At ASHA International, we are grateful for the diverse expertise of our Board. Each member of the Board of Directors brings with them knowledge and experience that has contributed to the advancement and support of ASHA International’s mission, and the global community we serve.
Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS, Founder and President
Gayathri is the Founder and President of ASHA International, and the author of Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within. Her successful battle in overcoming debilitating depression taught her the power of hope and holistic wellness. Now, she shares that message with others. Since the launch of ASHA International’s wellness campaign, Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives in 2006, Gayathri’s keynotes, wellness workshops, and cultural competence training’s have reached more than 50,000 people nationally and internationally with a resounding message of hope and recovery. Individuals and organizations alike applaud Gayathri as an agent of hope and transformational change.
Gayathri received her first undergraduate degree in science from Bangalore University in India. She earned a second undergraduate degree in Management and Business Information systems and a Master’s in Business Administration at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Gayathri is also a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS).
Gayathri is the winner of many prestigious awards including the Eli Lilly Welcome Back Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Voice Award for Consumer Leadership sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Outstanding Alumna Award from her alma mater George Fox University, the Esperanza Hope Award, and the Lifetime Innovator award presented by the International Association of Peer Supporters.
To see Gayathri’s TED talk Be the Hope, please click here…
Kathy Cherian, CPA, CA, Treasurer
Kathy recently relocated to Portland from Toronto, Canada with her husband Sanjay and 3 kids Anjali, Lucas & Philip. She is a designated CPA and holds an MBA in Finance. Over the past 20 years, she has worked across various multi-national corporations including KPMG, BMW, GlaxoSmithKline and AonHewitt, and for the last decade has held Finance leadership roles at Nike.
Balancing mental, spiritual and physical health has been something Kathy has been passionate about all her life and one that she espouses in raising her children as they move into young adulthood. Over the years, she and her husband have supported various mental health causes, in particular those that have supported new research into effective mental health interventions and community program development.
Kathy was inspired to join the ASHA International board after hearing Gayathri’s remarkable story and wants to continue to advance ASHA’s message of hope and wellbeing. She believes strongly in creating communities of acceptance, empathy and inclusion, breaking down the walls of stigma associated with mental health.
Kathy Van Riesen, Secretary
Kathy has a degree in Computer Science from University of California, Irvine and has worked in the high-tech industry for over 30 years. She is currently a Program Manager at Tektronix in Portland, OR, and enjoys the “soft” skills side of building a product development team.
After experiencing the painful impact of anxiety and depression in her own family, Kathy was inspired by Gayathri and her vision for wellness. As a Founding member of ASHA International, Kathy wants to particularly help reduce the stigma and ignorance surrounding mental illness. She finds inspiration working with the ASHA International board in spreading the message of Wellness and Recovery.
Kathy Gomez, Director
Kathy is a wife, mom, and NIKE Executive. She thrives on creative collaboration and is committed to using her very small sphere of influence to make the world a better place for her kids, family, friends and colleagues. Kathy believes small things can lead to big change using vision, leadership and meaningful connections. A native of Massachusetts, Kathy has a BA in Spanish from the University of New Hampshire and has lived and worked in New England, Miami, Atlanta, and Western Europe before landing in Portland, OR.
Kathy believes mental wellness at work, home, school or on the playing field is a cornerstone of a thriving and productive community. She is thrilled to join the ASHA International board and is committed to spreading awareness and resources promoting mental wellness.
Aaron Babbie, Director
Aaron spent 16 years working in sales and marketing leadership roles for Hyatt, Starwood and Provenance Hotels. From 2010-18, Aaron served as Vice President, leading business development, operations and strategic partnerships for Sparkloft Media, a social media marketing agency. He currently serves as the Director of Engagement for The SPOON Foundation.
Aaron sees the normalization of mental health in society as a critical public health challenge.
And, believes that rebranding mental health, starts with creating a safe environment for people to tell their stories, just as ASHA International is doing. Aaron wants to help ASHA International communicate the value of its mission to new audiences and partners.
John Boylston, J.D., Director
John is an Oregon native. He grew up in Beaverton and now lives in King City with his wife Ana Lauren. John is an estate planning attorney at the law firm of Myatt & Bell where he works with families to create customized estate plans to fit each unique family. In that work, John regularly works with individuals who struggle with mental illness and the family members who love them. Additionally, John has seen how prevalent mental illness is among professionals in the legal field, yet how little it is talked about and understood.
In addition to his work with ASHA International, John is an elected member of the City Council for King City, a Trustee of the Oregon Historical Society, a Founder of Emerging Leaders for Oregon, and a Board Member of HispanicPros.
