Quiet Determination in Action

Returning to the World

Posted in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer by missamyyu on September 29, 2009

After a week hiatus from social media, I am back.  Apologies about the bout of absence, illness and work took me away. So, if you emailed me within the last two weeks, I promise I will get back to you; I’m just slightly overwhelmed at this point.

Updates from the hepatitis B front: SF Treasure Island Dragon Boat Festival was this past weekend, which is always a treat. We had the opportunity to collaborate with SF Hep B Free on holding a booth and providing educational surveys to the festival attendees. Knowledge levels about hepatitis B prevalence in Asian and Pacific Islanders (1 in 10 compared to 1 in 1000 of Caucasians), transmission (only through blood), and risks (liver cancer and liver failure) were very low, indicative of increased awareness and education.  Surveys from the Filipino Fil Am Friendship Festival in Daly City also reflected poor knowledge levels and misconceptions within the Filipino population.  NT, SC, and I are working on a paper that examines the knowledge levels of the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipino populations, so that should be exciting.  Side note: everyone loved the Jade Warrior tattoos – I’ll upload one tomorrow.  They were such a hit.

On the youth front, the 2009-2010 Jade Ribbon Youth Council has been selected.  16 Bay Area high school students will be joining the ALC family to create innovative outreach ideas for targeting youth and learn how to be leaders in their communities.  The application was pretty stiff this year and it was difficult to choose out of roughly fifty highly qualified candidates.  Additionally, it is extremely exciting to see all the high school awareness chapters that are starting this year.  I think there are ten or more chapters that are starting from this year’s YLC alone.  And I also received an email from a YLC 2008 alumni at Vassar who is going to start a collegiate hepatitis B awareness group.  This is just one example of how these youth empowerment programs truly impact youth and stay with them. I’m very thankful I had the opportunity to play a role in such an rewarding endeavor.

And one more piece of exciting news: the ALC’s new Outreach Coordinator will be starting on Wednesday! I can now officially start full force on the corporate outreach work.  Exciting!

I also saw a mother carrying the Jade Ribbon Campaign reusable shopping bag at the Caltrain Station at Milbrae this past Saturday.  I almost took out the camera to snap pictures of her, but stopped myself less I appear inappropriate.  However, CL did come up with a neat idea: “Where have you seen the JRC reusable shopping bag” contest.  Definitely has merit and will continue ruminating on this idea for the future.

Thank you for reading!

Amy

New Things

Posted in Uncategorized by missamyyu on September 20, 2009

Hepatitis B Outreach Updates

September has been an incredible whirlwind of hepatitis B outreach activities.  I’ve been out at events every weekend this month.  Finished with another Vietnamese screening (we held one in partnership with the Vietnamese Reach for Health Coalition last weekend, which was very successful!) today.  This one was held at a Vietnamese church, and it ran smoothly despite less than expected numbers attending.  However, UP did a good job setting this up and gaining the church’s buy-in, so I’m proud of her work for this summer.

In retrospect, I believe that in order for our outreach projects to be more successful, we’ll need to return to the partnered education and screenings  instead of trying to squeeze ourselves into the Sunday church schedule. Unless we have the entire church’s buy-in, it is difficult to incorporate our education and screening program.

I just heard of two new high school hepatitis B awareness groups that will be forming from students who attended our Youth Leadership Conference in August.  It makes me really excited to hear that we are able to inspire these young leaders to take action in their communities.

SF Treasure Island Dragon Boat Festival (Sept. 26 & 27th) next weekend!  Come out and enjoy the races and stop by our booth for hepatitis B education – or better yet, sign up to volunteer by contacting alcvolunteers@gmail.com

Social Media Fun
I have been fiddling with various social media tools / widgets this past week.  One of my particular favorites is the introduction of TimesPeople on NYTimes.com where I can directly tweet, facebook, digg, etc. articles that I find intriguing.  Plus, I can also recommend articles, and these articles will show up on my TimesPeople profile where those who follow me can read about my suggestions. I think this is a fantastic move for NYTimes to make the news (especially their news articles) much more accessible to others through peer dissemination. You can find me under the handle missamyyu if you ever decide to you use it.

