January 23, 2015

WASHINGTON – Today the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) welcomed Matt Shiraki, Payal Shah and Jacob Fitisemanu, Jr. to the organization’s board of directors.

“We are very excited to bring Matt, Payal and Jake on to our board of directors,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “Each has knowledge and expertise from their varied experiences in the health care field along with deep community ties that make them valuable members of our board.”

“We look forward to working with Matt, Payal and Jake as we strive to improve the health and well-being of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders nationwide,” said Rea Pañares, APIAHF board chair. “They are dedicated and respected health advocates who will only strengthen our efforts to achieve health justice.”

Matt Shiraki is senior manager of policy at McKesson, the largest and oldest health care services company in the United States. Earlier in his career, Matt worked at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as director of External Affairs in the Office of the Deputy Secretary and also as the White House Liaison to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Born and raised on the island of Guam, Matt received a master’s in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree in education from Cedarville University in Ohio, where he served as student body president.

Payal Shah is a health care attorney and works on compliance and contract issues at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. Prior to joining Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Payal worked as assistant counsel at the Illinois Office of Senate President, John J. Cullerton, in Springfield, Illinois. Payal serves on the Executive Board for the Chicago Bar Association-Alliance for Women committee and is the former co-chair of the Chicago Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section Health & Hospital Law Committee. Payal received her juris doctorate from Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis with a concentration in health care law and her bachelor’s degree in finance from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jacob Fitisemanu, Jr. is the outreach coordinator for the Utah Department of Health, Office of Health Disparities in Salt Lake City. The eldest of four brothers, Jake was raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i and Salt Lake City, Utah, with a love of his vibrant Samoan, Chinese and Korean heritage. Jake was a co-founder of the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition and has chaired the annual statewide Pacific Islander Health Week since 2012. He organized the MAHINA (Maternal Health and Infant Advocates) program to address maternal health and infant mortality and also co-founded the Movement, Awareness, Nutrition, Action Challenge to promote community fitness. Jake was appointed to the U.S. Census National Advisory Council on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations in 2014 and also serves on the board of directors of the Mana Academy Charter School. He graduated in Social Science with honors from Westminster College, where he also obtained a master’s degree in public health.

Founded in 1986, APIAHF is a national leader on health equity issues and works with Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities to achieve health justice for AAs and NHPIs across the country.