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Our nation, and more specifically our field of law, is endlessly enriched by the contributions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and AAPI legal professionals. During May, we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and take time to recognize and honor their accomplishments as well as commemorate their history and legacy.

AAPI Heritage Month was officially designated in 1992, with May as the chosen month because of its significance to the community. May 7, 1843 was the day the first Japanese immigrant arrived in America, and May 10, 1869 marked the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, which was made possible with the help of 20,000 Chinese workers. Throughout the month of May, we are dedicated to listening and learning from the AAPI community as well as taking time to reflect on its culture, heritage, and the countless barriers it has broken over the course of history. One recent broken barrier was the election of Vice President Kamala Harris, who became the first person of South Asian descent as well as the first woman and the first Black person to hold the office of Vice President of the United States.

We also acknowledge the challenges the AAPI community has endured and continues to face, particularly in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. We at the University of Houston Law Center believe it’s critical to be conscious of the fact that we still have far to go in terms of equity and progress, and we are striving to do our part to arrive there.

Afsheen Davis '06

Afsheen Davis '06

As conversations around public health continue to be top of mind, I’d like to highlight an outstanding alumna and her accomplishments in the realm of health law. Afsheen Davis, a 2006 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, currently serves as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Texas Children’s Hospital. Also holding a master’s degree in public health from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Davis has leveraged her expertise and passion into a lauded and impressive career in health law.

In addition to excelling in multiple roles with Texas Children’s Hospital, from Assistant General Counsel to Director of Compliance and Privacy, Davis has also worked with the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Some of her specialized skills include healthcare regulatory compliance, data and privacy matters, large-scale deal negotiations, and managing relationships among various parties. In 2020, Davis was recognized in the Houston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business awards as an outstanding woman in health care.

In acknowledging Davis’s impressive achievements as a health law professional, I would also like to take the opportunity to highlight several additional exemplary alumni. Please take a moment to click through the slideshow to see more AAPI alumni who have made significant strides in their respective fields and embody the highest caliber of professionalism.

As we especially celebrate the AAPI community this month, may we also continue every day to educate ourselves on the challenges it faces while on the road to a more equal society and just world. For when everybody is afforded equal opportunity, we as a nation - and world - gain strength and prosperity.

Sincerely,

Leonard M. Baynes
Dean & Professor of Law
University of Houston Law Center

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