Health Care Services and Facilities

Minorities, including African Americans and Chinese, who were denied access to hospitals primarily meant for whites, addressed these inequities by establishing their own medical facilities.

While Provident Hospital (far left) in Chicago was owned and staffed by blacks, Tung Wah Dispensary (on right), opened in 1899 in San Francisco, was initially staffed by white physicians exclusively and practiced only Western medicine.  Both still operate as community hospitals. Tung Wah evolved into the Chinese Hospital after 15 community organizations created a non-profit public benefit corporation in the 1920s. 

Because of cultural preferences, as well as the lack of access to Western health care in the early part of the 20th century, many Chinese Americans turned to traditional medicine to maintain their health and treat illnesses.  Today, many Asian American health centers offer both traditional and Western treatments, and some practices, such as acupuncture, have been embraced by non-Asians.