On September 9th, 2023, Asia Pacific Cultural Center proudly held its first Health Screening Fair, partnering with Dr. David Zhang and his support system of local healthcare providers, as well as incredible volunteers who sacrificed their time to contribute to the community. As part of the Journey to Wellness - AANHPI Health Empowerment Initiative, our dedicated collective ensured the success and operation of this free event.
Providing screenings specifically targeting for heart disease, this opportunity allowed for dozens of AANHPI people to educate themselves on their health and to allow for accessible services that are far out of reach for some members of the County. Each attendee received heart murmur screenings through stethoscope, then ECG (EKG) screenings. If heart murmur was suspected, they would also receive an ECHO screening to gather a more conclusive diagnosis. Afterwards, participants would check out with a provider, recommending further care through their primary doctors based on urgency and need.
Why do we need this program?
Asian Americans and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) are the fastest growing racial group in the US, representing over 50 ethnic groups, each with their distinct history, culture, and language.
Over 70% of Asian Americans are foreign-born with challenges due to limited English proficiency.
The AANHPI community faces reduced access to healthcare services, particularly for chronic conditions.
There are many understudied health disparities in AANHPI subgroups, and AANHPI remains underrepresented in health data.
From September until the end of 2023, the focus of the Journey to Wellness program will be towards heart disease and diabetes.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among the AANHPI community but is also underdiagnosed. Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians disproportionally suffer from heart disease, with a mortality rate five times higher than average. Providing screening through community events helps raise awareness about heart disease and encourage community members to be proactive about their health.
The AANHPI community also suffers from high prevalence of diabetes. 50% of AANHPI community members with diabetes are unaware they have this disease for a number of reasons. ‘Skinny fat’, where a person may look thin but have a lot of hidden fat, contributes to Type 2 diabetes risk and prevalence, as body image contributes to the lack of concern that individuals may place on themselves and others. Additionally, diabetes screening tests and guidelines are often inaccurate since they do not take AANHPI health data into account.
After the success of our first Health Screening, we are looking forward to continuing this partnership to further the direct convenience of medical services and outreach to a wider audience who may benefit from these types of health fairs. Encouraging the AANHPI community to participate will help to dissipate negligence that occurs from a lack of desire to pursue health resources, and to have a conversation about stigmas towards health disparities.
Please continue to look for updates regarding future events which we plan to hold, as the Journey to Wellness program grows and expands over the course of this year and beyond.