Ignacio Yoshiaki Yamasaki Bussey (Yoshi) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania passed away this week at the age of 53. He died peacefully of natural causes in his sleep early Sunday morning, March 12, 2023, at his home. He is survived by his mother Elsa Yamasaki, his older brother Yoshinori both of Mexico City and younger brother Yoshiro and sister Yoshiko both of Philadelphia.
After completing his undergraduate studies at Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana as a licensed psychologist, he arrived in Philadelphia on March 17th, Saint Patrick’s Day, 1991. In 1995 Yoshi successfully completed his two-year studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education receiving his MSEd.
Yoshi’s career spans over 35 years working on the delivery and management of HIV/AIDS services. He served as the Director of AIDS Services for Congreso de Latinos Unidos, one of the largest Latino Organizations in the Northeast USA. He has also served as Health Planner for the City of Philadelphia, coordinating planning for the delivery of HIV prevention funding for the region.
In 2005, Yoshi began his leadership work as TPAC’s National Direct AmeriCorps site with locations in over 4 states. By 2007, Yoshi launched his successful professional endeavor as Executive Director of TPAC/WHCI transforming the agency from a regional funding organization to an international NGO with sites in four continents. In this capacity, he expanded the organization’s work to engage and serve the needs of undocumented immigrants, transgender and gender diverse communities, and victims of crime. As his sister would say, what really defined Yoshi was “His passion for life and helping people in any way; his caring and loving nature.”
In addition to his work as a psychologist (specializing in social psychology) he provided education and training around cultural diversity, human sexuality, language and cultural competency, sexually transmitted infections, domestic violence, mental health and HIV/AIDS 101and was a certified Train the Trainer for prevention counseling and testing.
Yoshi received a United Nations Commendation for his work in the field of HIV/AIDS. He received an award from the Asian American Journalist Association of Philadelphia for contributions to Asian and Pacific Islander Communities. He was the Pennsylvania representative in the 33rd Informational Journal on Mental Health for the Mexican Institute of Mexicans Abroad and the Secretary of International Relations Mexico, Guadalajara, Mexico.
Yoshi was recognized for Outstanding Work in the Human Sexuality Program for the University Autonomous Metropolitan, Mexico; received the J. Reyes Heroles High School Award for Excellence in Human Sexuality Education and the Fray Bernardino Alvarez Psychiatric Hospital Award for his work in Clinical Psychology.
In 2007, Mr Yamasaki was sworn in as a naturalized American citizen, holding dual citizenship of Mexico and the Unites States.
Yoshi was an avid swimmer who loved nature, food and his Japanese gardens. Yoshi leaves behind a large international community who considered him family and who will strive to honor his legacy by carrying on his commitment to creating a more just, equitable, and loving world.
The TPAC/WHCI board created this gofundme page to support the family to cover the cost of the funeral services. All the funds are going directly to his family.