Wednesday, December 15, 2010

AAHI Publication Launch

The Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) has unveiled their latest electronic publication, Voices among the Silent: Stories of Struggle and Strength from Asian Americans in Montgomery County, Maryland. We are pleased to share this storybook publication with all of our partners and the community.

The storybook is a first hand account of the stories behind the statistics. This powerful collection of individual narratives intends to educate and raise awareness about the wide range of challenges faced by the Asian American community in relation to health, healthcare access, immigration and language proficiency, to name a few.

These brave County residents have voiced their stories of struggle and strength, we hope you take the time to listen. To download a copy of the publication, please click here.

To view more photos, please visit our Facebook fan page.

AAHI Say's Goodbye to Fall Interns

Last week, AAHI bid a heartwarming farewell to fall interns, Kristina Yee, Shaiza Khalil and Karishma Dhru. They have successfully completed a semester-long internship at the Asian American Health Initiative. During their internship semester they worked side by side with AAHI on various projects, outreach events and other activities in support of AAHI's mission. They came to this internship bursting with enthusiasm and creative ideas.

At their farewell celebration, they presented their final projects- the GIS (Geographic Information System) Mapping project and the Photostory project. The interns demonstrated to AAHI staff how GIS mapping and PPGIS (Public Participation GIS) is useful in public health, not only for AAHI, but also for community and faith-based organizations. It was a very enlightening presentation, and the interns demonstrated high levels of knowledge in this difficult subject matter.

In addition to the GIS project, Shaiza, Karishma and Kristina worked on a photostory project this semester. This project is an extension of AAHI's soon to be released electronic publication, Voices among the Silent: Stories of Struggle and Strength from Asian Americans in Montgomery County, Maryland. The photostory is a visual depiction of one of the narratives in the publication; it is seen and heard through photographs and interviews. The interns planned, implemented and edited this project from start to finish.

All in all, we had a wonderful experience with the interns, we learned so much from them and we hope they gained invaluable experience working in a public health setting. As a farewell, Karishma, Kristina and Shaiza parted with words of advice for future AAHI interns:

Kristina Yee: "I've had such an invaluable experiencing interning with the Asian American Health Initiative. I've had the opportunity to both work side by side with passionate public health people, as well as work with very diverse communities. If I were to offer words of wisdom to future AAHI interns, it would be to keep an open mind, and really take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities you're offered. One of my favorite parts of interning, was learning from all the different speakers and people I got to meet along the way. The field of public health is so large, and in your experience you will meet tons of wonderful people... so don't be afraid to put yourself out there!"

Karishma Dhru: "Whatever task you are asked to do, do with integrity and genuine intentions of learning. Respecting your fellow peers is a trait that is valued and highly respected. Do your homework and network, network, network!"

Shaiza Khalil: "Take advantage of opportunity when it comes to you, seize the moment!"

Kristina, Karishma and Shaiza- we wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1st: World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day. What do you know about HIV/AIDS in the Asian American population? Although the rates of HIV/AIDS is low among Asian Americans, according to the U.S Dept. of Health & Human Services Office of Minority Health, "Asian Americans are less likely to have been tested for HIV/AIDS. The total number of reported AIDS cases has generally declined over the past five years for the White population, however it has continued to increase for Asian Americans". To learn more about HIV/AIDS and Asian Americans, please visit the Office of Minority Health's Website.

To learn more about the basics of HIV/AIDS, please click here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Diabetes Education Column in 'India This Week'

AAHI in the news! November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and AAHI published an article in India This Week to educate readers about diabetes. Although today is the last day of November, it is important to stay vigilant about diabetes prevention year-round!
If you want to learn more about diabetes prevention, management or if you want tools to help educate others, visit the American Diabetes Associations website:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Senior Research Program Coordinator

Dear AAHI Community,

There is a hepatitis-B related job opportunity at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). JHU is seeking a Senior Research Program Coordinator. Please feel free to share with interested family and friends. You can find more information on JHU's Human Resources page by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

IMAAM Health Fair

This past Saturday, November 20th, AAHI partnered with the Indonesian Muslim Association of American (IMAAM) and the Indonesian American Association (IAA) to host a health fair. The health fair was a great success! There were a variety of health fair screenings for participants including bone density screenings, blood pressure screenings, grip strength, body composition, oral cancer screening and carbon monoxide screenings.
In addition to the screenings, health education literature on various topics ranging from cancer to diabetes was provided. There were also health lectures proved by healthcare experts on tobacco cessation, breast cancer, and physical therapy. To wrap up the day, health fair attendees participated in a Tai-Chi seminar.

