AAPI Week of Action Assister Spotlight


Join the Department of Health and Human services (HHS), and community leaders across the county during the week of January 18, 2016 for National AAPI Enrollment Week of Action! #Getcovered

AAPI Week of Action
Assister Spotlight

Name: ChinYin Shih
Position: Program Manager
Organization: Asian American Community Services, Columbus, OH
Years in public health/health services: 5 years

What inspired you to get involved with this line of work?
I came to the United States as an international student 7 years ago. I never saw a doctor while I was at school. I had fear that I wouldn’t be able to understand the doctors if they used any medical terms. I was not comfortable going to see a doctor even though I’ve been learning English for a long time. It made me realize that how difficult it would be for immigrants to navigate the health care system here, especially those who don’t speak English. In 2010, I started to work at Asian American Community Services (AACS). I coordinate a free health clinic that serves uninsured patients. We also provide free screenings and health education. In 2013, I became a Navigator and to this day, I’m trying to be the bridge that link immigrants to health care and make more people aware of the health care resources in the community.

How many years of experience do you have?
3 years

Describe an experience that made an impact in your line of work:
We’ve been helping a lot of immigrants sign up for health insurance. Some of the clients didn’t have insurance for years. Now they have access to health care and are able to utilize their health insurance when they go to see doctors. I remember I helped a family apply for health insurance during the first year open enrollment period in 2013. They were able to get tax credit to lower their premium so they only need to pay around $100 for 4 people. The mom was so happy and grateful to me for my help.

What language barriers, if any, did you experience while providing assistance? How did you handle these situations?
I speak Mandarin so I didn’t really have much language barriers while providing assistance to Chinese clients. However, when I had Korean or Burmese clients, I got help from interpreters. Clients usually make appointments with me so I know if I need to request interpreters in advance. It’s important that the clients understand basic concept of health insurance and the terms in their own languages so they can fully understand how it works.