Advocacy Directory for New Americans

The Ohio Asian American Pacific Islander Advisory Council (OAAPIAC) is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the southern district of Ohio and the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission to create a statewide civil rights and advocacy directory for New Americans.

These agencies, in coordination with Columbus’ Community Relations Commission, hosted a civil rights summit for New American community leaders in February 2013. At this summit, they discussed such civil rights topics as language access rights, housing rights, hate crimes, employment rights and police misconduct.

BFree Columbus

The Ohio Asian American Health Coalition (OAAHC) received a grant award from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enable early identification of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and linkage to care among foreign-born Asian and African populations. One of 33 grant recipients, the OAAHC will provide 1,500 HBV screenings and follow-up services to Columbus-area residents who are at high risk for infection by this potentially deadly virus.

Recent immigrants, including those from China, southeast Asia and Somalia, have been medically underserved and are among the populations disproportionately affected by this disease. Therefore, the OAAHC’s project, BFree Columbus, was developed to help ensure that members of these communities are screened, informed of their condition and provided with counseling and medical treatment when necessary.

The OAAHC also will continue its advocacy for the vaccination of at-risk individuals  as a cost-effective primary means of preventing new HBV infections. The coalition aims to provide free screenings and linkage to care at unprecedented levels, in collaboration with a number of community-based organizations, healthcare providers and the Columbus Department of Health. Contact Manju Sankarappa, executive director of the OAAHC, it you are interested in HPB education and training for your community. 

Breast Health Education and Screenings

The Breast Health Education and Screening for Asian Women (BHESAW) is a continuing project funded by Komen for the Cure that is designed to increase breast cancer awareness through health education, screenings and by addressing the factors that may contribute to Asian women’s low level of participation in mammograms.
The project is designed for women who are uninsured or underinsured, have limited English proficiency, have low health literacy level, and have cultural and linguistic barriers. The project aims to increase the screening rate among Asian women through increasing awareness, improving access and reducing cultural and linguistic barriers. It is based on the indigenous model of using trained community “lay” healthcare advocates who act as interpreters. Furthermore, they are trained to serve as community liaisons in providing culturally and linguistically appropriate information, allowing them to provide breast health education to more Asian women.

The most important aspect of this project is the use of the community health assistants (CHAs)  who serve as cultural brokers in the community, where they are recognized leaders. Dr. Cora Munoz is the project director and Manju Sankarappa is the program manager.

Chronic Disease and Diabetes Self-Management Programs  

The OAAHC was funded by the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Commission on Minority Health to offer free workshops on the Chronic Disease Self- Management Program and the Diabetes Self-Management Program in community settings.

Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom may be non-health professionals with a chronic disease themselves or is related to someone with a chronic illness.

The six-week diabetes management workshop is designed to help individuals better manage their diabetes and gain control of their health. Free workshops will be provided in various venues in the state of Ohio, in conjunction with OAAHC member organizations.

OAAHC executive director Manju Sankarappa and vice president Dr. Cora Munoz were trained as master trainers as well as lay leaders through an intensive didactic and hands-on training of the Stanford University evidenced-based curriculum.