Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Strengthening the Capacity of Immigrant Organizations to Link Uninsured Immigrants to Health Care and Insurance

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

September 20, 2007








For low-income immigrants, New York’s health care system is nearly impossible to navigate without assistance.

Newcomers inevitably turn to ethnic social service organizations in the community to get answers to their many questions about how things work in America, to understand their rights, and to negotiate bureaucracies and learn about avoidable risks. Yet immigrant communities in New York lack indigenous organizations with expertise on the health care system. Moreover, very few organizations have the capacity to accurately educate individuals on basic issues such as their rights to non-emergency care, how to access services, and the potential consequences of government health insurance or medical debt for an immigrant and his or her family members and sponsor. In response to these challenges, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) used funding from NYHealth to build the capacity of immigrant community organizations to address the health care needs of their constituents.

Read about the New York Academy of Medicine’s evaluation of this project.

The New York Immigration Coalition is a nonprofit umbrella policy and advocacy organization of more than 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The coalition became a leading advocate for immigrant communities on the local, State, and national levels by successfully bringing together multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-sector constituencies to pursue a common agenda: achieving fair immigration policies; increasing the availability of key integration services for immigrants; combating discrimination; ensuring civil rights and workplace protections; and improving immigrants’ access to quality health care, education, and safe and affordable housing.

Many New Yorkers go without needed medical care because of cost, or fear and confusion surrounding the complex interaction of immigration policy and public benefits law. The coalition will build capacity within immigrant community organizations to address the health access needs of their constituents by partnering with 11 immigrant community groups to engage in an intensive, multi-lingual outreach and education campaign to demystify health care and insurance, and educate community groups on options for affordable care. The project will develop a diverse cadre of health advocates who can assist immigrant family members, and the project’s partners will help thousands of low-income, uninsured, linguistically isolated immigrant New Yorkers to access health care and coverage. Through ongoing, intensive training and technical assistance, the project will create sustainable capacity within key immigrant organizations to address community members’ health literacy and navigation needs, and to overcome barriers to care for thousands of the State’s most marginalized residents.