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Member Profile: Salote Lutui

As a Pacific Islander, Mental Health Specialist Salote Lutui enjoys a good game of rugby, so she never misses her nephews’ games on the weekends.

Spending time with family is one of the ways she stays grounded outside of work, where she treats an underserved population, many of whom share her own background.

“It’s a special role to serve your community and to also serve other people of color,” Lutui said. “The struggles are the same across all people of color and there’s so much need.”

Lutui also appreciates the fact that she gets to work alongside and serve other Pacific Islanders in Alameda County.

“I love the people that I work with and the population that I serve,” she said. “We have an understanding of the culture. And it’s rare to work along other Pacific Islanders. To have them under one roof, it’s a blessing.”

Recently, Lutui decided to become an NUHW steward to help improve her workplace so that she and her colleagues can provide the best possible care.

“I thought it was important to make a better working environment for all those who come through the door,” she said.

Now she’s reading the contract booklet and familiarizing herself with all the union processes.

She likes the fact that she gets a say in something that impacts many of her co-workers: ensuring that job descriptions fit the role of mental health specialists.

“There’s so much stuff to learn, but I like to know that my feedback is being considered,” she said. “It’s great to make change and pave the way for other people to be in this type of role.”

There are many other things Lutui believes need to be upgraded at work, and she’s ready to help empower her colleagues to make positive change.

“I’m the less fortunate. I know what it means to not have a voice in those spaces,” she said. “I stand up for those who don’t have that voice. I’m that voice for them.”

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