Saturday, November 14, 2009

Health Innovation Dreams

The creation of many new nanotechnology applications brings great advances to science. As a woman suffering with the worst teeth in the world, I have dreams of what a perfect world and wallet I would have if teeth coats were invented. Literally, little nanoparticles would coat your enamel in a way such that your teeth would be healthy, shining, and impermeable to cavities.

Nothing can be perfect and the product has to generate money regularly, so it would probably have to be something that requires reapplication every year or two. But that's a small flaw for a lot of perfect teeth. On a deeper level, another much more serious concern would be the public health safety concerns surrounding such technology. What are the potential health hazards of practical nanotechnology? If bad, are they really practical?

Currently there are very many nanoscale technologies that we use in our everyday lives such as Teflon, Gore-Tex, and carbon fiber to name a few. Those non-stick pans that are friends of the fried egg can be dangerous when more than medium heat is used as the heat burns the Teflon and lets off harmful fumes. Other surfactants like Gore-Tex can be found on your waterproof jacket. Carbon fiber, that expensive race car's hood and/or entire body.

So with the prevalence of such technologies, we have to wonder if they are safe in the long-term and worth using. If safe, great. If not, why isn't there more regulation and oversight of these products? is another question to consider. In the UK, DEFRA essentially did away with their nanotechnology oversight and the only US city looking at these technologies through regulation is Berkeley. What thoughts are out there? Will these innovations, possibly into health, only be a dream?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Opportunity Cost- What it looks like

Many of us have learned what opportunity cost is in our economics class-- it is what we give up in order to get something else. Even though I know that opportunity cost could apply to small or large-scale situations, I tend to get caught up with the small-scale. For instance, this morning I woke up half-an-hour earlier so that I could eat breakfast and the opportunity cost of that was half-an-hour of sleep. For some reason when I think about opportunity cost, my mind immediately goes to my personal day-to-day utilization of time and money.

I went into work today and my supervisor told me to research the costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars and subsequently find what the US could have spent the same amount of money on. Essentially-- opportunity cost. This is what I found from

Taxpayers in the United States will pay $915.1 billion for total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending since 2001. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:
  • 269,705,508 People with Health Care for One Year OR
  • 947,364,311 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR
  • 19,764,579 Public Safety Officers for One year OR
  • 15,693,033 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR
  • 141,481,138 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
  • 171,046,729 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5350 OR
  • 7,118,476 Affordable Housing Units OR
  • 403,332,085 Children with Health Care for One Year OR
  • 125,579,800 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR
  • 15,032,444 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
  • 13,221,600 Port Container Inspectors for One year
In 2001, I was in seventh grade and had no idea what was happening in Iraq and Afghanistan-- it was almost a mental tune-out whenever I heard the names of these two countries. Now, being a college student, I'm experiencing over a 30% rise in tuition costs in one year with fewer instruction days and fewer scholarship opportunities. Recent graduates across all college campuses are having trouble finding employment, which is often coupled with a lack of adequate health insurance. These numbers clearly illustrate the ways in which the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have cut a plethora of resources domestically whether it be jobs, education, healthcare, etc. This is definitely not what I originally had in mind when I thought about opportunity cost.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Need for Change: Insights From a Patient

I am a young cancer patient, who has been afforded an unparalleled opportunity to gain insight into a flawed healthcare delivery system. I hope to share observations and opinions I have formed over my many months of treatment.

Once a month, I visit my oncologist's office to check on the status of my illness and to make changes to my treatment regimen, as needed. With 3-4 decades to spare, I am always the youngest patient at the clinic
. With a few outdated magazines and week old newspapers in the waiting room, I often am more amused by patients walking in and out rather than the provided "entertainment." It didn't take too long to notice a startling trend amongst the other patients. While my visits often ran around 30 minutes in length, other patients were ushered in and out as if they were whirling around a revolving door. At first I didn't think too much about it. I figured these patients had probably been longterm patients and the checkups became efficient and mundane for them. After a few months of visits and becoming what I would consider a longterm patient, my visits still lasted around half an hour...

In the dimly-lit and bare-walled waiting area, I began to theorize about my interesting observation. Was my situation so dire that I required extra long visits? Did the physician enjoy chatting me up compared to his other patients? Did the schedule just happen to dictate more free time around my visits?

