Online Program

Healthy cambodian families project: Empowring the community

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Kaoru Watanabe, MS, RN, Cambodian Association of Illinois, Chicago, IL
Kathy Reun, Cambodian Association of Illinois, Chicago, IL
Saroeun Soeun, Cambodian Association of Illinois, Chicago, IL
Seng Thach, Cambodian Association of Illinois, Chicago, IL
Dary Mien, Cambodian Association of Illinois, Chicago, IL
Cambodian Americans face unprecedented challenges in terms of health disparities. Cambodians' experiences with trauma, starvation, and forced labor during the Khmer Rouge regime have had a significant impact on their mental and physical health status. Socio-economic issues facing Cambodian American families present further complications, with many households impacted by low income, limited education and English fluency. A lack of linguistically and culturally appropriate health care prevents many Cambodian Americans from utilizing the existing health care system. The Healthy Cambodian Families (HCF) aims to facilitate community members' confidence in managing their mental and physical health issues, thus to promote their overall well-being. Improving access to care for Cambodian Americans is an essential step to reduce health disparities. However, their health cannot be improved unless Cambodian Americans have their rights to make informed decisions and gain their ownership of their health and management of their health issues. Thus, HCF uses a holistic and integrated approach to improve access to care by addressing three interrelated areas: equity, empowerment, and access. HCF's multidisciplinary staff conduct extensive community outreach to increase the community's awareness of health issues, available services, resources, and information (equity); provide participatory guidance to individuals to increase their confidence in managing their health (empowerment); and provide bilingual services and act as cultural brokers to improve access to care. Currently HCF is in its 4th year; and we started seeing its impacts, including improvement in participants' knowledge and confidence in managing their health issues, and improvement in communication between community members and professionals.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the role of community based organizations in bridging gaps between the Cambodian community members and health care providers to improve the community members' confidence in managing their health.

Keyword(s): Access, Self-Efficacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of the Holistic Health Programs that conduct the Healthy Cambodian Families project. I have been involved in community-based participatory research projects that used a nurse-peer educator intervention model. My areas of research and practice include the development of strategies to improve health of the Cambodian American community, and ethnographic field research methods. I have worked and conducted research in cross-cultural settings.
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.