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  • Responding to the Health Needs of
    Asian Americans
  • Montgomery
    County
    Department of Health
    and Human Services

On January 20, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documented the first case of the 2019 novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in the United States. As the virus spread across the globe, we learned that SARS-CoV-2 caused the disease Coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19.  This pandemic has drastically impacted every facet of our lives from the ways in which we worked and lived to the approach to our physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and financial health. These unprecedented times led to an unprecedented need—a need for quality, reliable health services, health education, and information about local health and social support services. Since 2020, AAHI has served as a leader in the response to COVID-19 in the Asian American community by connecting community organizations and community members with critical information, services, and resources.

The Asian American COVID-19 Outreach, Resources, & Education (AANCORE) program is a collection of AAHI’s response efforts to COVID-19, which include the AAHI COVID-19 Relief Fund, informational town halls and community events, supporting vaccine and testing access, educational workshops, and a myriad of outreach efforts. As the community’s needs around COVID-19 evolve, AAHI continues to provide an array of COVID-19 services available to individuals and organizations on demand.

Current COVID-19 Services

COVID-19 Relief Fund for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Montgomery County is one of the most diverse counties in the U.S, with over 50% of the County’s population being minorities. Among those, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities account for about 15.2% of the County population. Because of the growing diversity and wide range in language, culture, and socioeconomic status within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, providing education and services to people of AAPI descent is more complex and requires custom approaches to reach the at-need communities. The complexity of these needs is exacerbated by the pandemic.

In response to these needs and to supplement the extraordinary work of Asian American community organizations, AAHI unveiled the COVID-19 Relief Fund for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The fund provides financial support to community organizations providing culturally and linguistically appropriate education, outreach, and assistance to AAPI residents to access vaccines, combat Anti-Asian hate crimes and bias, provide mental health and social services to those who have suffered and help residents bridge the digital divide when using technology to navigate care and services across the age span.

Through a competitive grants process managed by the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County, AAHI provided one million dollars of funding to 11 Asian American serving community organizations to:

  • Develop and disseminate linguistically accessible and culturally appropriate outreach materials to educate the community about COVID-19, the spread of infection, and vaccination (Outreach & Education)
  • Provide access to COVID-19 vaccination and disease testing services in the language of preference (Vaccination & Testing)
  • Provide linguistically accessible information and support for critical social services offered by the public and private sectors (Social Services)
  • Educate and empower AAPI youth and families to stand against anti-Asian violence, hate, and racism and promote the protection and safety of all Asian Americans (Anti-Asian Bias & Hate crime education)
  • Reduce stigma around seeking mental health services and encourage people to seek treatment (Mental Health Services)
  • To learn more about the grants award, please click here.

    Organization Name Award Amount Funding Categories
    Outreach and Education Vaccination & Testing Social Services Mental Health Anti-Asian Bias & Hate Education
    Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington $125,016.62
    Asian Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project $79,971.00
    EveryMind $71,330.15
    Chinese American Community Health Services $37,800.00
    American Diversity Group $85,603.91
    Maryland Vietnamese Mutual Association Incorporated $123,726.84
    Chinese Culture & Community Service Center, Inc. $156,797.08
    Vietnamese American Services $94,989.40
    MCC Medical Clinic $66,550
    Philippine Nurses Association of Metropolitan DC $75,550
    IMAAM, Inc. $82,665.00
    $1,000,000    

     

    Since November 2021, this grant has provided services to the following clients:

    Outreach & Education Vaccination & Testing Social Services Anti-Asian Bias & Hate Crime Education Mental health services
    50,766 20,986 13,127 275 4,555

AAHI has developed the COVID-19 Resource Guide to support County residents to identify resources that address various needs caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Some of the information found in the COVID-19 Resource Guide include healthcare coverage, food access, housing assistance, financial assistance, mental health support, senior and caregiver support as well as language lines to help increase access. While this guide is updated regularly, if you are looking for a service not listed here or unable to connect with a service listed here, please contact us at AAHI@montgomerycountymd.gov.

