I’m just back from a three-week volunteer assignment in Cambodia. I can honestly say that I have a different worldview based upon this experience. Please check in on my travel blog, http://dougincambodia.wordpress.com, to read about my experiences and see some photos.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a major speech by
President Obama at a high school in Las Vegas. The speech outlined the pillars
of the President’s vision for immigration reform. What most impressed me was
not necessarily the substance of his speech (a bipartisan group of Senators had
preempted him by issuing a largely similar immigration reform plan the day
before) but his style and communication skills. Sitting no more than 40 feet from
him (VIP seating – thanks to the Asian Pacific
Islander American Health Forum), I could immediately see that he has an
innate charisma and an ability to powerfully connect with his audience. I think
everyone could sense his passion and dedication to the issue of immigration
reform. In addition to outlining his immigration plan, he introduced an
audience member who had received a deportation deferral through the President’s
Executive Order. This served to put a human face on the issue of immigration –
here to see a video of his speech. For those with eagle eyes, note that at 23:49
of the speech, I am pictured sitting on the far left of the screen as President
Obama talks about the audience member. I happened to be sitting next to two
colleagues: to my right is Jeff Caballero, Executive Director of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health
Organizations (AAPCHO), and to his right is Pier Simeri, Community
Relations Director, City of Avondale.
What is it to be an American? To what does being an American citizen obligate us and entitle us? Eric Liu – actor, musician, attorney, and author – examined these and other questions in a one-man show at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts last week. The sold out show (I arrived too late for a seat) was videotaped and is archived for viewing here. Particularly for Asian Americans and other immigrant populations, watching this performance is time well spent. The show was sponsored by Zocalo Public Square, a project of the ASU Center for Social Cohesion and the New America Foundation. - Doug Hirano, MPH, APCA Executive Director
The year 2012 was our 10th anniversary – a time for reflection and celebration. We are proud of our progress in the past ten years and looking forward to unprecedented work in the next ten years. However, from a budgetary standpoint, 2012 was a year in which the recession and budget cuts finally caught up with us a bit. We were fortunate to add some short-term contract work conducting community assessments and a multi-year contract through the Kids’ Health Link program of the Children’s Action Alliance.
I am grateful to our staff members for their passionate and productive work on behalf of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Maricopa County. Behind the scenes, they touch the lives of thousands of AAPI families and individuals every year. In addition, our board of directors continues to provide sound leadership and organizational support. Our volunteers, partners and supporters deserve much credit as well.
I think 2013 will be an exciting year. We have some exciting grant proposals currently under review, and we are in discussion about some other new opportunities. However, before we leave 2012, I thought I should provide a quick synopsis of some of our achievements for the year:
Research and Assessment
Conducted a comprehensive community health assessment of north-central Phoenix on behalf of Desert Mission
Conducted focus groups and a community survey for the REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) project of the Arizona Department of Health Services
Disseminated more than 1,500 copies of “State of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Arizona, Volume 2: Health Risks, Disparities and Community Responses”
Initiated a Social Baseline Survey of three Arizona mining communities in conjunction with EPG and BHP Copper, Inc.
