Every month, there are dedicated health observances that shine a spotlight on specific illnesses and health issues in the nation. In April, we focus on how these health problems impact different members of our community. Different racial and ethnic groups experience different rates of death and overall health. This disparity is why Congress recognized April as National Minority Health Month as a part of an ongoing effort to promote programs that will end health disparities among minority groups.
At Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, a significant portion of our patient population is Asian American. Representing nearly 15% of the New York City population, Asian Americans make up one of the fastest growing groups in the city and also one of the most diverse with individuals hailing from 20 different countries and speaking 45 languages and dialects. Many have limited English language skills and are often unfamiliar with the U.S. health care system. According to NIMHD and the NIH Asian and Pacific Islander American Organization, liver and stomach cancer mortality rates are particularly high among Asian Americans, and cancer screening rates are the lowest compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Asian Americans are also twice more likely to develop type-2 diabetes than Caucasian Americans despite having lower body weights.
New York City has already taken steps to improve health equity with programs such as IDNYC, a free identification program that helps vulnerable populations gain access to city services. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is also collaborating with communities of color for outreach programs that better serve their needs.
CBWCHC also recognizes the obstacles facing our patients and combat them through preventative programs, early detection, and research projects that center on the members of our community. We also make sure that our staff speak the language of our patients and understand their unique cultural perspectives.
Everyone deserves good health, and it is our job to make sure that it happens.