Utah Pride Center leaders chose to extend a one-year contract to Steven Ha, who was named the interim director earlier this year.
“This feels like a homecoming to me,” said Steven Ha, “and I am dedicated to collaborating with stakeholders, professionals, and the LGBTQ community to shape a stronger and healthier Utah.”
Ha, who will leave his position as treasurer of the Utah Pride Center board of directors, accepted the position at the board meeting held Monday night.
Ha helped launch the Utah Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce and served as its first vice chair. He also was Director of Family Services at the Asian Association of Utah and serves on the governor’s Utah Office of Multicultural Affairs Commission.
Ha was asked by the family of David Phan, the 14-year-old who committed suicide at Bennion Jr. high in Taylorsville in December of 2012, to introduce them to gay community leaders in the hope of assembling a group to address issues faced by gay-ethnic youth.
Shortly after, Ha was asked to join the Center’s board of directors and was elected in 2013 and elected treasurer of the organization in December, 2013.
“While Steven has been acting as interim executive director these past three months, we have seen his strong leadership skills. We are very happy with the direction Steven has taken and the plans he is putting in place to make the Pride Center stronger while serving the diverse needs of the LGBTQ community,” said UPC Board Chair John Netto, “We are looking forward to the vision, work ethic, and experience he brings to the Center.”
With a background in social work, Ha believes the Center should focus more on the mental health well-being of the community. He proposed a Wellness Behavior Health Clinic at the Monday board meeting, for which he has already asked $80,000 in start-up funds from the Bastian Foundation.
The clinic will hire therapists to help community members in four areas: general psychological services, therapeutic specialized services, substance abuse and recovery and a 24-hour hotline for referrals.
Ha has gotten the Center recognized by the National Plan & Provider Enumeration System and, therefore, they can receive Medicare and Medicaid payments as well as individual insurance and HHS FLEX payments.
Community members can also receive treatment on a sliding scale fee, similar to that used by Salt Lake County.
Ha hopes to have an open house for the clinic in 45 days.