HomeAsian AmericansSanta Clara AAPI health program receives $1.6 million in funding

Santa Clara AAPI health program receives $1.6 million in funding

A Santa Clara program designed to improve health outcomes in Asian American communities received $1.6 million in federal and county backing. 

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved the allocation of these funds to the Asian/Pacific Islander Community Health Worker (CHW) pilot program, led by nonprofit Asian Americans for Community Involvement.

The program hires community health workers trained to deliver services on health-related topics to API communities like culturally specific violence prevention and mental health first aid, according to a press release from Supervisor Joe Simitian. 

The workers also partner with local nonprofits to deliver services such as health screenings and basic motivational counseling, along with educational events.

“My goal has always been to make sure that our Asian American and Pacific Islander residents can quickly access the healthcare they need in a way that’s culturally appropriate, and in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable,” Simitian said in the release. “That’s how we address the long-standing healthcare disparities facing these communities — and improve health outcomes for the entire community.”

The CHW program leads the efforts of the County’s 2017 Asian/Pacific Islander (API) Health Assessment and Implementation Plan, created to increase accessibility to care and provide linkages between health and community services for seven API subgroups, including South Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

Congressman Ro Khanna initially secured $1 million in funding in July 2021 in a federal spending bill passed by the House of Representatives. 

“API communities across America have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s essential that we deliver care to those who need it most,” Khanna said in the release. 

Asians alone comprise 40.6% of Santa Clara County’s population as the largest minority group in the county, according to the U.S. Census. Deputy director of the county’s public health department Rhonda McClinton-Brown also cites improving health outcomes for the county’s largest demographic. 

“We anticipate that its [the program’s] second year will boost community outreach and expand services to tackle everything from food insecurity to healthcare insurance navigation,” McClinton-Brown said in the release. “Ultimately, it’s not just about what can be done now, but doing what we can now to ensure this effort is built to last and offers long-term health solutions.”

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