Do You Know: Miya Iwataki

Miya Iwataki is an activist for cultural and linguistic competence in public health and reparations for Japanese internment. She was also 1 of only 37 women sponsored by the UN to participate in the Decade of Women Conference in Nairobi Kenya.


Iwataki started out discussing health disparities and best practices on independent radio and television but quickly transitioned into government programs. She was appointed to the Task Force on Culturally Competent Physicians and Dentists by former Assembly Speaker Hertzberger and chaired the Congressional Diversity Council for Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald. She also co-chaired the APPPCON Legislative Hearing on Health and the Legislative Hearing on the Impact of Welfare Reform on APIs.  She also sat on several city and state wide taskforces on best practices in Asian communities including: the Council on Multicultural Health of the CA Depts of Health Care and Public Health and the Office of Diversity Programs for the LA County Department of Health. And she also worked on health reform at a national level She also works with community based programs ensuring her own ongoing understanding of everchanging community needs. These programs included: Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council, and Asian Pacific Community Fund. She was also founding director of Asian Health Project at T.H.E. Clinic. Finally she has received grants to develop culturally competent curriculum for providers helping to ensure that best practices with Asian American communities in California reach into every available clinic and hospital.

She has also been an instrumental voice in Japanese American reparations for Internship during WWII. She lead a 141-person grassroots delegation to Washington DC to help win reparations. In 1992, she was the U.S. presenter at the International Conference on Wartime Reparations in Japan.

She has been an invaluable voice in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in California and the U.S. and a mentor to young women interested in pursuing political, medical, and social justice careers.

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