John joined the ASHA International board because he believes that we can do much more to educate the public on mental health issues, treatment, and resources. As a professional who has suffered from anxiety himself, John knows how hard it can be to talk about these issues, but also how beneficial it can be once we do share our struggles and seek treatment. John’s goal is to help spread ASHA International’s vision and resources in professional settings, to encourage professionals to seek treatment, and to help de-stigmatize mental illness.
Diane Kaufman, MD, Director
Imagination and creative expression have always been Diane’s source of release, insight, and renewal. Diane is a child psychiatrist, poet, lyricist, and artist. She is an Arnold P. Gold Foundation “humanism in medicine” awardee. Amongst Diane’s many creative works, her story, “Bird That Wants to Fly,” inspired a children’s opera by Michael Raphael, performed by Trilogy: An Opera Company, and narrated by the actor, Danny Glover.
Diane suffered trauma starting at a very young age, and experienced episodes of anxiety, depression, hypomania, mania, and suicidal ideation. She graduated magna cum laude and phi beta kappa from Mount Holyoke College. While attending Downstate Medical Center, Diane attempted suicide and required hospitalization. She went on to complete internship, residencies and fellowship (pediatrics, psychiatry and child psychiatry) at New York University/Bellevue Hospital.
Prior to her moving to Portland, Oregon in 2014, Diane was an outpatient child psychiatrist for twenty-eight years at UMDNJ, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, in Newark (now Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences). She was Assistant Professor at New Jersey Medical School and was Medical Director of both Preschool Services and the Crisis Intervention Mobile Outreach Program. Diane secured many grants on behalf of children’s well-being, such as Parents are People Too!, a parenting and child abuse prevention program rated “exemplary” by the Children’s Trust Fund. Diane also initiated UMDNJ’s Poetry in Medicine Day, inspired Creative Arts Healthcare, and developed the Cry of the Heart poetry contest.
Upon her move to Oregon, Diane initially worked as a child psychiatrist at Morrison Child and Family Services in Portland. Since November 2016, she provides child psychiatry care and treatment at Mind Matters, PC in Hillsboro.
Diane is the founder of Arts Medicine for Hope and Healing. For more information, please see www.artsmedicineforhopeandhealing.com.
Genevieve Reaume, Director
Genevieve is an Emmy-nominated reporter for KATU News in Portland, Oregon. She grew up in Portland, graduated from Jesuit High School and then traveled to the Midwest for college. She graduated from the University of Missouri, the world’s first journalism school, and then came back to the best coast to start her career in journalism. She worked in southern Oregon for two years as a reporter/anchor in both news and sports before making the jump home to Portland.
She was selected to be a reporter on KATU’s groundbreaking youth mental health campaign, Kind Is Better. That’s how she first learned about ASHA International. Through Kind Is Better she’s been able to tell the stories that often went untold, the stories about mental illness and suicide, in an effort to shatter the stigma. It’s unchartered territory for journalism, as for decades experts told journalists not to cover suicides, in fear of copycat attempts.
KATU realized suicide was too large of a problem not to cover, and decided it needed to be addressed. So did other journalists in the state. She was also a part of the state-wide effort to confront the reality of suicides in Oregon, called Breaking the Silence. ASHA International strives for the same outcomes. That’s what attracted Genevieve to the organization. She understands the power of storytelling and believes both hearing and sharing stories can be transformational.
Outside of work you can find her napping (just being honest! The morning shift can be brutal!), running or on some sort of rooftop enjoying the weather. She feels very blessed to be working in the town she grew up in and to be back home with her family and best friends.
Balbinder K. Banga, Director
Originally from Canada, Balbinder moved to Portland in 2000 with her husband, Sonny. Balbinder has worked as a Project Manager for several Fortune 500 tech companies while raising her two kids, Jaya and Jovin. Balbinder has a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management and has served on the Board of SAWERA (South Asian Women’s Empowerment & Resource Association) and PMI (Project Management Institute).
Balbinder is an avid reader of mind, body and soul books and believes it’s imperative to build a solid foundation for youth to flourish. She is passionate about working with youth and building awareness for the importance of positive mental health, especially during the teen years.
Balbinder is excited to help grow and expand ASHA’s outreach programs to the youth community.
James K. Boehnlein, M.D., M.S.C. Member, Advisory Board
After completing psychiatry residency training at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR, Dr. James K. Boehnlein was a VA/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia VA Medical Center, where he received his Master’s Degree in medical anthropology. He has been Associate Director for Education for the VA Northwest Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) since its inception in 1998, and has been the Director of Medical Student Education for OHSU’s Department of Psychiatry since 1993. He served as OHSU’s Assistant Dean for Curriculum from 1997-2005.
