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The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Blog Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association Hosts Inaugural Health Fair

February 22, 2024
By Jeffrey Wang, MD ’26

On Sunday, January 14, 2024, Drexel University College of Medicine’s Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) chapter hosted its inaugural health fair at Phat Bao Temple in North Philadelphia. It was a dedicated effort to organize vital health screenings and health education for the underrepresented and marginalized Vietnamese community in the area. We provided routine vitals checks, comprehensive optometry exams and extensive health care and social services resources and referrals to nearly 100 community members.

APAMSA Hosts Inaugural Health Fair

Current APAMSA co-presidents Stephen Chien and Jeffrey Wang, both members of the MD class of ’26, organized and facilitated the event from inception to completion. From their time assuming APAMSA leadership in spring 2023, they shared an interest in hosting a health fair specific for the needs of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI).

AANHPI communities in particular face unique health care issues due to their diversity in ethnic groups. For example, more than 70% of Asian Americans are foreign-born, and thus many have limited English proficiency. Other challenges include differing cultural beliefs and unfamiliarity with navigating the Western health system. In addition, Asian Americans face health disparities in cancer, mental health, and chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, especially among the elderly. Asian Americans also have the highest incidence and mortality rates of liver and stomach cancers, largely due to disproportionately high rates of hepatitis B infection in the community. All of this motivated APAMSA leadership to conduct health outreach and encourage early cancer screenings. Health education pamphlets on chronic disease care and hepatitis B were provided in the native languages of the health fair attendees, and our medical students and residents practiced hands-on skills while communicating in Vietnamese and Chinese, meeting the community members where they were.

We take immense pride in our growing relationship with this organization and believe we have set up Drexel’s APAMSA chapter with a strong community partner for future leadership and volunteers. We hope to continue to expand our outreach efforts and employ an interdisciplinary approach to these health fairs by inviting other Drexel health professional students. We also extend our sincerest gratitude to Annette Gadegbeku, MD, and the Office of Community Health & Health Equity for helping us achieve our vision and establishing what we hope to be a long-term partnership.

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