asha international mental health

We Give Hope


Suzy Favor Hamilton

Suzy Favor Hamilton is a 3-time Olympian, 7-time US National Champion & Record 9-time NCAA Champion track & field athlete and yes — former top Las Vegas Escort.

She is also the author of the New York Times Best-Selling memoir, Fast Girl – A Life Spent Running From Madness, which details a complex life shaped by anxiety, suicidal depression & bipolar disorder while living under the facade of the All-American girl who seems to have it all.

Her story focuses on living with bipolar disorder and the often-disastrous consequences of misdiagnosis. She has survived rock bottom and now seeks to educate and raise awareness of what untreated bipolar can look like.

She also seeks to show that management, recovery and a quality life can be achieved with proper diagnosis, meds, therapy, and support. Learn more at

Dior Vargas

Dior Vargas is a Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist. She is the creator of the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project, a response to the invisibility of people of color in the media representation of mental illness.

She goes around the country giving keynotes, hosting workshops, and speaking on panels. Her work and insight have been covered in media outlets such as Forbes, Newsweek, NBC News Latino, and The Guardian. Dior is the recipient of numerous awards including, The White House Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations, 2015 Alternatives Conference Cookie Gant and Bill Compton LGBTQI Leadership Award and a Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame Inductee.

She has a B.A. in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College and has an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University. She is working towards a Master of Public Health at NYU’s College of Global Public Health. She is a native New Yorker and currently lives in New York City. Learn more at

Kristina Wong

Kristina Wong  was recently featured in the New York Times’ Off Color series “highlighting artists of color who use humor to make smart social statements about the sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious ways that race plays out in America today.”

She is a performance artist, comedian and writer whose solo shows, ensemble plays, and culture jamming projects have toured North America, the UK and Hong Kong. She’s been a guest on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show, FX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, and a guest commentator on American Public Media’s Marketplace. She was recently named to the 2017 YBCA 100 list celebrating the innovators, provocateurs, and thought leaders who are using their platform to create cultural movement.

She also received a 2017 COLA Master Artist Fellowship from City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is her longest touring show about the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women, it is now a film distributed by Cinema Libre Studios.  Learn more at

Chamique Holdsclaw

Chamique Holdsclaw first made her mark as a high school basketball star at Christ The King High School. She later accepted a full athletic scholarship to play collegiately for the perennial Women’s Basketball Powerhouse University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers and Hall of Fame Coach Pat Summit.

She went on to have a stellar collegiate career that included leading the Lady Vols to three straight NCAA Championships, which was the first time that had ever been accomplished in Women’s College Basketball history. After her illustrious college basketball career, which included several All-American honors and countless other awards, Chamique went on to be the #1 Pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics.

Her rookie season was capped with a WNBA Rookie of the Year Award as well as her first of six WNBA All-Star appearances. In 2000 she had the honor of winning an Olympic Gold Medal with Team USA at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Aside from her outstanding athletic career, Chamique has dedicated her life’s work to promote mental health and wellness.

Chamique has traveled the country sharing her own personal struggles with mental illness depicted in her memoir Breaking Through: Beating the Odds Shot after Shot, and the documentary, Mind|Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw, and how she has been able to seek help and manage her own mental health.

Chamique advocates to end the stigma of mental illness in our society and be a voice to those that feel marginalized and voiceless.

Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS

Gayathri Ramprasad is the Founder and President of ASHA International, a nonprofit organization promoting personal, organizational, and community wellness through mental health education, training, and support. 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. Since the launch of ASHA International’s programs in 2006, Gayathri’s keynotes, wellness workshops, and cultural competence trainings 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. She is a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS). And, serves on the Advisory Board of the Movement for Global Mental Health.

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. In 2017, Gayathri was awarded the Mental Health Hero award by Trillium Family Services. To learn more about Gayathri and see her TEDx Talk Be the Hope, please visit

Mari Alexander, LMFT

Mari Alexander is an Interculturalist Consultant and trainer, a Physician Assistant in Family Medicine and a Marriage and Family Therapist with a focus on issues of multiculturalism and diversity.

She has worked and lived in multiple countries abroad from France, Central, and Eastern Europe to Kenya, North and West Africa and has traveled extensively in India, Nepal and SE Asia.  She has drawn from her these experiences as well as from her work with diverse and marginalized groups in the USA as an intercultural consultant and trainer.

Her work in Cultural Competency and Unconscious Bias has been further informed by her in-depth studies in Interpersonal Neurobiology, the Neuroscience of Difference and Diversity and the impact of Compassionate Communication.  The integration of her own experiences and expertise is what she utilizes in her workshops to facilitate people’s effectiveness in teaming across cultures.

Pari Mazhar, MSW, LCSW

Pari Mazhar is the Director of Children & Family, Refugee & Immigrant Services at Cascadia Behavioral Health Center. She was born and raised in Iran and lived through the revolution of 1978. As a women’s rights and social justice activist, she was banned from entering any universities in Iran. When life became unsafe in Iran she was escaped to Turkey in 1985 and arrived in the US in 1986 as a political asylee. Determined to finish her schooling and fight for social justice, she put herself through college and graduate school while working two to three jobs. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Portland State University in June 1998 and her Master of Social Work in June 2001.  After being granted asylum she lived with anxiety and fear of deportation for over 20 years. In 2001, she was able to get her naturalization, and in 2005 she finally became US citizen. Her displacement and long pending immigration status provided Pari first-hand experience of the traumatic impact of displacement.