Then IT hit me. The clinic has a strict rule against allowing patients to bring their families into the room, unless physical incapacities necessitate it. In addition, most of the older patients speak minimal to no English, as they bared with the physician's inadequate Chinese speaking skills. I, on the other hand, speak fluent English and have a solid background in science. While other patients fail to grasp what the physician is saying, not to mention their inability to understand the scientific concepts behind their illness and therapies, I always prepare a list of questions and studied my illness and therapeutic regimen carefully. Because other patients had a weak understanding of what the physician had to say, I can imagine many of them resigning to sitting quietly, waiting for the physician to conclude the visit. Not only is this an alarming trend, it is also a dangerous one. Many chemotherapy medications have strict schedules and narrow therapeutic ranges. One misstep can absolutely be fatal. In addition, these patients are not receiving the quality of care they deserve in battling such a grim illness. Understanding of the illness and therapies is unquestionably critical to a successful recovery.

This observtion has further validated my rallying call for more culturally-competent, multi-lingual health professionals. Above actual treatment, communication is key to successful healthcare delivery and successful patient recovery. While many of us strive to improve healthcare, we must not lose sight of simple things. We must be vigilant of a patient's right to know, which may necessitate the services of an interpreter. There remains a glaring need for better communication in the healthcare system. We must always remember this.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reflections of a Bilingual Labor Coach


On Saturday morning at 6:50AM I was jolted from my dreamless slumber by a loud phone call from my co-labor coach. Our patient had called her at 4AM and said she was going into labor.

I am a volunteer labor coach through Asian Health Services in Oakland, CA. Most patients are new immigrants from China who only speak Cantonese, so I help them through the labor process by interpreting what the doctors say to her, teaching her breathing and pushing techniques, and act as her emotional and physical support during the labor.

YES. MY FIRST LIVE DELIVERY. EVER. It was truly epic. EPIC! I picked up my co-coach from the bart and we rushed to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where the patient was already having contractions every eight minutes.

I proceeded to introduce myself, and told her that I was the interpreter from Asian Health. I tried to make small talk with her so she could focus her pain on something else, and chatted lightly about what the baby’s name was going to be, about the color of the baby’s room, of the chicken-ginger soup her mother-in-law was cooking for her. The doctors rushed in and out of the room, anxious to see how dilated her cervix was. The nurse who stood by me asked me to translate for her and asked for me to reposition her body and to console her through the wrenching contractions. Her husband stood by nervously, eager to understand what was going on in the blur of English sentences and half a dozen of medical staff coming in and out of the room.

I stayed by her hour after hour, wiped the sweat off her forehead. When the contractions became more frequent, grabbed her hand, and told her to concentrate. I told her in Cantonese that she was doing great—that if she could conserve all her energy and push as hard as she could, the baby would be out.

And to make a long story short........ Yes, I saw a real live vaginal delivery. The patient was in labor for four long hours. Yes, there was a boatload of blood, gore, pus, vaginal fluid, pee (they deflated her bladder using a catheter!), poop (the baby pooped), hair, amniotic fluid (water broke), genitalia, umbilical cord, a gigantic and fleshy placenta..... and more. She didn't use an epidural or any other pain medication.. she just ... toughed it out.

To anyone who doubts the pain and agony that a woman goes through labor and delivery.. ask any mother or have one of your own. I offered my hand for her to squeeze quite a few times during her contractions. I could barely feel my fingers afterwards.

What blows my mind is how strong and persevering the mother was. She just overcame the pain and worked so incredibly hard to push out her beautiful baby boy, and really, when I saw the head of the baby come out, I nearly cried from joy and relief and just pride for what she had done. It was beautiful….Absolutely surreal.

The baby boy's name is Eric. He came out healthy but what delayed his delivery was he had trouble getting out since his hand was reaching upwards and the umbilical cord was dangerously wrapped around his neck. After the delivery, the mom was getting stitched up (the doctor said that her vagina was "really torn up") and she asked me if I wanted to hold her newborn. I hesitated at first (I doubted my own child-rearing / child-holding abilities) but she insisted and there I was, holding this little life in my arms that was less than an hour old. I was at a total loss of words..................

