Project CHARGE (Coalition for Health Access to Reach Greater Equity)

Project CHARGE is a health collaborative of 16 community partners that seeks to increase health access for Asian Pacific Americans in New York City.

Formed in 2007, Project CHARGE (Coalition for Health Access to Reach Greater Equity) is a health collaborative of 16 community partners that gathered together to address health access for Asian Pacific Americans in New York City. The majority are social service providers based in New York City that provide mental health counseling, chronic disease outreach, education, and screening (cardiovascular disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS), affordable housing advocacy, immigrant services, youth services, domestic violence services, etc. to the Asian Pacific American community. Two are community health centers. Two are research centers. One is a settlement house. The majority of the client base or target populations they work with are Asian immigrants from over 16 countries and speaking 25 different languages and dialects -- many with unique challenges based on their immigrant status, occupation, language needs, and access to culturally competent providers and services.



Asian Pacific Americans are by percentage the fastest growing population in New York, making up 8% of the state’s population and nearly 14% of NYC. There are almost 1.6 million APAs in New York State and 1.1 million of them live in NYC. APAs represent over 40 diverse ethnic groups and speak over a 100 languages and dialects. 

  • There are currently 2.3 million uninsured Asian Pacific Islanders nationally. The highest rates nationally are among Koreans, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Cambodians. In New York City, 1 out of 8 APAs is uninsured, with 83% of the uninsured being foreign-born.
  • Employability, earnings, and opportunities for advancement are impacted by English proficiency. Of all racial groups in New York City, Asian Pacific Americans have the rates of Limited English Proficiency. 1 out 2 APAs peak English "not well" or "not at all".
  • Many Asian Pacific Islanders are self-employed, working in small businesses or in cash-based industries that are less likely to offer health benefits. There is a large variation in employer-based health coverage among Asian Pacific Islanders, from a low of 49% among Koreans to a high of 77% amongh Asian Indians nationally.
  • Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Americans report a time in the past year when they did not have enough money to pay for medical or health care. This often meant skipping medical treatments, cutting pills, or not filling prescriptions because of cost.
Comprehensive and affordable health insurance coverage provides individuals a valuable facilitator to gain access to preventive health care services, such as early detection, treatment, and better disease management. The costs of uninsurance or underinsurance to individuals and to society at large are enormous, resulting in poorer quality of life, missed work, bad debt, inefficient care, and diminished benefits of having a healthy, productive population


Project CHARGE is currently undertaking efforts to:
(1) promote health equity through data disaggregation and culturally sensitive language access and education initiatives
(2) promote consumer voice by ensuring representation of APAs in decision making and advisory bodies
(3) promote options for the remaining uninsured by safeguarding safety net providers, protecting charity care funding, and exploring health plans and options for those remaining uninsured. 
To address and increase the awareness of these disparities, Project CHARGE has utilized a number of strategies, including the coordination of annual State Advocacy Days, legislative visits, letter writing campaigns, policy briefings, workshops and webinars, and social media campaigns through Facebook, Twitter, and email. Project CHARGE also released a policy report, “Healing Our Healthcare System: Asian Americans for Health Reform”—the only publication of its kind specifically focused on the impact of the ACA on Asian Pacific Americans in New York City. Through significant advocacy efforts, Project CHARGE has impacted the knowledge and understanding of elected officials and policymakers on the unique health care challenges faced by Asian Pacific Americans.

Project CHARGE is regularly sought out to provide comments and presentations on Asian Pacific American health, language access, culturally competent outreach, immigrant health, and improved data collection and reporting. In 2010, Project CHARGE was named as 1 of 37 stakeholder groups to participate in Governor Paterson’s Health Care Reform Advisory Committee and two of its members now serve on the Health Benefit Exchange New York Metro Area Regional Advisory Committee. In 2011, CHARGE’s Project Director, Noilyn Abesamis-Mendoza, was selected to serve on the Medicaid Redesign Team Health Disparities Workgroup. That same year four Project CHARGE partners were appointed to the DHHS Region II Regional Health Advisory Committee.

Project CHARGE partners

Asian Americans for Equality
Asian Outreach Program, Child Center of New York
APICHA Community Health Center
NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health
Charles B. Wang Community Health Center
Chinese-American Planning Council
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
Henry Street Settlement
Kalusugan Coalition
Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York, Inc.
New York Asian Women’s Center
South Asian Council for Social Services
South Asian Health Initiative
Suki Terada Ports
Dr. John Chin – Hunter College