Vice President and Chief of Staff

Rina Kitazawa is the Vice President and Chief of Staff for the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum(APIAHF), a national health justice organization which influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. She is responsible for the strategic administration of the operational functions of APIAHF.

Rina is an accomplished leader and public speaker with a comprehensive understanding of policy development and implementation, political acumen and demonstrated success in meeting revenue targets. With more than 15 years of experience developing and managing grant programs for federal and state government agencies, and non-profit organizations, she is passionate about advancing equity for underserved populations.

Prior to APIAHF, Rina served as the Managing Director of Compliance and Audit at the American Diabetes Association, where she ensured the Association complied with federal laws and regulations, internal policies and third-party requirements. As the Director of the National Grants Program, she brought in more than $10 million in revenue to the Association, including a $7.1 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previously, she served as Deputy Director of the Office of the Duals Demonstration Ombudsman Technical Assistance Program at the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. In this role, she helped states develop ombudsman programs for individuals enrolled in Medicare-Medicaid demonstration programs. A political appointee under New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Rina served as the Assistant Director at the New York State Office for the Aging, where she was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Division of Policy, Planning, Programs, and Outcomes.

Early in Rina’s career, she served as Director of Client Services at the Medicare Rights Center, a national organization dedicated to ensuring access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities. She managed the organization’s state-funded hotline for Medicare beneficiaries and health care professionals during the implementation of the Medicare Drug Benefit in 2006. During her tenure, she traveled to nearly every county in the state on behalf of the New York State Office for the Aging, educating thousands of health care professionals and Medicare beneficiaries about the drug benefit.

Rina graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and received both a Master of Public Health and Master of Clinical Social Work from Columbia University. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker and fluent in English and Japanese.