Despite the long hours and the sporadic nature of being a labor coach, I continue to volunteer because I know that these people really need me and our services. There really is no one else there for them. I can’t imagine being pregnant and checking into a hospital but not knowing the language or being able to communicate with the medical staff. Thus, to participate in such an intimate situation with a total stranger, where I see a breathing, crying baby emerge as a result of coaching makes me proud that I could help, and grateful that the delivery was a success. Through a common language and culture, I am happy that I was able to impact someone’s life.


If you are interested in becoming a volunteer labor coach, check out and contact Thuy for more information. There are training sessions every several months, and AHS is always looking for interpreters who speak Cantonese, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Tagalog, Khmer, Mongolian, Lao, Korean, and other languages.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Do young adults care about health care?

I remember growing up having my parents take me to the dentist every 6 months and seeing the doctor every two years. I'm 24 now and haven't had that privilege since I graduated from UCLA 2.5 years ago.

I would think that a degree from UCLA and having a traditional upbringing in a Filipino household would teach me how to be more responsible in the real world. But this is a reality that many recent graduates face; not understanding health care.

Check out this article from The Sacramento Bee about what college grads face once they lose insurance...

This issue also brings another issue at hand. How much do people, educated or not, understand or care about in our current health care system?

Lately I've been following issues in the health care debate. Why isn't it affordable? What will people lose in this new health care reform? What will people benefit from this health care reform? And, most importantly, how can communities better understand what health care means to them?

In an ideal world people will talk about this. They will analyze it and they will advocate for their beliefs. Unfortunately, a good chunk of the uninsured population are in the 18-29 age range. And, a lot don’t know much about health care. If you have read the article I set a link to above, readers have left interesting comments regarding their take on young people not understanding healthcare. Some of the comments amaze me but make sense to a degree...

"Sorry, but, considering the fact that the majority of our society is overweight/obese and/or has some preventable chronic disease (due to smoking, drinking, not exercisizing, poor eating habits), I just have very little sympathy for this situation. Stop thinking that society owes you something; go out and earn for yourself. You'll actually appreciate what you have."


"The reason this is a story is that young people don’t use ins. The premium goes to those unhealthy people that do use the system. Sure they have the highest rate visits to the emergency room."

I get it, but who in their 20s know exactly how to take care of themselves? And how many people (of all ages) go out of their way to understand steps to (good) health care, much less health care in our economic and national crises?

As the health care debate heats up around our nation, it makes me wonder who in our nation has the most impact in changing the health care system. People like me I guess.

My thoughts…

  1. As a post grad who has a good future ahead for myself, I still grapple with understanding the health care system. (I’m still young and na├»ve. I learn best through growing pains like this.)

  2. If people my age could begin to question their status as far as health care is concerned, maybe it can further develop their understanding of what role they play in the health care system…
  3. …hence leading up to people actually advocating for a better health care system for themselves and even more, for their communities.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Get Involved! Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALT)

I just wanted to inform folks of a great opportunity. The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is offering a program called the Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALT) to undergraduates, recent grads, and young professionals. The purpose of the program is to help develop and strengthen the leadership and advocacy skills of young people. This year the program will be focusing on healthcare reform. Participants will be taught new tactics and strategies that can be implemented in their communities and on their college campuses.

This would be a great way for Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander youth to engage in discussions about health care reform 2009 and health issues affecting them and their communities.

The CDF is accepting application for their fall YALT program Oct.2-4.

If you are interested please check out their website:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

HIV & Feminism in Vietnam

My teacher and I went in a hospital to talk to HIV patients. We talked to one. (On a side note, it was SO ODD to me that no one checked us in and we just freely walked in and picked a bed and random patient to talk to and even weirder that he was willing to answer our questions and share about his personal history. I guess one of the differences between US and Vietnamese culture.) He contracted HIV from "relations" which I assume to mean an extramarital affair or he hooked up with a prostitute.

