Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Blog

  • Coordinating Outreach to the AAPI Community: New York Regional AAPI Forum

    Health & Social Services Workshop

    New York Regional Interagency Workgroup AAPI Forum. August 15, 2013. (by Everett Lo, Social Security Administration, New York Regional Public Affairs Office)

    The Regional Interagency Workgroup (RIWG) of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders strives to share information and resources with AAPI communities in each region across the nation. Over 75 individuals from 17 agencies currently participate in the RIWG, and the New York RIWG is one of the largest ones, with 24 federal agencies participating.

    On Thursday, August 15, 2013, the New York RIWG hosted an AAPI forum.  The event drew over 150 participants from New York and New Jersey representing AAPI advocacy groups, community based organizations, employers, elected officials, and local state agencies.  Participants interacted with regional senior officials to learn about available federal resources, and they joined workshops to discuss issues of importance in their communities: workers’ rights, small businesses, health and social services and housing.  Feedback from participants and presenters was overwhelmingly positive, with one participant stating “Yesterday’s initiative contributed to the importance of the work that our organizations do for our residents as we face new and exciting challenges in the future. As I sat through three of the workshops, I saw that you successfully captured the essence and highlighted all the programs that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and so many more of our residents need to have a better quality of life”.

    Forums like this help us understand each community’s distinct needs so that we can better serve you, and we encourage you to participate in an upcoming forum in your region.  Sign up to receive the Initiative’s weekly highlights for more information on upcoming events in your area.

    Dr. Michelle S. Davis, Regional Health Administrator, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health and Regional Interagency Working Group Member

  • Affordable Care Act: Creating Health Access for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the HHS Blog.

    Every one of us knows someone- a friend, a relative, or maybe a patient- who couldn’t receive the care they needed because they lacked insurance. Thankfully, this will start to change on October 1, 2013, when people can sign up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, with benefits beginning as early as January 1, 2014. 

    The Affordable Care Act — what some may know as Obamacare, health reform, or the health care law of 2010 — is a historic piece of legislation that can reduce health disparities in our nation.  Of note, a lot in the health care law represents good news for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

    Through provisions of the Affordable Care Act, more Americans will have access to affordable health care coverage.  For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the law’s benefits will help reduce disparities in both health care and health outcomes through expanded insurance coverage and better access to high-quality health care services.

    For example, the Affordable Care Act has enabled 121,000 young Asian American and Pacific Islanders ages 19 to 25 to gain health coverage, because they can now stay on their parents' plans until age 26.

    Also, about 3.8 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with private insurance have gained expanded coverage of free preventive care, such as mammograms, diabetes screenings, and hepatitis A and B vaccines for infants, children, and adults.

    Lastly, nearly 2 million uninsured Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will have new opportunities for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

    Affordable Care Act: Creating Health Access for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

    See the full-size graphic.

    As a Korean American son of immigrants, I am personally committed to help ensure that the nearly 1 in 5 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) who currently lack health insurance now have access to high quality, affordable health coverage. And as a physician and Assistant Secretary for Health, I am confident that the Affordable Care Act will deliver on the promise of better insurance, better care, and better prevention to elevate the public health of all Americans.

    This is our chance to make the dream of quality, affordable health insurance a reality for millions of Americans in all of our communities. If we work together, America will be a country where all people have the opportunity to attain their highest achievable level of health.

    Howard K. Koh, M.D., is the MPH Assistant Secretary for Health.

  • Learn About the Health Insurance Marketplace in Korean

    Nearly 1 in 5 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) do not have health insurance.  We know that health coverage is important to our families, and now, it will be more accessible than ever through the Affordable Care Act —what some may know as Obamacare, health reform, or the health care law of 2010.

    You’ve probably heard about the new Health Insurance Marketplace, which will be open on October 1.  But you probably still have questions, like what is the Marketplace, and can I really get health insurance?

    To provide information about the new Health Insurance Marketplace, to members of the AAPI community who do not understand, or have difficulty understanding English, I’m excited to announce that the White House Initiative on AAPIs will host a series of online Google+ Hangouts in AAPI languages.

    The first of these Hangouts will be in Korean.  During the Hangout, there will be a live question and answer period with representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They will respond to your questions and provide information on how to obtain health care coverage through the new Marketplace.

    The Korean in-language Hangout will take place on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 from 3:00 - 4:00 PM (EST). We hope you will join us by watching live at a local viewing party or online by joining our Google Hangout.  You may also submit your questions in advance, by emailing whitehouseaapi@ed.gov or tweeting them to @WhiteHouseAAPI. More information about the in-language Hangouts can be found on the WHIAAPI website, and more information about the Affordable Care Act can be found here.

    We hope you will join the conversation – in Korean!  Our goal is to bring greater awareness of health care to the AAPI population, so that all people achieve their full potential for health.

