Asian American Resource Center, Inc. DBA Austin Asian Community Health Initiative

Asian American Resource Center, Inc. DBA Austin Asian Community Health Initiative

The Austin Asian Community Health Initiative (AACHI) is committed to building a healthier future for Austin’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals and communities by providing AAPI-centered support services, education, and advocacy. AACHI’s focus on health equity was initiated in 2013 by a collaboration with Austin Public Health (APH)

Asian American Resource Center, Inc. DBA Austin Asian Community Health Initiative

The Austin Asian Community Health Initiative (AACHI) is committed to building a healthier future for Austin’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals and communities by providing AAPI-centered support services, education, and advocacy. AACHI’s focus on health equity was initiated in 2013 by a collaboration with Austin Public Health (APH) to develop an unprecedented study on the health concerns and disparities of Austin’s historically underserved AAPI community. Across ethnicities, the focus group interviews revealed poor health service utilization and health-promoting behaviors and exposed the inaccessibility of Austin’s healthcare and social services. With few local or state resources and institutions modeling strategies for improving AAPI health behaviors, we extended our research to identify successful community health outreach and engagement strategies across the United States. We used our findings and established our service model in 2016; since then, AACHI has been one of the only organizations to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate social services to marginalized AAPIs in Central Texas.

About the Organization:

The Austin Asian Community Health Initiative (AACHI) is committed to building a healthier future for Austin’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals and communities by providing AAPI-centered support services, education, and advocacy. AACHI’s focus on health equity was initiated in 2013 by a collaboration with Austin Public Health (APH) to develop an unprecedented study on the health concerns and disparities of Austin’s historically underserved AAPI community. Across ethnicities, the focus group interviews revealed poor health service utilization and health-promoting behaviors and exposed the inaccessibility of Austin’s healthcare and social services. With few local or state resources and institutions modeling strategies for improving AAPI health behaviors, we extended our research to identify successful community health outreach and engagement strategies across the United States. We used our findings and established our service model in 2016; since then, AACHI has been one of the only organizations to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate social services to marginalized AAPIs in Central Texas.

organizational budget

$500,000 - $1 MILLION

existence for

6-10 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Texas

organizational budget

$500,000 - $1 MILLION

existence for

6-10 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Texas

The Issue:

Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are the fastest-growing racial group in Austin, Texas, and have grown by 75% since 2010. AAPIs now make up more than 8% of Austin’s population. Despite this exponential growth, the city struggles to serve its diverse AAPI community. AAPIs encompass many countries, histories, faiths, and languages. Across ethnic groups, they demonstrate significant disparities in health literacy, English proficiency, transportation access, income, and other essential factors that shape health outcomes. Yet, most AAPI research assesses the community as a single group. This results in inaccurate assessments of many of the subpopulations’ quality of life and complicates the growing population's access to care. In Austin, AAPI immigrants with low incomes and limited English proficiency (LEP) experience the most significant health disparities and barriers to receiving care. Each year, the Austin Asian Community Health Initiative (AACHI) supports 400 to 450 AAPIs from the Vietnamese, Nepali, Korean, Burmese, and Arabic language communities, all of whom have LEP, are recent immigrants, and with more than 90% reporting incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Even more, individuals from the Nepali, Burmese, and Arabic language communities (including individuals from Syria and Iraq) face additional barriers as refugees. In contrast, more than half of individuals from the Korean community face added obstacles as older adults. Census data reports Austin has more than 16,500 Asian language speakers with limited English proficiency. Notably, our work with clients highlights how the lack of language access substantially diminishes their access to transportation, healthcare, and social services. Our CHWs travel up to 200 miles monthly to meet clients and provide rides to appointments. These clients can’t access a vehicle, drive, or use other transportation due to language barriers, including public transit, rideshares, taxis, and senior transportation services. While local healthcare providers–including Federally Qualified Health Centers–offer interpretation services at an appointment, the appointment must be scheduled over the phone using a phone tree with only Spanish and English options. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 testing and vaccination were inaccessible without our CHW’s assistance because registration was only available and English and Spanish.

The Solution:

The Austin Asian Community Health Initiative’s (AACHI) Community Health Navigation (CHN) Program employs certified, bilingual, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community Health Workers (CHW) to facilitate health/social service access and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery for marginalized AAPI individuals. A CHW is a frontline public health worker with a close understanding of the community served. Shared ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, and life experiences enhance trust between CHWs and community members, and this trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison between health, social services, and the community to facilitate access to and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. Our CHWs work with linguistically and culturally isolated Asian and Asian American communities to navigate and secure resources from local, state, and national support services. The CHN Program team of seven CHWs provides bilingual services for Burmese, Nepali, Vietnamese, Korean, and Arabic language communities. Navigation services include patient advocacy, interpretation & translation support, referrals to other services, eligibility & application assistance, scheduling appointments, skills training, transportation, and more. The CHN Program team also partners with the service providers to organize community-specific health education, outreach, and health fairs that raise awareness about prevalent health concerns, share resources, and provide screenings and vaccinations. AACHI’s leadership and implementation team works with local government, healthcare providers, and community organizations to enhance their ability to serve AAPIs. We engage in research and data collection to identify community health needs and inform our and our partners’ approaches to serving AAPIs. Finally, we work to ensure that the AAPI experience is represented in collaborative efforts and advocate for policies and programs that address the healthcare disparities AAPIs face.

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