Dear Friends,

I am writing to give you today’s update from Asian Health Services (AHS), the community health center and safety net for 50,000 AAPI patients in 14 Asian languages, throughout Alameda County. I want to share with you our front line experiences and perspectives, from the patients, our health care workers, and our broader community.

In these past weeks we’ve seen both great resilience and great need. Our community is faced with challenges of COVID-19 that are hitting everyone on the national level, with a focus on the need for tests, an emphasis on safety protective gear to prevent transmission (PPEs or Personal Protective Equipment), and addressing the anxiety and isolation caused by the pandemic and Shelter in Place. Our AAPI community is in a particular nexus of vulnerability as we are disproportionately affected by language barriers and escalating anti-Asian racism. Stories of courage, and also stark examples of vulnerable patients needing care and support. Our teams are working day and night to address clinical needs, and also the critical emotional and social services needs that are increasing by the day.

Just this week, we have seen a woman who attempted suicide, triggered by being kicked off insurance, financial pressure, and family discord. A parent with respiratory symptoms, walking in carrying two small children, and without the means to self-isolate at home from her other family members. Our teen program is getting desperate pleas from youth afraid of going hungry, out of school and without any stable hot meals. A young man just diagnosed with HIV, is petrified to go out for supplies, given his compromised immune system. We have no choice. AHS is here, providing health care, comfort, education, information, reassurance, problem solving, and advocacy, all in 14 Asian languages. 

Two weeks ago, AHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. George Lee and his team of providers began going at warp speed to forge the AHS Telephone Visit Project. Harnessing their expertise and sheer will, within days, our clinics began transforming daily in person visits to virtual phone care. Telephone Visits are a lifesaving measure that enables us to triage and treat in language and culture, while protecting our patients and healthcare workers from transmission. While the majority of visits can be conducted through the phone, we continue to be here to treat those patients who need in-person care.

The ask is clear:

— Community Care Fund. Urgently needed for AHS patients and community members who are impacted by the economic consequences of COVID-19.
$200 to provide emergency and hardship support for an elder or family

— COVID-19 Protection Fund. Urgently needed now to protect our front line health care workers. This will provide funds for masks, face shields, goggles, gowns.
$375 to equip one provider with PPE for three weeks (personal protective equipment).

— Outreach and Televisit Lifeline. Urgently needed now to optimize our transformation to Telehealth and provide Smart phones, tablets, IT infrastructure, IT support.
$750 to equip one provider with IT devices.
$7500 for one mobile telehealth station that can support two exam rooms.

— Advocacy Fund. Urgently needed to ensure AAPIs are empowered to assert their right to health care and speak out against Public Charge.
$100 to mobilize and elevate our patient and community voices against Public Charge and rising anti-Asian racism and attacks.

As always, Asian Health Services upholds our dual mission of service and advocacy. We are working daily with our partners and colleagues in government, philanthropy, in the private and policy sectors to leverage all our collective strategies and power in service to the most vulnerable. We cannot do any of it without you. Asian Health Services is here on the front lines because of you.

Please stay in touch. Please donate.

On behalf of our AHS Team and Patients,
In gratitude,



Sherry Hirota,
Chief Executive Officer

Dear Community,

The past few days, there have been a number of key developments and orders issued nationally and locally, to slow down the spread of the virus. Beginning after midnight, March 16, Alameda County, and five other Bay Area counties are implementing a Shelter in Place order to ban all non-essential gatherings and non-essential travel. The order asks all residents to stay home except to meet essential needs. They can go to work and go outside for activities including exercise, but they should maintain six feet of distance from other people. Services such as health care, banking, gas stations, child care, public transit will still be operating.

Asian Health Services is an essential service and open for care for our patients.

The Shelter in Place order exempts health care workers providing care and those going to health care visits. As a healthcare providerAHS is an essential service which means that AHS remains open and providing care to our community. While we do have modified schedules, and we are moving toward more phone visits and care, our message to you, our community, is “AHS is here and at your service.”

In order to protect all our patients, staff, and our community from possible exposure to COVID-19, please note: we are advising all patients, if they or a family member have a cough, cold, or flu symptoms; or been exposed to any ill contacts, to please call their clinic site of care, to speak to a Triage Nurse first, instead of coming in to the clinic.

In gratitude,

Sherry Hirota, Chief Executive Officer
Dr. George Lee, Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Thu Quach, Chief Deputy of Administration
Julia Liou, Chief Deputy of Administration
Dong Suh, Chief Deputy of Administration
Dr. Huong Le, Chief Dental Officer
Kao Saechao, Specialty Mental Health Division Director


Please Click Below for Translations of the 3/16/2020 Coronavirus: CEO Update

To AHS patients:

We currently have a very limited supply of COVID-19 test kits. We do not take walk-ins for testing. If you have no symptoms of fever or cough, there is no reason to test.

In order to better serve you and limit the transmission of COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus), we ask that:

  1. If you have a non-urgent appointment, please call to reschedule your appointment.
  2. If you are worried about if you might have been exposed to COVID-19 but you have no symptoms, you do not need to come in, but you may call us.
  3. If you are experiencing mild symptoms, and you suspect you might have COVID-19, you do not need to come in, but you may call us.
  4. When you do call us, we will take care of your needs on the phone. We will provide you with a Triage Nurse who will assess your situation and direct you to the best and most appropriate care, at the right time.
  5. After your phone conversation with a Triage Nurse, you may be i) directed to stay home; or ii) given instructions to come into the AHS clinic and you will be given an appointment; or iii) directed to go to your Emergency Department.
  6. If you are directed to stay home, we will give you advice and direction for the best ways to keep you and your family healthy and safe at home.
  7. In the coming days and weeks we will be increasing our use of phone and video patient interactions.

To Our Community:

The COVID-19 virus is presenting us with one of the greatest public health challenges in our time. The lack of access to accurate, timely testing; the lack of reliable information at all levels; and the fact that our health care system is not designed to respond to this type of outbreak have led us to where we are today.

As a nation, we now shift our approach from stopping the outbreak to one of limiting damage with community mitigation strategies. Because the virus can easily spread in dense places, public health measures are taken to increase the space between people to slow the spread of the virus. This is called “social distancing,” and generally means avoiding crowds.  It can include cancelling large group gatherings, like church and weddings. Other important things to do are to wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, stay home when you are sick, and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.  By taking these simple steps, we can actually make a major difference in how fast and wide this virus spreads to others, including our family members and community.

If you have concerns, please email us at Please note that we are unable to reply to all emails but we will review your messages as we continue to serve and advocate on behalf of our community. Let’s continue to work together to keep our community safe and healthy.

In gratitude,

Sherry Hirota, Chief Executive Officer
Dr. George Lee, Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Thu Quach, Chief Deputy of Administration
Julia Liou, Chief Deputy of Administration
Dong Suh, Chief Deputy of Administration
Dr. Huong Le, Chief Dental Officer
Kao Saechao, Specialty Mental Health Division Director


Please Click Below for Translations of the 3/15/2020 Coronavirus: CEO Update