His wife was with him and she didn't even wanna get checked! I told her she should really get checked. If I were her, I'd definitely be, because she might have HIV now and two, because he cheated on her and in the end, who is taking care of him? her. I guess I'm especially irritated because it seems like such a NORM for Vietnamese men to do...extramarital affairs or prostitutes (variations of...massage, at a bar, at a cafe shop, comes with beer, on the street)...a sign of manhood. And women in Vietnam are expected to take it like their grandmothers, their mothers, their sisters, and their neighbors...they all take it. Vietnamese women are PRAISED for their sacrifices...for the crap they have to put up with. Just in Malaysia, a Vietnamese women who was in Malaysia to work told me about how her husband would beat her several times a day and she still stayed for the kids. Finally it seemed like he was trying to kill her and with advice from her daughter, she finally left.

I asked him how he knew to get checked. He had a fever that wouldn't go away and then he went into the hospital and got several scans that seemed ok and finally they checked his blood. This particular hospital in Saigon (or this particular building) is for HIV patients when they turn their health is taking a turn for the worse. Otherwise, they should just be taking their medicine regularly outside of the hospital. I was most curious about prevention. Did he know how to protect himself? He said no, and he also said he didn't think enough...I'm not sure what that answer means. I asked him about sex education in school...he didn't go to school. He worked in the rural areas, and a lot of poor children or children in rural areas stop going to school. What I did read about sex education in VN though is that it's very biologically based and hard to understand. I also asked him now that he knows he is infected, has anyone told him what to do to protect others. He said nope, they just give him medicine a couple times a day. That's terrible. That information is CRUCIAL!

I was talking to one of my other teachers...his wife is part of an organization that counsels HIV patients...I am planning to call to see how I can help. Health education is SO SO important and part of this situation breaks my heart because that knowledge is a privilege that I often take for granted as a Public Health major but important knowledge that they didn't have.

Medical system in VN

I've made an active effort to learn more about the medical system here.

My doctor friend took me on a tour of the hospital and answered my questions (when I volunteered to teach English in SF, one of my students turned out to be a doctor in Saigon...crazy where connections can take you).

So I always think the doctors in America don't give each patient enough time. Vietnamese doctors are seeing about 20 patients an hour. I was like....what the???! How is that possible unless they walk in and out the door. Also, each hospital has another floor for people who are willing to pay more...the floor isn't amazing. There's still a bunch of beds in one room and all the patients can see each other..and those are the good rooms. They said that if they had money, they would also have curtains like in America. The emergency room is just a big room with a bunch of beds and sick or injured people laying on it waiting to be seen or pushed into the appropriate department.

Health insurance is given only to the selected care providers automatically have it. Right now health care insurance in Vietnam is all public, but according to the doctor I talked to, only 30% of the population have's really hard to get it, even if you have money. Furthermore, right now they are trying to switch to universal health care insurance.

Abortion is legal here and seems to be done pretty frequently...for younger girls (under 18), they need parental consent...but not really. Money solves all, and it's such a taboo here that the doctor will just do it anyway rather than make the girl deal with family reputation and such being lost. One of my Vietnamese friends (a few years older than me) says a lot of her friends have gotten pregnant and gotten abortions already.

That's pretty much all I know for now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dr. Koh Confirmed as HHS Assistant Secretary for Health

Koh confirmed as assistant secretary at HHS
By Jennifer Lubell
Posted: June 22, 2009 - 11:00 am EDT

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the Senate’s confirmation of Howard Koh, 57, as HHS’ assistant secretary for health.

The former Massachusetts public health commissioner “is a world-renowned public health expert and physician who has devoted his career to promoting prevention and wellness policies and reducing health disparities,” Sebelius said in a written statement. “He will be an outstanding assistant secretary for health, and we look forward to his expertise and advice when it comes to making America’s families healthier and our health system stronger.”

Koh, an associate dean for public health practice and director of the division of public health practice at the Harvard School of Public Health, will oversee major health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health. He will also serve as the leading health adviser to the HHS secretary.

Koh previously served as Massachusetts’ public health commissioner from 1997 to 2003. At the Harvard School of Public Health, Koh has served as a principal investigator of multiple research grants related to community-based participatory research, cancer prevention, health disparities, tobacco control and emergency preparedness.

The Yale School of Medicine alumnus completed his postgraduate training and chief residencies at Boston City Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and has earned board certification in internal medicine, hematology, medical oncology and dermatology, as well as a master’s degree in public health.

