WASHINGTON —The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) announced today the selection of Juliet K. Choi as chief executive officer, succeeding Kathy Ko Chin, who is retiring. Since September 2019, Choi has served as our executive vice president and chief of staff. 

“As a nationally recognized lawyer with over two decades of experience in private, public interest, and government sectors, spanning immigration, civil rights, public health, and disaster response, Juliet K. Choi brings the in-depth knowledge, intellect and focus required to build on Kathy Ko Chin’s legacy,” said Dr. Diane Paloma, board chair of APIAHF. “Throughout her tenure, Juliet has been instrumental in improving operational efficiency, advancing our strategic objectives, elevating our public policy and media efforts, and promoting our community-facing programs.”

As Choi steps into the role of CEO, her experience, skills, and talents are the right combination needed to take APIAHF to the next level. “As the 4th CEO in our history, Juliet’s leadership represents an exciting and visionary direction for the nation’s oldest health policy and public health organization working with Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities across the country and the Pacific. In short, she is, in every way, a 21st-century CEO,” said Kathy Ko Chin, former APIAHF president & CEO.

“After Kathy’s dedicated service and leadership at Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum as president and CEO, I am humbled and honored to continue the legacy of our organization’s mission-critical work in advancing Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander health and well-being,” said Juliet K. Choi, chief executive officer of APIAHF. “As the daughter of immigrants from South Korea, this global public health crisis hits close to home, especially when Asian immigrants are the first group to be scapegoated, and communities of color are disproportionately impacted and left behind. As the nation is facing the greatest health crisis of our generation with the COVID-19 pandemic, I am committed to advocating for health equity across all government branches. We must strive for the ideal of ensuring every individual and family’s right to be healthy and safe, to live in a thriving community, and to access quality and affordable health care. 

APIAHF thanks Ko Chin for her decade of leadership, which has been acutely focused on building community infrastructure for advocacy for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA NHPI), and communities of color. Her impact on APIAHF and our communities is immeasurable.

“Kathy has been a powerful voice for the Health Forum’s constituencies as the sole AA NHPI representative of the Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative, supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Our communities have truly benefited because of her ability to work cooperatively with the other eight leading civil rights and advocacy organizations who together are fighting for racial equity, impacting 3500 communities across all 50 states, all territories, and in tribal nations, and reaching 53 million Americans who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color,” said Paloma. “We are appreciative of her willingness to continue supporting the Health Forum during the transition as executive counselor to the Board through early 2021.”

Also joining the executive management team are Curtis S. Leong and Gail Mukaihata Hannemann. 

Curtis S. Leong joins as the chief financial and administrative officer (CFAO). With deep functional expertise and technical knowledge in all aspects of finance and operations management, Leong will lead efforts to optimize the infrastructure of APIAHF for success and future sustainable growth. Leong has extensive senior executive leadership experience in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. 

Gail Mukaihata Hannemann will serve as president. Mukaihata Hannemann has served on the APIAHF’s board for nine years, board chair for three of those years, and is now volunteering as transitional president until early 2021. She will oversee all aspects of the transition, strengthen board alignment, and support Choi’s organizational efforts. 

As a board member, Mukaihata Hannemann has led the APIAHF through some of its most challenging times and reframed the board’s organizational strategy into a foundational framework that continues to operate to this day. Mukaihata Hannemann is a seasoned non-profit executive, having most recently served as the CEO of Girl Scouts of Hawaii for 12 years. 

“It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Gail over the years. The board has benefited greatly from her leadership and vision. And the Health Forum will continue to benefit from her expert knowledge as she oversees this critical leadership transition,” said Paloma.

The new leadership appointments are effective October 21.

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The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) influences policy, mobilizes communities and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.