Houston, Texas is the nation’s fourth most populous city with a population over 2 million, or 5.5 million when including the surrounding cities and counties that make up the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA (Census 2012). Although Houston is known for the Texas Medical Center, which includes 13 renowned hospitals and various academic and healthcare-providing entities, these resources are
generally less available to underserved populations, especially those without insurance. In Harris County 1.4 million people or more than 30 percent of the population are without health insurance, among the highest rate in the nation. According to an Asian American Health Needs Assessment (AsANA) conducted in 2005, approximately 20 percent of the local Chinese population and 30 percent of the Vietnamese lack health insurance. Publicly funded services (Medicaid and CHIP) are not easy to acquire and presents multiple hurdles.
With the mission to reduce health disparities of vulnerable Asian Americans (AAs) in Houston in a coordinated way by strengthening the capacity of local AA community-based organizations (CBOs) and by capitalizing on local assets, the Asian American Health Coalition (AAHC) of Greater Houston and community partners established the Houston Asian American Health Collaborative (HAAHC) as a project committee of the Health Coalition, with the following objectives:
* Build its capacity to empower member organizations and the local AA community to
proactively address health disparities and positively impact policy and systems change
* Reduce health disparities related to cancer and other chronic diseases prevalent among
Houston’s AA population
* Affect policy and systems change locally and at a broader level
By establishing the collaborative focusing on Health Through Action (HTA) community impact, more resources could be leveraged because more specific goals could be achieved. The collaborative was a grassroots initiative, reaching out to the local community to reduce health disparities. Because of its local presence, more local CBOs were more likely to join and participate in order to directly impact their population.
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