Members

Elisa Choi, Chairperson

 Dr. Elisa Choi is the current Chairperson of the Commonwealth of MA Asian American Commission (AAC), and is the Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee of the AAC. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, and practices both as an Internist and as an Infectious Disease, HIV, and Hepatitis infection specialist. Dr. Choi has a particular interest in healthcare disparities, and in providing culturally competent care of health issues affecting Asian-Pacific Islander and minority populations. She has published articles, has written book chapters, and has been invited to lecture regionally and nationally on various Infectious Disease, HIV, and healthcare and health policy topics. Dr. Choi has been on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for many years, and holds a clinical educational leadership position in her practice. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP), and serves as an elected member of the Massachusetts ACP Chapter’s Governor’s Council, and currently holds an Officer position as Secretary/Treasurer. Dr. Choi is also the Co-Chair of the Health and Public Policy Committee of the Massachusetts ACP Chapter. She has extensive experience in healthcare and public health advocacy efforts at Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, for a number of years. Dr. Choi has received the MA ACP Chapter’s Leadership Award in 2014. In addition to her professional efforts, Dr. Choi has been active in the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community for many years, through her involvement as a Board member, Board Secretary/Clerk, Board Chair, and current role as Board Chair Emeritus of MAP (Massachusetts Asian & Pacific Islanders) for Health, a community-based nonprofit organization that works to improve healthcare access, disease prevention, and service delivery for the Asian & Pacific Islander (API) community in Massachusetts. She also serves on the Board of numerous other non-profit organizations (Board Vice President of Company One Theatre, Board member of Korean-American Citizens League of New England, and Board member of the National Association of Asian American Professionals – Boston chapter), which support the AAPI communities of MA in various ways. Dr. Choi is also an invited Advisory member of various regional and national healthcare related panels and committees. Dr. Choi remains passionately committed to promoting advocacy and awareness of issues affecting the AAPI populations of the Commonwealth in her role as Commissioner.

Nick Chau, Vice Chairperson

Mr. Chau is a Chinatown businessman since 1977 when he and his wife Eva, a pharmacist, started TaiTung Pharmacy, the only Asian owned independent retail pharmacy serving the mostly immigrant Asian population. Due to the many years of building the clientele base, they now have a bi-lingual staff of about 25 to render culturally appropriate service to their patients. He has been a Realtor since 1984, opening a small boutique residential real estate sales and service office, Tai Tung Realty. In this role, he represents both sellers and buyers from very diverse backgrounds for their real estate needs.

Nick have been a community activist for many years, always aware of his background and believing that he should contribute in any way to help those who are underserved. He was a Board member of the South Cove Community Health Center (SCCHC) for over 26 years, on the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) for various terms. He currently serves on the Boards of the Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC) and the Chinatown/South Cove Neighborhood Council ( CNC). Also, because of his family’s history with diabetes, he is a committee member of the Asian American Diabetic Initiative (AADI) of the Joslin’s Diabetes Center’s Spoonful of Ginger event for the past 8 years, co-chairing the event for 2 years.

He lives in Newton and have two children, son Derek of San Francisco and daughter Sabrina of Sudbury, MA.

WingKay Leung, Treasurer

Wingkay Leung got involved in the Asian community many years ago from a cultural perspective. His wife, Winnie, loves to sing Chinese Opera. Wingkay, with an engineering background, felt into the role of the sound equipment “expert” for the Que Shing Chinese Music and Opera Group, a non-profit organization that produces many Opera performances for the Chinese community. Both Wingkay and Winnie have served as Presidents and Directors for Que Shing. Wingkay believes that community service is not just showing up for Board meetings. He believes in getting involved, such as volunteering for the Chinatown Crime Watch program for the past 7 years, rain or snow. The Crime Watch program is credited with reducing crime in Boston Chinatown. Wingkay has 3 grown children, Calvin, Jonathan and Kasey, who all graduated from UMass Amherst. Wingkay graduated from Case Western Reserve University with advanced degrees in Computer Engineering and Business Administration.

Vira Douangmany-Cage, Secretary

 In 1980, Vira at the age of six, her parents and four siblings, arrived in the United States as refugee immigrants from Laos.  Shortly thereafter in 1983, then Governor Dukakis appointed her father, founding president of the Laotian Association of Massachusetts, to the Refugee Advisory Council.

