May 2024  – Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage (AANPI) Month

By: Lindsey Schnell

May marks Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage (AANPI) Month. AANPI History Month was officially established in 1992, after years of deliberation in Congress, to celebrate those from the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island)(1). Across the nation, community health centers honor AANPI History Month by providing quality care, connecting with AANPI communities, and sharing the history of AANPI leaders as well as their own work to support AANPI patients.

Community health centers have a longstanding history of supporting Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities and uplifting their needs by providing targeted and equitable healthcare. San Francisco Community Health Center in California has worked to support AANPI communities since its founding. In the 1980s, San Francisco Community Health Center focused attention and support on the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in the local AANPI community and later, in 1996, established the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center before becoming a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in 2015(2). Today, the San Francisco Community Health Center continues to bring awareness to the impact of HIV/AIDS in the AANPI community and has expanded their program to support Transgender patients, patients experiencing homelessness, and those with mental health conditions.

Apicha Community Health Center in New York shares a similar history of founding to support the needs of Asian and Pacific Islanders living with HIV/AIDS in their community. Apicha started in 1989 to address unmet needs focusing on education and funding for HIV/AIDS programs and later in 2009 expanded their nationally recognized HIV care model to include primary care before becoming an official FQHC in 2015. In 2022, Apicha was awarded by the New York City Department of Health in honor of World AIDS Day for their impactful work and commitment to advocacy for AANPI patients with HIV/AIDS(3). Apicha continues to focus on care for LGBT+ AANPI patients by using culturally competent and linguistically appropriate surveying to develop programs and services that best serve this vulnerable population.

Also awarded for the success of their program, Hope Clinic in Texas was a recipient of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health’s Communities of Care grant to support the clinic in addressing the barriers and stigma that prevent Asian Americans from seeking mental healthcare through their Asian Americans Attaining Awareness program(4). The project includes partnership with local parents and youth representatives from Greater Houston and through this collaboration helps to raise awareness about misinformation of mental health services to improve access to care. Hope Clinic also serves the Houston Asian American community though a multitude of other initiatives including cancer screening, Hepatitis B support, and aid after natural disasters such as hurricanes(5).

The collaboration between Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and community health centers has had historic impacts and continues to positively impact the AANPI community through support, appropriate and attentive care, and resilient advocacy. In uplifting the needs as well as programs built to support AANPI patients, health centers share inspiration and dedication to Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage (AANPI) Month this May. Beyond this month, health centers will continue to be allies and supporters of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community as the provider and partner of choice.






  1. https://www.asianpacificheritage.gov/about.html
  2. https://www.sfcommunityhealth.org/api-lgbtq-programs
  3. https://www.apicha.org/blog/2022/december/apicha-receives-world-aids-day-award-from-nyc-de/
  4. https://www.hopechc.org/about-us/programs/asian-americans-attaining-awareness/
  5. https://www.apiahf.org/programs/health-through-action/communities/texas