We are a diverse community group of advocates with a common goal of helping the people of American Samoa fight cancer. A unique piece of our community is the Fa’a Samoa, the traditional context of our people and way of life. Instilled in it is the fundamental belief that family and faith come first.
We are a family of women, men, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters who are faithfully dedicated to our mission.
We offer wholistic approaches to helping people with cancer. The effects of being diagnosed with cancer do not stop with the physical, but extend to the psychosocial, emotional and even financial burden for the patient and their families. We understand there are limited resources to diagnose and treat cancer on island, so we focus on two priorities to unite our activities.
1) Prevent cancer from occurring; and
2) Aid those who have been affected with cancer.
We understand it takes strength and perseverance of our members and staff. We utilize these to support each other and accomplish our mission.
As we are dedicated to our mission, we realize that collaboration is vital to success. It has been through partnerships and working together in the community that we have been successful. We will continue to use this and our dedication to the community as long as cancer affects the people of American Samoa.
How to join:
Joining the ASCCC is free! If you are interested in joining our family through support, advocacy, fundraising and volunteering, we would be grateful for your help. Click here to complete a membership form.
Chairman: Taotasi Mr. Archie Soliai, is the second longest standing board member and served as Vice Chair previously. Coming from the village of Nu’uuli, he studied Political Science which helped him while serving as a Faipule for his village, where he advocated for legislation such as the Smoke Free Environment Act. After many years with GHC Reid, he has since joined the team at Starkist. When not at work or serving in many numerous other civic organizations on island, he likes to read books like The Firm, golf, and spend time with his family. He feels his biggest strength is communication and tends on using this to “increase cancer awareness and screening so that cancer prevalence is reduced”.
Vice Chairman: Mrs. Siitia Soliai-Lemusu, lives in the village of Nu’uuli and has been working for the Department of Health for the past ten and a half years. Her background in community health and clinical services have helped to promote awareness of various projects on island. She likes to read a good book, such as the Book of Mormon, and do research on the genealogy of her family in her spare time. Her strong religious ties also attribute to her favorite quote of “While we are free to make our own choices, we cannot choose the consequences of those choices.” She feels that actions speak louder than words and plans on utilizing this as a board member so she can “contribute and advocate the cause in any way.”
Secretary: Rev. Richard J.K. Masuno, was born in Hilo, Hawaii, but grew up in the village of Nu’uuli. Although Rev. Masunu’s elementary years were at Manulele Tausala, he eventually graduated from Kalaheo High School in Kailua, Hawaii. Rev. Masunu has over the years worked primarily in education locally and off island. Initially, he started his teaching career with ASDOE, and then eventually moved into private schools like Manumalo, Faasao Marist, and Peteli Academy. Off Island, he was a Literacy Coordinator for HIDOE and Residential Living Supervisor for the US Job Corps Center in Waimanalo, Hawaii. A minster first and foremost, Rev. Masunu is a founding member of the New Life Body of Christ Christian Fellowship in Nu’uuli and currently serves as its Presiding Elder. In addition, he is district superintendent for the South Pacific for the Body of Christ Church International. College- educated, divinely driven and intellectually focused, Rev. Masunu is dedicated to helping people make a significant change in life. Rev. Masunu is happily married to the former Lifa “Tina” Pio Amoa of Samusu, Aleipata and Satuiatua, Savaii. They have one daughter, Keona Grace F. Masunu. Residing in Nu’uuli Lepine and a proud active member of the Leapaga Family of Nu’uuli.
Treasurer: Dr. Johnny Siaumau Mapu, is the Head Administrator, Contracting Officer, and Liaison between the VA and all our Stake Holders here in American Samoa. He is also the Patient Advocate and Benefits Counselor. This is his story: My wife passed away due to Cancer in 1989 and I was left a widow with 2 daughters ages 4 and 2. We went thru all the stages of Chemo therapy, Radiation therapy, and double mastectomy. Finally the doctor’s said she had one month to live and to take her home. I resigned my Commission as a Military Officer (Captain US Army) to take care of my 2 daughters and bring my wife back home to Hawaii from California. She was diagnosed a year before she passed away. The girls are now 36 and 34 years old. I support anything to do with Cancer and know from experience and first hand, what a family goes thru when a family member is diagnosed with Cancer. I was also informed that it is hereditary and that my daughters would have to watch themselves and check themselves out. My present wife’s mother also passed away due to breast cancer as my former wife. I have a deep place in my heart and soul for cancer patients and their families. My oldest daughter (Uheina) remembers her mother and the trials she had to endure, but my youngest daughter (Moli) has no memory of her mother. We often visit her gravesite at the Laie, Hawaii cemetery. I pray daily that my daughters do not get breast cancer and thank the Lord that we were able to survive the loss of their mother, my wife. I am also grateful for my present wife who loves our daughters as if they were her own. She came into my life 7 years after the passing of my first wife and we have been married for 24 years now. I believe the ASCCC and its mission is good for the community to educate and inform the community about cancer and to put it in the forefront to advance research and funding for a cure or at least better treatment and understanding.”
