187253 Identifying and addressing the needs of a health center's emerging South Asian patient population: The South Asian Community Outreach Project

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 3:15 PM

Anthony L.-T. Chen, MD, MPH , Department of Family Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance, Malden, MA
Anulekha N. Rao, MPA, MPH, CHES , Department of Community Affairs, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, MA
Lisa M. Montuori, RN, MSN, MPH , Department of Community Affairs, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, MA
Emily Chiasson, MSW, MPH , Department of Community Affairs, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, MA
Anjani K. Agarwala, MD , Interpreter Services, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, MA
Shalini Chalana, RD , Ambulatory Nutrition, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, MA
Swayne Blackmon , Department of Community Affairs, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, MA
Lindsay Mendenhall , Department of Community Affairs, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, MA
Background: Health center clientele may evolve through migration and socioeconomic or demographic shifts. A health center's increasing South Asian clientele prompted the South Asian Community Outreach Project. This immigrant population was expected to have linguistic, cultural, and health care access needs. Anticipated health issues included cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and psychosocial issues. Objective: To identify the needs of the emerging South Asian patient population in a health center's neighborhood and use findings to plan community outreach, education, and intervention. Methods: Literature review was followed by focus groups of local community informants. At two health fairs targeting South Asians in the neighborhood, Health surveys were administered and basic health screening performed. Results: The focus groups provided characteristics of the local South Asian community and recommended strategies and areas of emphasis. Sixty surveys were completed at two health fairs. The majority had health insurance, a regular doctor, and received routine health screening. Behavioral risks included inadequate exercise and overweight. Self-reported rates, compared to US prevalence, was similar for heart disease, higher for hypertension and diabetes, and lower for high cholesterol while health screening found similar rates for high blood pressure, higher for high blood sugar, lower for high cholesterol, and lower for overweight and obesity. Discussion: While the focus groups confirmed health issues identified in the literature, they strongly emphasized social and mental health issues. Unexpectedly, surveys found good access and participation in health care. How findings were used to plan community intervention, lessons learned, and possible generalization will be presented.

Learning Objectives:
Outline possible strategies to identify and assess the needs of an emerging patient population List the top health issues for immigrants of South Asian origin Compare and contrast how the population screened and surveyed compared to the general US population Describe how findings from a community assessment can be used to plan community outreach, education, and intervention

Keywords: Asian Americans, Community Health Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have had almost 15 years experience in health centers including planning and conducting community programs, patient care, and management/administration.
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.