Jake Fitisemanu was born in New Zealand/Aotearoa to Karen Dang (Kaimukī, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi) and Jacob Fitisemanu Sr. (Falefā, ʻUpolu, Sāmoa) and raised in Hawaiʻi and Utah. Jake holds a master's degree in Public Health from Westminster College (Salt Lake City, UT) and has led public health programs in the Utah Department of Health for nine years. He was appointed by President Obama to the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in 2015 and was also appointed to the US Census National Advisory Committee for two terms. Jake has chaired the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition since 2011 and is currently a director of the national Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum and a member of the Huntsman Cancer Institute Community Advisory Board. He lives with his wife and two daughters in West Valley City where he serves as a member of the City Council and chair of the Healthy West Valley initiative.
June 19th, 2021 | 51 mins 35 secs
This summer and fall we'll be collaborating with Dr. Xiumei Pu in her project "Mountains and Stories." Mountains and Stories is a community-building endeavor among diverse Asian and Pacific Islander refugee and immigrant families living in Salt Lake Valley. Anchored in the theme of mountains, the project consists of a twelve-part podcast and a documentary, a storytelling-conversation cultural event (June 26, 2021), and a group hike in the Wasatch Mountains (October 23, 2021). It is our hope that these efforts will amplify the environmental voices of Asian and Pacific Islander refugee and immigrant communities, and spark more public interest in thinking about the connection between culture, identity, and the natural environment. In this episode, we talk with Jake Fitisemanu. Jake co-founded the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition and has chaired the annual statewide Pacific Islander Health Week since 2012. He was appointed to the US Census National Advisory Council in 2014 and serves on the Board of Directors of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum and the Mana Academy Charter School. He also teaches lion dancing at the Jung Hing Lion Dance Club.