San Francisco Presents Heritage Awards for Leadership, Community Impact, Lifetime Achievement


The winners of the 2010 Asian Pacific American Heritage Awards were announced at San Francisco’s annual official celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on May 3 at the Herbst Theater.

Both the 2010 award recipients and the finalists received a commendation from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on May 4.

The recipients are:

Emerging Leadership

Thomas Li is the president of the San Francisco State University chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national fraternity devoted to community. A native San Franciscan, Li has participated in at least two service projects per week since 2007. A sophomore, he is currently pursuing a degree in marketing. Graphic and Web design has always been among his passions. One of his distinguished contributions was his service as online chair of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life for the past five years.

Li has volunteered his design skills for countless Bay Area non-profits, building websites for Chinatown Neighborhood Center, North Beach Neighborhood Association, American Orient Performing Arts and Miss Asian America Pageant.

Li is also the projects coordinator at Community Youth Center, spearheading the Computer Clubhouse after-school program to teach Asian youth such media arts as graphic and Web design.

Other finalists for the Emerging Leadership Award were Harriet Hu, president of Adopt-an-Alleyway Youth Empowerment Project; Anna Liu, a senior at Galileo High School and a fellowship leader at Cumberland Presbyterian Chinese Church; and Jane Xiao, a senior at Abraham Lincoln High School and elected president of the Chinatown Alleyway Tours.

Community Impact

Founded in 1987 as a grassroots response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the Asian and Pacific Islander community, the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center (APIWC) is a health services, education, research, and policy organization. Its mission is to educate, support, empower and advocate for Asian Pacific Islander (API) communities, and particularly for those living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.

As the oldest North American non-profit that focuses on API communities around sexual health and HIV/AIDS services, APIWC has been effective in putting innovative, holistic and effective programs and services in place that benefit all communities of color in San Francisco. In addition to health and counseling services, the organization has launched numerous innovative initiatives to fight stigma as well as promote generational understanding of issues within Asian Pacific American families.

Other finalists for the Community Impact Award were: California Dragon Boat Association; Kearny Street Workshop, an API arts organization; and San Francisco State University’s Asian Student Union.

Dr. Edward Chow photo courtesy of Tobin Tsuji

Lifetime Achievement

Dr. Edward Chow has been an internist in private practice for more than 40 years in San Francisco and has been addressing health disparities at both a national and local level. For more than 25 years, he has worked with Chinese Hospital and the Chinese Community Health Care Association to create the nation’s first and only bilingual and culturally competent health plan, the Chinese Community Health Plan (CCHP).

He also spearheaded the creation of the Chinese Community Health Resource Center, providing Chinese bilingual educational programs, publications, and research nationally. Today, this integrated system serves more than 30,000 San Franciscans through CCHP and six other plans, including being the only private practice system participating in Healthy San Francisco.

Chow is currently the vice president of the San Francisco Health Commission. Having served on the commission for more than 20 years, he continues to advocate for the health-care needs of the Asian community, including: requiring culturally competent programs to meet the community’s needs, sustaining the Chinatown Public Health Center, rebuilding Laguna Honda and San Francisco General Hospital, and encouraging county support for the Hep B Free Program.

The other finalists for the Lifetime Achievement Award were: Thuy Ngoc Doan, program director of the Vietnamese Community Center of San Francisco; and Mai Mai Ho, former executive director of APA Family Support Services.

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