Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Blog
- Posted byon May 3, 2012 at 9:53 AM EST
Ed. Note: This item is cross-posted from AIDS.gov
This month we are observing both Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Hepatitis Awareness Month. The dual observances are an important opportunity to bring attention to the disproportionate burden of viral hepatitis among the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the United States and to renew our commitment and call to action to address this disparity.
Viral Hepatitis Disparities in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities
Liver cancer and other liver problems caused by viral hepatitis (for example, cirrhosis) affect some U.S. populations more than others, resulting in substantial health disparities. This is especially true for Asian and Pacific Islanders Americans (APIs). In fact, an estimated 1 in 12 APIs are living with chronic hepatitis B. So, although Asian/Pacific Islander Americans make up only some 5 percent of the total U.S. population, they represent 50 percent of the estimated 800,000—1.4 million persons who are infected with hepatitis B in the United States. These health disparities are further reflected in viral hepatitis–associated illness and death. For example, liver cancer incidence is highest among the API population. Despite these high rates, many APIs are not tested for hepatitis B, thus remaining unaware of their infection and not accessing lifesaving medical care and appropriate treatment. Read more about this health disparity and what can be done at CDC’s Viral Hepatitis and APIs page.
- Posted byon May 3, 2012 at 8:00 AM EST
When we talk about the community development needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), it’s tempting to think in terms of formulas—what’s the right recipe or set of ingredients that will prove an effective community building strategy? Due to the diverse nature of our AAPI ethnic groups, the diverse geographic representation of our community, and the broad definition of community development itself, to expect a “cookie-cutter” answer is not only unrealistic, it is culturally incompetent.
We know that the category of “Asian American and Pacific Islander” consists of over 50 different ethnic groups. Ours is a diverse, multicultural and multi-lingual community that is hard to fit into any one definition. Likewise, “community development” is a very broad term that is used to describe a wide range of strategies and activities from housing to workforce development to small business assistance and local economic development to urban agriculture to advocacy. But just as people who identify as AAPI share common traits, the people, groups and organizations that are using a community development framework to lift up their community or neighborhood also share some common traits and values that are worth highlighting.
- Posted byon May 2, 2012 at 9:53 AM EST
In 1990, Congress voted to have the month of May designated as Asian Pacific Heritage Month. That means that for the past twenty two years, the accomplishments, the tragedies, and the triumphs of this vibrant and diverse community have been recognized as essential to the identity of this great nation. As Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month turns 22, it is an opportunity for us all to reflect on other notable milestones that define our past, informed our present, and will shape our future.
I want to tell the story of two different AAPI communities in order to illustrate our resilience and the continuing challenges of integrating newcomers to our country. One community, Japanese Americans, has undergone decades of strife and turmoil in order to emerge as a community with a national voice. Another set of our community has just set foot in America in the last few years, and they are struggling through pressing challenges that test our nation’s ability to build another generation of new Americans.
- Posted byon May 1, 2012 at 5:04 PM EST
Ed. Note: This item is cross-posted from HealthCare.gov
Each May during Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we celebrate the remarkable contributions and accomplishments of the AAPI community to the fabric of our nation. As a Korean American son of immigrants, I am all too familiar with the barriers AAPIs face in accessing health care for reasons such as poverty, lack of insurance, language barriers and other challenges.
But, as the Assistant Secretary for Health, I am particularly pleased to see the progress we have made in closing the gaps in AAPI health care, and am honored to oversee efforts that can address the ongoing health disparities that continue to exist within our vibrant community.
- Posted byon May 1, 2012 at 8:00 AM EST
Today, we kick off Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. This occasion provides us with a special opportunity to celebrate the successes of our community and the important challenges that still lie ahead.
As the Co-Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, I am proud of the Obama Administration’s efforts to reach out to all members of our diverse community – to hear about the issues on their minds and their ideas for how the federal government can better serve them. Since President Obama re-established the Initiative in October 2009, the Initiative staff and advisory commission members have crisscrossed the country, holding roundtables and forums that have reached over 25,000 people in more than 50 cities.
- Posted byon April 25, 2012 at 2:25 PM EST
During April, we celebrate National Minority Health Month by reflecting on the progress that has been achieved in reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. As we continue to move forward toward health equity, we recognize that this has truly been a year of unprecedented opportunity for minority populations.
The Affordable Care Act -- the landmark health care law signed by President Obama two years ago -- is generating new opportunities in the national effort to eliminate health disparities.
The new health care law gives Americans the security of knowing that they don't have to worry about losing coverage if they get sick or change jobs:
- Children can no longer be denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition, such as asthma or a heart defect, and in 2014, insurance companies will be banned from discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition.
- An additional 2.5 million young adults have gained health coverage because they can stay on their parents' insurance plans until age 26, including 97,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
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