186037 Health disparities and linguistically isolated Southeast Asians: Results of a large community-based survey

Monday, October 27, 2008

Leah Hsu, MPH , School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Giang T. Nguyen, MD, MPH, MSCE , Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Kao Kue , Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition, Philadelphia, PA
Elaine J. Yuen, PhD , School of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
Raymond Lum, MPhil, MS , School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
BACKGROUND: Southeast (SE) Asians suffer from health disparities that largely go unnoticed from a policy standpoint because linguistic barriers exclude many from health surveys. GOAL: To perform the first large general health survey of linguistically isolated SE Asians in Philadelphia. METHOD: General health survey based upon the population-based Philadelphia Health Management Corporation's Household Health Survey. Participants were recruited by a community-based organization serving SE Asians, and in-person interviews were conducted in 9 languages. RESULTS: 527 interviews were completed (age 18-94, 42% male, 57% HS graduate, median income under $20,000, 40% working full-time). Birth countries included Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and USA. Years since immigration ranged 0-35, and 57% were US citizens. 48% were uninsured, and 23% had gone without care due to cost. English was the main language for less than 3% and 72% spoke English not well/not at all, yet 53% reported that their primary site of healthcare did not have an interpreter. 45% reported that their health was only fair/poor, and 22% had a chronic health condition. Self-reported rates of specific conditions included 10% diabetes, 22% hypertension, and 16% high cholesterol. 43% reported smokers in the household, and 39% of males were smokers. 70% of men 50+ had never had a prostate exam. 23% of women had never had a Pap, and only 50% of women 40+ were up-to-date on mammography. DISCUSSION: Implications of these and other findings will be discussed, including comparison with English-proficient Asians in the original Household Health Survey.

Learning Objectives:
Described health disparities faced by Southeast Asians Identify barriers to healthcare faced by linguistically isolated Southeast Asians Discuss policy implications of research conducted on understudied communities

Keywords: Immigrants, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: study design, supervision of student, analysis, interpretation
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.