Established a Scientific Advisory Committee to provide consultation and technical assistance to APCA on scientific program, policy and research matters
Published an article in the journal Progress in Community Health Partnerships on the status of Asian American and Pacific Islander health research
Community Organizing and Engagement
Continued “Health Through Action Arizona” activities, including dissemination of the policy blueprint and conduct of “Know Your Rights” language justice workshops to more than 300 community members
Four APCA staff members completed “Connect to Power”, a year-long advocacy and leadership training sponsored by St. Luke’s Health Initiative
Helped establish a new community wellness coalition in south Phoenix known as “Cultivating South Phoenix”
Participated in the development of the Arizona Smoke Free Living (ASFL) coalition, which is focusing on establishing smoke-free multi-unit housing facilities in the Phoenix metropolitan area
Participated in a bipartisan coalition that developed a national platform for immigration reform known as “SANE”
Collaborated with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum to help create a new nationwide AAPI health advocacy network known as “AIM (Advocate, Impact and Mobilize) for Equity”
In partnership with other community-based agencies, held a voter registration drive within the AAPI community
Community Education and Services
Presented a play about suicide prevention called “Quiet Cries”, which was attended by 80 community members
Published articles on the importance of hepatitis B screening among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in journals of the Arizona Medical Association (Arizona Medicine), the Maricopa Medical Society (Round Up), and the Pima County Medical Society (Sombrero)
Established the availability in Arizona of smoking cessation telephone counseling in Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean through the California-based Asian Quit Line
Joined Kids Health Link, a coalition that enrolls families into the AHCCCS and KidsCare programs and also continued to assist AAPI community members in receiving services through local community health centers
Coordinated free diabetes and cardiovascular disease screenings in a variety of community settings to more than 250 individuals
Provided free hepatitis B testing to 262 individuals and participated on the national CDC viral hepatitis campaign steering committee
Added new contracts for medical interpretation through the “Bridging Cultures: Connecting Lives through Language” program, trained more than 20 individuals in medical interpretation, and assisted hundreds of patients in receiving in-language medical care
Educated more than 400 community members regarding breast cancer prevention and referred more than 100 women for low-cost mammograms and pap smears
Recruited more than 40 community members to participate in emergency preparedness exercises and trainings coordinated by the Maricopa County Department of Public Health
APCA executive director was selected as a 2012 Virginia G. Piper Fellow
Held a “Taste of Asia” 10-year anniversary fundraising dinner, with 300 attendees
Served as featured speakers at the following workshops and conferences:
10th Annual Conference of the ASU Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center
23rd Annual Conference of the National Adult Protective Services Association
Social Determinants of Health workshop, Arizona Department of Health Services
ASU Trans-disciplinary Training for Health Disparities Science Seminar Series "Social Determinants of Health: Service and Policy Implications” - ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy
A new study provides further evidence that a physically active lifestyle can extend the quantity and quality of life. The study found that there was a gain in life expectancy of 3.4 years for individuals who averaged 150 – 300 minutes of physical activity per week – when compared to individuals with no regular physical activity. Study results applied to individuals 40 years of age and older. Similar results in a study in Taiwan suggest the longevity benefits are transnational and cross cultural. Importantly, physical activity provided a benefit for individuals across the spectrum of body mass index, meaning that even obese individuals could expect to see some life expectancy gains with regular physical activity. Click here for a link to the study.
On the eve of Election Day, we can all use a reminder about the preciousness of the right to vote in this country. Click here to read about a 93-year-old World War II veteran diagnosed with terminal cancer whose last act as an American citizen was to cast an absentee ballot in the upcoming election. Mr. Frank Tanabe passed away a week after the photo was taken. This story is for those of us who need a little extra encouragement to go to their polling place and vote.
The APCA Scientific Advisory Council is off and running. The Council met for the first time on August 29th. This new council was established to provide advice to our organization on all issues of science. This will include review of written documents such as screening protocols and grant proposals. It will also include consultation on specific scientific or medical issues as they arise. We have put together a world-class group of scientists with expertise in women’s health, mental health, oncology, gastroenterology, medical anthropology, nursing, epidemiology, clinical research and health promotion. Here’s a list of our members and their affiliations:
James Campbell, MD (chair)
Heyoung McBride, MD, Arizona Oncology Services
Linda Larkey, PhD, Arizona State University
Mark Wong, MD, Banner Samaritan Medical Center
Tim Flood, MD, Arizona Department of Health Services
Angela Chen, PhD, Arizona State University
Jennifer Weil, MD, National Institutes of Health
Wendy Astudillo, NP, Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System
Seline Szkupinski-Quiroga, PhD, Arizona State University
Our first meeting was focused on getting to know each other and providing an introduction to APCA and its work. We had a preliminary discussion about diabetes screening and prevention and the need for tracking short-term outcomes to measure impact. Thanks so much to Dr. Jim Campbell for his willingness to chair this group. We plan to meet again in November and have more focused discussions on issues affecting the health of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Maricopa County.
The mission of the Asian Pacific Community in Action is to improve the health and well being of the Asian Pacific Islander community in Maricopa County through empowerment, health promotion and disease prevention.