- State Director, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, American Samoa Community College
Tafaimamao "Tafa" Tua-Tupuola, is the State Director for American Samoa-University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and an alumna of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) various programs: Pacific Executive Leadership Program (PELP) and University and Agency Partnership Program (UAPP).
Ms. Tafa 30 years at the American Samoa Community College presented a plethora of professional opportunities in academia. Her academic involvement established the Department of Health & Human Services, developed interdisciplinary degree programs in Human Services, and course development from American Sign Language to Survey of Substance Abuse. Ms. Tafa has a broad vision of how transdisciplinary courses would dissolve boundaries and contribute to a meaningful and holistic learning experience.
Serving a collective nine years in Faculty Senate, seven years as Senate President groomed her in navigating policy and governance. The skill guided many conversations with leaders at the federal, territory, and community policymakers on the value of existing and new programs in American Samoa and Pacific Territories for the disability and aging community. Professional presentations such as "Disability and Disaster: Where do we belong in the response framework" and "Disaster and Legal Aid – Disability Rights" provided a U.S. Territory perspective.
Her field experience includes representing the disability community in the 2009 Tsunami Disaster response and recovery. This inclusive representation created accessible housing designs for the permanent housing construction program in this disaster. In 2018, the impact of Cyclone Gita coupled with pre-disaster shipping delay brought food insecurity to the forefront and the impact it may have on Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) approved food on-island.
She served on FEMA Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) subcommittee for two years at the Federal Level. The IPAWS Subcommittee final report reflected the Pacific Territories' inclusive reality on recommendations to improve public alert warning systems for all. She was also a member of the Federal Communications Commission – Disability Advisory Council for four years and provided a U.S. Territory perspective of access to communication and emergency information.