

We look forward to the Spring 2012 class in April and continue training the next generation of Peer Specialists/Counselors.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fu Yau Project Winter Newsletter

Check out the latest Fu Yau Times, a semi-annual newsletter with great articles and tips on parenting and resources for the community. Check it out by clicking HERE.

About the Fu Yau Project:

The Fu Yau Project is one of the many Child, Youth & Family Services offered at RAMS. It is a collaboration of RAMS and Chinatown Child Development Center (CCDC) and is located at 720 Sacramento Street, in San Francisco's Chinatown district. This innovative program provides prevention and early intervention mental health services to the childcare community that cares for children, ages 0-5 years old. Services includes the following: On-Site Program and Child Observation; Clinical Consultation with childcare staff and families; On-Site Intervention with individual and groups of children; Parenting Classes and Support Groups; and In-Service Training for the childcare staff relating to child development and mental health related issues. The Fu Yau Project staff includes child psychiatrists, licensed and license-tracked clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists, all of whom reflect the unique language skills and cultural competence needed to provide services for the children, families, and teaching staff of the childcare programs.

Through the Fu Yau Project, RAMS currently provides services at more than 43 childcare centers, eight family childcare providers, five family resource centers, and one after school site, which are located in over nine San Francisco neighborhoods.