ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO. NaFFAA was one of five Asian American-serving community-based organizations selected by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to implement Achieving Whole Health: Balancing Body, Mind and Spirit , a culturally responsive training that provides the tools and skills to help Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders make healthy decisions. In March, six members of NaFFAA participated in an intensive training program consisting of an 2 1/2 day on-site training with AWH program founder, Dr. DJ Ida. Over the next four months, NaFFAA will participant in four follow-up coaching sessions to plan out it’s own AWH program, a wellness retreat and ongoing whole health program in the Fall of 2019 with rising student leaders in the Filipino American collegiate community.

Achieving Whole Health trainings, Dr. Ida and Pata Suyemoto.

As a participant of the program, students will:

  • Learn the 10 life elements and how to balance body, mind and spirit life domains for whole health and how the three domains are interrelated to each other.
  • Develop their own Whole Health Goal, participants will learn how to coach others through these life elements for better personal understanding of their health goals.
  • Learn how to take what they’ve learned to help others develop their Whole Health Goal.
  • Learn how to support others in pursuit of whole health goals through weekly groups, personal logs, and one-on-one coaching.

NaFFAA members, Ryann Tanap, Jaden Aponte, and April Siruno, facilitate training around spiritual life element, “hope & optimism”.

“We are excited to offer this whole health program to student leaders in the capital region as a pilot program for NaFFAA’s Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration (EPYC) Initiative. We understand the balancing act of work, school, family, and other stressors facing college Filipino Americans and hope this program offers student leaders the tools and support to practice self-care and lead for the long haul,” explains Krystle Canare, Capital Region Chair.

Jaden Aponte, NaFFAA intern, contributes to the “Words of Inspiration” wall.

As a former intern at SAMHSA, Krystle participated in the training in 2015 and has since implemented aspects of the whole health program in her personal and professional life. “It didn’t occur to me how certain things I valued, for example, family and resiliency, could oftentimes bump up against the need to promote personal self-care. The program helped me to recognize those needs, identify strategies on maintaining the balancing act, and, most importantly, how to communicate my state and needs with those around me.”

For more information on the whole health program and how to get involved, contact

NaFFAA team members, Krystle Canare, Jason Tengco, Jaden Aponte, Ryann Tanap, and Aldrin Carreon at training in Albuequerque, NM. Missing: April Siruno