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40 Years in the Making: County of Santa Clara Celebrates Groundbreaking of First Vietnamese American Service Center in the Nation

Several Generations of Vietnamese American Families and Communities Across the County Will Gather for Milestone Celebration

WHAT:

Hundreds of residents and members of the Vietnamese American community in Santa Clara County will join County leaders this Saturday for a historic groundbreaking of the first Vietnamese American Service Center (VASC) in the nation. The Center, scheduled to open in the Fall of 2021, will be a model for other major counties serving vulnerable populations. 

The construction of the VASC is a pivotal moment for Santa Clara County and its Vietnamese residents. Santa Clara County is home to the second largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam. The first wave of Vietnamese arrived over 40 years ago but County studies show there continues to be significant health disparities and cultural and language barriers that prevent Vietnamese residents from accessing vital services.

The VASC will be a 30,000 square foot, one-stop hub for the County to provide health and human services in a culturally sensitive manner with professionals who speak Vietnamese. These County services and resources include senior wellness programs, health screenings, mental health services, dental services, vaccinations, and a pharmacy.

The public is invited to the festive groundbreaking ceremony with celebratory lion dancing, interactive activities, music, lunch buffet, guest speakers, and more.

WHO:

Supervisor Cindy Chavez, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, District 2
Supervisor Dave Cortese, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, District 3
Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D. JD., County Executive, County of Santa Clara
Nguyen Khac Binh, Major General, Armed Forces of the former Republic of Vietnam

WHEN AND WHERE:

Saturday, November 23, 2019, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Site of the Future Vietnamese American Service Center: 2410 Senter Road in San José.

Parking:

  • Individuals with limited mobility and/or disabilities are invited to park at Narvaez located at 614 Tully Road in San José. Media parking is also available at this location. Permits will be provided upon arrival.
  • For all other guests, free parking is available at 1875 and 1877 Senter Road in San José. No permit is required. Shuttle services to and from the groundbreaking site will be provided from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHY:

The Vietnamese American community continues to grapple with daunting health and socio-economic challenges aggravated by language barriers, cultural, and generational gaps that can be substantially alleviated with a service center. The VASC model was created in collaboration with the community to address these and other challenges. 

Background:

  • The 2012 Vietnamese American Health Assessment conducted by the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department (originally proposed by Supervisor Dave Cortese) revealed significant health disparities and cultural and language barriers that prevent access to vital services.
  • In 2015, Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Dave Cortese led the Vietnamese American Service Center (VASC) Stakeholder Assessment to further identify disparities and barriers in accessing the County’s health and human services. The findings resulted in a recommendation by the Office of the County Executive to construct the Vietnamese American Service Center.

About the Vietnamese American Community in Santa Clara County:

  • Santa Clara County is home to more than 140,000 persons of Vietnamese ancestry, making it the second largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam. This is a dynamic community that has contributed to the growth and economic development of the county. However, the community still faces issues of unmet needs and accessibility of County services due to cultural and language barriers. 
  • Despite the success of Vietnamese Americans at the helm of politics, business, and education, approximately 13 percent of families currently live below the poverty line and a substantial segment live on the fringes of poverty.
  • Vietnamese Americans have a 1 in 4 chance of achieving a college education and less than 0.5 percent of the population ever attains a graduate level degree. 
  • Vietnamese American women have the highest rate of cervical cancer in the United States. They are 5 times more likely than any other ethnic and racial group to be diagnosed.
  • 1 in 8 Vietnamese Americans carry the Hepatitis B virus, compared to 1 in 1,000 of the general population.
  • Vietnamese adults are diagnosed with liver cancer at four times the rate of adults in the county as a whole.
  • More Vietnamese American adults have been diagnosed with diabetes than all Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Caucasians in the county as a whole.

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About the County of Santa Clara, California

The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, the sixth largest county in California. With more than 70 agencies/departments and nearly 22,000 employees, the County of Santa Clara plans for the needs of a dynamic community, offers quality services, and promotes a healthy, safe and prosperous community for all. The County provides essential services, such as public health and environmental protection; behavioral health and medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, including Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (Hospital and Clinics), O’Connor Hospital and Saint Louise Regional Hospital; child and adult protection services; homelessness prevention and solutions; roads, parks and libraries; emergency response to disasters; protection of minority communities and those under threat; access to a fair criminal justice system, and scores of other services, particularly for those members of our community in the greatest need.

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Media Contact: Laurel Anderson/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119.

Day of Event Contact: Carolyn Lê, County of Santa Clara Office of Immigrant Relations, (408) 835-6437.

Posted: November 20, 2019

Last updated: 11/20/2019 4:15 PM