Vira’s commitment to education and organizing for community empowerment and advancement, led her to run and win a seat on the Amherst School Committee.  She is a member of Town Meeting, and was the former Western Massachusetts coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.  She and her husband Edward live in Amherst with their three children who all attend public schools.  Vira is a graduate of Boston Latin Academy and is a University of Massachusetts at Amherst alumna.  Her activism spanning two decades long, has been recognized by the Asian American Resource Workshop in Boston, Center for Women and Community at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Spring of Hope Church in Springfield and the Prison Birth Project in Holyoke.

Bora Chiemruom, Executive Director

A refugee from Cambodia, Bora and her family settled in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts. She has over 17 years of non-profit leadership experience, including Administrative Manager of YouthBuild International (YBI), Program Director of ABCD – Mattapan Head Start, and Program Manager of the Citizenship Assistance Program (CAP) at the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA). Bora was honored with the City of Lowell Mayor’s citation for helping over 200 Cambodians, including many elderly, attain their citizenship. She considers this as one of her most satisfying professional achievements.

Bora and her family support many charities here in the US as well as in Cambodia. She is currently on the Community Advisory Board of the Institute for Asian American Studies at UMASS Boston.  Bora wishes to continue to advocate on behalf of Asian American, particularly Cambodian Americans, and hopes to inspire the next generation of young people to be leaders and active members in their communities. 

Jonjy Ananth

Jonjy Ananth MD, MBA from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts is the elected President and Chairman of the Board for WCUW Inc. Worcester, MA. With over 700 members, around 120 programmers WCUW broadcasts live on 91.3FM radio and streams online 24/7 to a worldwide audience at www.wcuw.org .

Jonjy hosts his radio show titled “Community Matters” every Thursday 12.30 to 1.00pm at WCUW 91.3FM streaming worldwide online at www.wcuw.org and archived at www.wcuw.org/communitymatters. His show brings community-participation forum interviews with physicians, lawyers, CEOs, community leaders, and elected officials on all issues that impact the community.

Jonjy has been volunteering hundreds of hours in service providing culturally sensitive support to survivors of Asian American origin with his training in Trauma Informed Care. He is engaged with several non-profit organizations, among them include Saheli Inc., India Society of Worcester (ISW), Community Legal Aid (CLA), YWCA, South Asian Bar Association (SABA), Jane Doe Inc., and ADVISE [co-Chair]. He is a White Ribbon Ambassador for Jane Doe Inc., promoting initiatives to prevent intimate partner violence.

As a domestic violence advocate, Jonjy assists survivors for court proceedings, accessing shelter, social security, child care, free legal assistance benefits, and maintaining liaisons with local police. As a community volunteer, he works closely with town, county and state officials to help them connect with the South Asian community. Jonjy is an elected Town member for Shrewsbury, Deputy Sheriff [Reserve] for Worcester County, Shrewsbury Constable, and a Notary Public for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Jonjy has provided volunteer healthcare services at Free Clinics in Ohio and Massachusetts. He has research publications in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine [as first author] and International Journal of Radiation Oncology.Biology.Physics. He is a member of the Mass Medical Society (MMS), World Medical Association (WMA), American Society of Microbiology (ASM), American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) and TIE-Boston.

Jonjy is certified extensively in emergency medical skills, including Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Advanced Trauma Life Support, and Fundamental Critical Care Support. He received the presidential merit scholarship from his medical school, was an honoree of the Dean’s list, and was elected President of the student council.

Jonjy enjoys playing chess, tennis, badminton and table tennis with his friends and family.

Jonjy Ananth’s dedication for enhancing others’ lives in the fast growing South Asian community in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts pursues John Quincy Adams quote “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Yan Jennifer Cao

Born in Shanghai, Jennifer Cao is a licensed acupuncturist, a formal internist and immunologist, who received her MD from the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1984. With over six years of experience of teaching and practice medicine in Shanghai she came to states for futher studying in New York Medical College in 1990. She went on to complete her fellowship in Immunology at Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute of New York Blood Center. For the last 12 years Dr. Cao has worked at Marino Center for Integrative Health as the Director of Chinese Medicine. Dr. Cao has been highly successful at practice of integrating eastern and western medicine.

Yan currently lives in Chestnut Hill with her husband. She also speaks Mandarin.

Chris Chanyasulkit

As a gubernatorial appointee, Chris Chanyasulkit serves as a Commissioner on both the Massachusetts Asian American Commission and the Commission on the Status of Women. In that capacity, she advocates for the needs of Asian Americans and women throughout the Commonwealth. Professionally, she serves as the Assistant Director of the Brookline Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations and as a TB Research Program Manager at Vaccine Technologies, Inc. After earning her Bachelor of Arts at Boston University, with dual majors in biology and art history, she joined AmeriCorps and assisted non-profits in developing and maintaining technological competency in the administration and delivery of services. Following her service in the non-profit field, she returned to the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and completed a master’s degree in public health, concentrating in maternal and child health care. After graduating from BUSPH, Chris worked in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health for over ten years. She also holds a doctoral degree in political science with a concentration in public policy from Northeastern University, where she conducted research on health disparities.  Having taught courses at Northeastern University and Babson College, Dr. Chanyasulkit currently also teaches at Bentley University.