COVID-19 & Mental Health Video Series

COVID-19 has greatly affected both our physical and mental health. Early on, AAHI recognized the negative impact of COVID-19 on our emotional and mental health and set out to develop multilingual resources to support Asian American communities as they practiced social distancing. AAHI’s most recent publications include two videos addressing the topics “Reducing Stigma” and “Practicing Mindfulness”.

AAHI continuously adds more content to address the changing needs of the community. If you would like a certain topic or aspect covered, please let us know at AAHI@montgomerycountymd.gov. New content is developed based on high community needs.

AAHI offers many mental health resources available in our Resource Library. To request a presentation related to mental health information highlighted in our website, please contact AAHI at AAHI@montgomerycountymd.gov. To request hardcopies of multilingual AAHI Mental Health Resources, please fill out  this form.

AAHI offers many mental health resources available in our Resource Library. To request a presentation related to mental health information highlighted in our website, please contact AAHI at AAHI@montgomerycountymd.gov. To request hardcopies of multilingual AAHI Mental Health Resources, please fill out  this form.

Mental Health Provider Database

Check out our Mental Health Provider Database with providers who are proficient in:

Responding to Anti-Asian American Backlash

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation has been a major challenge. Since little was initially known about COVID-19, it was difficult to discern what was fact and fiction. Unfortunately, some of this misinformation incorrectly and falsely insinuated that Asian Americans were to blame for the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While responding to the devastating impact of COVID-19, the Asian American community was simultaneously responding to an increase in anti-Asian American sentiment and backlash. Asian Americans across the country became the target of hate crimes, intimidation, discrimination, and bias. To respond to this unique impact of COVID-19 on the Asian American community, AAHI has developed several tools and resources.

If you or your organization would like more information about hate crimes or would like community education on this topic, please contact us at AAHI@montgomerycountymd.gov.

To report Hate and Bias Incidents, please call:

  • Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD): Emergency: 911 Non-emergency: 301-279-8000
  • Montgomery County Office of Human Rights: 240-777-8450
  • Maryland State Attorney General Hotline to Report Hate Crimes: 1-866-481-8361

COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Guide

  • https://aahiinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Mental-Health-Resource_Social-Injustice.Bullying_V6.FINAL_.pdf
  • To support county residents and bridge the resource gap related to hate, bias, and harassment reporting, AAHI launched the “Mental Health Resource Guide: Asian American Community Hate-Bias & Reporting Resources”.
  • This guide highlights Montgomery County and Maryland State hate crime and bias reporting resources, Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) resources, various special interest groups, and task forces committed to supporting victims of hate crimes. Additionally, this guide also includes available legal services, mental health services, community organizations, and more.
  • This guide is not an exhaustive list of all the resources available in the county. If there are any resource that you would like to be added to this guide, please let us know at AAHI@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Anti-Asian Backlash & Discrimination Educational Resources

The anti-Asian backlash and discrimination has a tremendous impact on the mental health Asian Americans. Coping with such incidents has been challenging but so has been handling such incidents. AAHI offers a variety of resources to handle such incidents in the moment such as our “Stop Hate: The 5 Ds of Bystander Intervention” resource reproduced with permission from hollaback! on bystander intervention in an easy-to-understand handout.

AAHI also offers training sessions on Bystander Intervention through partnerships with MCPD and other organizations. If you would like to host a Bystander Intervention training at your organizations, please email us at AAHI@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Townhalls & Community Education Workshops

To keep the community informed about the latest updates around COVID-19, AAHI has hosted and participated in several community education workshops, townhalls, and forums.

Asian American Townhall

  • The Office of Community Partnerships (OCP) and Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) hosted a virtual townhall on the COVID-19 vaccine in Montgomery County on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.
  • The main topics covered during this event were:
    • Facts about the COVID-19 vaccine
    • Registration process for COVID-19 vaccine
    • Difference between State and County priority
    • Alternative locations to get the vaccine besides the County Government

The virtual event was well attended by community members and county leadership. The townhall featured several panelists including County Executive Marc Elrich, County Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz, Councilmember Sidney Katz, MCDHHS Director Dr. Raymond Crowel, Dr. Mahesh Ochaney, Dr. Mo-Ping Chow, and AAHI Steering Committee Vice Chair Dr. Hina Mehta. The townhall was conducted via Zoom and streamed live on the AAHI Facebook page with over 200 attendees.

