NYU Langone Researchers Bring Unique Experience and Perspective to Understanding Influences on Disease and Illness in Asian American Communities
Three experts in population health research at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Institute of Community Health and Research have edited a groundbreaking book on Asian American health. The book, "Asian American Communities and Health: Context, Research, Policy and Action", provides an overview of the social, political, economic and cultural forces that influence disease and illness in Asian American communities. It explores the health disparities of the Asian American community with respect to socioeconomic status, cultural traditions, health-seeking behavior, and specific healthcare needs.
"This book is the first of its kind to comprehensively examine the contextual factors that affect the health and well-being of Asian Americans," says Mariano Jose Rey, M.D., the Senior Associate Dean for Community Health Affairs, founding director of the NYU Institute of Community Health and Research and one of the book’s authors. "From now on, public health professionals will have a unique and invaluable resource when addressing the health of Asian American communities."
NYU Langone Medical Center’s Institute of Community Health and Researchers Chau Trinh-Shevrin, DRPH, and Nadia Shilpi Islam, PhD are co-authors with Rey.
The Asian American population is growing at a faster pace than other large racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Its growth is expected to triple between now and 2050 when Asian Americans will constitute 8% of the U.S. population. The community also has unique health care needs. Asian Americans with viral or bacterial infections are more likely to get stomach cancer and Asian Americans with Hepatitis B are more likely to develop liver cancer. And within the broader Asian American community, Filipinos with a low Body Mass Index are more likely to have premature mortality as a result of a cardiovascular events than other Asians and the general population.
"We hope that our book will significantly contribute to the progress being made in documenting Asian American health disparities in a manner that accurately reflects the community and its diverse subgroups," states Dr. Chau Trinh-Shevrin.
About 50 leading academic researchers and 20 community advocates across the U.S. have contributed to the book. "The collaborative nature of the book underscores our own commitment to working collegially to identify solutions to eliminating health disparities in Asian American and other minority populations," adds Dr. Nadia Islam.
Clinicians and researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have had a long tradition of working with Asian American populations. In 2003, the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health (CSAAH) was established, within the Institute of Community Health and Research and in 2007 it was designated as a NIH National Research Center of Excellence.
That same year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also designated CSAAH as a National Center of Excellence to Eliminate Health Disparities (CEED) making the NYU Langone Medical Center the only academic medical center in the US to have two such federally funded National Centers of Excellence.
“The NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health has played a truly ground-breaking role in helping to reduce health disparities – an area that I see as a crucial component of our quest to become a world-class academic medical institution,” says Robert I. Grossman, Dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center. "I expect this book will not just find its way into doctors’ offices, but also into the curriculum of schools of public health, departments of history, sociology, economics and programs on the history of science.”
CSAAH concentrates its work on five specific endeavors: 1) the elimination of disparities in cardiovascular disease through community based interventions 2) the highlighting of the unique disparity in the development of cancer in Asian American communities; 3) the improved understanding of mental health disparities; 4) the investigation of the social and cultural contributors of health and disease and 5) the stimulation of research through innovative pilot projects.
The CSAAH was recently recognized with a 2009 "National Leadership Award" by the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the Department of Health and Human Services. The award honors "individuals and organizations that make a difference in the healthcare of racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S."
The Editors of "Asian American Communities and Health":
Chau Trinh-Shevrin, DRPH, is Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Medicine at New York University. She is director and one of the founders of the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health (CSAAH). She also serves as the research core principal investigator of the NIH P60 Research Center of Excellence and is a co-investigator on several NIH and CDC-funded centers and research projects.
Nadia Islam, PHD is the Deputy Director of the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health (CSAAH) and a faculty member of the NYU School of Medicine. She is also the principal investigator and director of the DREAM Project (Diabetes Research, Education and Action), a five year NIH-funded study that examines the impact of a community health worker program designed to improve diabetes control and diabetes-related health complications in the Bangladeshi community in New York City.
Mariano Jose Rey, MD, is the Senior Associate Dean for Community Health Affairs at the NYU School of Medicine and is the founding Director of the NYU Institute of Community Health and Research, which has CSAAH as one of its Centers. An expert in cardiovascular physiology and disease, he is also the Co-Director of the NYU Joan and Joel Smilow Center for Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention.