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Cliff Akiyama, MA, MPH

Cliff Akiyama is an Assistant Professor of Forensic Medicine and the Assistant Director of the Forensic Medicine Program in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, Immunology, and Forensic Medicine. He is also a Certified Gang Specialist by the Virginia Gang Investigators Association and a Certified Gang Professional by the East Coast Gang Investigators Association. Mr. Akiyama received his BA in Philosophy from the University of Virginia, his MA in Criminology and his MPH from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to coming to the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Mr. Akiyama was a full time Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing in the Division of Family and Community Health where he taught Victimology, Forensic Mental Health, and Forensic Science for four years. Mr. Akiyama was also a Deputy Sheriff in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in California. He has over 14 years of first-hand experience working with youth gangs as a researcher, academician, and law enforcement officer. Aside from teaching and consulting, Mr. Akiyama instructs law enforcement, direct service providers, and emergency medical personnel nationwide on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of gang activity. His main area of research is investigating youth gang violence and hate crimes from a multidisciplinary approach.

Mr. Akiyama, who is an Eagle Scout, has been recognized nationally and was awarded with the following honors: the American Public Health Association's 1997 Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award in Public Health, the 1996 D. Ralph Millard Plastic Surgery Society Education Foundation Scholarship Award for his work in gang related tattoo removals, and the United States Gold Congressional Award in 1996 for his outstanding leadership and achievement in volunteer community service. Just recently, Pennsylvania State Representative James R. Roebuck, Jr. honored Mr. Akiyama by presenting him with a Legislative Citation for his work on advocating and preventing youth violence, while fostering youth volunteerism in the City of Philadelphia.

Mr. Akiyama is also very active in the community as he serves on the Board of Directors and is a Certified Sexual Assault Counselor for Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR), a Philadelphia rape crisis center. Mr. Akiyama is also the Philadelphia Chapter President of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation's largest and oldest Asian American civil rights organization. Mr. Akiyama was recently appointed by Mayor Michael A. Nutter of the City of Philadelphia to serve as one of 25 Commissioners on the Mayor's Commission on Asian American Affairs. Nationally, he has been appointed by the US House of Representatives Republican Leader John A. Boehner to serve on the Board of Directors of the Congressional Award Foundation in Washington, DC, where he currently serves as Vice President of the Gold Congressional Award Alumni Association.


Click here for a full list of publications

Akiyama, C: Bridging the Gap between Two Cultures: An Analysis on Identity Attitudes and Attachment of Asian Americans. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention 2008, Volume 8 Number 3 (pp. 251-263)
Akiyama, C: When You Look Like the Enemy. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention 2008, Volume 8 Number 2 (pp. 209-213)
Akiyama, C and Kawasaki, R: Southeast Asian Youth Gangs: A Rising Epidemic. Mind and Human Interaction. 1999, Volume 10 Number 4 (pp. 247-255)
Keynote and Distinguished Lectureships
April 16, 2008 Seminar Series on Diversity and Cultural Affairs, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the Office of the University Provost, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.LECTURE: When You Look Like the Enemy
October 29, 2007 Trauma Topics 2007: Challenges and Controversies Conference, Cooper University Hospital, Division of Patient Care Services, Camden, New Jersey.KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Towards a Better Understanding of Youth Street Gangs: Keeping Safe in the Hospital
Conference Presentations
August 14, 2008 American Psychological Association (APA) 116th Annual Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts. Paper: Youth Gangs: What We Know and How We Can Intervene
July 25, 2008 International Association of Forensic Sciences (IAFS) 18th Triennial Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana. Paper: Towards a Better Understanding of Asian Youth Gangs: A Rising Epidemic Confronting Our Communities
February 21, 2008 American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) 60th Annual Meeting, Washington, DC. Paper: Towards a Better Understanding of Latino Youth Gang Violence: A Growing Domestic Terrorism Problem for Medical Examiners/Coroners
November 05, 2007 American Public Health Association (APHA) 135th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. Paper: Breaking the Code of the Streets: A Closer Look at Asian Street Gangs
April 12, 2007 Nurse-Family Partnership of Pennsylvania 4th Annual Conference, State College, Pennsylvania. Paper/Workshop: Understanding Youth Gangs in Our Community: The First Step in Keeping Safe
Book Reviews
Akiyama, C: A book review for Gangs, Graffiti, and Violence: A Realistic Guide to the Scope and Nature of Gangs in America by Duane A. Leet, George E. Rush, and Anthony M. Smith. Criminal Justice Review, 2003, Volume 28 Number 1 (pp. 173-175).
Akiyama, C: A book review for Understanding Youth Crime: An Australian Study by John S. Western, Mark Lynch, and Emma Ogilvie. International Criminal Justice Review, 2006, Volume 16 Number 1 (pp. 57-58).
Akiyama, C: A book review for Civil Gang Abatement: The Effectiveness and Implications of Policing by Injunction by Edward L. Allen. Criminal Justice Review, 2007, Volume 32 Number 1 (pp. 65-67).
Akiyama, C: A book review for The Truce: Lessons from an L.A. Gang War by Karen Umemoto. Criminal Justice Review, 2009, Volume 34 Number 2 (pp. 296-298).
Last Updated: 1/20/15