The VAI Health Program (HP) is dedicated to reducing health disparities in the community while supporting the VAI community in making healthier lifestyle choices. VAI is currently partnered with the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure Community Grant and the Asian Health Coalition’s “Don’t Let Hepatitis B Win” Campaign. Both Breast Cancer and Hepatitis B are just two of the health issues that significantly affect the VAI community:
- Asian American / Pacific Islanders (APIs) are the only group for which cancer is the leading cause of death; cancer is the leading cause of death among Asian American women since 1980,
- APIs present the highest Incidence of cervical, hepatic, and stomach cancers; highest mortality rates for hepatocellular carcinoma.
- Approximately 1 in 8 Vietnamese Americans carries the Hepatitis B virus; of these carriers, 1 in 4 will have liver failure or liver cancer in their life times.
- Vietnamese men have the highest rate of liver cancer globally.
- Asian Americans are 20% more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be diagnosed with diabetes. Rates of diabetes present a growing health issue for Asians in the U.S., with approximately 8% of Asian Americans with Diabetes, of which 90 – 95% have Type 2 diabetes.
- Vietnamese children present rate of overweight or obesity when compared to other Asian or non-white Hispanic White children.
VAI’s current Health Program seeks to dismiss cultural myths and reduce general assumptions relating to preventative healthcare and wellness among APIs by offering health educational workshops that illustrate the importance of annual check-ups, self-examination, and nutrition/diet. Since July 2014, the Health Program has educated 201 AAPIs (of the 400 required in the grants). The HP team is concurrently executing the Community Health Needs Assessment to further identify the local community’s health needs. In addition, the HP team is developing a Community Lay Health Worker community program to further access the community with evidence-based health interventions.
For more information on VAI’s Health Program, contact Gerry!