A Santa Clara program designed to ease healthcare barriers for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities is supported by $1 million in federal funding, which county supervisors announced Friday.
The Asian/Pacific Islander Community Health Worker pilot program will work with local nonprofits and recruit healthcare workers to care for seven specific Asian communities in the county.
The funds were secured thanks to the leadership of Representative Ro Khanna of D-Calif., who included the state’s fund request in a federal spending bill approved in July 2021.
“The API communities in America have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s critical that we deliver healthcare to those who need it most,” said Khanna. “I am proud to have been involved in providing this funding that will support culturally appropriate medical care for Santa Clara County’s API communities.”
The program is based on Simitian’s 2017 health assessment and implementation plan for the API community, which identified the need for greater connectivity between clinical, behavioral health and community services for the seven subgroups.
“We are grateful for Congressman Khanna’s support in our County’s efforts to improve the health, wellness and resilience of the various communities of Santa Clara County,” County Superintendent Joe Simitian said in a statement. “I know we can do more with federal aid.”
In 2020, county supervisors launched a three-year pilot to provide the county’s AAPI community with information on COVID-19, domestic violence, and chronic illness through a culturally competent lens.
“My goal has always been to ensure that our Asian American and Pacific Islander residents have quick access to the healthcare they need in a culturally appropriate way and in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable,” said Simitian. “This is how we address the long-standing health care inequalities that these communities face and improve health outcomes for the entire community.”
Currently, the program includes 13 healthcare professionals who assist community members with health insurance, blood pressure management, mental health, and food safety, among other services.
Organized by Asian Americans for Community Engagement, the program works with various AAPI service providers to serve hundreds of residents. They’ve worked with other organizations to host vaccination events, makeshift clinics, and eyewitness response training for hate crimes.
“Ultimately, the question is not what can be done now, but what we can do now to ensure that this effort is built to deliver long-term health solutions,” said Rhonda McClinton-Brown, deputy director of Public Health for Santa Clara County. Department.