Posterous has also been a newly acquired social media toy that I’m learning how to use. So bear with me as I test out various posterous features.

Had a fun time teaching BC about Twitter, and had a hilarious exchange about retweeting, and how retweeting only applies to those who are alive.  [Note, he’s an author, so that is how we got to talking about retweeting dead individuals like Ernest Hemingway.]

Of Interest
Tried my hand at mashed cauliflower (the healthier alternative to mashed potatoes) the other day.  Tasted pretty good despite my overuse of butter.

Also, in case you missed it, here’s an article “A Doctor for Disease, a Shaman for the Soul” from the NYTimes.com that highlights the win-win outcomes by integrating culturally sensitive programs into healthcare.

Thanks for reading,
Amy

Test #2

Posted in Uncategorized by missamyyu on September 20, 2009

Let's see if this syndication works from Posterous to my wordpress blog!

Youth Hepatitis B Awareness Clubs

Posted in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer by missamyyu on September 16, 2009

Hello Reader,

Brief update on youth action to eradicate hepatitis B. Been a little swampped at work with various projects and trying to finish up secondary applications for medical school.

Youth Hepatitis B Awareness Groups
We have roughly 6 or 7 new high school hepatitis B awareness chapters this year from students who attended the 7th Annual Youth Leadership Conference on Asian and Pacific Islander Health.   The students who are creating these groups are all fantastic and are just so incredibly enthusiastic to raise awareness about hepatitis B and liver cancer in their communities.  The chapters range from Northern California to Southern California to Georgia and to New York.  There might also be one in Texas soon.  I’m really impressed by all the students’ effort and willingness to improve the health of their communities; I wish I had that drive when I was younger.  I’m really looking forward to seeing their groups grow and am trying to think of ways to make sure that these students are recognized for their leadership.  This is just a testament to the efficacy of empowering youth to address a health disparity, and how our youth leadership conference is a model program.  Youth are so innovative and enthusiastic, and by teaching them the skills to enact their own outreach projects, they can do real good in their communities.

Also reading Jade Ribbon Youth Council applications.  I’m a bit behind because I was pushing a grant through and preparing things for my next potential corporate partner – which will be very exciting.  More details later.

And good news, our new Outreach Coordinator will be officially starting on September 30th, and I will be transitioning full time to Corporate Outreach and Advocacy.  And while I’m looking forward to my new position,where there is great opportunity for innovation and leadership development, I will have to admit that I am going to miss working on the ALC’s outreach programming at large.  After spending a year building relationships in the ethnic communities and working to make our youth programming exciting and sustainable, I am relunctant to leave that arena. I will really miss working with the interns and the high school students – it is really all about the people at the end. However, the new Outreach Coordinator DN will be a fantastic addition to our team and will bear the Outreach Coordinator mantle well.  Plus, there are new and exciting things ahead!

And to end things today, check out this nifty little article on tracking where your waste – both garbage and recylcing – actually go.  I’m interested in seeing what the results are for this project

Thank you for reading,

Amy

A Buffet of Interests

Posted in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer, Of Interest, Personal Actions by missamyyu on September 14, 2009

Hello Reader,

Cleaned up the blog interface over the weekend; hope you find the blog easier on the eyes, especially with pictures embedded in the text. Also, I’ve included some blogs and people I follow who write pretty thought provoking things. I highly encourage you to check them out; they’re located on the bottom of the column to your right.

Have been fiddling with Yahoo meme, although it is very similar to Twitter.  What I do like about it is that you can see all the comments that are attached to one post or idea. Speaking of social media, Michael Brito was very kind to meet with me last week to talk about social media strategy for the Asian Liver Center.  He’s so incredibly kind and generous with his time and expertise.  We discussed blogging and how to leverage blogs to connect to the public (you!) and give people a sense of what is going on with our projects on the ground.  Such a fantastic guy!

I have been primarily been trying to catch up with email and crunch out a mini-grant that is due tomorrow. Some exciting news on the hepatitis B front is news coverage of our Jade Ribbon Youth Council 2008-2009 in the San Mateo County Times newspaper. Congratulations to them for their fantastic leadership in raising awareness about hepatitis B and liver cancer.

