Helping South Asians Get Covered in California

Manju Kulkarni

Manju Kulkarni is being honored as a Health in the AAPI Community Champion of Change.

South Asian Network (SAN) is a community-based organization, dedicated to the mission of promoting the health, solidarity and empowerment of South Asian Americans in Southern California.  Founded in 1990, SAN is one of the oldest South Asian American community-based organizations in the nation.  Our offices are located in the City of Artesia in the heart of “Little India.”

Since 2003, SAN has been working to improve the health of the South Asian community in Southern California.  Currently, the Community Health Action Initiative (CHAI) serves the health and health care access needs of South Asian Americans and immigrants in the following ways:  (1) outreach and education on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and enrollment assistance in Covered California, California’s health benefit exchange; (2) outreach and enrollment assistance in other public benefit programs including Medicaid, Medicare, Food Stamps and SSI; (3) patient navigation services; (4) health education on cancer prevention, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stress management and depression; (5) a caregivers’ support group for those individuals caring for seniors; (6) mental health services for  adults, children and seniors; and (7) a seniors’ walking club and nutrition program.   

SAN was the only South Asian organization in California to be certified to provide outreach, education and enrollment assistance in the state’s health benefit exchange, Covered California.  This allowed our staff to conduct outreach to over 2400 individuals. In addition, SAN received coverage in two national media outlets, the LA Times and PRI’s The World, in one state resource, California Health, as well as several local ethnic media outlets on our work to educate South Asians on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and assist with enrollment in Covered California.

Our staff and board of directors are most proud of  the social justice framework which enables us to envision a more just and equitable world, our efforts to engage in prevention as much as service provision, and our success at incorporating diversity of the South Asian community throughout the organization.   

Manjusha Kulkarni is Executive Director of South Asian Network (SAN).

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