Addressing a Need
Despite the “model minority” image of Asians and that their general health has been perceived as better than other racial groups, numerous health disparity concerns and clinical knowledge gaps exist that are unique to this group. The leading causes of death in Asians include cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Asians experience a higher rate of certain cancers. In addition, diabetes and kidney diseases are significantly higher in certain Asian sub-groups (Filipinos, Vietnamese, and South Asians) than the general population.
Californian Asians in San Francisco
California has the largest Asian population in the nation. In San Francisco, 35 percent of the population is Asian, with approximately 32 percent of these Asians being 55 years and older (disproportionately larger than 26 percent of the general population). Only about 17 percent of this group is estimated to "speak English very well", with 50 percent estimated to "speak Chinese at home" and 33 percent estimated to "speak English less than very well." Language and communication limitations have been identified as significant barriers to access to health care for those with limited English proficiency.
Diversities within the Asian Race
It is imperative that we recognize “Asians” as an all-encompassing term to represent a diverse group of both immigrants and American-born Asians, with 50-to-60 percent of the immigrants coming from 24 Asian countries, and speaking over 100 different Asian languages or dialects. Each Asian sub-group has its unique physical characteristics, genetic make-up, and cultural habit, and there can be even finer differentiation within each of these subgroups that may affect their overall health and health care outcomes. Hence, health care providers face huge, additional challenges and issues in their efforts to optimize the health and health care of their Asian patients.
在加州亞裔的人口比其它州的亞裔人口較為多。就三藩市而言，35％的人口是亞裔， 其中約32% 是55歲以上，(與美國總人口相比，55歲以上的美國人只有約26％)。從“說話”能力上估計，只有大約17％的人可以說流利的英語，有33％至50％的人“在家講中文”或“講不流利的英語”。對英語能力有限的人，他們的語言和溝通上的限制已被確認是他們在健康和尋求醫療服務上的重大障礙。
而關鍵的是，我們要認識到“亞裔”只是一個慣用語， 同是用來代表包括不同亞洲國家的移民和在本土出生的亞裔，有50-60％的亞裔移民來自30多個不同的亞洲國家，並講超過100多種不同的亞洲方言。不僅亞裔群體之間有其獨特的特徵，基因和文化，就是在每個亞裔群體中，也有其獨特的文化習慣能影響他們的整體健康和醫療結果。因此，在醫護人員努力去優化亞裔病人的醫療和保健同時， 卻面臨巨大的 額外的挑戰和問題。