Mary Hayashi is an award-winning author whose book, Far from Home: Shattering the Myth of the Model Minority, documents her journey from her childhood in Korea to becoming a nationally recognized healthcare leader, mental health advocate, and member of the California state legislature. As a member of California State Assembly, she championed numerous meaningful reforms to expand access to healthcare, delivered more than $1 billion for public schools, and established unprecedented partnerships in support of social causes that previously had no financial or public backing.
Hayashi serves as a public affairs strategist and community relations consultant for healthcare associations, philanthropic organizations and corporations. Currently, she is the project director for the Women’s Sports Safety Initiative, a nationwide effort dedicated to advancing the lives of women and girls by raising awareness of sports-related injuries and the unique factors affecting women’s susceptibility to and recovery from injury.
In the California state legislature, she authored various bills that focused on health and education. Among her bills that have been signed into law was AB 25, a concussion safety bill that placed California alongside Washington as the states with the toughest return-to-play laws for student athletes, and AB 1451, which adds concussion training to the first-aid certification required of every high school coach. Hayashi also authored AB509, which served as the catalyst for establishing California’s first Office of Suicide Prevention, and AB73, which created funding for domestic violence prevention, intervention, and prosecution efforts for the Family Justice Center of Alameda County.
Before her legislative service, Mary Hayashi served as the Alameda County coordinator in the winning campaign to pass Proposition 63, which provides increased funding for prevention and treatment services in county and statewide mental health programs. In addition, she served as a commissioner on the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission and is also a member of the Executive Committee for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
Hayashi was named Legislator of the Year by the American Red Cross and the California Medical Association. She also received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club and the California Dental Association, and has been honored by diverse organizations for her work on behalf of women’s health, from Redbook Magazine and Ladies’ Home Journal, to Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and the American Red Cross.