203115 Asians and Pacific Islanders, Disability, and Economic/Health Disparities: Identifying the Causes of Severe Obstacles to Labor Market Participation

Monday, November 9, 2009

Peter J. Wong , UCLA Department of Urban Planning, Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California (APIDC)/UCLA, Oakland, CA
Lois M. Takahashi, PhD , Department of Urban Planning, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Asian Pacific Islander (APIs) Americans generally enjoy higher employment rates and income levels than other ethnic minorities. However, when disability is considered, severe disparities become apparent. One study shows that APIs with disabilities have an employment rate of 27.4%, compared to African Americans with disabilities at 31.7% and Hispanics with disabilities at 38.2%. APIs are the fastest growing minority group in the U.S. Investigating this disparity is urgent and timely.

Focus groups we conducted with non-English speaking immigrants (Chinese immigrants in 2003, and Korean and Vietnamese immigrants in 2005) suggested that cultural barriers (e.g., shame attributable to disability) led to sequestering disabled API family members at home and a failure to seek rehabilitation services, resulting in low employment rates.

This project uses confirmative focus groups on employment with rarely examined API groups: Pacific Islanders, Thais, and Laotians with disabilities. Community organization partners will enable recruitment of participants. The digitally recorded focus groups will be transcribed and translated. Two research team members independently will code the transcripts, using themes generated through the earlier formative research. Data collection will occur in fall 2008, with preliminary results by mid-December 2008.

This research highlights a little known but severe disparity, the lack of access to employment by APIs with disabilities. The community-based participatory research approach incorporates culturally and linguistically appropriate methods that will guide development of an evidence-based community/regional-level intervention.

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives for attendees. Attendees will be able to: (1) articulate cultural and social stigma associated with disability in the Asian Pacific Islander community; (2) understand the barriers to employment faced by API workers with disabilities; (3) learn about the convening model used by APIDC to reduce health and economic disparities experienced by APIs with disabilities.

Keywords: Asian and Pacific Islander, Disability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Research Director of Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California (APIDC) and supervised all research activities for the project. Last fall, I first authored a chapter on disability and employment in the upcoming book “Asian American Communities and Health” edited by the Center for the Study of Asian American Health at the NYU Medical School. Recently, I presented two abstracts on Asian Pacific Islanders with disabilities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Summit: The Science of Eliminating Health Disparities, December 15-18, 2008.
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.