Member: Dr. Robin Faumuina, MD, is a Primary Care Physician, specializing in Family Medicine. She says, “Medicine is my passion. I’m a Medical Doctor 24/7, so however way that I am able to better serve my patients and the community, I am committed. I believe in the mission of this Coalition and am willing to join the fight to make American Samoa Cancer Free.
Member: Tautasi Falanai Jr, is the President & Co-Founder of Queen Tiers and Co-Founder of Pacific Rainbow Koloa Project. Queer Tiers is a rainbow group founded to provide a safe space/environment where individuals of Queer sexual identification can express themselves without prejudice from society, religious groups or government affiliations. The goal is to create and promote awareness of queer related services available in the community either through Queer Tiers or by other NGO’s or Government (Local, Federal or Foreign) available resources. Pacific Rainbow Koloa project allows for engaging of colleagues and like minded individuals in conversation and discussion on the progression of human rights in the pacific realm especially those of LGBT identified persons. This project presents a platform in which activists could find common grounds with others in working towards expanding and creating awareness within our specific socio-cultural communities about human rights and in extension LGBTIQ+ rights and across the vast pacific region.
Member: Ms. Loata Sipili, RN, MS, CDE is a Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist. She has been the Diabetes Education Program Director at LBJ Medical Center for the last eighteen years. Ms. Sipili graduated from our local practical nursing program at ASCC in 1978, and ranked 1st in her class. Thus, she was a recipient of government scholarship for both graduate and undergraduate nursing education. While attending Los Angeles Harbor College in 1978, Ms. Sipili challenged and passed California licensure examination to become a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), and worked night shifts at the Harbor/UCLA Medical Center in Torrance. In 1982 she was accepted into the University of Hawaii Manoa associate degree nursing program and became a registered nurse (RN) in 1984, then continued on to pursue the BSN in 1986 and MSN in 1989 in Adult Health Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist track; After receiving her MSN degree, Loata worked at the Queens Medical Center on the Telemetry unit, which qualified her to sit and passed the national critical care nurse certification (CCRN) through the American Association of Critical Care Nursing (AACN), before returning home. Upon returning, Loata Sipili was appointed as ICU supervisor by Dr. Saleapaga, and a year later, the ASCC was in dire need of a masters prepared RN to head the program or students could not sit for RN board examination. In four years’ time, Loata returned to LBJ hospital to her passion of serving in the clinical area, rather than teaching, and took on a supervisory position in the Medical ward, and later house supervisor position. In 2000, hospital management recognized a great need for a diabetes educator/coordinator, and Dr. Saleapaga also recommended Loata Sipili into this post until present. In 2000, Ms. Sipili recognized the need for further knowledge in diabetes care, and thus sought membership in the American Association of Diabetes Educator (AADE) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA). She took and passed the diabetes educator certification examination (CDE)via the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educator (NCBDE) in 2004, and, again, took and passed the advanced certification in diabetes management (BC-ADM) via the American Nurses Credential Center ( ANCC/AADE) sponsorship in 2009, which then qualified her to become a certified Clinical Nurse Specialist in Diabetes management through the California Board of Registered Nursing. In the upcoming year (2020) Loata Sipili will be fully retired from the American Samoa government, and planned to return to school to pursue a family nurse practitioner (FNP/DNP) doctorate of nursing practice degree offered via UH Manoa, and/or other Mainland universities. According to Loata Sipili, “ this indicates how much I love nursing and how much I love working with patients.”