First Asian H1N1 Death

It's on everyone's mind: Swine flu, or H1N1 flu. What we have to understand is that media coverage in other countries is by no means similar to how it is within the United States. During my trip to China, every time I turned on the TV, I'd hear about someone being quarantined, or how many new cases have popped up. So you wonder how much worse things are going to get once this hits:

First Asian Swine Flu Death Reported

The first swine flu death in Asia is being reported in the Philippines. A 49-year-old woman with heart and liver ailments has died after contracting the virus.

The woman died at her home on Friday, June 19, two days after she first showed symptoms of the virus.

post-autopsy results show that the death was caused by congestive heart failure and pneumonia...

and not H1N1 directly, there's no telling how this piece of news will affect government regulation and action regarding this pandemic.

A more personal story about my experiences with the swine flu scare in China coming up later.

Illinois legislation to create colorectal screening and threat

eNews Park Forest, "Riley, Demuzio Team Up to Create Cancer Screening

June 22, 2009

Springfield, IL-(ENEWSPF)- State Rep. Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields) and
state Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) passed legislation out of both
chambers of the General Assembly this session to create the Colorectal
Cancer Screening and Treatment Pilot Program in parts of the state with
the highest number of deaths due to colon cancer.

"People without insurance coverage need to be tested for this too-often
fatal cancer before it is too late," Riley said. "Illinois residents are
dying everyday because of a lack of awareness of colon cancer and
because they are unable to afford potentially life-saving screening and

Under Senate Bill 270, the Department of Public Health will provide
grants for the colorectal cancer screening and tests in areas that have
high rates of fatal colorectal cancer. The screening and treatment will
be provided to people without health insurance who are 50 years of age
or have a high risk of colon cancer. Testing will also be available to
those who have exhausted their current health insurance benefits. The
program will spread public information about the importance of screening
and reach out to people eligible for the program in participating

"Colorectal cancer often has no symptoms, which is why regular screening
is so important," said Demuzio. "I lost my husband to this disease and I
want to do everything I can to help prevent others from dying of colon

The bill had support from the American Cancer Society.

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the 3rd
most commonly diagnosed cancer among Illinois residents and causes over
3,000 deaths a year. Screening is essential to catch the cancer in its
early stages and reduces mortality by detecting a higher proportion of
cancers when they are more treatable.

"Screening and early detection will lead to successful treatment for
colon cancer," said Dr. K. Thomas Robbins, Director of the SIU Cancer
Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. "Senate
Bill 270 is a worthy program that will save lives and cost to the health
care system."

"I am passionate about seeing this bill become law because I have no
doubt it will save lives," said Sheila Strong, American Cancer Society
advocacy volunteer. "I have lost dear friends and loved ones to this
disease. How many more people have to die because they can't afford
life-saving screening? Like the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer
program that has saved the lives of so many, I truly hope to see this
measure have that same success."

Senate Bill 270 was sent to the governor's desk for his signature on
June 12.

Friday, June 19, 2009


From: REHDC (Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition)


Circulate/Distribute (Use your email list - phone list)

The Health Reform bill is too silent on the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities! Health Reform will not include you if you don’t speak up and speak out! And, get others to help. Congress is working on one of the most important bills about your health for now and generations to come. You must Get Involved! Stand up now for all of US. Action on health reform is moving quickly.

ACTION: Call your two Senators today at 202-224-3121

[This is the capitol switchboard service – they are very helpful. So, if you don’t know your Senator’s name just tell them the name your state and they will connect you. Do not hang up; do not give up. A phone call is more effective right now because the Congress is moving so quickly; however, if you just to want to email go to Whether you call or email, Just do it! You can make that critical difference in health reform]

Tell your two Senators that the health reform bill must:

· Include the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities in all sections – insurance, prevention, quality, community services, and workforce

· Authorize, strengthen and adequately fund the Office of Minority Health, and Offices of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services including the CDC, FDA, SAMHSA, CMS and other key agencies

· Include a National Strategy to End Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

· Protect prevention and wellness

The Congress must hear from you NOW!– Now is the time for health reform for all of America’s residents and this will not include all of us if there is not a National will to end racial and ethnic health disparities! YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED NOW!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Watching TV before you go to bed

Watching TV before you go to bed gives you a bad night's sleep and can lead to chronic health problems, scientists have claimed. Read more at

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Everyone has a health care story. What's yours?