Interesting article on NPR.com about healthcare and the detrimental effect of copays on incentives, especially in the case of chronic diseases. The author of the piece is a lawyer from a biotech company and provides a well-written argument on how co-pays tend to drive “perverse financial incentives.”  Co-pays lead individuals with chronic illnesses – like chronic hepatitis B, as highlighted in the article – to look for cheaper treatment alternatives and delayed treatment only to end up with surgeries and interventions later on that cost both the patient and the insurance a great deal more. Thanks to SC for the article.

And to end the night, here’s a little comic I found funny (thanks to SL for sending!):

I wouldn't want to be the one to find this baby!

I wouldn't want to be the one to find this baby!

Corporate Hepatitis B Work

Posted in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer, Of Interest by missamyyu on September 13, 2009

Hello,

Updates on corporate hepatitis B intiative and healthcare. A whole slew of other interesting things to come in the next post. Apologies about being MIA: I spent a week at home in Texas working on my medical school applications and to see my family, and the return back to the office was pretty hectic with all the events that happened this week and the flood of To-Do’s piled on my desk.

Corporate Hepatitis B Initiatives
On Wednesday, I had the fantastic opportunity to attend Corporate Asian American Employee Network’s (CAAEN) 6th Annual Event at Chevron in San Ramon. CAAEN is an organization comprised of employee resource groups from many Fortune 500 companies in the Bay Area that focus on developing leadership advancement for Asian Americans.  CAAEN kindly invited us to host a booth during the networking time period, and I had the opportunity to speak with ~60 people in an hour timeframe.  The Asian Liver Center booth was definitely very busy, mostly due to our wheel and the Jade Ribbon Campaign plushy cows. People were very receptive to filling out the 6-question knowledge survey, and with the incredible help of our Cisco supporter MT, I was able to provide many Silicon Valley employees with hepatitis B education. Many took the information seriously, and I hope that they go and ask their doctors about hepatitis B testing. One very exciting prospect that came out of that night is the possibility of working with Safeway to promote the Jade Ribbon Campaign. This is still in its early stages, but hopefully this can pan out with the help of CAAEN.

After the networking session, I had the chance to attend the panel discussion with top Asian American leaders from Visa, Chevron, and AAA.  It was great to hear their perspectives on what it means to be an Asian American leader, the pros, the challenges, and where they see Asian Americans in future leadership. Our economy, our world is becoming increasingly diverse, and we need to embrace that diversity and bring it to the table.  I enjoyed talking to Lynn Chou after the panel discussion – she’s such an inspiration as a successful Asian American female leader.  To advance your career, she advised, is to excel at what you do, but to also have those 3-4 projects that you take ownership of for each year that you can speak about to your superiors and others to demonstrate your leadership and ability.

Another good nugget is this: Be consistent. be confident, and  be willing to laugh at yourself and your mistakes.

Evaluting “American Values” and their application to Healthcare & Reform
I hope that you all had the chance to listen to President Obama’s healthcare reform speech on Wednesday.  He’s such an eloquent speaker.  I was pretty happy to hear his stance on how health insurance shouldn’t be withheld from those who have existing health conditions and how health insurance should not be revoked when an individual begins to be too costly for an insurance company to cover.  He’s right: it’s heartbreaking and it’s wrong.  I haven’t had a chance to read about follow up commentary to the speech and what plans will be put forward, but if you have any suggestions, please do let me know!

And, here’s a very well written article by Pauline Chen from NYTimes about healthcare and “American Values.” There has been lot of talk about how certain parties or certain plans reflect “American values,” but what ARE American values?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article.

More updates to come. Thank you for reading!

Amy


Moment of Remembrance

Posted in Uncategorized by missamyyu on September 11, 2009

Just a quick post to ask you to take a moment to honor those whose lives were taken eight years ago.

A whole buffet (to take Beth Kanter’s most recent blog entry title) of updates to come later today!

