ASIA Launches Innovative Partnership with the County and City Boards of Health

Cleveland, Ohio – Asian Services In Action was awarded a grant $37,004 from The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation to support the Asian Health Access Initiative (AHAI). The funding will enable ASIA to form a unique partnership with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) and the Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH) to address childhood lead prevention and breast and cervical cancer prevention programs.

The Asian Health Access Initiative (AHAI) is a project to save the lives of Asian Americans by ensuring language is not a barrier to quality preventative health services. The project will train volunteer bilingual community health outreach workers (CHOWs) who will assist low-income families with young children to prevent childhood lead poisoning and low-income, uninsured women to prevent breast/cervical cancer. Bilingual CHOWs will “connect” clients to information, free screening, treatment, and follow-up services provided by CCBH and CDPH. With Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation support, AHAI will link 200 low to moderate income and limited English speaking Asian Americans to these and others services to delay major illnesses and to prevent early deaths. AHAI reduces duplication of services by harnessing the language and cultural “know how” of ASIA with health prevention and education resources of CCBH and CDPH.

“We are thrilled about this new partnership with the public health departments of Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland. AHAI offers us, CCBH, and CDPH the opportunity to leverage resources and to complement each other’s services to ensure that all Cuyahoga County residents who are at high risk for lead poisoning and breast and cervical cancers are identified and treated,” said Michael Byun, ASIA Executive Director.

The issues of lead poisoning and breast/cervical cancer are great:
• 90% of all new Asian refugees are resettled in the inner-cities of Cuyahoga County; many in neighborhoods that have aging housing stock where lead contamination is high;

• Asian American women have the third highest incidence of cervical cancer, higher than Whites and similar to Blacks (National Cancer Institute, 2001); one alarming report found that only 28% of women from one Asian ethnic group surveyed had heard of a Pap test (Kim et al., 1999).

• One report showed that among Korean American women, English language proficiency is closely associated with mammogram utilization; and according to the Census, Koreans are one of the most linguistically isolated Asian ethnic populations (Juon, et al., 2000).

• 39% of the Asian American population are limited English proficient (LEP) compared to 8% of the total population; over 50% Vietnamese, Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian, Taiwanese, Korean, Bangladeshi, and Chinese Americans in our region spoke less then “very well” English (U.S. Census, 2000).


ASIA, Inc.
Founded in 1995, Asian Services In Action’s mission is to empower Asian American and Pacific Islanders in Northeastern Ohio to access quality, culturally, and linguistically appropriate information and services. ASIA serves over 4,000 people each year.

Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH)
More than 220 outstanding public health professionals including Dieticians, Epidemiologists, Health Educators, Nurses, Social Workers, Registered sanitarians and Administrative staff strive for excellence in multitude of health program and service in Ohio’s largest health district. Our mission is to prevent disease and injury, promote positive health outcomes, and provide critical services to improve the health status of the community. Learn more at

Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH)
Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH) is the local public health agency for the City of Cleveland. Formally established in 1910, the department is charged with improving the quality of life in the City of Cleveland by promoting healthy behavior, protecting the environment, preventing disease, and making the City a healthy place to live, work, and play.