The health care reform debate is heating up fast. With the Obama Administration and policymakers in Congress poised to introduce their proposals to fix our broken health care system this summer, the time is ripe for NAPAWF members to raise our voices and be seen and heard on this critically important issue. NAPAWF wants to hear from you so we can link real world examples to the policy reforms we want Congress to make. If you have a story, please email Priscilla. We'll post your story on our blog, Warrior Prose, and may deliver your message on one of our Hill visits. Please indicate if you would like to remain anonymous when we post or share your story.

What's your health care story?

Nearly 18% of Asian American women and 24% of Native Hawaiian women are uninsured. API women are more likely than their white or male counterparts to live below the poverty line and lack employer-sponsored health coverage because many API women are employed in low-wage industries, work part-time or work for small employers that do not offer health insurance. Newly arriving Asian immigrant women also face the added burden of arbitrary waiting periods and meeting burdensome documentation requirements, while undocumented immigrant women are currently barred from all public health coverage programs. In short, API women face greater challenges accessing and affording health insurance.

Have you/your family faced a barrier to accessing affordable health insurance coverage?

If so, tell us your story.

Health insurance coverage alone does not ensure access to quality health services. The API community includes more than 30 diverse ethnic subpopulations that vary by national origin, language, culture, immigration status and economic status. As such, health services must be patient centered and take into account the impact of culture, language and gender identity at all levels of assessment, diagnosis and treatment in order to meet the needs of API women and their families. Health care reform must also invest in communities, the health care workforce and public health programs to increase the resources, diversity, distribution, cultural and linguistic competence and knowledge needed to provide quality care for all API women.

Have you/your family been dissatisfied by the quality of health care received?

If so, tell us your story.

API women need comprehensive health care services that span a woman's lifetime and address her physical, mental and dental care needs. Access to reproductive and sexual health services is a critical component to well-woman care particularly because API women experience a range of health disparities including high cervical cancer and breast cancer rates and increasing STI rates among young API women. Community-based prevention programs are also critically important to help reduce disparities. Because women in the API community already underutilize screening and counseling programs, health care reform efforts must promote community-based solutions that can help API women access safe spaces, improve health literacy, and use comprehensive family planning services.

Have you/your familiy experienced a gap in health care services due to your gender or race/ethnicity?

It so, tell us your story.

Everyone has a health care story. What's yours?

In sisterhood,


National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum | 6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 506 | Takoma Park, MD 20912

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cameron House Exec Director Position Opening

Executive Director, Cameron House
Cameron House
San Francisco, California
Salary: $75,000-$90,000/yr

Cameron House, located in San Francisco’s Chinatown, seeks a dynamic
and visionary executive leader. In partnership with the Board of
Directors and Staff, the successful candidate will carry forward and
build on the legacy of inspirational leadership, high quality client
services and successful outcomes achieved by its retiring executive
director. S/he will be skilled in articulating a vision that will
continue to attract resources to the agency, and increase its reach
and impact for community members.

About Cameron House

Started by Presbyterian women as the Occidental Mission Home for Girls
in 1874, Cameron House intervened on behalf of Asian immigrant girls
and women who had been smuggled into the United States to be sold as
domestic workers and/or prostitutes in a system that became known as
the "yellow slave trade". Asian immigrant women who died in enslaved
conditions in San Francisco numbered in the thousands. Donaldina
Cameron came to the Occidental Mission Home as a sewing teacher and
stayed for forty years. She devoted her life as a missionary to assist
Asian women victimized by violence and racial discrimination.


• B.A. or B.S. degree in social work, business or public
administration or another social sciences related field is required.
Master’s Degree is desired.
• A minimum of five years of senior nonprofit management experience,
preferably in the area of social services.
• Proven experience raising both public and private funds, including
experience developing and implementing fundraising plans and
generating new sources of income.
• Experience supervising staff in a multi-service organization.
• Demonstrated experience with fiscal management, budget development
and monitoring, and financial oversight.
• Experience working with a nonprofit Board of Directors including
proven ability to set, manage, and implement policies.
• Awareness and working knowledge of, experience addressing, and
sensitivity towards the needs of immigrant families in the Bay Area.
• Ability to speak Cantonese and/or Mandarin is preferred.
• Proven experience serving and working with diverse populations.

