AHSHAY stands for Allies in Healthier Systems for Health and Abundance in Youth. We are co-located in UW’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Tubman Center for Health and Freedom. The mission of AHSHAY is to build up the fortifiers of hope and health for youth and unbuild the fortifications of youth incarceration.


Ben Danielson, MD

Main Challenge

The detention and incarceration of youth in the United States is a moral failing and public health crisis. It is harmful, ineffective, and expensive. The U.S. has confinement rates five times higher than the next closest country, South Africa. The reason isn’t differences in youth behavior—it’s the over-incarceration of youth.

Our Approach

We listen deeply. We partner intentionally. We collaborate consciously.

  • Unbuilding Harm: We nurture spaces where partners can see their role in unbuilding youth incarceration.
  • Building Hope: We are cultivating spaces for communities to name where they want to go. Our work centers and honors youth voice.
  • Joy-based Work: This work is rooted in joy. Joy that is broader than a moment and deeper than a circumstance.

Ben Danielson, MD

Department Faculty

Benjamin Danielson, MD