Thursday, April 23, 2009

Asian Americans in politics

A national telephone survey went out, getting the demographics of Asian Americans who vote and don't vote including their varying levels of interest in politics, issues they deem important, what party they vote with, and what factors may make them more or less likely to vote.

I always feel like if you don't use your right to vote (if you can legally vote), you don't have a right to complain.

"Everything's political."

Bush using diets as justification to torture

Wow, Bush tortures people and makes justifcations for it.

A doctor's confession

When the Patient Gets Lost in Translation:

The shortcuts of the trade...not using an interpreter because everyone is on a time crunch. It's completely understandable. There's pressure to see numerous patients, fill out paper work, ask for signs and symptoms and medical history, do everything thoroughly yet see as many people as possible. So much to do in so little time. I respect this doctor for admitting it, but then she finally realizes, "the truth is that the patient deserves to speak to the doctor as well."

Family Across Borders

Visa rules widen the rift between Vietnam and U.S. families:

There's something about family...something possibly socially constructed that makes you want to be there for each other, that makes you feel obligated to be there for each other, in good times and bad. I remember visiting my relatives for the first time in Vietnam 2 years ago. It was my first time coming there, and I remember looking for my uncle. We didn't even know how to find each other because we both didn't know how the other person looked. I just told him I'd have a pink backpack. And it was like that that we met. He on his motorbike and me with my pink backpack. He didn't even know me but he housed me, he fed me, he wanted to talk to me and tell me stories about my dad. I learned more about my dad and his family in those few days with my uncle (my dad's older brother) than I ever learned by talking to my dad in over 20 years. There is something about family that crosses geographical boundaries and shared experiences. After all, they're family.

But to be close as father and son and never be able to see each other again over a few Visa rules is definitely a tragedy. Imagine...You've come to a point where death is rapidly approaching and your only heart's desire and last dying wish is to see your two sons for a last time, but you can't even have that. They're able and willing, but the US government won't let them in. The government has reason for not letting them in because so many people with temporary work visas have permanently stayed in the US...but still, what is ENOUGH REASON to prove that you're going to go back. They have stable businesses and families in the Vietnam. Why isn't that reason enough? Is it because they're not going to contribute to our low paid international work force? That may be a bit extreme but I just can't imagine never seeing my parents again, especially if they were going to pass away.

When I was in Vietnam, Vietnamese students kept asking me, "Why is it ok for you to come here, but I can't go to America?" I never had an answer for them. I don't know why and I still don't have an answer. Because I was lucky and privileged enough to be born in America? Because by chance, I was just born in the right country?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just a matter of fairness

Today, I got on a bus, and then there was a person in a wheelchair who also wanted to get on, but the bus driver said "the bus is full, unless you all wanna get off." However, people could have easily moved over to make space. It was definitely not "full." I assume the bus driver just didn't want to deal with it.
I'm a personal attendant for a disabled college student, and I've heard her tell me stories of people not picking up disabled passengers, but I had never seen it. I've only seen bus drivers be very helpful and respectful to disabled passengers, so I thought this was just F'd up. It was super HOT today, and I'm sure that man had been waiting for a while, and he just wanted to take the bus, but because he's in a wheelchair, he doesn't get to get on. He doesn't get the same treatment able-bodied people get.

This is similar to providers and limited English speaking patients. It's a huge hassle to find or pay for an interpreter or try to say what you need to say in way that the patient might understand. BUT, if providers don't provide them with intepreters, then they've denied them quality care of treatment that English speakers get. It's just a matter of fairness. Why doesn't that man get to go on the bus? Merely because it takes more time to lower a ramp and put on his seatbelt? Why doesn't a limited English patient get an interpreter just so that he/she can UNDERSTAND the MERE BASICS of what is going on. Patients' misunderstanding or misinterpreting of what a provider is saying can easily make the situation even worse.

Check out this article called "Growing immigrant population spurs demand for medical interpreters":

Update: If you want to know how to access interpreter services, go here:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Research- SF HepB Free Campaign

Looking for a research opportunity this summer? The SF Dept of Public Health is looking for 2-3 graduate/health professional students to get involved with a research project this summer. The project relates to San Francisco's HepBFree campaign, the first of its kind in the nation to use a wide range of public health interventions (screening, vaccination, treatment, provider education) and policy change to eliminate transmission of a preventable disease. The campaign has been in full swing since mid-2007, and the project is aimed at both qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the interventions the campaign has implemented. The primary aim is to publish with the goal of disseminating a model for use in other cities around the country. The start date would be flexible, starting no later than June and running for 12 weeks.

If you're interested, please contact Janet Zola ( and Rebecca Carabez ( for more information. Brian Toy can also answer some questions ( Please feel free to forward to others who may be interested. This is a pretty exciting project, especially given the CDC's new expanded criteria regarding hep B screening and treatment (

Sunday, April 19, 2009

APIAHF Summer Internship

The Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, a national health policy and advocacy organization, is now recruiting for summer interns. I've attached the description for the Policy Internship (paid) in San Francisco. We're also looking for an intern for the Chronic Diseases division (unpaid), Health Through Action (paid), and possibly a few more. Check it out.
Update: APIAHF is currently accepting applications for 2 policy interns this summer. One will be in San Francisco, and one will be in Washington, DC. These are both paid, part-time internships.
We are looking for currently enrolled undergrads (at least junior level) or graduate level students in health, public policy, law, sociology or related field.
Please see attached announcements for details. The announcements will also be posted to our website later today.