Community Education Workshops

As a part of AAHI’s ongoing community outreach efforts, AAHI offers a variety of workshops on different topics, including COVID-19 . Some of the presentations AAHI can provide include:  how to protect yourself from COVID-19, COVID-19 and its variants, COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, the latest Montgomery County COVID-19 data trends and programs, how to access County COVID-19 resources, and many more.

If you would like to invite AAHI to present on any topic related to COVID-19, please email us at AAHI@montgomerycountymd.gov.

You can also find up-to-date news on COVID-19 at the CDC website and the Montgomery County COVID-19 Dashboard.

COVID TESTING

Rapid Test Kit Distribution

When the Omicron variant of COVID-19 caused a surge in COVID-19 cases in December 2021 and January 2022, AAHI began to provide COVID-19 rapid test kits to community organizations and businesses to expand Montgomery County’s testing capability. To date, over 4,000 test kits have been distributed through AAHI. These test kits were mainly provided to Asian American serving community organizations who helped distribute them to vulnerable and isolated community members.

To request tests for your organization, please fill out this form:

Hosting a Test Site

  • AAHI amplified the reach of community organizations as they stepped up efforts by offering various COVID-19 services. AAHI worked with various community entities to promote their COVID-19 testing efforts to ensure Montgomery County residents can access this service. AAHI not only assisted with printing promotional materials, but also facilitated the distribution to hard-to-reach communities by utilizing Chinese and Korean grocery stores as advertising platforms as well as AAHI’s social media.
  • AAHI continues to serve as an information hub and regularly disseminates information about COVID-19 testing at our outreach events, through our social media sites, and during community presentations.
  • AAHI can assist community organizations who are interested in setting up a COVID-19 testing clinic by connecting you with county resources and supporting with logistics. Please contact AAHI for assistance. For a list of County testing clinic sites, go to: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/testing.html.

Service Access – help you sign up for vaccination or testing

  • AAHI was critical in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) messaging to the community on vaccine preregistration. The AAHI team ensured the success of these messages by navigating residents to preregistration and helping residents as needed to complete the process. AAHI also generated multilingual flyers to deliver information about the various COVID-19 vaccine options available within Montgomery County.
  • Please contact AAHI for assistance to sign up for vaccination and testing, as well as for other County-provided services. Please see the COVID-19 Resource Guide for additional resources: https://aahiinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/COVID-19-Resource_V12_4_04_22.pdf.

COVID-19 VACCINATION

AAHI expanded its COVID-19 mitigation strategy by assisting with popup vaccination sites. Since vaccines became available, AAHI facilitated the hosting of popup vaccine sites at several Asian American community- and faith-based organizations. Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC), Chinese Bible Church, and Vietnamese Literary and Artistic Club (VLAC).  AAHI continues to provide expertise in expanding access to the COVID-19 vaccine and testing for Montgomery County Asian American residents.

For assistance in setting up vaccination clinics, please contact AAHI.

SMALL BUSINESS OUTREACH

The small business sector was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to safety restrictions and social distancing requirements, many of the county’s small businesses experienced a drop in customers and loss in income. Asian Americans make up a large portion of the county’s small business owners and employees and were among the small businesses negatively impacted due to COVID. Throughout the pandemic, as different financial relief opportunities were made available for businesses, AAHI ramped up its small business outreach program to ensure that businesses were aware of these different opportunities. —Early on in the pandemic, AAHI reached out to over 446 small businesses by phone and 457 small businesses by email. The AAHI team ensured these small businesses, and their clients, were aware of the various COVID-19 resources and clinics, as well as county assistance programs such as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), 3R Initiative Grant, Montgomery County Small Business Grant Program, Public Resource Education Program (PREP), rent relief, and many other programs.

AAHI continues to conduct small business outreach throughout the County to bring resources to this underserved population. To request handouts or COVID-19 for your small business or workshops, please reach out to AAHI.