Institute for Corean-American Studies

The Honorable Mary Chung Hayashi

California State Assembly

Mary Hayashi, ICAS Fellow and Liberty Award Honoree, was elected to the California State Assembly in November 2006, representing the 18th Assembly District. She is an award-winning author and is among this country's most accomplished advocates for expanding the delivery and coverage of health care.

Ever since Mary came to the Legislature, health care has been her top priority. Mary has authored a number of bills focused on health care reform. Among her bills that have been signed into law is AB 108, which prohibits health plans and insurers from rescinding an individual health insurance policy, protecting consumers from losing their health care coverage during the times they need it most. She also authored AB 235, a mental health parity bill which requires insurers to cover treatment for psychiatric emergencies without prior authorization. In addition, Mary's groundbreaking bill, AB 509, served as the catalyst for establishing California's first Office of Suicide Prevention.

Mary is a member of the leadership team for Assembly Speaker John Pérez, serving as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection. The committee's primary purpose is to protect consumers, with oversight of the Department of Consumer Affairs occupational licensing and enforcement boards. She serves on the Assembly Health Committee and is Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Community Colleges. Mary is also Vice Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

Prior to serving in the California State Legislature, Mary advised the nation's top policy leaders, and established unprecedented partnerships in support of social causes that previously had no financial or public backing. She served as the Alameda County Coordinator in the winning campaign to pass Proposition 63, which provides increased funding for a broad continuum of prevention, early intervention, and treatment services in county and statewide mental health programs. Mary is a Commissioner on the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, which was created to monitor the implementation of Prop 63.

Previously, Mary was the former California Director of the American Public Health Association, and served as a lead consultant for the Foundation Consortium for California's Children and Youth on their child welfare services redesign project. She advised former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher on his national campaign to eliminate health disparities, and has contributed her expertise to a number of other health organizations.

Mary served as a member of the California Board of Registered Nursing and as Chair of the Planned Parenthood Golden Gate Political Action Committee. She was also a board member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and Research!America, which successfully doubled the federal budget for the National Institutes of Health. As a featured speaker, Mary also contributed to the development of the first White House Conference on Mental Health.

Mary's remarkable journey from her childhood in Korea to prominence as a health care leader is documented in her book, Far From Home: Shattering the Myth of the Model Minority. She has been honored by a diverse range of organizations for her work on behalf of families and communities, from Redbook Magazine and Ladies' Home Journal, to Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and the Center for Elder Independence.

Mary has been named Legislator of the Year by the California Medical Association, and received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club. In addition, she received the National Public Policy Award from the American Association of Suicidology, and the Leadership Award from the Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center.

Mary earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Economics from the University of San Francisco, and her Master in Business Administration degree from Golden Gate University. She lives in Hayward with her husband, noted public interest attorney Dennis Hayashi, who now serves as a Superior Court Judge for Alameda County.

ICAS Web Site Links for Mary Chung Hayashi:

Liberty Award
Bulletin of August 14,2010
2010 Summer Reception & Dinner
Bulletin of June 28,2010

This page last updated 8/25/2010 jdb

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