Spring 2015

Member Spotlight: Asian Pacific Community in Action (APCA)


Date: May 01, 2015

Phoenix, AZ

NCRP: If foundations could know one thing about APCA, what would it be?

APCA: Asian Pacific Community in Action (APCA) serves a very diverse and dispersed community. Founded in 2002 to serve the health needs of Asian Americans in Arizona, we now serve more than 30 language communities, including Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) and emerging communities. We provide culturally competent multilingual services to all who present, and feel a particular responsibility to smaller language communities that often are bypassed by mainstream health systems.

Like many Southwest communities, the greater Phoenix area spreads out; it has more than 9,224 square miles with a population of more than 4 million. It is a large urban area filled with dozens of sprawling cities and towns, and our communities are dispersed throughout. There are no Chinatowns, no Little Saigons or Koreatowns. We do not have ethnic enclaves like you would see on the coasts. This further reduces our visibility and challenges our service delivery.

NCRP: How do cultural and language barriers hinder access to health care, and how is APCA trying to address this challenge?

APCA: AA and NHPI and emerging communities are the fastest growing segment in Arizona. Asian Pacific Community in Action is the only nonprofit with full-time staff that serves this diverse and dispersed community, and though we are primarily a community health organization, we find ourselves holding responsibility for a range of community needs. Clearly, more investment is needed to build the capacity of smaller AA and NHPI serving organizations to support this work in Arizona, as well as investment by mainstream organizations to serve our communities.

NCRP: Arizona is known as having a challenging environment for progressive change. How has this affected your work?

APCA: There is a progressive space in Arizona but it has not yet achieved critical mass. We create our own spaces for this work and convene and facilitate our own cross-cultural collaborations so that issues faced by all communities are present in the work. It is a heavy lift to ensure that AA and NHPI and emerging communities are not bypassed and that our solutions are incorporated and prioritized.