Please check out the link for further information about this job.

Bone Marrow Transplant

Nick Glasgow is a 28-year-old multiracial Japanese American who desperately needs a bone marrow transplant. Finding a good genetic match for multiracial patients like Glasgow — who is three-fourths Caucasian and one-fourth Japanese — can be excruciatingly difficult. It is his heritage, in fact, that caused a doctor to tell him he had a "zero percent" chance to live.

Glasgow urgently needs to find a bone marrow donor.

The Nichi Bei Times, a Japanese American newspaper, is co-sponsoring a bone marrow drive Saturday, June 13 in San Francisco's Japantown at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California. Read more about the drive here:


WHEN: Saturday, June 13
WHERE: JCCCNC (Art Room, 1840 Sutter St., first floor) in San Francisco’s Japantown.
TIME: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

* The process involves a quick, painless swab of inside cheek cells, and takes just a few minutes. (blood is no longer drawn)
* By registering, you join a national database of potential donors for any patient in need
* If selected as a match, you will be contacted for further testing, and then be asked to donate blood stem cells either from your blood or your marrow
* FREE for minorities through AADP. Only $25 (tax deductible) for non-minorities

For more information, visit or call 800-59-DONOR.

Our most recent story on Glasgow is online as well:

Please consider spreading the word.

Thank you,

Human Trafficking

Two years ago, I helped out with a panel put on by an anti-sex-trafficking organization called Stop the Traffick at UC Berkeley. Through this event, I was exposed to the atrocities of the sex trafficking industry in the US and the many myths that came with it.

This pushed me to research sex trafficking specifically in Vietnam for a class project, and I learned how at risk of trafficking many Vietnamese women are, especially poor women in rural areas. In a situation with such little resources, women are forced to use their most precious commodity, themselves, to sell for a high price in order to find a route out of poverty as well as piously take care of their parents. I think about women in those desperate types of situations, and I shamefully think about the times when I thought my life sucked because I had two finals and a paper due in the same week. My friend once said that if that’s all I have to worry about, then my life is really good. He’s right.

I am about to head to Vietnam for three months on a program called the Vietnamese Advanced Summer Institute to learn Vietnamese starting mid-June. Since I had a close friend working in Malaysia at the Penang Office of the Coalition to Abolish Modern Day Slavery (CAMSA), an anti-human-trafficking organization, I wanted to stop by to visit him and volunteer at the organization.

I got to Penang, Malaysia a few days ago. Yesterday, I was introduced to the office and the staff. Here in Malaysia, there are a significant number of Malaysian locals, Chinese (who helped expand the economy here), Vietnamese (who are usually laborers), and South Asians. I learned that the goal of this CAMSA office is human trafficking, yet practically all of their cases have been labor-related cases because it's easier for laborers to contact the office, and because sex trafficking is organized crime and it gets complicated. Labor trafficking was not what I was familiar with, but I was definitely excited to learn about it.

I’ve been working on a powerpoint to train people about human trafficking and CAMSA. I found out that the majority of human trafficking cases are labor trafficking cases, but sex trafficking definitely gets more media attention. Just talking to people, I have heard that the majority of Vietnamese people in Malaysia are laborers. Vietnam, the source country, exports workers to Malaysia, the destination country. Continuing research for the powerpoint, I found out that Vietnam’s policy, Eradicate Hunger and Reduce Poverty Program, strongly encouraged workers to work abroad and send money home. When problems arise with Vietnamese workers abroad, Vietnamese officials will even come over to the destination country and solve the problem in order to guarantee the quality of their product (their workers). This can mean threatening the workers or even physically abusing them into submission so that they will return to work. It saddens me that Vietnamese citizens are treated by their own people as dispensable tools to build up Vietnam’s economy rather than dignified human beings.

Tonight, I joined two staff members to interview Vietnamese laborers. With my Vietnamese-American Vietnamese skills (not the best), I caught only about 65% of what she was saying, especially with her different accent. However, I could see her frustration at her work place. Racial tensions and language barriers prevent her from speaking up. All she wants to do is make money to send her children to school in Vietnam yet she gets jipped left and right as others blame her constantly for problems within the factory. She takes it because that’s all she can do and with her Vietnamese, she cannot communicate to the people who run the show. She accepts it as fate and just tries to work a little harder to earn enough money.

