Page title

HHS Awards Nearly $700,000 to the Hawaii State Department of Health to Establish an Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Behavioral Health Center of Excellence

Main page content

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is awarding nearly $700,000 to the Hawaii State Department of Health to develop a Center of Excellence, advancing behavioral health equity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities.

The AA and NHPI Behavioral Health Center of Excellence will promote culturally and linguistically appropriate behavioral health information and practices; establish a steering committee to identify emerging issues; and provide training, technical assistance, and consultation to practitioners, educators and community organizations. Training topics include addressing mental health impacts caused by unconscious bias and hate against AA and NHPI communities.

“People grappling with mental health and substance use disorders need and deserve culturally responsive care to help them recover,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA. “This Center of Excellence will instruct provider organizations on how to better serve members of the AA and NHPI communities across the nation.”

“Today’s announcement is a key step in the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to eliminate health disparities affecting AA and NHPI communities,” said Krystal Ka‘ai, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. “This new center will provide access to culturally and linguistically appropriate behavioral health services that are essential as our communities continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic and anti-Asian violence.”

For the first year of the five-year grant program, SAMHSA is awarding the Hawaii State Department of Health $698,458. The Center of Excellence also will develop accessible, public-facing infographics and other materials that address behavioral health, including those that provide data disaggregated by race and ethnicity, as well as best practices for improving engagement and retention of AA and NHPI behavioral health professionals. It joins SAMHSA’s other Centers of Excellence directed at behavioral health disparities, including the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence and the Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity. Read more about the grant recipient.

The HHS Healthy People 2030 initiative defines health equity as “the attainment of the highest level of health for all people.” The initiative states that “achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities.” The Center of Excellence will help advance behavioral health equity, which is a critical component of holistic health care.

Last December, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra launched the Biden-Harris Administration’s White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) in response to the President’s Executive Order (EO) 14031: Advancing Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. The initiative is charged with driving an ambitious, whole-of-government agenda to advancing equity, justice, and opportunity for the AA and NHPI communities in the United States.

Americans seeking treatment for mental health or substance use issues should call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) or should visit findtreatment.samhsa.gov.

Press Announcements: Footer Block

Reporters with questions should send inquiries to media@samhsa.hhs.gov.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

Last Updated

Last Updated: 09/09/2022