The Austin Asian Community Health Initiative exists to partner with the local Asian community in Austin to enhance public health and well-being. We fulfill our mission through language-specific education, advocacy, and healthcare navigation services.
The Austin Asian Community Health Initiative (AACHI) was originally established by the Network of Asian American Organizations (NAAO) as the Asian American Resource Center (AARC) Nonprofit in 2006 to support the creation of a facility that could provide spaces, services, resources, and programs through an Asian American Pacific Islander perspective. After years of fundraising and awareness-raising, the AARC opened as a City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department facility in 2013.
Amidst the success of the AARC emerged a new need in the Asian and Asian American community–a gap in services for health. Soon after the facility opened in 2013, the AARC Nonprofit collaborated with Austin Public Health (APH) to develop an unprecedented study on the health of Austin’s historically underserved Asian American community. The study revealed poor health service utilization and health promoting behaviors across our community’s subethnic groups. With few local or state resources or institutions modeling effective strategies for improving Asian American health behaviors, our team conducted a qualitative study of organizations across the United States to identify Asian American community health outreach and engagement strategies best practices. In 2016, APH provided $50k to pilot the model that emerged from AARC Nonprofit’s research–the Community Health Navigation (CHN) Program.
The pilot targeted three communities identified as high need–the Burmese, Korean, and Vietnamese communities. In just six months, the program’s three part-time (20 hours/week), bi-lingual community health workers served over 60 Travis County residents and their families. In 2018, after two years of the CHN Program’s success and expansion, the AARC Nonprofit changed its name and mission to reflect our growing focus on health equity. Today, the Austin Asian Community Health Initiative’s (AACHI) mission is to improve the health and well-being of Asian and Asian Americans in Central Texas through education, advocacy, and support.