Online Program

Coalition building and community engagement to advance health in Chinatown

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Darren Yee, Program Planning and Development, Asian Health Services, Oakland, CA
Julia Liou, MPH, Program Planning and Development, Asian Health Services, Oakland, CA
Background/Significance: Chinatowns across the nation are vibrant cultural enclaves often inhabited by low-income, limited English-speaking, Asian immigrants. Despite their significant value as cultural centers for API immigrants, Chinatowns are steadily shrinking under development pressure. As a result, Chinatown residents are negatively impacted by air pollution and pedestrian accidents from additional traffic; loss of small businesses; and reduced open space to exercise or recreate—all factors that lead to negative health impacts. The health of the Chinatown neighborhood located in Oakland, California is currently threatened by large-scale developments that will significantly impact community health but not provide sufficient neighborhood investments to mitigate these impacts.

Methods: To ensure that the health needs of the Chinatown community are appropriately addressed in future developments, a diverse coalition of community based organizations, architects, and other advocates/stakeholders was formed. This coalition has empowered local community members to advocate that neighborhood investments that contribute to positive health outcomes such as improved pedestrian safety, more and safer open space, affordable housing, community serving agencies, and mixed retail to both promote health and economic vitality be included in any developments. Community members received leadership development training to equip them to effectively convey community priorities during the planning processes for current developments.

Results: Leadership trainings increased community capacity to advocate for healthy neighborhood investments. Community members have participated in many advocacy events such as community forums and planning commission, advisory boards, and Oakland City Council meetings. Results have been positive thus far, as several community priorities have been incorporated into plans for development.

Discussion/Conclusions: Our stakeholder and community engagement model is replicable in other areas of the country where development is occurring. It is an effective approach to ensuring that immigrant community voices are heard, and that API community priorities are not overlooked in the face of development pressure.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education

Learning Objectives:
Explain the importance of bringing together diverse neighborhood stakeholders to effectively advance community health during a development planning process Discuss key factors to successfully building the leadership and advocacy skills of low income immigrant API communities

Keyword(s): Community Health Planning, Community Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For four years, I have participated in the planning process for the proposed development affecting Oakland Chinatown. I have attended multiple advocacy events such as community forums, commission and board meetings, and city council meetings to advocate for neighborhood improvements in the area. I have presented to community members multiple times to provide them with information regarding the development planning process, social determinants of health, and potential health impacts of the development on Chinatown.
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.