ASIA featured in National Families USA newsletter re: impact of healthcare reform

See the entire newsletter: Minority Health Connection

Activities in the Field

Asian Services in Action, Inc. (ASIA, Inc.)

Based in the Cleveland/Akron area of Ohio, Asian Services in Action (ASIA), Inc. is the largest social services agency in Northeastern Ohio. With a “no wrong door policy,” this organization provides a number of services to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in the Cleveland/Akron area, which constitutes 33 percent of the entire Asian American and Pacific Islander population in Ohio. Founded in 1995 by four Asian immigrant women, ASIA, Inc.’s primary mission is to provide Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Northeastern Ohio with quality, culturally, and linguistically appropriate information and services.

Saying that Asian Services in Action, Inc. does it all is definitely an understatement. The organization provides services in five program areas: aging and adult services; children, youth, and family; community health promotion; cultural outreach; and self-sufficiency. Within these program areas, ASIA, Inc. oversees many outreach programs, which include a health center, a senior tax preparation program, a youth community substance abuse prevention program, and citizenship classes.

The Affordable Care Act will allow them to do even more. Executive Director Michael Byun noticed that Northeastern Ohio’s Asian Americans were traveling as far as New York to obtain health care services due to a lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate services in their hometown. Right now, the health center strives to provide interpreters and translated materials while promoting preventive services, like immunization fairs, health screenings, and chronic disease management—but they want to take it a step further. ASIA, Inc. is currently applying to become a federally qualified health center (under the Affordable Care Act), and their goal is to stress culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

Yet, Michael Byun states that culturally and linguistically appropriate services must become integrated into the health care system as a whole. According to Bynum, having interpreters and translating materials is the starting point to achieve this goal. “Health systems must become aware of the systematic changes needed to become more welcoming to different cultures. These policies must be enforced at all levels, from the leadership to lay workers.”

To learn more about Asia Services in Action, contact Michael Byun at or 216-881-0330.