AAHI was established in Fiscal Year 2005 (FY2005) as part of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Affairs. It is the first program aimed to specifically address and improve the unique and often neglected health needs of Asian American residents in Montgomery County. AAHI’s earliest roots were in the Asian American Cancer Program, which brought to light the need for a health program that focused more broadly on Asian American health. Community leaders advocated for funding for such a program and soon after in FY2005, AAHI was established.
In its formative years, AAHI laid the groundwork to gain better familiarity with the needs of Asian Americans. Due to the dearth of existing information around Asian American health, AAHI conducted formal needs assessments in 2008 in the form of focus groups and 2005 to establish a baseline understanding of the health status of Montgomery County’s Asian American population. Further, AAHI convened two conferences with researchers, academics, and public health professionals working in Asian American health. From these conferences, AAHI was able to gather programmatic recommendations and identify strategic priorities to guide the organization’s work. To learn more about these conferences, visit the 2009 AAHI Conference Page and the 2006 AAHI Conference Page.
Most recently, in FY2020, the Blueprint for the Asian American Health Initiative, 2020-2030 was published and currently serves as a guide for AAHI program development. The development of the Blueprint was informed by local demographic data, social determinants of health of various Asian American ethnic subgroups, and focus groups and interviews with local stakeholders.
Over time, AAHI has refined its programming and expanded its scope of work. Pivotal moments in AAHI’s organizational growth include: developing the Health Promoters Program and Patient Navigator Program; launching the Hepatitis B Prevention Pilot Project across multiple ethnic communities; debuting numerous publications such as the AAHI storybook, strategic plan, and mental health photonovels; and expanding AAHI’s core health disparities to include cancer, hepatitis B, osteoporosis, diabetes, tobacco cessation, heart health, and mental health, to name a few.
Today, AAHI boasts a myriad of programs and projects that aim to educate individual community members about health and local resources and build the capacity of local organizations to better meet their community’s needs. Throughout its history, AAHI has gained insight and knowledge from community partners about local health needs. AAHI works arduously to communicate and share this knowledge with other programs in the service sector to build a more responsive health care system. With every passing year, AAHI remains committed to working hand-in-hand with Montgomery County residents, community leaders, local organizations, and other government entities to build a healthy community.