One in three Korean-Americans is uninsured. One in four Asian children in the United States are also without insurance. Those are just two of the alarming Asian health trends the Asian Pacific American Legal Center is hoping to start reversing.
“Koreans are [also] more likely than non-Hispanic whites to contract hepatitis," said Doreena Wong, director of the Health Access Project. "So that’s why data collection is so important, so that we know how these kinds of health disparities affect our community.”
Others in the Asian-American community have high rates of heart disease and diabetes.
The Los Angeles-based organization is partnering with 20 other Californian groups that serve the Asian community to create a statewide effort designed to battle back those inequalities, the Health Justice Network.
Wong said Asians are especially hard hit by lack of access to care, in addition to other factors.
“Then compounding these health disparities are problems around immigration status," Wong explained, "and also limited English-speaking proficiency in our community.”
Wong will head the Health Justice Network. It's the first grassroots program of its kind aimed at improving Asian-Americans’ health.
For starters, the Network will collaborate with Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Thai and Hmong organizations to translate the upcoming changes in health care reform into different languages.