Mary Hayashi is a former California state legislator recognized as a national leader who has championed numerous public health issues, including concussion safety, particularly for youth athletes. Hayashi authored a 2011 law, co-sponsored by the National Football League, making California one of the leaders in a nationwide movement to establish life-saving return-to-play laws in youth sports. She was also instrumental in passing a state law which adds concussion training to the first-aid certification required of every high school coach.
An award-winning author and widely known public health advocate, Mary Hayashi is continuing her work by serving as the project director of the Women’s Sports Safety Initiative, a project sponsored by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to advance the lives of women and girls by raising awareness of sports-related injuries and the unique factors affecting women’s susceptibility to and recovery from injury. Through advocacy and education, the Initiative’s goal is to address the lack of research currently available on gender differences among sports-related concussions.
Hayashi has also advised the nation’s top policy leaders, and established unprecedented partnerships in support of social causes that previously had no financial or public backing. She served as the Alameda County Coordinator in the winning campaign to pass Proposition 63, which provides increased funding for prevention and treatment services in county and statewide mental health programs. She is also a member of the Executive Committee for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, a public-private partnership that helps guide the implementation of the goals and objectives of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
Previously, Hayashi was the California director of the American Public Health Association, and served as a consultant for the Foundation Consortium for California's Children and Youth on their child welfare services redesign project. She advised former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher on his national campaign to eliminate health disparities.