StoryBank Spotlights Health Care Experiences of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders

August 11, 2009

[Archive] Stacy Lavilla
Director of Communications
(510) 272-9536 x110

Oakland, CA – August 11, 2009- The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), in recognition of National Health Center Week, today introduced its online StoryBank collection that features the perspectives and experiences of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander (AA&NHOPIs) served by AAPCHO member centers.

The new AAPCHO StoryBank is now open to the public and will be updated regularly with more stories written by patients, physicians, nurses, health educators, interpreters, and other involved community members as they become available for publication.

“These stories—testaments to the challenges of accessing health care and the triumphs of when it is successfully delivered—make up the foundation of our organization’s guiding principles and fundamental belief that all people deserve affordable, high quality health care delivered in a way they can actually understand,” said Jeff Caballero, executive director of AAPCHO.

Of the 400,000 AA&NHOPI patients served by AAPCHO member centers, about two-thirds speak a primary language other than English and nearly 40% are uninsured; by providing comprehensive, culturally and linguistically appropriate care regardless of ability to pay, AAPCHO members play a critical and central role in the health of this especially vulnerable population.

“Our hope is that these stories will give voice to the insights of our nation’s underserved and help educate policy makers at both the state and national levels,” Mr. Caballero added.

Issues of culture, language, insurance, disability and disease resonate throughout the growing StoryBank collection, told from a range of perspectives:

“I am a single, uninsured mother of three, working four jobs simultaneously,” writes a patient at Waimanalo Health Center in Hawaii. “I seemed healthy; when you have no health insurance, you convince yourself that will have to do.”



A patient’s grandchild remembers the pain of acting as a medical interpreter in the years before receiving care at the Asian Pacific Health Care Venture in Los Angeles, California:
“Uhh, how do I say “arthritis’ in Cantonese,” I think to my eight year-old self. “Ah-mah, the ee-sun says you have painful bones,” I manage to muster in my language, hoping she’d understand. From a young age, I remember my grandmother deprecating me for being unable to translate specific medical terms. I knew her anger was out of frustration.”



“I explained the consequences of reactivation TB in terms that my patient could understand, drawing on examples from our shared cultural beliefs, and dispelling myths with education regarding methods of disease transmission,” recalls a staff physician at Asian Health Services in Oakland, California.

About National Health Center Week
The second week of August each year is dedicated to acknowledging the service and contributions of community health centers (CHCs) in providing affordable, high quality health care to 18 million people in the U.S., including more than 630,000 medically vulnerable and underserved AA&NHOPIs. Please click here for more information.

AAPCHO is a national association representing 27 community health organizations dedicated to promoting advocacy, collaboration and leadership that improves the health status and access of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders in the United States. Since 1987, AAPCHO has advocated for policies and programs that improve the provision of health care services that are community driven, financially affordable, linguistically accessible, and culturally appropriate.

For more information on AAPCHO and its Guiding Principles and Values, please visit
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Media Relations

Beverly Quintana
(510) 272-9536 x112

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