MHamto copyAbout Maileen:

“Since coming to the United States as a teenager, I’ve managed to pursue my studies in journalism and business to sustain a career in ethnic journalism, diversity communications, and health equity. My current work in diversity and inclusion in the mental health system allows me the opportunity to critically examine and take action to address health inequities among underserved communities.

In my role, I help dismantle the barriers to achievement among historically disadvantaged groups, such as people of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community. These barriers exist because of institutional racism and discrimination; policies that are not inclusive; and a climate/environment that is not welcoming to people who don’t quite fit in. The work requires a complete overhaul of the way that the organization sees and values difference and diversity.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to find soul-sustaining and values-affirming work, working for institutions whose values aligned with my own. I am equally honored and humbled by the opportunity to work alongside scholars, artists, writers and healers who volunteer for the Center for Babaylan Studies. CfBS exemplifies the clamor of Filipinos in the global diaspora to connect more deeply with our indigenous roots and support our indigenous communities in the Philippines. Through the work of CfBS, I look forward to collaborations that amplify the voices of indigenous peoples in the homeland, and draw attention to the forces and circumstances that make it difficult for tribes to preserve and honor indigenous knowledge and traditions.”