In 2009 Pari lost her brother to suicide. The tragic loss propelled Pari into a deep and long depression and inspired her to deepen her understanding of mental health issues and become dedicated to helping people struggling with desperation and hopelessness.

Pari has taught and facilitated many workshops on oppression, trauma, racism and equity, domestic violence, and addiction among people from different backgrounds including refugee and immigrant populations. She is an ally of the LBGTQ community and provides direct service to refugees and LBGTQ of color. Pari also founded small nonprofit, Middle Eastern Women’s Empowerment & Resource Center, for women escaping Domestic violence and mental health issues.  

Meghan Caughey, MFA

Meghan Caughey is the Senior Director of Peer and Wellness Services at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. She is on the faculty of Portland State University where she trains peer wellness specialists. She is also a Clinical Instructor at Oregon Health and Science University’s Psychiatry Department. And, the Vice Chair of the Oregon Healthy Authority Traditional Health Worker Commission. Meghan serves on the Board of Directors at ASHA International and is a member of the ASHA Storytellers Team.

As a painter, her work has been featured in museums and galleries in California, Texas, and Oregon. She is currently represented by the J Pepin Art Gallery in Portland, Oregon.

Meghan is a Certified Peer Specialist and Peer Wellness Specialist, and Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner who has designed and implemented peer wellness services in Oregon. She is a frequent presenter and keynote speaker across the United States.

Meghan’s passion for her work comes from having been hospitalized over one hundred times and finding the ability to recover and thrive despite a psychiatric diagnosis.

Nicole Cirino, MD

Dr. Nicole Cirino is a Reproductive Psychiatrist (Board Certified MD physician) and Associate Professor in both the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and in the Department of Psychiatry at Oregon Health Science University in Portland, Oregon. OHSU Center for Women’s Health (CWH) is a National Center of Excellence for women’s healthcare. It is a multi-specialty academic clinic treating exclusively women with a strong teaching and research component. She the Division Chief of the Women’s Mental Health and Wellness Program at CWH as well as the Co-founder and Co-Director of the Menopause and Sexual Medicine Program at CWH.

She has been fellowship trained in Reproductive Psychiatry since 2003. Reproductive Psychiatry is a specialty area of Psychiatry that focuses exclusively on the treatment of women across the reproductive life cycle. She has been practicing Sexual Medicine as a part of her practice since 1998. In the past 5 years, she has expanded her work in Sexual Medicine to also include research and education. She teaches topics of both Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders and Female Sexual Medicine to medical students, residents and other academic medicine faculties nationally.

Dr. Cirino is also a Certified Sex Therapist through the governing body AASECT, American Association of Sexual Educators, Counselors and Therapists. She also is skilled in Interpersonal, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and other therapeutic interventions. Dr. Cirino’s research interests involve medical and behavioral therapy interventions for perinatal mental health conditions and female sexual dysfunction. She lives in Portland, Oregon and is married with three children. Traveling is one of her greatest passions.


Sandra Wilborn, MS – Senior Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.

Sandy Wilborn joined Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare in Portland, Oregon in 2006 as Program Manager and was subsequently named Clinical Director of Secure Residential Treatment Facilities in 2010. During her tenure, Sandra championed a reorganization of SRTF programs, actively integrating complex disciplinary teams and promoting reclassification of direct care roles, increasing the level of professionalism and treatment provision across those programs. In 2011, Sandra was named to the National Council’s Inaugural Class, Addressing Health Disparities Program, and has remained involved in assisting future classes to meet their goals. One of her passions is identifying and developing emerging leaders while providing opportunities for leadership teams and individuals to recognize and utilize group and personal strengths in order to enrich services and safeguard continued innovation.

Sandra joined Cascadia’s Senior Leadership Team in February 2016 in her new role championing Equity, Diversity & Inclusion efforts. She has been involved in Cascadia’s efforts to work toward a more inclusive and equitable workplace since 2007. As an active participant in Cascadia’s Diversity Champions, Training Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion (TADI), and the Diversity Steering Committee, Sandra’s deep rooted aspiration to positively transform workplace culture derives from personal experience, “I like to think we all desire to be a part of a universe where each individual can be celebrated for what they bring to the table, where our successes and our struggles can be accepted and recognized as valiant and courageous efforts at bringing us together as one.”


An Invitation to Breath & Presence – Diana Hulet

Diana Hulet took her first yoga class in 1990 in a Bikram studio in Key West, Florida, because it was assigned as a college course. She went back because of how spacious her body felt, particularly in savasana, and thought it interesting that she felt so alive in the posture translated as “corpse pose.” She found devotion to the practice when returning to the mat while mourning the death of her parents, who were both luminous and intentional in raising her.

She entered teacher training at the Center for Yoga, in Los Angeles, in 2004, where she studied with James Morrison (of White Lotus). She has been greatly influenced by Dana Flynn and Jasmine Tarkeshi(of Laughing Lotus), Leslie Kaminoff (of The Breathing  Project), and Matthew Remski. She met her teacher, Manorama, in 2008, having already opened The Bhaktishop in Portland, Oregon. With Manorama, her approach to yoga philosophy found its roots; Diana is inspired and grounded in Vedantic Philosophy and finds her intellectual and spiritual pull to the to the jnana path. Coming from this traditional lineage allows her to intricately weave mindfulness and yoga philosophy into asana classes, and engage discussions based around classical yogic texts. Currently, she works as the Portland Yoga Director and Regional manager for TruFusion, and leads teacher training and continuing education workshops throughout the year. She also serves as an Influencer for the holistic lifestyle brand, SoulJour. She believes that her entire life is an ongoing practice of connection, of yoga in its truest sense. 

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