    Dr. Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, is the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    한국어로 건강 보험 마켓플레이스에 대해 알아 보십시오

    작성: Howard Koh 박사

    아시아계 미국인과 태평양 제도민(AAPI)의 약 5명 중 1명이 건강보험을 가지고 있지 않습니다. 건강 보험이 우리 가족들에게 중요하다는 것을 우리 모두 알고 있습니다. 혹자에게는 오바마케어, 건강개혁 또는 2010년 헬스케어법으로도 알려져 있는 의료보험개혁법을 통해 이제 건강 보험은 우리에게 보다 가까워질 것입니다.
     

    여러분 중에는 새로운 건강 보험 마켓플레이스라는 것을 들어보셨을 것입니다. 이것은 10월 1일부터  이용할 수 있게 될 것입니다. 그렇지만 여러분은 마켓플레이스라는 것이 무엇인지, 아니면 내가 진짜 보험을 갖게 될 수 있을지 같은 궁금증을 가지고 계실 것입니다.

    영어 구사가 쉽지 않은 AAPI 커뮤니티 가입자들에게 이 새로운 건강 보험 마켓플레이스에 대한 정보를 제공해드리는 행사에 관한 소식을 하나 전해드리겠습니다. AAPI에 대한 백악관 캠페인을 통해 여러 차례의 온라인 구글+ 행아웃 행사를 AAPI 가입자의 언어로 주최할 예정입니다.

    이 행아웃 이벤트의 첫 언어는 한국어입니다. 행아웃 진행 중에 미국 보건복지부의 담당자가 나와 실시간으로 질의 응답을 할 예정입니다. 담당자는 여러분의 질문에 답해드리고 새로운 마켓플레이스를 통해 어떻게 건강 보험을 얻을 수 있는지에 관한 정보를 제공해드릴 것입니다.

    한국어로 진행되는 행아웃은 2013 8 27화요일동부표준시로 오후 3~4시에 열릴 예정입니다. 현장 참여 모임에서 직접 행사를 보시거나 온라인으로 구글 행아웃에 참여하시어 내용을 보실 수 있습니다. 여러분의 질문을 이메일로 whitehouseaapi@ed.gov에 미리 제출하시거나 @WhiteHouseAAPI로 트윗을 하실 수도 있습니다. 모국어로 진행되는 행아웃에 대한 보다 자세한 정보는 WHIAAPI 웹사이트에서 확인하실 수 있으며 의료보험개혁법에 대한 보다 자세한 정보는 여기를 클릭하셔서 얻으실 수 있습니다.

    한국어로 진행되는 본 행사에 많은 분들이 참석하시기를 기대하겠습니다! 저희의 목표는 AAPI 이용자들에게 건강관리에 대한 경각심을 보다 더 일깨우는 데 있습니다. 그렇게 되면 모든 사람들이 최대한 건강을 누릴 수 있을 것입니다.

     Howard K. Koh(의학박사, 공중보건석사) 박사는 미국 보건복지부의차관보입니다.)
    "Korean Translation"

     

  • HEY! Do you Have Health Insurance?

    This summer, here at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, we’ve had the pleasure of working with ten talented interns. 

    White House Initiative on AAPIs summer 2013 interns and HEY! Ambassadors.

    White House Initiative on AAPIs summer 2013 interns and HEY! Ambassadors.

    As a staff member specializing in health policy, I was especially excited to hear that many of the interns were passionate about health and health care access for our community. Interns shared stories about the value of health in their families, and the difficulties some of their loved ones faced when attempting to access care. I heard about the importance of neighborhood community health centers, which tend to provide the cultural and linguistic sensitivity needed to effectively care for our communities.

    These stories especially caught my attention because enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplace is beginning soon on October 1, 2013. It’s now more important than ever for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to understand how to access health care and how the Affordable Care Act impacts the AAPI community. With so many students in the office, it became evident how critical it is for AAPI youth to be informed as well. Many youth do not feel that health insurance is important, yet are unaware of the potential high costs of medical care. Additionally, many AAPI youth are bilingual and are key to ensuring their family members, who may have limited English proficiency, understand how to access health care.

    Seeing this need for youth to get involved and using their experience working with student groups, the interns developed Health Engaged Youth (HEY!). Teaming up with the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, and the White House Initiative on Historically Black College and Universities, HEY! engages youth about the opportunities to get enrolled and covered through the Health Insurance Marketplace. HEY! also empowers youth to serve as HEY! Ambassadors and spread the word about health insurance coverage to their peers, family, and community. Through these passionate young leaders, we can work together to ensure our community has access to affordable health care.

    To find out more about HEY! and the Health Insurance Marketplace, we invite youth leaders to participate in the HEY! kick-off webinar on August 8th and visit the WHIAAPI website.

