MINNEAPOLIS — (Nov. 6, 2012) — The Asian Pacific American Community Network (APA ComMNet) Coalition, in collaboration with Asian Media Access, held an Asian American and Pacific Islander health equity retreat on September 27-28, at the North Regional Library in North Minneapolis.
The event served to complete the first two years of its Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health for Communities Organized to Respond and Evaluate (REACH CORE) project, with funding provided through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This national program partners with community-based programs and culturally-tailored interventions to eliminate health disparities among communities of color.
As the results of these findings are critical to the health and well-being of the AAPI community and of the interest to public health officials, the APA ComMNet two-day REACH retreat gathered eight AAPI ethnic community partners; city, county, and state public health officials; National REACH Coalition representatives; as well as interested community members, to discuss the Community Health Status Assessment and strategically plan policy, systems and environmental change interventions to address AAPI health disparities throughout Minnesota.
The retreat began its first day with Ms. Melissa Kwon, a Research Associate with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research Educational Improvement, giving a presentation on “Health Research & the Connection to Ethnic Health Disparities”, which was highly informational and valuable to the retreat attendees and for AAPI communities.
Following Ms. Kwon’s presentation, APA ComMNet members from Asian Media Access, Mr. David Kang and Ms. Khou Yang, presented three 2012 REACH reports: the Community Health Status Assessment, Community Themes and Strengths Assessment, and the Forces of Change Assessment. The disaggregated AAPI health data in the reports presented was of interest, and sometimes of surprising, to most of the retreat participants.
On the second day of the APA ComMNet REACH Retreat, Ms. Ange Hwang, Executive Director of AMA, gave a presentation on the concept of a “Bi-cultural Healthy Lifestyle” by using Asian foods as an example to demonstrate the need for a balance between cultures as it relates to health and well-being. As the second day of the retreat came to a close, participants in smaller groups developed policy, system and environmental changes to address the top three health issues in AAPI communities: obesity, mental health and disaggregation of health data.
During the two years of the REACH CORE program, APA ComMNet and AMA, along with its coalition partners, researched and assessed the health of the eight most populous AAPI ethnic groups in the metropolitan area. Based on APA ComMNet’s two-year findings and REACH CORE reports, some AAPI sub-groups are currently experiencing high rates of heart disease, heart attack, asthma, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and substance abuse.
APA ComMNet is looking for more partners to engage in this important health equity initiative. For additional information on the REACH CORE project, please contact APA ComMNet at [email protected] or 612-376-7715.