Helping AAPI Populations Address Health Disparities
The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population is often perceived as being one of the healthiest ethnic groups in the Unites States. However, contrary to the “model minority” perception, many of the 16.6 million AAPIs in this country are disproportionately affected by certain health issues. For example:
- Laotian, Samoan, and Vietnamese women have the highest cervical cancer rates in the United States.
- AAPIs represent more than half of chronic Hepatitis B infections (and resulting deaths) in the country.
- AAPIs in the state of Hawaii have more than twice the rate of diabetes as its White residents.
One of the reasons for such health disparities is likely “linguistic isolation.” There are more than 100 languages prevalent in AAPI communities, and experts estimate that nearly a quarter of AAPIs live in isolated households, where adults and/or family members over age 14 are not proficient in English.
AAPIs who are linguistically isolated may be less likely to seek help if they have a medical concern. To help reduce these disparities, nurses who serve AAPI communities should know about available multilingual online resources. Here are two to consider:
1. The Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI)
Based in Montgomery County, Maryland, the AAHI was created to meet the health care needs of its AAPI citizens in a culturally competent manner. The program sponsors a detailed website that provides educational health resources offered in English, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Though the organization exists to help address health care needs in Montgomery County, Maryland, the website provides a good source of education for anyone who wants to learn more about health care issues affecting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
2. Asian Pacific Islander Cancer Education Materials (APICEM) Web Tool
Cancer is the leading cause of death for the AAPI population. The American Cancer Society provides access to this web tool, which offers information on detection, treatment, pain management, and related topics for a number of different cancers. The materials have been screened to be culturally relevant and are available in several different languages.
Nurses play an important role in helping all patients and their families receive the health care services they need. These resources can assist nurses in addressing those issues that disproportionately affect the AAPI population.
Margarette Burnette is a freelance writer based in Acworth, Georgia.