Promoting Health and Wellness Throughout the Life Span

What We Do

EMASS serves Iraqi, Chaldean, Filipino, African American, Somali and Latinx seniors (60 years and over) with outreach, engagement and education for prevention and early intervention of mental illness and mental health challenges. Our culturally specific Community Health Workers help at-risk seniors connect to social services and navigate the health care and welfare system. We provide education in chronic diseases, diabetes, pain management as well as mental health and wellness. Additionally, we provide socialization opportunities at both centers and community or apartment buildings where seniors gather on a weekly basis. EMASS is a place where seniors can feel welcome and appreciated, while receiving support from our caring and compassionate staff.

Who We Serve

EMASS serves Iraqi, Chaldean, Filipino, African American, Somali and Latinx seniors who are 60 years and over. Referrals are made by UPAC Community Health Workers. Interested seniors can call 760-233-1984 for more information.

UC San Diego Research Study Opportunity

Intervention for Loneliness among Older Adult

Researchers at UC San Diego are conducting a research study to improve loneliness and social isolation in older adults in San Diego. This study involves participating in a program that has been designed to reduce loneliness and social isolation by helping you to engage socially. If you meet criteria for this study and agree to be part of the study, you will meet one-on-one for 6 weeks with a study therapist via Zoom, a HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing program. These six, 60-minute sessions will include training to increase positive emotions and your pursuit of social activities. Before and after treatment, study staff will meet with you to complete questionnaires related to loneliness, physical and mental health.

If you feel lonely/socially isolated and are interested in participating, please call Velia Gitari, EMASS Program at 619-871-0528 for more information.

Success Story

“Before I came here, I was working as a caregiver. My employers passed away and I was in mourning. I found in EMASS a family who loves me and welcomes me with open arms.”

* Names have been altered to protect client privacy.

Funded by the County of San Diego

County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency | Live Well San Diego

Program Manager

Velia Gitari

Velia Gitari, MA

Velia Gitari, MA, has been working with older adults since 2003 starting with chronic mentally ill older adults and later coordinating a peer counseling program where volunteers provided emotional support to chronically mentally ill clients. Her expertise in this area helped her transfer her skills to the UPAC-EMASS Program providing support, training and supervision to the EMASS’ Community Health Workers. Today, she is the Program Manager, enhancing the delivery of its goals–to reach older adults in underserved communities with engagement, outreach and mental health prevention education. She also manages its more important element–The Community Health Workers representatives of Iraqi, Chaldean, African American, Somali, Latino and Filipino Communities.

200 N. Ash Street, Suite 100
Escondido, CA 92027
Tel: (760) 233-1984

175 W. Lexington Avenue, Suite B&C
El Cajon, CA 92020
Tel: (619) 749-5560