 In addition to her scholarly and professional pursuits, she is a Brookline Town Meeting Member, Co-Chair of the Brookline Commission for Women, a Brookline Community Emergency Response Team member, a Brookline Medical Reserve Corps member, a Steering Committee member of the Brookline Asian American Family Network, member of the Community Advisory Board of the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, a Mentor Mom for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Parent Connection Program, and serves on other state and national boards. She is also Chair of the Education Board, co-Chair of the Joint Policy Committee, and an Executive Board member of the American Public Health Association. With a commitment to ending health disparities,Chris is also an appointed member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Regional Health Equity Council for New England. Chris lives with her husband and three young children in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Loan Thi Dao

Loan Dao is an Assistant Professor in the undergraduate Intercollegiate Asian American Studies program and the graduate Transnational Cultural and Community Studies (TCCS) program. She received her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, in Comparative Ethnic Studies, and specializes in Southeast Asian refugee migration and community development, immigrant and refugee youth, social movements, and Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR).

Kay Lee Dong

Came from Korea in 1971 and obtained B.A. in Sociology from Chaminade University, Honolulu, HI, M.A. in Sociology from Boston College and M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Boston University. Currently President of Korean-American Citizens League of NE since 2009 and was Vice President for 12 years. Focuses on enhancing the Political Awareness of the Korean Community through Summer Political Internship Program, Free Citizens Workshop, Voter Registration, Fundraising and endorsing for the political candidates. President Award by President Lee Myung Bak of Republic of Korea, as an active participant to work with the Korean Communities in New England for the successful outcome of Free Trade Agreement/KORUS Approval by United States and Republic of Korea in 2012.

A board member of Korean Society of NE, Boston Chorus Group and NE Korean School, a member of RI Commerce and Trade Association. Lee Associates, business brokerage and commercial real estate, principal with husband. Fluent in Korean.

Gilbert Ho

Gilbert Ho, resident of City of Newton, Massachusetts. Immigrated to Boston from Hong Kong, completed high school education at Newman Preparatory School in Boston and graduated.  After which he matriculated at Bentley University but transferred to Northeastern University and earned duo Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting and Computer Science.  Met and married to Debbie (Chin) Ho, she was among the first group of the Asian American Commissioners to serve the Commission after the legislation established the  commission in recognition of the Asian Americans constitute the fastest-growing minority, a diverse population within the both Commonwealths and the United States.  She grew up on Hudson Street in Chinatown. They have two children; Courtney currently serving as the Executive Director at the City of Boston Mayor Initiative – Chinatown Main Street program; and Burton is a federal law officer.

Professionally, Gilbert is an IT Business Analyst at the Massachusetts State Treasury IT Department, prior transfer to IT from Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (MCWT) he was the System Compliance Officer and Auditor (formerly the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust (MWPAT), an agency under the Massachusetts State Treasurer and Receiver General.  Before joining the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Treasury, worked in the private sector for 30 years, as a Senior Network Support and Application Analyst in the Information Technology Department at a prestige Boston based Law firm Goodwin Procter, LLP.

Gilbert has volunteered in many Boston Chinatown community organizations, serving on the Board of as Director of Chinatown Main Street. Community elected to serve a two-year term as Treasurer and later as the President of Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England.  Serving as the Advisor of the Chinatown Residents Association focused to the Chinatown residents and senior’s affair.  Volunteer and served as co-captain of Chinatown Crime Watch program over 10 years, assisted our neighbor of Chinatown – the Leather District, to establish their Leather District Crime Watch program, they are in their third years to keep Leather District a safer place to live, continue to engage in many organizations to promote cultural awareness, education, and local business development.

Pralhad KC

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Lianna Kushi

Lianna is the Executive Director of Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) – Lowell & Lawrence. EforAll’s mission is to accelerate economic and social impact through entrepreneurship in mid-sized cities. Now in five cities in Massachusetts, the organization supports entrepreneurs to start businesses both small and large in scale with a number of programs including a pitch contest series and semi-annual startup accelerator that helped hundreds of entrepreneurs advance their businesses.

