Who We Are…

AMA Staff at the 2012 Hmong New Year in Minneapolis, MN

AMA Staff at the 2012 Hmong New Year in Minneapolis, MN

In response to the increasing disparity in health outcomes within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Minnesota, especially among the newly arrived Asian immigrants and refugees, the bicultural healthy living concept was conceived.  This concept emerged from work initiated by the Asian Pacific American Community Network (APA ComMNet), a collaborative group led by Asian Media Access (AMA).  In 2010, AMA and APA ComMNet received a prestigious grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to participate in the REACH CORE program (Racial and EthnicApproaches to Community Health, Communities Organized to Respond and Evaluate) that seeks to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in the U.S.

As a member of the National REACH Coalition, AMA and APA ComMNet conducted outreach and engagement with Minnesota’s eight largest AAPI communities and collected qualitative and quantitative data to understand the systematic, environmental, cultural and social factors influencing the health of AAPIs in the state.  Guided by the MAPP process (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership), AMA and APA ComMNet found that by moving beyond the aggregated data used for AAPI communities, various cultural, historical, institutional and societal factors emerged deeply impacting the overall health of AAPIs in the state.

Along with its partners, AMA and APA ComMNet have devised a strategy that will allow the Asian/Pacific Islander culture as well as the American culture of AAPIs to co-exist with the ability to use one or both cultural protective factors when needed.  The bicultural healthy lifestyle promotes a balanced approach to living a healthy and full life.

To learn more, check out the “About Us” page…

Balancing a Bicultural Life: How it Can Improve Your Health

Young Asian American dancers during the Hmong  New Year Celebration

Young Asian American dancers during the Hmong New Year Celebration

We live in a country where over 300 languages are spoken at home and one can find a native from every corner of the world.    Built largely by immigrants, the United States is a melting pot, or a salad bowl perhaps, of varying cultures and traditions.  Leading a bicultural healthy life, therefore, is the ability of immigrants and refugees to bridge two cultures, the American mainstream culture and their culture of origin, into one that allows them to live healthfully and happily.

Right now, however, many in the immigrant and refugee community are unable to find this balance.  They are in the losing end of a battle to overcome serious health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  Although seen as a “model minority”, Asian Americans are struggling.  With high infectious disease rates of Hepatitis B, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, prevailing mental health disorders including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation, and an increasing number of obese and overweight members in the community, Asian Americans are not immune to the social and environmental factors that has deteriorated the health of all Americans.

By encouraging a bicultural healthy lifestyle, we hope that Asian Americans can find a path that allow both their Asian and American culture to co-exist with the ability to use one or both cultural protective factors when needed.

An example of a bicultural healthy practice is encouraging Tai Chi for 30 minutes a day as opposed to walking or running on the treadmill or employing the traditional Asian staple of rice, boiled vegetables and fish as opposed to eating in a fast food restaurant. 

This blog will explore the various ways and strategies to improve the health of Asian Americans and the community as a whole by living a bicultural healthy lifestyle.

Looking forward to your comments!

Topic for the Next Blog Post: Introducing the Asian Food Pyramid