We would like to thank IMAAM and IAA for partnering with us on this health fair. We would also like to thank all the vendors who participated to support a healthier community! A final thank you to the guest speakers and the sponsors of this event! We look forward to working with you in the future.

To check out more photos, please "like" our Facebook fan page.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Community Health Fair

Dear AAHI Community,

This Saturday, November 20th, AAHI, in partnership with the Indonesian Muslim Community (IMAAM) and the Indonesian American Association (IAA) will be hosting a free community health fair at Bohrer Park. The health is very comprehensive and includes free health screenings, health education, guest speakers and lots of information! It will be a wonderful event. Please share this with family and friends.For more information, please view the flier.
Date: November 20, 2010
Time: 11am-3pm
Location: Bohrer Park
506 South Frederick Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November Kick Off

AAHI has got the ball rolling in November with a health fair at the Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington (KCSC). The event was held this past Saturday at the Korean Baptist Church. KCSC did an absolutely wonderful job hosting this comprehensive health fair. There were trained healthcare professionals providing clinical breast exams, glucose testing, flu shots, hepatitis B screening, and gynecological services. On AAHI's end, we provided bone density screenings and health education on osteoporosis, hepatitis B, cancer, patient-provider communication, and community resources. As a whole, the health fair was very comprehensive, providing many screening and health education opportunities.

We would like to thank KCSC and other partnering organizations for inviting us to join your health fair. We look forward to the next one!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Diwali!

Dear AAHI Community,
Today marks the beginning of the Diwali holiday, which typically falls between mid-October and mid-November. Diwali is more commonly known as the Festival of Lights. Diwali is an important 5 day festival celebrated by many religions and Asian cultures. On Monday, November 8th, County Executive Ike Leggett will be hosting the County's first ever Diwali Celebration. The event is free and will be held at the Executive Office Building Auditorium.
Date: Monday November 8th
Time: 6pm-7:30pm
Location: Executive Office Building
101 Monroe Street
Rockville, MD

For more information, you can view the County's official Press Release.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

October wrap-up

Dear AAHI community,
October has been a fruitful month for outreach and health education. AAHI successfully participated in a community & health fair every single weekend. We participated in 7 events, screened well over 100 community members for bone density, and educate over 500 people on various health topics- cancer, hepatitis B, diabetes, osteoporosis, patient-provider communication and provided community resources. We rounded up October by joining the Chinese American Senior Service Association (CASSA) in a health fair, held on Saturday, October 30th. We would like to thank CASSA for inviting us to join their community.
In addition, we would like to thank all our other community partners for inviting us to participate in their community & health fairs.
For pictures of October outreach events, please visit our Facebook fan page.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

AAHI Factsheet

Hello everyone!
Do you want to learn more about AAHI, or share information about AAHI with family & friends? We have the resource! AAHI has created a double-sided fact sheet, briefly covering our organization, programs, projects and other information! For a free download, please visit the online document:

Monday, November 1, 2010

2009-2011 National Scholarship Directory for Asian and Pacific Islander Students

Dear AAHI Community,
The Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland has provided a resource guide for scholarships, internships and fellowships for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students. This document is a wonderful resource for AAPI students, please take the time to review these opportunities and spread the word so that everyone may benefit from it. Click on the link below:

2009-2011 National Scholarship Directory for Asian and Pacific Islander Students

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Upcoming and Past Events

This coming Saturday, October 30th, AAHI will be participating in a health fair with the Chinese American Senior Services Association (CASSA). At this even, AAHI will be conducting bone density screenings and providing health education on various topics including, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, and hepatitis B. Please feel free to join us at this event.
Event: CASSA Health Fair
Time: 9am – 1pm
Location: Germantown MobileMed Clinic
Address: 19735 Germantown Road
Germantown, MD 20874

Last Saturday, AAHI successfully participated in a health fair with CCACC. We screened over 50 people for bone density and educated them accordingly. It was a great event! We would like to thank CCACC for inviting us to participate in their health fair and providing delicious snacks & dinner!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Vacant Position Announcement: Client Assistance Specialist

Dear AAHI Community,
Please read the vacant position announcement below from the Latino Health Initiative, this could be a wonderful job opportunity.

Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
Latino Health Initiative
Suburban Maryland Welcome Back Center
Vacant Position Announcement
Client Assistance Specialist
(Contractor - 24 Hours/Week)
Posted: October 2010
Background Information
The Latino Health Initiative (LHI) of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services seeks to improve the health of Latino families in Montgomery County and to improve the quality of services they receive. The Suburban Maryland Welcome Back Center is a program inside the County.
The Center is an innovative model that builds on the personal and professional assets of internationally trained health professional living in Maryland to help them re-enter the health workforce. This is part of a larger effort to increase the number of culturally and linguistically competent health professionals working in Maryland. The Center serves Latino and other ethnically diverse foreign-trained health professionals.
The Center is spearheaded by the LHI and works in close collaboration with partners that include the local and State government, the academic sector, and the private sector. This multi-institutional collaboration provides a comprehensive, integrated and coordinated approach for effectively addressing the needs and decreasing the challenges and barriers foreign-trained health professionals encounter in Maryland while trying to obtain a health profession licensure. The Center service model incorporates five components: guidance and support, academic support, practical exposure to the U.S. healthcare system/mentoring, career development support, and leadership development.
For the overall description of the Center use the following link in the LHI website:
Position Description
Under the guidance and supervision of the Manager of the Center, the Client Assistance Specialist is responsible for providing on-going guidance and support to participants to facilitate the Maryland licensure process for foreign-trained health professionals. The Client Assistance Specialist acts as a focal point to provide information on the licensure process and its requirements, steps and expenses and also serves as an advocate for participants with the institutions involved in the Maryland licensure process as well as with those involved as partner organizations.
Specific duties include:

Assist participants by providing personalized case management to create an individualized plan to obtain licensure including a detailed realistic career plan to transition to the healthcare workforce, exploring paid job possibilities at a healthcare setting while preparing to obtain the license.

Position Description: Client Assistance Specialist
October 2010

- Provide assistance to navigate the system in the licensure process and to complete the required steps and forms, as well as facilitating access to financial assistance services.

- Assist to conduct regular group guidance and support meetings with participants.

- Work in collaboration with partner organizations for proper coordination of services and to advocate for the assigned participants.

- Record participants’ progress in licensure process.

- Provide general information to individuals interested in the Center services and keep reliable records to contact potential participants when recruitment is opened.

- Participate in data collection related to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Center activities and prepare required reports on a regular basis.

- Other duties as appropriate.
Minimum Qualifications:
• Bachelor’s Degree or an equivalent amount of experience in human services, workforce development or academic counseling.
• Experience in assisting clients in workforce development, academic counseling or similar areas to establish realistic goals, taking into consideration personal and professional circumstances as well as willingness and readiness to achieve goal. Familiarity with healthcare professions is desirable.
• Ability to establish and maintain effective and cooperative relations with community members and with public/private entities.
• Experience facilitating group sessions.
• Experience working with diverse populations, especially Latinos and other ethnically diverse groups living in Maryland.
• Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing.
• Bilingual in English and one of the following languages: Amharic, Chinese, French, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
• Excellent computer skills, knowledge and experience in relevant software applications, and ability to work with the Internet.
• Ability to work flexible hours including some evenings and weekends.
The contractor will be paid between $19 to $21 per hour plus benefits. Offer great working environment for mentoring and professional networking.
Interested applicants should send their resumes with a cover letter by Wednesday, November 3, 2010 to

Friday, October 22, 2010

CCACC Health Fair

Dear AAHI Community,
This Saturday, October 23rd, AAHI and Chinese Culture and Community Service Center, Inc. (CCACC) will be hosting a health fair at Tilden Middle School. The health fair will consist of bone density screenings and health education on various topics.

