Online Program

Can Filipino nurses and doctors impact health disparities in the Filipino community?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Beverly Gor, EdD, RD, LD, Dorothy I. Height Center for Health Equity and Evaluation Research, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Luceli Cuasay, DrPH, MPH, Research For Health, Sugar Land, TX
Cherry Sloan, RN, CCM, BC, OCN, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Donna Canlas, MD, PA, Suite 1180, Private Medical Practice, Houston, TX
Riza Mauricio, PhD, RN, CPNP-AC, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Gayle Balmaceda, RN, ANP, GNP, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Lovell Jones, PhD, Dorothy I. Height Center for Health Equity and Evaluation Research, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Background: Filipinos in Texas have a very favorable socioeconomic profile, 50% have management, professional or related occupations and 42% are in educational, health and social services industries, compared to 38% and 29% respectively, nationwide. Despite many being employed as physicians and nurses, and being English proficient, major disparities in heart disease, diabetes, and cancer persist. The Institute of Medicine recommends increasing the number of minority health professionals as one of the key strategies to reduce health disparities because in some minority communities, having medical professionals of the same ethnic background helps in conveying culturally relevant recommendations. However, Filipino Americans are generally overrepresented in the healthcare work force. We sought to explore why disparities exist in spite of high percentages of Filipino doctors and nurses in the US. Objective: To understand the role of Filipino health professionals on reducing health disparities among Filipino Americans by examining their practices and recommendations. Methods: Prior to participating in focus groups, Filipino physicians and nurses completed a survey including questions on their medical practice and patient recommendations for prevention and screening. Results: 16 physicians, 10 males and 6 females, ages 34-79 and 17 nurses, all females, ages 43-69, completed the survey. All were born in the Philippines and 97% received medical training there. Although the majority supported cancer and health screening recommendations, 60% reported seeing no Asian or Filipino patients in their practices and many worked in clinical settings where these recommendations were not applicable. Conclusions: Although Filipino Americans may be highly represented in the medical profession, their potential for influencing their community's health behaviors may be limited due to their practice settings. Community-based organizations can connect the Filipino community with Filipino health professionals through coordinating health screenings and seminars on relevant health topics where they can serve as culturally competent content experts.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss reasons for the persistence of health disparities in the Filipino community in spite of large number of Filipino American health professionals.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities, Asian and Pacific Islander

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a co-investigator on the Asian American Health Needs Assessment project which has now expanded to include the Filipino Health Needs Assessment in the Greater Houston area. I submitted the protocol for IRB approval, and have been actively involved in the design and conduct of this study including recruitment and coordination of study activities. I have applied for funding for this study and continue to support the community in completion of this research.
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.