The Pima County AAPI Navigator Grant

The Center for Rural Health has received funding from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish the Pima County Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Navigator Program. The primary goal is to reduce the numbers of AAPI uninsured in Pima County. The County is the second most populated county in Arizona, with a total population of 980,263 in 2010 and covers 9,189 square miles which is larger than the state of New Jersey. There are four program components:

  1. Establishment of the Navigator Program.
  2. Development and implementation of a comprehensive outreach strategy.
  3. Enrollment of AAPI individuals and families into Marketplace qualified health plans, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS – the state’s Medicaid Program, and KidsCare (Arizona’s Children Health Insurance Program).
  4. Evaluation of the program.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Population

The AAPI population grew fastest among the four largest minority groups in the United States between 2000 and 2010, an increase of 43 percent.1 In Arizona, the AAPI population grew two times faster than the national percentage: 91.6 percent for Asian alone and 87.9 percent for Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone.2 There were 256,013 AAPI persons (race alone and in combination) residing in Arizona3, 38,489 in Pima County4 and 59 percent (22,528) lived in Tucson.5  The top six Asian American ethnic population in Pima County were: (1) Chinese, (2) Filipino, (3) Vietnamese, (4) Asian Indian, (5) Korean, and (6) Japanese, and the top three Pacific Islander populations were (1) Native Hawaiian, (2) Guamanian or Chamorro, and (3) Samoan in 2010.

There are many challenges in outreaching to the AAPI populations in Pima County. Some of these include:

  • AAPI populations are scattered throughout a very large county (larger than New Jersey)
  • Cultural and language barriers
  • Lack of awareness about health coverage availability
  • Limited health literacy
  • Do not see the urgency or the need for health coverage
  • Even with subsidized coverage with the Health Insurance Marketplace for some AAPI families, it still may not be affordable

Navigator Program Approaches

To overcome these challenges, the Navigator Program conducts culturally, linguistically, and health literacy/educational level appropriate public education and outreach activities that includes, but not limited to:

  • Working with AAPI community leaders and partners to identify the most appropriate and effective public education and outreach approaches that can be used to reached their communities’ uninsured,
  • Establishing consumer friendly Marketplace, AHCCCS, and KidsCare sections on the Southern Arizona Asian & Pacific Islander Health Coalition (SAAPIHC) website:,
  • Providing periodic presentations on update Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and Marketplace information at the SAAPIHC meetings.
  • Providing Marketplace and other health care coverage information booths at AAPI community events,
  • Giving public presentations to AAPI community and faith-based groups,
  • Placing Marketplace and other health care coverage information in English and appropriate languages in AAPI newspapers,
  • Distributing of Marketplace and other health care coverage information to the AAPI communities; organizations and associations; and AAPI restaurants and grocery stores where potential eligible consumers patronized,
  • Visiting restaurants and small businesses owned by AAPI individuals and families to provide information on the Marketplace,
  • Establishing a network of AAPI community contact points for dissemination of health, PPACA, and Marketplace information and language translators that can assist in the dissemination of information and Marketplace Qualified Health Plan (QHP) enrollment process in their AAPI community. 

Certified Consumer Navigator

 They provide culturally/linguistically appropriate public education about the federal-facilitated Marketplace, AHCCCS, KidsCare, and other health programs to the AAPI communities in Pima County; respond to questions related to the application, selection, and enrollment process of these programs; assist consumer in the selection of the appropriate health care coverage in fair, accurate, and impartial manner; and provide referral as needed. 

Community Navigator Sites

A part-time certified navigator is located in two AAPI community facilities (Pan Asian Community Alliance and Tucson Chinese Cultural Center) to assist AAPI’s in the application, selection, and enrollment process of the Marketplace and AHCCCS programs. The two community facilities provide a variety of services and events to the AAPI communities. The Pan Asian Community Alliance is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops education and community services of Asian and Pacific Islanders.  The Tucson Chinese Association is a nonprofit (501C3) corporation that promotes, sponsors, and educates the community relating to the Chinese culture and heritage via activities and the Tucson Chinese School throughout the year.

Both the Pan Asian Community Alliance and the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center are Center for Rural Health Pima County AAPI Navigator Sitesthat can assist you in navigating  the Health Insurance Marketplace. *

The Pan Asian Community Alliance
940 South Craycroft Road
Tucson, Arizona 85711
Phone: (520) 512-0144

  • Mon thru Thurs — 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Sun — 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Tucson Chinese Cultural Center
1288 West River Road
Tucson, Arizona 85704
Phone: (520) 292-6900

  • Tue and Thurs — 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Sat — 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Learn more at

Navigator Program Team


  • Dr. Howard J. Eng, Principal Investigator / Director / Certified Navigator (.10 FTE)
  • Dr. Lynne Tomasa, College of Medicine Faculty Team Member (.05 FTE)
  • Dr. Jeannie Lee, College of Pharmacy Faculty Team Member / Certified Navigator (.05 FTE)
  • Sujana Vinjamuri, Program Coordinator / Certified Navigator (.50 FTE)
  • Tina Johnson, MA, Pan Asian Community Alliance Site Certified Navigator (.50 FTE)
  • Kim Tham, Tucson Chinese Cultural Center Site Certified Navigator (.50 FTE)
  • Joyce Hospodar, MBA, MPA, Certified Navigator (.10 FTE)
  • David Bui, Webmaster (.15 FTE)

Figure 1: describes the Navigator Program’s organization chart.

AAPI Figure 1 Chart