Asian Americans Underrepresented In Health Surveys, UMass Boston Report Says

Asian Americans face significant health disparities compared to other groups – such as high rates of Hepatitis B and diabetes – but the customary methods for tracking residents’ health do not include enough information on the health problems of this critical population.

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The IAAS report calls for the formation of public-private partnerships to carry out more community-level health surveys, and says it is critical that these surveys and others be conducted in Asian languages.

Boston, Mass. (PRWEB) December 10, 2012

Asian Americans face significant health disparities compared to other groups – such as high rates of Hepatitis B and diabetes – but the customary methods for tracking residents’ health do not include enough information on the health problems of this critical population.

The Institute for Asian American Studies at UMass Boston makes that case and proposes solutions in its new paper, “Information on Small Populations with Significant Health Disparities: A Report on Data Collected on the Health of Asian Americans in Massachusetts.” The full study can be found online at http://www.iaas.umb.edu.

“Health providers and policymakers depend on comprehensive data to address health disparities,” said IAAS research associate Carolyn Wong, the major author of the study. “But in many cases, collecting information about the Asian American population is considered cost-prohibitive.” This view needs to be changed because Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial minority group in the state, she said.

Massachusetts has taken positive steps in the collection of health data on a wide range of Asian ethnic groups – especially in hospital records. But the data picture is incomplete. The most widely used statewide health surveys, such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, use sample sizes that are typically too small to draw meaningful conclusions about Asian American ethnic subgroups. And this survey is not conducted in any Asian languages, decreasing the likelihood of robust findings.

The IAAS report calls for the formation of public-private partnerships to carry out more community-level health surveys, and says it is critical that these surveys and others be conducted in Asian languages. The report also favors increased funding to allow researchers to sample more Asian Americans in their annual statewide surveys.

About the Institute for Asian American Studies
The Institute for Asian American Studies (IAAS) at the University of Massachusetts Boston was established in 1993 with support from Asian American communities and direction from the state legislature. The IAAS utilizes resources and expertise from the University and the community to conduct research on Asian Americans; to strengthen and further Asian American involvement in political, economic, social, and cultural life; and to improve opportunities and campus life for Asian American faculty, staff, and students and for those interested in Asian Americans.    

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s nine colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit http://www.umb.edu.


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