2019 Catalyst for Change Gala
•The Catalyst for Change Awards Gala draws 350 diverse New Yorkers, many innovators and change makers themselves, who are interested in investing in the Asian Pacific American community. The evening includes a cocktail reception, seated dinner, and silent and live auctions.
Film Director, Producer, Writer
President and Founder, AXS Lab
Jason DaSilva is a director, producer, writer and disability rights activist best known for the Emmy Award winning documentary, When I Walk, the first film in a documentary trilogy. The documentary follows his diagnosis of primary progressive multiple sclerosis for seven years as he progresses from cane to walker to wheelchair. Following the success of When I Walk, Jason released the second film in the trilogy, When We Walk. When We Walk follows his life as he deals with his MS and fights to stay close with his son. The film is based on his New York Times Op-Ed article, Mapping the Disability Trap. In 2019, the film premiered at the Hot Docs Film Festival, won best documentary at the Center for Asian American Media’s CAAMFest, and had its New York debut at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. The final film, When They Walk, is currently in production.
Jason DaSilva is also the President and Founder of AXS Lab, a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving a voice to people with disabilities through film, media and technology. As the President of AXS Lab, Jason is the key creative and strategic voice of the organization, providing insight to necessities in disability activism and facilitating AXS Lab’s work with the United Nations and partner organizations around the world. AXS Map, a crowd sourced Google map based platform which rates the accessibility of businesses, is the primary technology branch of AXS Lab, the largest online database in North America for accessibility. In 2015, Jason had the opportunity to share his AXS Map on a disability panel at the White House. AXS Map serves as an active tool for change alongside his films.
In 2014, Jason won three awards: the American Association of Persons with Disabilities (AAPD) Paul G. Hearn Leadership Award, the New Mobility Magazine: Person of the Year Award, and the Christopher Award for Excellence in Film. This year, he is being awarded the Top 40 Trailblazers Award from the Community Resource Exchange, an award for leaders who are driving meaningful change in their communities and the larger world.
RAM RAJU, MD, MBA, FACHE
Senior Vice President and Community Health Investment Officer, Northwell Health
Ram Raju, MD, combines his executive leadership experience in health care with a deep commitment to achieving social equity to improve the health of communities in need. As senior vice president and community health investment officer, he evaluates the needs of Northwell’s most-vulnerable communities, and provides solutions for them by collaborating with community-based organizations. He’s responsible for promoting, sustaining and advancing an environment that supports equity and diversity, and helping the health system eliminate health disparities.
Ram Raju, MD, combines his executive leadership experience in health care with a deep commitment to achieving social equity to improve the health of
communities in need.
As senior vice president and community health investment officer, he evaluates the needs of Northwell’s most-vulnerable communities, and provides solutions for them by collaborating with community-based organizations. He’s responsible for promoting, sustaining and advancing an environment that supports equity and diversity, and helping the health system eliminate health disparities.
Prior to Northwell, Dr. Raju served as president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals from January 2014-November 2016. NYC Health + Hospitals has 42,000 employees, 11 acute-care hospitals, five nursing homes, six diagnostic and treatment centers, more than 70 community-based health centers, a large home care agency and one of the region’s largest providers of government-sponsored health insurance, MetroPlus Health Plan.
Dr. Raju also served as CEO for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest public health system, where he improved cash flow by more than $100 million and changed the system’s financial health during his tenure from 2011-2014. His medical career began at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn and he later served as chief operating officer and medical director at NYC Health + Hospitals’ Coney Island Hospital. In 2006, Dr. Raju became the HHC chief medical officer, corporate chief operating officer and executive vice president. Under his leadership, HHC continued to improve quality, patient safety and health care data transparency.
Dr. Raju served as vice-chair of the Greater New York Hospital Association and currently sits on the boards of numerous city, state and national health care organizations, including the American Hospital Association, the New York Academy of Medicine and the Asian Health Care Leaders Association. Among his numerous awards and accolades, Dr. Raju was selected to Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most-Influential People in Healthcare.” Modern Healthcare also named him one of the “Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare” and one of the “50 Most-Influential Physician Executives in Healthcare.” In 2013, he was named a Business Leader of Color by Chicago United.
Dr. Raju earned a medical diploma and Master of Surgery from Madras Medical College in India. He underwent further training in England, where he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. He later received an MBA from the University of Tennessee and CPE from the American College of Physician Executives.
PROJECT BY PROJECT
(accepted by Liliana Chen, Co-Founder)
Project by Project (PbP) was founded in 1998 by a group of young Asian American professionals motivated to empower the Asian American community by developing leaders through innovative philanthropy. Core to PbP’s methodology is a three-pronged approach to enhancing volunteerism, awareness, and fundraising for issues uniquely affecting Asian America. Building upon those principles, PbP created a platform of annual thematic campaigns tackling different causes from year to year. From domestic violence, to immigration, to homelessness, PbP has become a gateway for young Asian Americans to explore civic engagement while exercising leadership skills.
Its signature event, Plate by Plate, brings together the best the culinary world for an astonishing tasting event celebrating Asian American achievements.
Marking its 22nd year of service, PbP has partnered with over 50 non-profit organizations via its chapters in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Co-Founder, Project by Project
Communications executive, Liliana Chen, is a co-founder of Project by Project and the only member to serve on the leadership team continuously for 22 years. Ms. Chen has shepherded PbP through expansions to 3 chapters in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, as well as guided its development into a leadership program with a focus on Asian American legacy. PbP boasts a leadership team of 100 active volunteers nationwide, many of whom serve multiple years on the Steering Committee. Under her stewardship, PbP’s marquee event, Plate by Plate, has become the premier annual tasting benefit for the Asian American community, featured in an episode of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef.”
Throughout the course of her career in communications, Ms. Chen has worked with various entrepreneurs, entertainers, journalists, and culinary personalities, many of whom are Asian American. Currently, she works in the luxury timepiece industry helming public relations in US and Canada for Breguet, one of the most prestigious watch brands in the world.
Reporter/Host of the 7-time Emmy nominated show “Asian American Life”
Contributing Reporter for “Arts in the City” and “Simply Science”
CUNY-TV Channel 75, 25.3 and now on NYC Media, Channel 25, and PBS stations across the country
Chair of the Communication and Media Culture Department, Saint Peter’s University
Actor/Director, Sesame Street
Co-Founder, International Auctioneer
Barbara Turvett and Edward Pauly
The Poses Family Foundation
Alexander Tsui, DMD
John J. Chin, Ph.D. & Haftan Eckholdt, Ph.D
Wayne Ho & Eda Chao
Jessica S. Lee
Sumie Okazaki, Ph.D.
Beesham A. Seecharan
Norma Tan, Ph.D.