Since 1987, he has been a staff psychiatrist at the Portland VAMC Mental Health Clinic and at OHSU’s Intercultural Psychiatric Program, where he has treated Southeast Asian and Central American refugees. His research has focused on cross-cultural psychiatry (particularly cultural and anthropological perspectives on post-traumatic stress disorder and long-term adjustment of traumatized refugees), the interface of culture and medical ethics, spiritual issues in psychiatry and psychological trauma, and on medical education. He is board certified in both general and forensic psychiatry.
He is currently President of the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture, an international association of psychiatric and social science researchers and educators.
Larisa A. Klein M.A. Member, Advisory Board
Larisa is an Executive for a behavioral healthcare company. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Counseling and has directly cared for women, men, children and the elderly living with a mental illness or addiction with great compassion and care. She is proud to serve on the board for ASHA International and respects the approach of holistic wellness for those living with a mental illness or addiction.
Larisa says: “When I first met Gayathri and heard her story it made me realize why I have chosen to devote my career to the field of mental healthcare. I knew from the age of 18 years old God called me to be a light to those in need. I see ASHA International as that light and I am excited to see the mission of ASHA International succeed.”
Barbara B. Maloney, PhD Member, Advisory Board
Dr. Barbara B. Maloney is an independent consultant in business and technical writing and communication. For over 25 years she has worked with organizations and individuals to establish and enhance better communication in the workplace. Barbara is an avid skier and scuba diver.
Meghan Caughey, Member, Advisory Board
Meghan Caughey, M.A., M.F.A. is the Senior Director of Peer and Wellness Services for Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare in Portland, Oregon. She designs and implements wellness-informed peer service programs and works at the federal level as part of the SAMHSA Wellness Steering Committee and Subcommittee on Research and Evaluation. She is a national consultant to community and state mental health, public health, and primary care organizations on the design and implementation of wellness- informed peer support programs and peer workforce development. She has developed wellness and trauma-informed curricula and service programs as well as outcome measurement tools.
She is an instructor at Portland State University where she teaches the Peer Wellness Specialist training and she is a lecturer at Oregon Health Science University. She has served on the Oregon Medicaid Advisory Committee and currently serves on the Oregon Traditional Health Worker Commission. Ms Caughey has an MA in drawing and painting and a Master of Fine Art ( MFA) in pictorial art and her work has been featured in medical journals and textbooks. She is also a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner. Her essays have been published in Psychiatric Services, the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, and the Global Journal for Community Psychology Practice.
Her work in health system reform in Oregon helped create the legislative mandate for the use of peer wellness specialists in Coordinated Care Organizations. ( CCOs ).
She is passionate in her advocacy work as it is informed by her own personal experience of recovery from serious mental challenges.
Saramati Krishna, MD, Member, Advisory Board
Saramati has been serving her community in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology for over a decade. She is a multi-culturist – she spent a high-school year in India, dual-majored in French Language and Biology during her undergraduate degree, spent a semester in France, has taken courses in Mexico, and speaks 5 languages. This, along with her ethnic background, gives her the special privilege of building bonds with her patients and their families that span cultures.
She has seen the devastating effects of untreated mental illness, both through personal and professional experience. She believes that health of the mind cannot be separated from health of the body and recognizing this allows people to experience maximal well-being.
Saramati was inspired to serve on the Board of ASHA International after reading Gayathri’s memoir, Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within. She fears that many women coming into her office are faced with the same barriers to mental health services that Gayathri encountered, and wants to help fill that gaping hole in resources for mental health care.
Vijay Rajan, Member, Advisory Board
Originally from India, Vijay moved to the US from India in 2012 with his wife Minal and two young daughters Yamini and Antara. Vijay has undergraduate and professional degrees in Commerce and Finance and over 20 years of professional experience with multi-national corporates mainly in Finance leadership positions.
Vijay and his family have lived in multiple cities in India, but now consider Portland, Oregon their home. His wife Minal, a certified Nutritionist and a cancer survivor, has involved the family in serving the community, specifically through her therapeutic cancer kitchen.
Vijay believes in mental and physical well-being as the most important foundations especially for our teenagers. His association with ASHA started when Minal met Gayathri in 2017 and led to Yamini becoming ASHA International’s youngest storyteller. Gayathri continues to inspire the family to join in the work to offer hope and recovery from mental illness. Vijay says “ASHA International’s mission cuts across all boundaries and deeply inspires me. I am grateful to join ASHA International’s Board and am committed to working and spreading awareness, promoting mental health, especially with our youth.”