White House Honors Manjusha P. Kulkarni (’95) as “Champion of Change”
Alumna one of 11 recognized for work educating Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders about the Affordable Care Act
On Thursday, April 24, the White House and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services honored 11 advocates and community leaders, including BU Law alumna Manjusha P. Kulkarni (’95), as “Champions of Change” for their work to educate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders about the Affordable Care Act. The event celebrated the leadership, commitment, and hard work of navigators, consumer assisters, community health centers, and other individuals or organizations that have focused on ensuring that AAPIs fully benefit from health reform.
Manju is the executive director of South Asian Network (SAN), a community-based organization dedicated to advancing the health, empowerment and solidarity of persons of South Asian origin in Southern California. Through her work at SAN, Manju advocates for effective policies and practices on issues impacting the South Asian American community, and works to educate South Asian Americans on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act through in-language materials and outreach and individual assistance to enroll in California’s health benefit exchange, Covered California.
Previously, Manju served as senior attorney at the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) in Los Angeles, California, where she worked to improve access to quality health care for low-income individuals through administrative and legislative policy advocacy and litigation. She has also authored numerous articles, reports and training materials and provided legal assistance and training to hundreds of health attorneys and advocates across the country.
For too long, many members of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community have lacked access to quality, affordable health care. One in four Korean Americans is uninsured; nearly 40% of Asian American women over the age of 40 haven’t had a routine mammogram; one in four Asian Americans over the age of 18— and one in three Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders— have not seen a doctor in the last year. The Affordable Care Act provides an opportunity to provide nearly two million uninsured Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with quality, affordable health care. In addition, eight out of ten uninsured AAPIs may be eligible for financial assistance through Medicaid, CHIP, or tax credits in the Health Insurance Marketplace.
The event included remarks by Dr. Howard Koh (SPH ’95), assistant secretary for health, and Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, deputy assistant secretary for minority health, as well as panel discussions featuring the Champions.