Event: CCACC Health Fair
Time: 3pm – 6pm
Location: Tilden Middle School
11211 Old Georgetown Road
Rockville, MD 20852

Friday, October 15, 2010

AAHI Publishes an Article in the Washington Chinese News

AAHI, in partnership with Chinese Culture and Community Service Center, Inc. (CCACC) and Pan Asian Volunteer Health Clinic has published an article in the Washington Chinese News on breast health and the importance of screenings. The article is translated into Chinese to reach the targeted community. Below is the text in English.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Before we begin our discussion on breast cancer, we need to understand why breast cancer is an important health issue among Chinese American women. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the leading cause of death for Asian Americans as a group. But among Chinese women, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer. Research also indicates that the risk of developing breast cancer among Chinese women greatly increases after they have been living in the United States for many years and have adapted to a Western-lifestyle. Despite the risk, Chinese American women have very low breast cancer screening, about 41%, and therefore the cancer is diagnosed at a later stage. Furthermore, breast cancer is one of the top three causes of death for Chinese women. Therefore, it is especially important for Chinese women to learn about breast cancer and take proactive steps to prevent it.

Now that we understand why breast cancer is important, our next step is to understand what a breast is and what cancer is. A breast consists of ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that produce the milk). The ducts and lobules are supported by tissue that is both fatty and fibrous. Cancer is when cells begin to grow and divide abnormally under harsh or destructive conditions. This abnormal growth is called a tumor. The tumor can be either benign which means it is non-cancerous or it can be malignant which means it is cancerous.

Breast cancer is when the cancer cells are found in the tissue of the breast. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it is more common among women. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts, some begin in the lobules and a small number begin in other tissues of the breast. Breast cancer usually begins with a small cancerous tumor in the breast, commonly known as a lump. If the cancerous cells remain confined in one place it is called noninvasive breast cancer. If the cancerous cells spread to other tissues or organs of the body, it is called invasive breast cancer. It is better to detect breast cancer when it is noninvasive.

Especially in the beginning stages, breast cancer does not show many signs or symptoms. As the cancer progresses, certain symptoms may be present, these include:
- A breast lump or thickening that feels different from surrounding tissue
- Bloody discharge from the nipple
- Change in the size or shape of a breast
- Changes to the skin over the breast
- Inverted nipple
- Peeling or flaking of the nipple skin,
- Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast- like an orange.

The exact cause of breast cancer is unclear. But there are certain risk factors which can increase your chances of developing breast cancer. These risk factors include:
- Being female
- Aging
- A family history of breast cancer
- Inherited genes
- Radiation exposure
- Obesity
- Beginning menstruation at a younger age
- Starting menopause at an older age
- Having your first child at an older age
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
Breast cancer can also develop in the absence of these risk factors, therefore it is important to stay proactive about health and take part in breast cancer prevention.

The best prevention for breast cancer is getting screenings in a timely manner. Because breast cancer may not have symptoms in the beginning states, it is very important to follow screening recommendations. Women are encouraged to do breast self-exams every month to check for lumps or any other abnormalities. Also, the American Cancer Society recommends that women receive Clinical Breast Exams (CBEs) every 3 years starting from the age of 20. When women have reached age 40, they should receive a CBE every year. Furthermore, the Office on Women’s Health supports the guidelines that women should receive mammograms every 1-2 years starting at the age of 40. A mammogram is a low dose x-ray exam that checks the breast tissue for abnormalities. The combination of these screening recommendations is the best prevention.

It is in your hands to take control of your health. The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services – Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) and the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC) Pan Asian Volunteer Clinic (PAVHC) encourage you to contact your primary care for a screening if you have not yet received a CBE or mammogram. If you do not have a primary care physician, please check your local hospitals and community clinics for low-cost or free screenings.

Early detection is your best protection!

It is extremely important for Chinese Americans to take action against the disease; educate your family and friends and follow the preventative screening guidelines. Screening is the most effective way to prevent breast cancer.
Screening guidelines-
o 20’s & 30’s= breast self exams monthly, clinical breast exams every 3 years
o 40’s and older= breast self exams monthly, clinical breast exam every year, and mammograms every 1-2 years

Thursday, October 14, 2010

AAHI in Action!

These past several weeks, AAHI has had a full calendar of events. AAHI participated in Holy Cross's Cancer Screening and Education Day on Saturday, October 2nd, Islamic Center of Maryland's Food Festival on Saturday, October 2nd, and a Hepatitis B Screening and Education Day on Saturday, October 9th.
AAHI was able to educate participants of these events on multiple health topics; cancer, osteoporosis, hepatitis B, and community resources, to name a few. The events were a great success within the community and yielded many participants.
We would like to thank all of our community partners for inviting and working with us on these events!
Highlights from Hepatitis B Screening & Education Day: