Improving Health and Healthcare of Asian Americans

Ashley Yang ’24. Photo by Kurt Wehde

Working as a quality improvement analyst in a community-based clinic in San Francisco’s Chinatown, after receiving a master’s degree in global health, Geisel medical student Ashley Yang ’24 came face-to-face with the healthcare needs of the city’s deeply rooted Asian-American population.

“There is an entire body of healthcare knowledge specific to Asians that I had not encountered in the past,” Yang says. “Though the Asian-American community is growing, we are still a small percentage of the U.S. population. In Houston, where I grew up, there is a large population of Asian-Americans, but that community is newer than the one in San Francisco and has fewer longstanding institutions serving Asians.”

Asian-Americans contend with many barriers to high-quality healthcare, including infrequent medical visits, language and cultural differences, and lack of health insurance. They are at elevated risk of undiagnosed diabetes, receive fewer cancer screenings, and bear a high burden of chronic hepatitis B, smoking, and tuberculosis if born abroad.

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