In the arena of health and healthcare, a number of factors distinguish Asian Americans from other U.S. ethnic populations: a large majority of Asian Americans is recent immigrant and speak a language other than English in the home, many of whom are employed in high risk occupations and are medically underserved or uninsured. As a group, Asian Americans have higher incidence and mortality rates from certain types of cancer and other chronic diseases than the population at large; have significantly higher rates of tobacco consumption and exposure to second smoke than the general U.S. population; have benefited the least from health information of any source, be it public, private or voluntary; and have encountered multi-level barriers to access the health care system.
Asian American populations' unfamiliarity with Western healthcare systems and technology is another distinguishing factor that aggravates an untenable and critical health status. These factors, perceived as insurmountable barriers to healthcare by Asian Americans, provide the rationale for Center for Asian Health community-based participatory research and the Center's research goal of reducing or eliminating health disparities in these populations.
Center for Asian Health research encompasses a range of health issues that reflect both national priorities as well as scientifically identified community concerns. The Center, in cooperation with a large network of community, institutional and clinical partners, has focused on four broad areas of health disparity research that include cancer, tobacco, cardiovascular and chronic diseases, translational health and global health. These core areas of research are enhanced by the involvement of Asian junior researchers, community partners, and clinical professionals to ensure that the research outcome has a direct impact on reducing or eliminating health disparities.
These core areas of research are carried out through epidemiological studies, community-based participatory projects, and large randomized trials. An international component of the Center research examines issues in situ and provides greater insight into problems and contributes to a better understanding of health behavior and the design of viable prevention, patient navigation and intervention treatment strategies.