“Lives that flash in sunshine, and lives that are born in tears, receive their hue from circumstances.” -Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs

Here's some more information about human trafficking and the myths that accompany it:

Monday, June 8, 2009

APIAHF Launches Health Information Network

I'm on a listserve on the Health Information Network, and it's free if you want to get on it and be continuously updated with the latest of what is happening in APIA Health:

APIAHF Launches Health Information Network
The Health Information Network includes issue-specific listservs, allowing students, researchers and advocates a forum to share information and resources. A health organization directory will connect members of the public with organizations that serve Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Students, researchers and advocates will also be able to find data and research on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, in a publications database containing reports, facts sheets, data briefs, graphs and presentations, and other documents.

“One of the biggest challenges in addressing health issues in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities is finding and distributing information about the health issues we face,” said Dr. Ho Luong Tran, president and CEO of APIAHF. “Our goal is to provide timely and accurate information to support our communities in their efforts to improve health and healthcare. The Health Information Network links our communities together and provides a gateway to lessons learned, new ideas and the knowledge base for driving change.”

The Health Information Network will provide up to date information on public health emergencies or national disasters. APIAHF is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, (NCAPIP) and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) to make announcements and urgent information available in Asian and Pacific Islander languages. The Health Information Network will also serve as a portal to U.S. Census data. APIAHF serves as a U.S. Census Information Center, providing population, growth, and socio-economic data for 21 Asian American and Pacific Islander sub-groups as well as for other major racial/ethnic groups in the United States.

Resources for API Data

Oooo...the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) received a website makeover, and it's looking good like eye candy. ;-)

Anyway, APIAHF is a national policy/advocacy organization that focuses on Asian and Pacific Islander American health. It's a really really great resource for anyone doing research on APIA health. I'm not saying this because I was an intern there. I had to do some research before in school, and did you know they have census information broken up by county AND by ETHNICITY? I had no idea they had that kind of disaggregated data! (You have to register though, but it's for FREE :-) )

Also, they have a ton of fact sheets. Some that I used were Health Briefs specific to many API ethnicities such as Vietnamese, Cambodian, Korean, Chinese, Hmong, Filipino, etc. They highlight the health issues prevalent in those communities. I remember also seeing some cancer fact sheets. For those of us who are too lazy to read and just want brief summaries of everything, searching for them on their publications search engine here is VERY VERY HELPFUL:

The APIAHF also just published these huge data sheets full of ethnic-specific information by state. It pretty much looks like a poster. I think it will be more publicized soon, but this would definitely be a great resource for researchers who are doing studies on APIA health.

On a side note, I think APIAHF is one of the few that actually make an attempt to include Pacific Islanders in their agenda and not just their name as part of the political identity. It's something more orgs should consider or possibly consider taking the PI part out of their name if they truly do not represent the needs of that community.
Another helpful resource for us people who are lazy to read is
This website makes it easy. Click on the title to just find the statistic you're looking for by race/ethnicity and region. Click on the link below "Also find studies and reports" to...duh..find studies and reports related to your topic. One of the most user-friendly resources I have seen.

Feel free to comment with any other helpful resources!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Influenza A (H1N1)

So I've been flying...a LOT. I went from the US to Korea (layover) to Malaysia and every country I went to, they made me fill out a Health Information Card due to the widespread fear of Influenza H1N1. HUGE HUGE FEAR! I was temperature checked as I passed through...they put some device near my chin. The US is one of the countries that they consider to be dangerous along with Canada, Mexico, Korea, France, and many others that I can't remember off the top of my head. If you came from those countries, Kuala Lumpur's airport signs will ask you to "kindly report to the Health Desk." The guy next to me on the plane (as well as many others) were wearing masks to avoid catching Influenza, although I don't really know how much that would help.

I knew it was hugely talked about in the U.S., but I didn't know it was THAT huge to the point where each airport passenger has to fill out cards in all the countries and they have banners directing people to health information desks...especially if you have flu-like symptoms or come from those at-risk countries.

Anyone know more about it? What's the deal?