Meet Our New Chinese Health Initiative Co-Chairs!
The Chinese Health Initiative (CHI) welcomes Jessie Ren and Alyson Suzuki as their new co-chairs. The Chinese Health Initiative, created by Behavioral Health & Recovery Services’ Office of Diversity & Equity, was created in 2007 as a way to join people together who are interested in working to improve the health and well being of our Chinese community. Together, they advocate for culturally appropriate services, educate the community about different health issues and services available, and work with the community to increase outreach.
About the Co-Chairs:
Jessie Ren (she/her) grew up in China and came to the Bay Area in 2003. She has been working with the San Mateo County Department of Health as a Benefit Analyst for the past 11 years and has helped many families enroll in a multitude of government health programs. Jessie is passionate about bringing resources and her professional knowledge to those in need, more specifically, vulnerable as well as underserved populations. She is also a Certified English and Mandarin Medical Interpreter. Jessie’s work deeply involves her in the Chinese community where having the good fortune of being able to speak Mandarin, Shanghainese and Cantonese is helpful. She also enjoys working with other community leaders to organize and facilitate community events. Past successful events include an annual Chinese New Year Gala serving the peninsula, Health Insurance & Immigration Forum, Bay Area Ballroom Club dance parties, as well as an Anti-Asian Hate Rally in San Jose.
For leisure, Jessie loves dancing, musicals, meditation and traveling with her family. She enjoy learning about different cultures and trying all types of food, and her dream is to travel around the world one day.
As a longtime member of Chinese Health Initiative (CHI), it will be her honor and privilege to serve as a Co-Chair. Jessie looks forward to helping raise mental health awareness and to improve the well-being of our Chinese community.
Alyson Suzuki (she/her) is from New York City (NYC) and worked to serve low-income families in the greater NYC area before moving to the Bay Area in 2000. Her work focuses on providing educational opportunities and culturally appropriate support to immigrant and low-income families and children. She has over 25 years of experience leading complex organizations, advocating for systemic change and delivering quality services to underserved communities. In addition to her professional experience, Alyson has also served on the boards of the YMCA of San Francisco and Marin, and Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Strategic Human Resources Management. Alyson was a recipient and honoree of the California Governor’s Scholarship for Women in Public Service, a graduate of the Redwood City- San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Program, a member of the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute and the San Mateo County API Caucus.
Alyson is the Founder and CEO of Unitedly. Unitedly’s mission is to ensure that Asian families and communities have equitable access to resources and opportunities to thrive. Raised in a low-income household by Chinese immigrant parents, Alyson knows first-hand the importance of resources, access and community support. Through her experiences, Alyson understands the impact of societal inequities and strongly believes in enabling all families to have a voice. As the founder of Unitedly, Alyson’s vision is to create a central agency dedicated to supporting underserved families, so that they have equal opportunities to be successful.
Learn more about Chinese Health Initiative at SMCHealth.org/CHI.