Lianna is a resident of Lowell, passionate about entrepreneurship and community development. She serves on the Greater Lowell Community Foundation Board of Directors and is an Associate Member of the U.S.-Japan Council.
Previously, Lianna worked at the Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership and Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs’ Program on U.S.-Japan Relations.  Lianna received her B.A. from Smith College, M.A. in Economic and Social Development of Regions from the UMass Lowell and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership & Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University.

Mabel Lam

 Dr. Mabel S. Lam is a Chinese-American, Clinical, and Police and Public Safety Psychologist in Private Practice.  Her work experiences have been very diverse ranging from clinical to administration.  She has worked for many years nationally and in the state’s under-served and disenfranchised communities by providing mental health services, advocacy, and consultation; and she has also taught and done research in the areas of minority mental and physical health.  The population that she has worked with is also very diverse in socio-economics, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and age.  As a Police and Public Safety Psychologist, she provides psychological evaluations, screenings and fitness for duty evaluations with emphasis on assessing the individual’s capacities to develop culturally competent responses to diverse populations served by law enforcement.  She is the Clinical Coordinator with the Metro Boston Critical Incident Stress Management Team providing services to first responders.  Dr. Lam also teaches at Salem State University as a Visiting Assistant Professor in their Mental Health Counseling graduate program.

Dr. Lam serves on numerous boards of community non-profits, such as Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, and co-founded the Jasmine Asian Women Giving Circle, which fundraises to provide programming grants for Asian women and girls in Massachusetts.  Dr. Lam is the first ethnic minority to be elected as President of the Massachusetts Psychological Association, and Chair to the American Psychological Association’s Committee on State Leaders.  As a member of MPA, she has provided testimonies for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Health Disparity Bill, especially advocating for culturally appropriate services.  Along with the MPA delegations, she has also advocated numerous times at the U.S. Capitol Hill.

Nina Liang

Nina Liang is the first Chinese-American City Councilor in her hometown of Quincy.  Born in Quincy and raised by immigrant parents, she has experienced first hand the challenges minority children and families face.  Over the years, she has had the opportunity to be a part of community organizations dedicated to addressing the needs of those who are new to both the language and customs of American culture.  Having worked as the office manager and helping to manager operations with her family’s restaurant group, Nina also has the experience and perspective of a small business owner, creating jobs and opportunity in the communities in which they operate.  Nina understands that it takes collaborative efforts among these local organizations, businesses and public service facilities to better address the needs of the diverse residents Quincy has.

John Naranja

Dr. Naranja’s parents immigrated from the Philippines in 1964 as part of a group of international medical doctors who would help address the perceived shortage of physicians in the United States at that time.  Born in Norwood, Massachusetts, he grew up initially in the Commonwealth, but later moved several times during his father’s service in the United States Air Force.  His current background includes a medical degree from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, followed by an orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.  He then went into practice for approximately 12 years doing General Orthopedic Surgery, after which he decided to go to law school.  He attended Northeastern University School of Law in Boston and subsequently joined the personal injury firm at Diller Law. He is very active in the Filipino-American community, serving currently as an officer in the Philippine American Medical Association of New England, and engaged in helping start up the Filipino American Law Association of Massachusetts.

Uyen-Sa Nguyen

Uyen-Sa Nguyen came to the United States as a refugee from Viet-Nam, and grew up in Michigan.  After graduating from the University of Michigan, she went on to earn a Master Degree in Public Health and a Doctor of Science at Boston University School of Public Health.  Trained as a research epidemiologist, Nguyen is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA.  She also holds an adjunct faculty appointment in the Clinical Epidemiology Research and Training Unit at Boston University School of Medicine.

Nguyen’s breadth of research spans from prenatal care to geriatrics, including studies of minority women’s health and infant care, childhood obesity, and issues of aging. She currently conducts research on pain, physical function, mental health, and disparity in access to care in relation to arthritis and joint replacement.  She has presented at many regional, national, and international forums and scientific conferences, and have authored or co-authored many peer-reviewed journal articles.

Aside from her research, Nguyen cares deeply about education and service.  Some of the most fulfilling experiences has been working as a volunteer, teaching Vietnamese Language to Vietnamese-American children so that they may communicate with older family members, and teaching English as a Second Language to recent immigrants of Asian descent. She is also committed to mentoring high school girls and college students from immigrant families.  Nguyen understands the many struggles growing up as an immigrant and having to overcome the many social-economic, gender, and racial barriers along the way. Thus, Nguyen’s personal experience underlies her deep commitment to help identify and address the important issues affecting the Asian American community.

