Viisha P. Souza is a 2020 Master of Divinity graduate from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She is a proud Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) and focuses on the mental health of her community. She has spent most of her career in the mental health field and has worked at an inpatient psychiatric unit for over 15 years where she is a member on the Diversity and Inclusion team. Her natural leadership abilities were exhibited while she was the 2018-2019 Student Body President at LPTS, where she continued to be vocal about racial equality. Currently she is on the Anti-Racism Task Force for LPTS as an alumni. In her extracurricular time she is dedicated to working on social and racial justice issues. She serves as a member of the first cohort of the Vanderbilt Divinity School's Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative Summer Institute. Her heart's work is for the Kanaka Maoli community, as they are often left out of discussions or assimilated into other groups without regard. She is an advocate of inclusion of Oceanic populations by requesting that dominant racial identities invite this community for representation in various fields. She has led various lectures and teachings on the plight of Kanaka Maoli, more namely the fight for Mauna Kea. She is a Mauna Medic Hui Healer who assesses the mental health of individuals and the community on the Mauna. Her ongoing research is in Cultural Historical Trauma of Kanaka Maoli Women and those who identify as Women. Viisha plans to pursue a PhD where she can examine both race and psychology together.
Inpatient Addiction Medicine Unit Coordinator; Community Activist, University of Louisville Peace Hospital