The 4th State of Asian Women’s Health in Massachusetts, held at Impact Hub on May 25, 2016 by Asian Women for Health (AWFH), was a huge success! Asian Women for Health is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 by Chien-Chi Huang, an Impact Hub member and host, to advance Asian women’s health and wellness through education, advocacy and support. The conference provides a rich co-learning platform for stakeholder engagement and collaboration.
The event was well-attended with over 100 participants, representing 62 organizations. Chien-Chi spoke about the importance of technology in healthcare monitoring and the lack of its widespread use especially among first-generation migrant communities. “We need to ensure that everyone has access [to] and benefits from innovation,” she asserted.
There were two panel sessions presented by active community members engaged in working with the Asian community in the greater Boston area. Ramini Sripada, former AWFH board member and current member of Metropolitan Area Planning Council, acted as the emcee, guiding the first panel on Community needs Assessment, while Andrea Parker, the National Evaluator for Aetna Foundation projects on digital approaches to health equity, moderated the second panel session on Technology. The afternoon session included a round-robin discussion session followed by a large group discussion.
During the keynote address, Dr. Temeika Fairley, Senior Health Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), spoke about the different initiatives for cancer prevention and control that CDC has enacted in partnership with U.S. states, territories, and tribal communities. She focused specifically on the breast cancer awareness and detection campaign, which uses a digital platform to 1) encourage young women to learn about their family history of breast and ovarian cancers, 2) educate them about the risk factors before the age of 45, 3) inspire them to talk to their healthcare provider, and 4) encourage young women to live healthy lifestyles. She shared with the audience the web app Share Your Story! and the Bring Your Brave campaign, where survivors of cancers under the age of 45 can share their stories with other women. Similarly, survivors are able to tweet their stories on #BringYourBrave and #BraveBecause.
The first panel session concentrated on healthcare access to the Asian communities in the greater Boston area. Speakers included:
- Susan Koch-Weser, assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, who spoke about the results of a community health assessment among the migrant elderly in Chinatown
- Anna Leslie, coordinator at Allston Brighton Health Collaborative, who spoke about the lessons learned from conducting a community-based health assessment among the Asian community in the Allston area
- Mai Du, a board member of the Malden Asia Pacific American Coalition, who spoke about the comprehensive healthcare assessment done in Malden, which at the same time sought to use the program to empower young people in the community
- Hehershe Busuego, Program Associate of The Boston Foundation, who spoke about the Asian American and Pacific Island community in MA and the specific needs discovered during a recent assessment
- Kim Chan, board member of Quincy Asian Resources, who talked about the community profile of the large Asian community in the Quincy area and the challenges faced by the migrant community
- Wendy Lee, President & CEO of South Cove Manor at Quincy Point Rehabilitation Center, who spoke about the 141-bed facility for the elderly, mainly serving the Asian community
The second panel of experts focused on the technologies being deployed to help with healthcare assessment. The panel consisted of:
- Dr. Tung Nguyen, professor at UCSF and director of the Asian American Research Center on Health and Program Co-Leader of the Cancer Control Program at the UCSF, who spoke about an iPad application that allows a patient to take a questionnaire in English, Chinese or Vietnamese. This report can then be printed out to be taken to their primary care physician
- Elizabeth Cella, Director of Project Management at Vinfen, which provides services to people with psychiatric disabilities, intellectual developmental disabilities and those with head injuries. She spoke about an app used by patients to receive daily segments of video, quotes and medication reminders. It allows physicians to view data at the back-end and therefore be fully engaged in patient care
- Karen Lau, a certified diabetes educator at the Joslin Diabetes Center, who spoke about Drag ‘n Cook, a smartphone app for healthier meal plan
- Leon Chen, founder of U-ARK America, who spoke about the software UCare used to connect providers, insurers and vendors in the long-term care industry
- Dr. Don Dizon, director of Oncology Sexual Health Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital, who spoke about mobile device-accessible peer support online portal for Asian Americans with mental illness and concerns
After lunch, the conference continued with round-robin sessions during which three presenters discussed their technology-related initiatives. The attendees where divided into three groups and each group had an opportunity to listen to and participate in small group discussions with each of the presenters, who were:
- Hyeouk Chris Hahm, Associate Professor at Boston University, who spoke about Patient Engagement/Peer Support text-based app developed for the Boston University Asian Women’s Action for Resilience and Empowerment (AWARE) Project
- Lisa Gualtieri, Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and founder of RecycleHealth, a program that collects wearable fitness trackers that are collecting dust to distribute to those who cannot afford to buy them otherwise
- Kalyan Kalwa, founder of Health Innovators & HiDocs.org, who spoke about a real-time digital health solutions for better health outcomes
The conference was live-streamed and a recording is available. There was a twitter feed provided using #AWFHealthConf throughout the conference. By the end of the event, the feed was viewed by 70,000+ Twitter account holders.
Congratulations to the team who worked tirelessly to put this conference together!