    Kate Moraras, serves as Senior Advisor in the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

  • Living in Chardhi Kala: One Year after the Shooting in Oak Creek

    One year ago, a lone gunman entered a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and senselessly murdered six worshippers and seriously injured several others, including Police Lieutenant Brian Murphy, who was shot 12 times at close range while attempting to save others.

    In the last year, individuals and communities around the country have come together in a national conversation about how to respond to crimes of hate and to ensure the safety of all our communities – from Oak Creek to Aurora to Newtown. That conversation continues, and is the reason why the President supports a plan to reduce gun violence through executive and legislative action.

    In addition, the Attorney General recently announced that the FBI will add a number of categories in its tracking of hate crimes, including those committed against Sikhs:

    After a nearly year-long process, in June of 2013, the Advisory Policy Board that advises the FBI on various issues, including statistical reporting under the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, recommended that the FBI Director add a number of categories in its tracking of hate crimes – including offenses committed against Sikh, Hindu, Arab, Buddhist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness and Orthodox Christian individuals. Director Mueller approved this recommendation. And – as we look toward the future – I’m confident that this change will help us better understand the law enforcement challenges we face. It will empower us to better enforce relevant laws to protect everyone in this country. And it is emblematic of our unwavering resolve to prevent and seek justice for acts of hate and terror.

    On Monday, I stood outside the gurdwara in Oak Creek to remember the six worshippers whose lives were lost in the shooting and stand in solidarity with a broad coalition of faith leaders and civil rights advocates, elected officials and law enforcement, and gun safety advocates and victims of gun violence from Tucson, Virginia Tech, and Newtown. There, I had the honor of sharing a message from President Obama to the Oak Creek community, in which he said:

    As we mark the anniversary of the tragedy at this Gurdwara, we honor the memory of those who were taken from us too soon, pray for their loved ones whose grief remains, and stand with a community whose enduring commitment to living in Chardhi Kala inspires us all.

    In the months and years to come, that Sikh concept of chardhi kala – relentless optimism, even in the face of adversity – will continue to heal and unite the Oak Creek community, and inspire all of us to take action to create a more safe and peaceful future.

    In case you missed it:

    Gautam Raghavan is an Advisor in the Office of Public Engagement.

  • What Do the New CLAS Standards Mean for AAPI Behavioral Health?

    A visit to the doctor can be daunting enough, but imagine how much more challenging it would be if you couldn’t communicate with your doctor or if your doctor didn’t take into account your health beliefs or practices. Language and culture are critical factors to consider in providing high quality health care and services, and with the rapidly growing Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population in our nation, cultural and linguistic competency has never been more important.

    Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services unveiled the enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (CLAS Standards), expanding the scope and improving the clarity of the first CLAS standards issued in 2000. The CLAS standards are intended to advance health equity, improve quality, and help eliminate health care disparities by providing a blueprint for individuals and health care organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services. So what do the CLAS standards mean for AAPIs, behavioral health care systems and practitioners?

    Research shows that there are disparities in behavioral health among racial, ethnic, sexual and gender minority populations. For instance, among individuals admitted for substance abuse treatment, AAPIs were more than three times as likely to report methamphetamines as the primary substance of abuse than for all other races combined, according to data from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS). Studies have also shown that minority populations, including AAPIs, have worse access to behavioral health care, receive lower quality care, and experience poorer outcomes even when they do receive care. Barriers such as stigma, cultural beliefs and limited English proficiency can contribute to these disparities.

    Implementing strategies to improve and ensure cultural and linguistic competency in our behavioral health care systems is a powerful way to address these disparities and ensure all populations have equal access to services and supports. Capacity building efforts focused on improving cultural and linguistic competency and incorporating the CLAS standards in systems can elevate awareness; enhance the ability to monitor program access, service use, and outcomes; and improve quality as a result. Practitioners and administrators can participate in training to better understand clients and be responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy and other communication needs. Community leaders can use Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s new Toolkit for Community Conversations About Mental Health to start a conversation about mental health in their communities, and help identify ways to ensure mental health needs are addressed appropriately. On a broader scale, some states have taken steps to weave the cultural and linguistic competency into the fabric of their health systems, by passing legislation to implement the CLAS standards.

    This National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, I invite you to learn more about the enhanced CLAS standards and think about how you can advance behavioral health equity by raising awareness about and incorporating these practices, starting with checking out the Blueprint for extensive explanations of the standards and implementation strategies. The White House Initiative on AAPIs provides information on behavioral health resources for the AAPI community. For instance, you can view the briefing the White House Initiative on AAPIs and the White House Office on Public Engagement held in May to discuss AAPI behavioral health issues and resources. You can also find more information about behavioral health disparities and behavioral health resources on SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity website and the National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health website.

    Larke Nahme Huang, Ph.D., a licensed clinical-community psychologist, is a Senior Advisor in the Administrator's Office of Policy Planning and Innovation at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.