Amy

Asian Americans on Healthcare Reform & Hepatitis B

Posted in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer, Of Interest by missamyyu on September 4, 2009

Hello Everyone,

Read a great NPR transcript of Congressmen Judy Chu and Mike Honda on healthcare reform.  Judy Chu mentions hepatitis B and it’s importance in heatlhcare reform for Asian and Pacific Islanders.  Especially pertinent since under our current healthcare program, those with pre-existing conditions are often denied healthcare.  My own mother suffers from this problem due to her chronic hep B infection, so it is great to hear a politicion speaking out about this issue.

http://www.apaforprogress.org/asian-american-democrats-discuss-healthcare-npr-transcript


Let me know what your thoughts are!

Amy

Healtcare Napkins

Posted in Of Interest by missamyyu on September 3, 2009
Interesting slides on healthcare reform.  I like this.  Thanks to @ebtsai for these.
Healthcare Napkins All
View more documents from Dan Roam.
Tagged with:

Hepatitis B, My Mother, and Planes

Posted in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer, Personal Actions by missamyyu on September 3, 2009

Hello,

Had a great chat with a friendly fellow, B from Intel Digital Health Group, on the plane yesterday about my hepatitis B work and his work at Intel.  He was interested in the work that we have done at Cisco and bringing hep B awareness to the Asian employee base (although, I was thinking that we need to broaden the scope since hepatitis B also affects Russians, those from the Middle East, some South Americans, and Africans).  Hopefully we’ll see some progress there soon.  I was not even aware that Intel played a role in healthcare, but it only makes sense that Intel would play a role in helping to create cutting-edge technology to help improve healthcare data / information technologies.  Definitely check out Intel’s healthcare website to see what innovative projects they are working on to improve our healthcare system, and ultimately, our health.

Also, was reading the blog of Eric Dishman, Intel Director of Health Innovation and Policy, and I really liked his blog entry on health care reform entitled “Healthcare Reform is Personal for Me”.  I feel it really speaks to a lot fo the reasons why I support true reform in the current healthcare system.  One of the most poignant points was the fear of losing insurance due to a pre-existing condition or not being able to get the care that you need due to all the red tape that exists now.  I’d highly recommend you read the blog entry, and do let me know what you think.

One reason the blog entry struck me was because I was recently speaking with my own mother about how her insurance monthly payment is increasing almost each month, and how she can’t afford the increases and she can’t find another provider to take her due to her chronic hepatitis status.  She won’t even go and do her regular 6-month ALT and AFP blood tests to check for liver cancer because she can’t afford to pay the $30 co-pay and then the cost of the bloodwork.  And she’s been having problems walking, but she won’t go see the doctor because she’s afraid of all the billing that will ensue from the various MRI’s or tests she’ll undergo.  She even tried to ask her insurance how much the tests would cost, but they said they couldn’t tell her – that it was dependent on how much the physician’s office wanted to charge.  And when she called the physician’s office, they said they didn’t know either, and it was dependent on how much the insurance premiums were.  And so, already strapped for cash and unwilling to spend more than she has to, my mom suffers each day, having to hobble around.  I spent an hour last night rubbing Bengay cream on her leg and back as she whimpered in pain.

It’s frustrating to say the least.  I tell her I’ll pay for her appointments and I even schedule them, but she doesn’t commit to them.  I try to convince her that I’m willing to put forth this money so that we don’t have to spend more later in the event of serious disease or injury, but she doesn’t listen.  She doesn’t feel that her healthcare provider is there to take care of her, only to take her money away, and that is incredibly frustrating on my end, when I just want to make sure she’s healthy and happy.   She’s a small business owner, and doesn’t have the luxury I have to rely on a larger company / institution for healthcare.  She has a pre-existing condition that bars her from finding more affordable healthcare.  And she won’t utilize the little healthcare benefits she has because she can’t navigate the insurance policies and pricing costs.  I don’t know about you, but I think our healthcare is in true need of reform – if not for my mother, then for all the other mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers out there that are suffering.  I know there is incredible fear of change, but I don’t understand why people don’t fear our current system.

Thanks for reading, and I do invite you to share your thoughts with me.  I’m still very new to discussion about the healthcare reform issue, but these are my thoughts, and what I see from my family’s perspective.

Best,
Amy