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AuSM hires multicultural outreach coordinator to lead DHS grant program

AshwakHassan2019WEBAuSM is pleased to announce the hiring of Ashwak Hassan, MA, LMFT, in the new role of Multicultural Outreach Coordinator. Hassan will lead a project that brings together AuSM, the Somali American Parent Network (SAPA), and the Multicultural Autism Action Network (MAAN) to support the metro area’s multicultural population affected by autism and similar disabilities. The project is fueled by a two-year Minnesota Department of Human Services Innovations Grant.

With a history of more than a decade of work in intervention services in centers across the Twin Cities, Hassan feels this project is the perfect fit for her focus on research and understanding the needs of multicultural communities.

“We need to simplify how families affected by autism access services,” Hassan said. “This is a complex system; if we can help with navigation, we also will help build community and supports.”

Together, AuSM, SAPA, and MAAN will plan outreach to multicultural families to engage them in education about navigation of quality, culturally appropriate services and supports, and several opportunities for facilitated participation in community opportunities for inclusive programming.

Hassan also speaks three languages, Somali, German, and English; has a counseling psychology degree; and is a third-year doctoral student studying education leadership at the St. Mary’s University Twin Cities Campus.

“I have an ingrained curiosity and interest in what the community is lacking and a drive to learn how to deconstruct barriers. I want to connect with communities and other organizations to provide better resources – create awareness, eliminate barriers, and facilitate inclusion.”

Throughout the next two years, grant partners will be working together to increase community participation and engagement. Several events will offer information on home- and community-based services, including employment, education and housing. Sensory- and disability-friendly community cultural events also are being coordinated.

For more information about these multicultural initiatives, visit