DJ Ida

2016 Inaugural Recipient of the 

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Award for Health Equity

Presented by the Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus

​The Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus (APIC) for Public Health is pleased to announce the recipient of the inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) –Award for Health Equity presented by APIC. This seven-year awards program recognizes individuals or teams of two individuals who successfully implemented a systems change approach to reduce health disparities within the past two years.

APIC will award a $3,000 unrestricted prize to DJ Ida, PhD, Executive Director of the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA), to be presented at the 2016 APIC Awards Ceremony during the 144th Annual American Public Health Association Meeting and Exposition, on October 31, 2016, in Denver, CO.

Dr. Ida has devoted her career to improving the overall quality of life for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and rethinking how we identify health, recognizing that mental health is essential to achieving health equity.  She began her advocacy over four decades ago as she helped establish the Asian American Educational Opportunity Program. She then helped start the Asian Pacific Development Center, a specialty mental health clinic in Denver, and the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, NAAPIMHA. She continues to work towards change and health equity in her policy, training and advocacy work.  She was the lead author for the document Integrated Care for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders: A blueprint for action that was funded by the Office of Minority Health.  Access is often cited as key to eliminating health disparities but often there is little for communities to access. Dr. Ida therefore helped create numerous curricula to improve the workforce.  This includes the Achieving Whole Health to train community members to learn how to make healthy decisions by integrating the body, mind and spirit.  Dr. Ida says her greatest joy is working with the community to create a healthier environment.

The prestigious Awards Committee included Mr. Sefa Aina of Pomona College, John Auerbach, MBA, of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, Esq, of Families USA, Dr. Ichiro Kawachi of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. Adewale Troutman of the University of South Florida.  They considered criteria such as contributions toward achieving health equity and systems change approach to addressing health disparities, including outcomes, innovative approaches, transformational systems change, collaborative leadership, resourcefulness and impact and scalability.  


About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit

 About the the Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health
The Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health (APIC) is the Vision & Voice for Asian & Pacific Islander Public Health and Health Equity.  Our mission is to advance the health and health equity of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States, associated jurisdictions, and the diaspora, in affiliation with the American Public Health Association.​  For more information, visit





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