Programs Overview
Cancer Program
Hepatitis B Program
Tobacco Control

Background | Goals | Staff | Steering Commitee


The Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) was established and funded in Fiscal Year 2005 to help eliminate health disparities that exist between Asian Americans and their non-Asian counterparts. It is part of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Minority and Multicultural Health. The AAHI's purpose is to develop appropriate health programs that meet the needs of a diverse group of Asian Americans living in the County.


  1. To conduct an in-depth data collection, analysis and reporting of health status for the different ethnic groups in the Asian American Community.
  2. To expand and improve the existing health services available to Asian Americans.
  3. To ensure the availability of quality health care directed to the specific needs of the different ethnic groups in the community.
  4. To provide outreach programs to inform and educate the different ethnic groups about the accessibility and the availability of health care services.
  5. To ensure that all ethnic groups in the Asian American Community have their fair share of health care by eliminating barriers.
AAHI staff with Governor Martin O'Malley County Executive Isaiah "Ike" Leggett with AAHI Staff


Julie Bawa, MPH – Program Manager,
Asian American Health Initiative
Department of Health and Human Services
Montgomery County, Maryland

Julie Bawa spearheaded the efforts in the development of the Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) of Montgomery County, Department of Health and Human Services. In her current position as the Program manager of AAHI, Ms Bawa develops and implements health programs that meet the needs of the Asian American community. She is responsible for planning, developing, directing and evaluating of all programs under AAHI as well as oversight of fiscal management. Formerly, Ms. Bawa coordinated and managed the Cancer Awareness, Education and Screening program for underserved, low-income Asian Americans in Montgomery County.

Ms. Bawa has extensive knowledge and experience working and collaborating with the diverse Asian American communities. She advocates for programs that aims to increase access quality healthcare services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate for Limited - English Proficient communities. Ms Bawa also serves on numerous national, state, and local boards addressing minority health and elimination of health disparities. She completed her undergraduate studies with a dual Health and Business Administration and received her Masterís degree in Public Health (M.P.H) from Northern Illinois University.

Perry Chan –Senior Program Coordinator,
Asian American Health Initiative

Perry Chan is Senior Program Coordinator for the Asian American Health Initiative. He is responsible for the maintenance of the tobacco control, diabetes, and osteoporosis program. He has a strong interest in promoting health among Asian Americans and reducing health disparity. Perry received his Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health from the University of Maryland.

Jamie Lok Weng–Program Specialist,
Asian American Health Initiative

Jamie Lok is the Program Specialist for the Asian American Health Initiative. She is responsible for strategic planning, evaluation design, and overall data management of AAHIís programs. Before joining AAHI, Ms. Lok was a senior research program coordinator with the Center for Immunization Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health coordinating vaccine clinical trials. Her prior research with the University of Marylandís Center for Health Behavior Research and Maryland Asian American Health Studies program focused on the cultural, physiological and behavioral factors of tobacco use. Ms. Lok has worked with NCIís Tobacco Control Research Branch and the US DHHS on initiatives addressing barriers to appropriate healthcare for women of color with disabilities.

Ms. Lok obtained her MPH in community health education/behavioral science from the University of Maryland, where she received the Presidentís Ethnic Minority Achievement Award recognizing outstanding contributions to the Universityís equity efforts. She currently serves on the executive board of the UMD Alumni Associationís Asian Pacific American Alumni Network (APAAN) and holds past leadership positions with the American Public Health Associationís Asian Pacific Islander Caucus and Student Assembly. The daughter of Cambodian refugees, Ms. Lok was born and raised in Montgomery County, MD.

Atyya Chaudhry – Program Coordinator,
Asian American Health Initiative

Atyya Chaudhry is the Program Coordinator of Health Education for the Asian American Health Initiative. She is responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating health education programs, designing culturally sensitive strategies, coordinating health education services and researching diseases that affect Asian Americans. Prior to working with AAHI, Atyya worked with the Washington Center for Psychiatry.

As an undergraduate student, Atyya was an active member of two health honor societies on her campus. She was involved with Eta Sigma Gamma, the National Professional Health Honorary Society and Phi Alpha Epsilon, the University of Marylandís School of Public Healthís Honor Society.† As a member of these honor societies, Atyya actively worked to promote health and well-being in her campus community.† Atyya Chaudhry received her Bachelors of Science in Community Health and a minor in Spanish Languages & Culture from the University of Maryland College Park.

Sanjana Quasem – Program Coordinator,
Asian American Health Initiative

Sanjana Quasem is the Outreach Program Coordinator for the Asian American Health Initiative. Her main responsibilities include oversight of the Health Promoters Program, serving as a liaison between AAHI and community leaders to foster and enhance partnerships, and program and event planning. She is an active member of the Muslim American community and has experience in outreach, youth education, and event planning. In addition she has a strong interest in health disparities and community development. Sanjana received her Bachelor of Science in Community Health from the University of Maryland College Park.

AAHI Steering Committee:

The AAHI Steering Committee is composed of stakeholders from various ethnic groups in the Asian American community who advocate, recommend and assist in the AAHI’s development to eliminate health disparities.  The dedicated members of the committee bring diverse expertise in health care issues and/or their communities.  Currently, there are approximately 16 members, and the AAHI is recruiting additional members who can support the AAHI in achieving its mission and goals. 

Steering Committee Meeting May 2, 2007 AAHI Steering Committee Annual Retreat FY 08

Chairperson: Harry Kwon, PhD, MPH Montgomery County Resident 
Vice Chairperson: Meng K. Lee Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC)
  Anis Ahmed Bangladeshi Community/Montgomery County Office of Human Rights
  Lisa Canda Montgomery County Resident
  Hoan Dang Maryland Vietnamese Mutual Association
  Nerita Estampador, MD Physician, Montgomery County DHHS
  Wilbur Friedman Chapter Organization of Chinese Americans, Greater Washington D.C. Chapter (OCADC)
  Lewis Hsu Montgomery County Resident
  Felicitas Lacbawan, MD Montgomery County Resident
  Michael Lin, PHD Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA)
  Alvin Madarang, MD Philippine Medical Association
  Thomas Mey Montgomery County Resident
  Sam Mukherjee, PhD Asian Indians for Community Service, Inc (AICS)
  Sovan Tun Cambodian Buddhist Society, Inc

If you are interested in attending future meetings and/or becoming a member of the committee, please contact the AAHI.

Minutes from previous meetings:



FY 05 Archive
FY 06 Archive
FY 07 Archive
FY 08 Archive