Academy of Medical & Public Health Services (AMPHS)

Academy of Medical & Public Health Services (AMPHS)

Academy of Medical & Public Health Services (AMPHS) is a health service non-profit with a triple aim to identify barriers to health and wellness in underserved immigrant communities; coordinate primary care with social assistance; and deliver care with dignity and empathy to marginalized New Yorkers. Through its community public health

Academy of Medical & Public Health Services (AMPHS)

Academy of Medical & Public Health Services (AMPHS) is a health service non-profit with a triple aim to identify barriers to health and wellness in underserved immigrant communities; coordinate primary care with social assistance; and deliver care with dignity and empathy to marginalized New Yorkers. Through its community public health interventions, AMPHS empowers individuals and communities to create their own health and wellness paradigms. Founders Hewett Chiu and Mon Yuck Yu started AMPHS in 2010 as a volunteer-run organization in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, where immigrants have historically faced disenfranchisement and poor health outcomes. Both founders had lost a parent to cancer and believed those outcomes may have been different if their families had received more linguistically and culturally accessible healthcare. Our programming includes culturally- and linguistically-appropriate preventative health screenings; mental health counseling and case management services; health literacy and immigrant rights education; adult English literacy classes; a food pantry; and safety programming, all provided at no cost and blind to documentation status, income and insurance. The Chinese community makes up 35 percent of the neighborhood and 55 percent of the community members AMPHS serves. Over the past three years, we have focused on combating anti-Asian hate, which skyrocketed in NYC during the pandemic and continues to inflict trauma and anxiety on our Chinese community. Our mental health counseling, safety trainings, and other community-building workshops and events in Mandarin and Cantonese have helped Chinese individuals feel empowered to protect themselves against threats and proceed on a path to heal from violence.

About the Organization:

Academy of Medical & Public Health Services (AMPHS) is a health service non-profit with a triple aim to identify barriers to health and wellness in underserved immigrant communities; coordinate primary care with social assistance; and deliver care with dignity and empathy to marginalized New Yorkers. Through its community public health interventions, AMPHS empowers individuals and communities to create their own health and wellness paradigms. Founders Hewett Chiu and Mon Yuck Yu started AMPHS in 2010 as a volunteer-run organization in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, where immigrants have historically faced disenfranchisement and poor health outcomes. Both founders had lost a parent to cancer and believed those outcomes may have been different if their families had received more linguistically and culturally accessible healthcare. Our programming includes culturally- and linguistically-appropriate preventative health screenings; mental health counseling and case management services; health literacy and immigrant rights education; adult English literacy classes; a food pantry; and safety programming, all provided at no cost and blind to documentation status, income and insurance. The Chinese community makes up 35 percent of the neighborhood and 55 percent of the community members AMPHS serves. Over the past three years, we have focused on combating anti-Asian hate, which skyrocketed in NYC during the pandemic and continues to inflict trauma and anxiety on our Chinese community. Our mental health counseling, safety trainings, and other community-building workshops and events in Mandarin and Cantonese have helped Chinese individuals feel empowered to protect themselves against threats and proceed on a path to heal from violence.

organizational budget

$1 MILLION - $2 MILLION

existence for

11-15 YEARS

The Issue:

Chinese immigrants in NYC face a host of challenges that exacerbate each other and collectively worsen community members’ physical and mental health. Immigration status and low English proficiency prevent our community members from accessing healthcare, social services, and job opportunities. With one in four Asian New Yorkers living in poverty, Chinese low-income families lack access to healthy, culturally-appropriate food. Anti-Asian hate crimes have inflicted traumas on Chinese community members and created an additional barrier to services and employment. And the COVID-19 pandemic significantly amplified each of these issues. As vibrant and resilient as our Chinese community is, many families are struggling to get by. These challenges show up clearly in the data. Forty-seven percent of Sunset Park’s 130,000 residents remain uninsured and lack English proficiency, and 29 percent live in poverty. Risks of chronic, infectious, and behavioral health issues are high: 11 percent of residents have diabetes, 24 percent obesity, and 27 percent hypertension. COVID-19 hit Sunset Park disproportionately hard early in the pandemic, with some of the highest positivity rates but lowest testing and vaccine rates in the city, especially among AAPI communities. In addition, Sunset Park had the highest rate of reported anti-Asian hate crimes among all NYC neighborhoods in 2021. These factors have taken a toll on the physical and mental health of our Chinese community members. For instance, rates of suicidal ideation among Asian-Americans increased 10 percent between 2019 and 2021. And according to the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS), Asian Americans have a 17.30 percent overall lifetime rate of any psychiatric disorder, yet are three times less likely to seek mental health services than whites. In the wake of both hate crimes and violent attacks like the April 12, 2022 subway shooting in Brooklyn that left over 23 injured, Chinese residents feel anxious sending their children to school and leaving their homes to buy groceries or visit the doctor. It is more important than ever to provide linguistically- and culturally-appropriate health literacy materials and wraparound services for these community members to ensure no one falls through the cracks.

The Solution:

AMPHS dismantles the institutional barriers contributing to healthcare inequities by offering free, accessible, and community-led services. Through our Community Health Project, we engage and train individuals from the neighborhood as Community Health Workers and volunteers, who perform health education outreach and provide translations in Mandarin. We offer no-cost health services—including screenings, vaccinations, and consultations—and social services to 500 Chinese individuals annually. We also provide one of Brooklyn’s few free bilingual mental health counseling and peer support group programs, with a capacity to serve 75 uninsured Chinese community members in Mandarin, Cantonese, Fujianese and Taishanese annually. By providing a safe space to share experiences, we address the traumas that discriminatory social practices, the model minority myth,and anti-Asian hate crimes have imposed on our Chinese community members, guiding them on a path to healing. To help community members access healthy food, AMPHS offers a culturally-tailored biweekly food pantry and nutrition education program that serves 600 people monthly, the majority of whom are Chinese seniors and families. During these events, community members also receive information on health and social services, including our health screenings program, through which we help individuals manage diet-related chronic conditions. Furthermore, our Adult Literacy Program, offering Beginner to Advanced level classes, empowers students through both English learning and a social justice curriculum that explores their rights. Educational case managers help students realize their full potential by connecting them to jobs, advocacy and volunteering opportunities. Students have taken the stage at rallies calling for universal healthcare and adult literacy funding, and created videos addressing violence and solidarity. We also provide digital literacy classes to combat inequities in digital access, especially among Chinese seniors. Finally, AMPHS’ safety programming helps Chinese community members feel more empowered and able to protect themselves and others in the event of a violent attack. Through partnerships with senior centers and other community-based organizations, we host monthly safety trainings, which teach self-defense, bystander intervention, and first aid techniques in Mandarin and English. Participants receive personal safety devices such as alarms and multilingual safety booklets at the end of each training.

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