Local Government

Asian American and Pacific Islander of Distinction 2023

From business leaders and educators to healthcare professionals and community service providers, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Southern California is as remarkable and impactful as it is diverse. We are fortunate to have such dedicated and talented friends and neighbors in our area.

To celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, Michelle Steele recognized 16 individuals for their contributions to our community. Three distinguished Fullerton residents were recipients of the award. They are as follows: Ellen Ahn, Dr. Sueling Chen, and Dr. Woo K. Lee.

Ms. Ahn has served as the executive director of Korean Community Services (KCS), which provides client centered, culturally inclusive, expert care to underserved communities through healthcare, social services, and community programs, since 1998. Under her leadership, KCS has annual revenues of $12 million and recently partnered with Mercy House in Buena Park to provide medical care for more than 300 unhoused people in Orange County. Ms. Ahn is involved with numerous local non-profits that help strengthen our community.



Dr. Chen is an entrepreneur with a passion for educating young minds. After arriving from Taiwan in 1981, with two suitcases, she started a small school with an enrollment of 7 children in Fullerton. Arborland Montessori Children’s Academy flourished and 35 years later, it has grown to two campuses with a large enrollment of students ranging in age from infants to 8th grade. Dr. Chen serves on the Boards of Trustees for St. Jude Medical Center and the Fullerton Public Library, as well as the North Orange County Community College District Citizens’ Oversight Committee.



Dr. Lee is the owner of Doctor Acupuncture in Korean Medicine, Fullerton. He previously served as the medical director of Jaseng Center for Integrative Medicine. He has delivered clinical lectures at universities nationwide and is a contributing writer to the Korea Times, Korea, Daily, and Acupuncture Times. Dr. Lee belongs to numerous community organizations and has served as a volunteer for the Lestonna Free Clinic in Compton for more than a decade.