IMMIGRANT HEALTH: Alameda County Programs Receive Grant
Asian Health Services and La Clinica de la Raza announced last week that they were among the recipients of a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to improve access to health care services for unserved populations. The grant is part of the Kellogg Foundation's $55 million Community Voices initiative, which is helping to fund 13 local learning laboratories to help improve health care quality and access across the nation. Asian Health Services and La Clinica de la Raza, which both operate community health clinics in Alameda County, will jointly work with the Community Health Network to bring the Community Voices project to the immigrant populations throughout the county. It is the first pilot program of its kind addressing the health care needs of a working poor immigrant population.
Tackling The Problem
Sherry Hirota, executive director of Asian Health Services, said the grant will help her clinic "develop a viable, accessible and safe program that promotes the use of preventive health care." She added, "The project will also serve as a learning laboratory to help understand why the highest percentage of the uninsured in California are Latino and Asian, and more importantly, what combination of policy, market and educational factors would have the most impact on this problem." According the University of California-Los Angeles School of Public Health, there are an estimated 118,000 uninsured Asian and Latino immigrants in Alameda County and nearly 3.9 million statewide. "We have a critical situation in California with the highest rate of uninsured in the entire country at 23%. As more and more people get shut out of the health care delivery system, Community Voices hopes to reverse this trend by expanding eligibility to existing health coverage programs and by developing alternative low-cost health coverage models," Hirota said. La Clinica Executive Director Jane Garcia said, "Too many Californians have a negative stereotype of immigrants. To improve health care to underserved Asians and Latinos, we need to correct the stereotype and paint the true picture of immigrants -- hardworking, tax paying, patriotic people who have a right to health care." Asian Health Services and La Clinica's community clinics serve about 30,000 patients each year, and have been providing linguistically accessible, culturally competent primary care and other health services to the immigrant populations for 25 years (AHS/LC Community Voices release, 8/12). Click immigrant health to read past CHL coverage of the issue.