Patient-Related Issues

Honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2014

The month of May pays honor to Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Take the opportunity to reflect on and improve your practice and cultural competence.

Ellen Richmond's Image

AAPI Heritage Month is a time to reflect on the endured periods of discrimination and broken agreements AAPI’s have overcome throughout history. It is also a time to celebrate the successes and influences AAPIs have made to this nation with contributions ranging from biotech innovations to military service to the arts. However, many AAPI community members continue to struggle with disparities in education, employment, housing and health care. The clinical trials community of practice has long been aware that the AAPI community is poorly represented in clinical research. For example, only 2.8% of clinical trial participants are Asian American. 

One likely cause of low participation is a substantial language barrier. According to the 2000 Census, about 22% of Asian American adults who speak an Asian language find it difficult to understand English or do not understand English at all. To address this barrier, the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training (AANCART) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) collaborated to develop a web portal, the "Asian Pacific Islander Cancer Education Materials Tool" (APICEM). This site provides you a place to search for patient education materials by specific language, cancer site, or cancer-related topic. It is a one-stop Web site that permits easy retrieval of credible cancer education materials designed for lay audiences. Materials are available in AAPI languages, as well as in English, and were culturally tailored for AAPI audiences.

One great way to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month is to become familiar with this extremely valuable website (APICEM), in order to more successfully include patients who have limited English proficiency and communicate in an Asian or Pacific Islander language or who simply prefer reading materials in their native language. Let us know what you think of this website and share your successful approaches to enrolling members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

Ellen Richmond

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