Dimple J. Rana

 Dimple Rana is the Manager of the Healthy Community Initiatives department for the City of Revere, in which she co-leads Revere on the Move, a Mass in Motion healthy eating and active living program.

Dimple volunteers as the Executive Director for Revere Youth in Action (RYiA), a youth leadership program, which she co-founded. Revere Youth in Action is a youth led group organizing for a youth center since 2012. RYiA envisions a city where young people have opportunities to grow, lead, and build a safe and inclusive community.

She serves on the board of directors for Women Encouraging Empowerment, Inc. and The Neighborhood Developers. In March 2016, she was appointed as a Commissioner and serves with the Commonwealth’s Asian American Commission. Originally from Revere, Dimple is a first generation Gujarati Indian American. Dimple’s leadership and organizing roots began in Revere as a teenager with her involvement with Roca as a peer leader. Over the past 15 years she has had extensive experience organizing and work in youth development, immigrant, and LGBTQ rights.  In 2009, she was named “Top 30 Under 30 Asian Americans” in the United States by the Angry Asian Man blog.

Prior to returning to her hometown in 2012, she worked as an immigrants’ rights organizer and advocate for families and communities facing the injustices of the US deportation system in both Cambodia and the United States. A 2002 graduate of Hofstra University in Community Health and Education, she is currently pursuing her Master of Public Policy at Tufts Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program as a Neighborhood Fellow, focusing on the economic empowerment of gateway cities through a social justice and health equity lens.

She enjoys the company of family and friends, especially in combination with delicious food, laughter, and memorable times. She looks up to the older and younger people around her who continue to push, ask questions, challenge the status quo, and are the change we want to see more of in our world.

Anil Saigal

Dr. Anil Saigal is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tufts University, Medford, MA. Prof. Saigal received his B.Tech from IIT, Bombay and M.S. and Ph.D from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA. During his tenure at Tufts, he has served as the Chair of Mechanical Engineering, Director of International Programs for the School of Engineering, and on a number of university committees. He is the founder of Lokvani.com, an on-line media serving the Indian-American community since 2001. Currently he is the Treasurer for the Indian Americans for Burlington. He has served as the President of Indian Institute of Technology Society in New England (IITSINE) and the India Association of Greater Boston (IAGB). He has participated in various Asian American Commission activities over the years. He is a Charter Member of TiE Boston – an organization that fosters entrepreneurship, Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Service Alumni Award from IIT Bombay.

Evelyn Tang

Ms. Tang has served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Medicaid Fraud Division of the Office of Attorney General Martha Coakley since September 2010.  Her practice area consists of complex criminal and civil investigation, litigation, and enforcement action involving health care providers who are alleged to have defrauded the Massachusetts Medicaid Program. From 2007 to 2010, Ms. Tang served as an Assistant District Attorney for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in the District Court and Juvenile Divisions. She was the lead attorney on approximately 30 jury trials, argued before the Massachusetts Appeals Court in 2010, was a member of the DA’s Community Based Justice Program, and selected as a Domestic Violence Designee. Ms. Tang graduated from McGill University with a BSc. in Physiology and attained her law degree from Suffolk University Law School.  Currently, Ms. Tang is a member of the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts, the AG’s Diversity Committee, and the DA’s External Diversity Committee. Ms. Tang also speaks Taiwanese.

Sophy Theam

Ms. Sophy Theam was appointed to the Massachusetts Asian American Commission in 2011 and has served as the Commission’s Treasurer and Vice-Chair.  She is now in her last year of service on the Commission.  Sophy is a Learning and Development Manager, Vice President, of Enterprise Bank which is headquartered in Lowell, Massachusetts.  She has been employed with this company since 2005.  After being involved in various capacities for the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation since 2001, in 2010, Sophy was elected as a Trustee for the foundation, which reviews funding proposals by non-profits that serve the residents of Greater Lowell.  She has been the foundation’s Clerk since 2014.  In addition, Sophy is an Incorporator for the Lowell General Hospital.

Ms. Theam arrived to the United States in 1984 as a refugee and grew up in Bristol, CT with her family.  She is a 1999 Boston College graduate with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in International Relations.  After graduation, she worked as a counselor for Lynn’s Khmer Youth and Family Center, an Assistant for the Executive Director of the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Lowell, a Company Manager for dancers and musicians from Cambodia’s Royal University of Fine Arts, and a Program Technician for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Westford.  She has been involved with the Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL), Girls, Inc., Lowell Women’s Week, Lowell Folk Festival, Lowell Cultural Council, Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival, American Textile History Museum, and Lowell Community Health Center.

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