Member: Mr. Tuli Fruean, is from the village of Pago Pago and is currently the General Manager of Airport Operations for Hawaiian Airlines in American Samoa. A testament to his background in Business Management where he earned his Bachelor’s degree from the California State University of Fullerton. He spends his spare time with his family and tries to play a “lot of golf”. A famous and favorite quote of his is “you must be the change you wish to see in the world” by Ghandi – and this relates to his strength of having compassion for our people and our community, and knowing that it starts at home with a strong family foundation. As a board member he will help to provide more opportunities for a “quality of life that is beyond their circumstances and life struggles or battles.”
Member: Mrs. Rochelle Reid is one of two longest standing board members. She returns bringing her experience, guidance, and strong work ethic back to the board of directors. She has collectively worked for ASG over 8 years and was recently working in Lieutenant Governor Lemanu P. Mauga’s Office but now a full time “Mommy” of 3. During her free time, she likes to travel for family vacations and do volunteer work. Her favorite movie is Hidden Figures, that showcases the dedication and commitment of three women in the early years of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She brings the same dedication and commitment by continuing to support the ASCCC mission and the help needed to “carry out its work.”
Member: Mrs. Silia Feliciano lives in Ottoville and was a paralegal for a local law firm. In 2016, her 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with stage four Rapdomyosarcoma. A rare type of cancer that forms a tumor in the skeletal muscle cells and is diagnosed in approximately 350 children per year in the United States. She resigned from her job to take care of her daughter in San Diego who immediately began chemotherapy and radiation for a year. She gives praise to God as her daughter went from a 20% survival rate to now being in remission. She has come back to share their story and inspire others, that “cancer isn’t a lost battle, the fight goes on and one must never give up.” In her spare time, she continues to educate her daughter to make up for the lost time she had while undergoing cancer treatment, loves to read, and enjoys the quote from Benjamin Franklin “never leave for tomorrow that which you can do today.”
Mr. Va’a Tofaeono has been with the ASCCC since it officially started in 2004 and is the Special Projects Coordinator and Program Director for the INSPIRE program. For 12 years he coordinated the successful planning and implementation of the first comprehensive cancer control plan. This resulted in two exemplary awards for a Pacific Island Jurisdiction by C-Change, a national level organization created by former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Mrs. Barbara Bush. As a non-voting member of the board of directors, he manages the daily operation of the coalition and provides overall guidance to all programs of the coalition. He believes that cancer control in resource limited areas is a complex issue. Making it important to stay on task and network to achieve the mission of the coalition. It has been through long term dedication of the board of directors, members, and staff, that have made the coalition successful.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
Mrs. Luana Yoshikawa-Scanlan has been member and active volunteer since 2006. During that time, she provided short term contract work for various projects that were funded by small foundations and organizations. Currently she is the lead consultant of the Tautai Lavea’i technical assistance grant to manage the 12-year-old cancer patient stipend program and offers guidance and oversight of the INSPIRE program as Co-Principal Investigator. Thanks to her 15+ years of community work in both cancer and animal control, she has knowledge of project development, management and implementation skills. She also understands the psychological and emotional sides of the cancer experience, that give her the determination to accomplish our mission.
“The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality
Marilyn Ho Ching
Ms. Marilyn Ho Ching has been with the coalition for the past four years. The first two as a volunteer and the last two as the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Local Project Assistant. During that time, she has been instrumental in working with both the Diocese of Samoa – Pago Pago and the Congregational Christian Churches of American Samoa (CCCAS) to develop organizational policies to eliminate tobacco use on church grounds and supporting health beverages at church sponsored functions. Her experience in volunteering and collaborating has also been helpful in fundraising for the coalition, as she has lead the coordination of the “Swing into Action” annual golf tournament to raise funds for the stipend program.
“Surround yourself with people who will only lift you higher” – Oprah Winfrey
Mrs. Salote Aoelua-Fanene has been with the ASCCC since October of 2016 as the Community Liaison for the INSPIRE Program. Her roles include developing and implementing a media plan, establishing productive relationship within the community and to help coordinate activities and events. She has a strong dedication to provide compassionate service to ensure proper communication with patients and/or their families who are seeking information on cancer. This, and her ability to work in a team environment, is further evident in her establishment of a successful summer reading program to promote health literacy for youth in 2017.
“O le ala I le pule o le tautua….. The path to leadership is through service.” – Anonymous