Health and Aging


Limited English proficiency and poverty prevent too many Southeast Asian American community members from receiving the care that they need. The traumatic experiences of war, genocide, and displacement left many Southeast Asian Americans with physical and mental health conditions that have gone untreated. Certain Southeast Asian American groups suffer disproportionately from hepatitis B and cervical cancer. Unfortunately, most state and federal health systems fail to tease out data on Southeast Asian Americans from “Asian Americans” overall, making it difficult to understand and address these disparities.

SEARAC fights to protect access to affordable health care coverage and promotes culturally and linguistically appropriate health and mental health care to address health disparities for our Southeast Asian American immigrant and refugee communities. SEARAC also calls for the disaggregation of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community data to equip communities and policymakers with accurate and targeted data-driven interventions. Our health work focuses on building the advocacy capacity of community-based organizations to advocate for systemic changes to deliver the health services our community needs.

Southeast Asian American elders have some of the highest rates of limited English proficiency of any ethnic group, and are more likely to live in poverty. SEARAC supports community-based organizations across the country who serve and support our elders. We also collaborate with the Diverse Elders Coalition to uplift the needs of diverse elders of color, native elders, and LGBTQ+ elders.


National health and aging news: READ MORE

California health and aging news: Read more


Key Resources

General health

  • California Cancer Facts & Figures 2016
    American Cancer Society. Includes disaggregated data showing the top five most common cancers for multiple Asian American sub-groups, plus Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.


  • Aging with Health and Dignity: Diverse Elders Speak Up
    In 2016, the Diverse Elders Coalition partnered with Caring Across Generations to collect nearly 5,000 comments from our communities about what we need to age with health and dignity. Comments were collected in six languages from all 50 states and provided a snapshot of the challenges of aging in communities of color, LGBT communities, and American Indian/Alaska Native communities.
  • Southeast Asian American Elders #TellACL
    Infographic describing the socioeconomic and linguistic characteristics of the older Southeast Asian American population, along with quotes collected during the Diverse Elders Coalition’s #TellACL campaign.
  • Securing Our Future: Advancing Economic Security for Diverse Elders
    This report from the Diverse Elders Coalition, authored by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, describes the issues facing elders of color and LGBT elders, who together will represent a majority of older adults in the United States by 2050. The report also offers policy recommendations in several areas key to the well-being of older people, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, health care reform, and more.

Latest national health and aging news:

ACA Open Enrollment Period Begins Today

Nov. 1 marks the beginning of the 2021 Affordable Care Act (ACA) healthcare marketplace open enrollment period. As COVID-19 cases ...
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/ Health, National

October 2020 Policy Recap

In this issue: Teaching APA History Act Increase in USCIS Fees Halted Refugee Cap at Historic Low Condemning ICE Abuses ...
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/ Education, Health, Immigration, National

Senate HEALS Act Provides Little Relief or Protections for Southeast Asian Americans

COVID-19 relief bill also increases Border Patrol funding Washington, DC - SEARAC rejects the Health; Economic assistance; Liability protection; and Schools ...
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SEARAC Denounces Trump Administration Rule Erasing Civil Rights Protections under the Affordable Care Act

Weakening health care access during a global pandemic is heartless Washington, DC - On Friday, the Trump Administration finalized a proposal ...
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/ Health, National, Press Room

SEARAC Praises Senate Introduction of the HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act

All people, regardless of status, deserve access to health insurance Washington, DC -  Yesterday, Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) introduced the Health ...
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Latest CA health and aging news:

California Governor Newsom’s Budget Expands Health Care Access for Undocumented Southeast Asian Americans

Sacramento, CA - On Jan. 10, California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a $222 billion budget for fiscal year 2020-2021, increasing access ...
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/ California, Health

Budgetary and Legislative Wins and Hopes in California

As 2019 quickly comes to a close and a new decade emerges, SEARAC reflects on the wins and hopes of ...
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/ California, Education, Health, Immigration

CA Gov. Newsom Vetoes SEARAC-Sponsored Bill

Bill would have increased access to culturally and linguistically competent mental health services SACRAMENTO - Yesterday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed California legislation ...
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/ California, Health, Press Room

Take Action: Urge CA Governor Newsom to improve culturally competent mental health services for Southeast Asian Americans

California Assembly Bill (AB) 512 - Culturally competent mental health services has reached CA Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk. We are just ...
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/ California, Health

The Lifesaving Care of Culturally and Linguistically Competent Mental Health Services

While Minority Mental Health Awareness Month has ended, SEARAC continues to urge policymakers to improve the cultural and linguistic competence ...
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/ AB 512, California, Health