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NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health Receives OMH National Leadership Award

February 26, 2009

On February 26th, 2009, the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health received the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (OMH) “National Leadership Award.”  The award was presented at the Third National Leadership Summit on Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Awards Gala in National Harbor, MD.  The Summit brought together leaders from all levels of government, academia, public health, mental health, minority serving institutions and minority communities to advance key issues and opportunities for improving minority health and closing the health gap. The Summit marks the 21st year since the establishment of OMH and is intended to promote best practices and collaborative actions that are vital to improving minority health in the US.

The OMH confered six categories of awards at the Summit to recognize and honor contributions that have made a difference to the health of racial/ethnic minorities. NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health was the only academic institution to receive the honor of the National Leadership award.  The award recognizes demonstrated vision, innovation, creativity, and leadership in the developing of opportunities or investing in successful models for improving the health of racial and ethnic communities.  Dr. Garth Graham, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health at OMH, emphasized that NYU received this award due to the organization’s “demonstrated commitment to minority health through a ‘hands on’ approach and their performance as a role model who has inspired others at all levels to take on initiatives that further the work towards eliminating health disparities."

Representatives from CSAAH with the other OMH Award Reciepients and Award Ceremony Host D.L. Hughley

The New York University (NYU) Center for the Study of Asian American Health was established in 2003 with a grant from the National Institutes of Health National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities.  NYU has receive $20 M dollars in NIH and CDC competitive grants and $10M in NYS and NYC funding since its inception in 2004 as just the Asian Center and then as an Institute since 2007. It is the only center of its kind at an academic medical center with a focus on Asian American health issues. NYU is one of the few academic medical centers in the United States to hold both NIH and CDC designations as Centers of Excellence.   CSAAH aims to:
•    Develop and conduct research to understand, address, and eliminate health disparities in Asian American communities
•    Build new and strengthen existing private and public partnerships in order to increase outreach, advocacy, and research capacity to address Asian American health disparities and social inequalities
•    Train a cadre of health professionals about community-based approaches of addressing health disparities in Asian American communities.

The success of CSAAH is primarily due to the dedication and commitment of community and university partners in working together to develop comprehensive and community-based strategies to understand, address, and reduce health disparities.  Over the years, CSAAH partners have been critical to ensuring that the Center’s work is guided by a pan-Asian, collaborative spirit.  During the last five years, CSAAH has demonstrated leadership in community outreach, health promotion, and partnership development in research.  The Center has developed programs that make a tremendous difference in helping communities at risk for hepatitis B, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.  

One of CSAAH’s exemplary programs is the Asian American Hepatitis B Program (AAHBP), a community-based, culturally appropriate screening, vaccination, research, and treatment program designed to reduce the glaring disparity of hepatitis B in the Asian American community.  Founded in 2004 with funding from the New York City Office of the City Council, the program has achieved huge success due to the active community and academic engagement in all aspects of the coalition and program development.  Culturally and linguistically appropriate materials and services were developed that ensured continuity across health outreach, screening, vaccination, and treatment services.  Since 2004, AAHBP has launched a city-wide educational media campaign about hepatitis B, educated approximately 11,000 Asian Americans through education workshops, screened more than 8,900 individuals for  hepatitis B, and administered nearly 5,800 doses of vaccine to susceptible persons. AAHBP physicians have clinically evaluated nearly 1,200 screening participants identified with hepatitis B.  AAHBP has become well-established among the communities it serves as a trusted source for culturally-sensitive screening, vaccination and follow-up care.  The AAHBP Coalition now consists of more than 20 NYC community-based organizations and health and academic institutions, including its original members.  The program has provided important access to screening, vaccination, and treatment for individuals at risk for hepatitis B and has made a tremendous impact on recognizing the importance of family-centered and culturally-appropriate programs for infectious diseases.  The accomplishments and infrastructure of AAHBP resulted in the CDC designation and award as a Center of Excellence in the dissemination and training of evidence-based strategies to reduce hepatitis B disparities.  

In short, CSAAH has demonstrated tremendous leadership by leveraging the power of community-academic collaboration to address and eliminate health disparities in the Asian American community.