AANHPI Health Equity Coalition Convenes in Sacramento

In 2022, Asian Health Services formed the Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health Equity Coalition with other lead organizations, including Asian Resources, Inc (ARI), Center for Asian Americans in Action, and Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) to create an actionable three-year statewide policy and research agenda for California focused on three key areas: data disaggregation, language access, and mental health, with participation from 50 community-based organizations, researchers, and advocates.

Key to the formation of the Collaborative was the partnership with the California Commission on AAPI Affairs (CAAPIA).  Recognizing systemic gaps across the three areas, active Task Forces in Data Disaggregation, Language and Cultural Access, and Mental Health were established to strategize and engage in policy, research, and administrative actions and advocacy to better serve the needs of the AA and NHPI communities across California. 

This year on April 15, 2024, Asian Health Services gathered the AANHPI Health Equity Coalition in Sacramento for a full day to connect, strategize, and take action at the state Capitol pushing forward the three-year statewide health equity policy and research agenda on areas of:

  • Data disaggregation 
  • Language access 
  • Mental health  

On the morning of the 15th, the coalition strategized and met with Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine), Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen, and Assemblymember Phil Ting to discuss the three agenda topics and amplify the voices of our community members.

Following the morning speakers, the coalition transitioned into breakout groups to brainstorm and discuss ways to execute the statewide three-year health equity plan and present the findings and information to legislators.

AHS brought together an AA & NHPI Health Equity Coalition planning committee to  plan and strategize on the coalition’s statewide health equity agenda in the key areas of data disaggregation, language access, and mental health. 

That afternoon, the coalition then divided into smaller groups at the Capitol to address the critical issues of the three-year health equity plan, including advocating for Senate Bill 1078 aimed at establishing an Office of Language Access at the state level. Asian Health Services also engaged patients and community members who are limited English speaking from Oakland Chinatown to join the advocacy efforts in Sacramento. These members had the opportunity to directly engage with legislators and share real-life narratives in their own language that shed light on the impact of language access barriers to services and programming at the state and local levels. These firsthand experiences highlighted the need for policies that prioritize linguistic inclusivity at the state level.

The coalition concluded the day at the April 15th California State Senate Human Services Committee Hearing about Senate Bill 1078, championed by Senator Dave Min, to create an Office of Language Access. After the coalition showed up in full force with a long line of advocates sharing “me too” support in favor of the bill, the committee then unanimously voted to push forward the bill.  
Ultimately, the collaborative efforts of the AA & NHPI Health Equity Coalition enforced the importance of prioritizing mental health, data disaggregation, and language access in health care policy. The advocacy efforts of AHS in partnership with AA & NHPI Health Equity Coalition members continue to move California towards a more inclusive and equitable health care system.

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