Quiet Determination in Action

Hepatitis B Misinformation on TV drama

Posted in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer by missamyyu on December 4, 2009

Received news about hep B misinformation that was on a popular Chinese TV drama, Woju or Dwelling Narrowness.  The article from Global Times, “Fuss over TV Drama’s Line,” details an account where one of the characters on the show INCORRECTLY reprimands her sister for not washing her hands, warning her that she’ll contract hepatitis B and subsequently won’t get a job.  The lack of correct education is frustrating – it is really unfortunate that this popular show’s line perpetuated the misconception about the transmission route for hepatitis B (which is ONLY blood transmission) with that of hepatitis A. However, I will give it that it touches upon the discrimination that is still in effect in China.

But here’s the kicker: The article continues to recount how the show is deleting the phrase before re-airing the episode (small victory!), but also mentions some of the public’s outcry that deleting that line was an overreaction, that the person who complained was being radical, and the deletion was not sensitive to the public’s feelings. I can’t express how incredibly frustrated this makes me. I support the deletion and believe it is not a radical or an overreaction, and in fact is a step in the right direction for human rights and fixing misconceptions. It’s clear that much more education needs to be done to lift misconceptions about hepatitis B’s transmission.

Amy

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Earnest Beginnings

Posted in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer, Of Interest, Personal Actions by missamyyu on November 19, 2009

Hello Reader,

It has been a while since I’ve made my way to my wordpress account to share my thoughts with you. Thanks for your patience during my hiatus. Today, I finished cleaning off my desk and transferring the last of my outreach coordinator things to DN, and look forward to beginning in earnest my work on corporate initiatives for hepatitis B. Here’s a toast to new beginnings!

Hepatitis B Updates / Asian Liver Center / Jade Ribbon Campaign
There is quite a bit to share here; however, I’ll spread the exciting news over the course of future posts. There are two things that I believe will interest you. The first is President Obama’s recognition that hepatitis B is an important Asian and Pacific Islander issue that needs to be addressed. He did so during his celebration of Diwali in October. You can find the video of his speech here at the White House website or you can read a report on it here. This is extremely invigorating news that the president of the US recognizes this important health concern! Hopefully all hepatitis B awareness campaigns will be able to leverage this statement to further advance efforts.

San Mateo Hep B Free had its kick-off earlier this month and had a successful turnout with community and media partners. One of my past interns is now Project Coordinator for San Mateo Hep B Free, and I am extremely proud of her hard work to pull this event together. I am also looking forward to seeing increased hepatitis B education and awareness within the Filipino population in the San Mateo. Here is a picture of us at the event, and I’m wearing the Jade Ribbon dress my roommate ST made for me (and this time you can actually see the ribbon shape):

San Mateo Hep B Free Kickoff

Me sportng my Jade Ribbon Dress with CL and TW

Asian Liver Center Staff Unite!

Upcoming: National Business Group on Health Conference debrief and hep B news in China.

Of Interest

I went to see the Leonid Meteor Shower with CT, WC, and AM on Monday at Monte Bello Open Space Preserve. Saw a beautiful shooting star whose tail burned like a thick brushstroke across the evening sky. Didn’t see as many as I had anticipated, but it was fun to get out under the stars again. I forgot to warn the others about how cold it gets at night, but I think it was a successful event nonetheless. Definitely missed having DH and SL there, though.

Have had more free time than I know what to do with lately, and so I do what I am naturally inclined to do when without work (ha, perhaps, with less work): read. I’ve been reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides which is extremely interesting and definitely a suggested read from me. I have also been exploring some science fiction short stories by Ted Chiang. (Thank you DH for your suggestion!) This guy is pretty brilliant and I thoroughly enjoy the points that he makes. If you have time, take a gander.

Have a good night,

Amy

Edit: Didn’t realize this wasn’t published publicly.  Sorry about that!

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

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


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

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

Writing and Reading

Posted in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer, Of Interest, Personal Actions by missamyyu on September 1, 2009

Hello,

In Lane Library of the Stanford medical school campus.  I’m taking a week off from work to work on and finish my secondary applications for medical school.   Wish me luck!  (and luck to those who are working on them as well – this goes out to you, GH)

Hepatitis B and Jade Ribbon Campaign Updates
Our Jade Ribbon Youth Council 2009-2010 application is due this week, and I am looking forward to reading them.  And although I won’t be directly working with the students this year, I am still excited about what they will potentially accomplish this year, and helping them coordinate with high school groups from across the nation.

We’re also opening up academic year internships at the Asian Liver Center this week.  If you’re interested in applying, feel free to email me (amyyu@stanford.edu).

Me at a TweetUp in Silicon Valley - here's me with two great guys from Intel

Me at a TweetUp in Silicon Valley - here's me with two great guys from Intel

Social Media Fun

Attended a Tweet Up last week hosted by Michael Brito on Santana Row.  I had a great time meeting new people and connecting with other social media influencers.  Tweetups are a fantastic idea – you have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with individuals who are the doers and the movers in terms of social media.  Plus, everyone is so kind and willing to listen to your story.  As a person from a non-profit organization, it’s a great way for me to raise awareness and make connections so that I can learn about new ways to leverage social media to eradicate hepatitis B and make some good friends at the same time.

Religious Thought
I had the opportunity to chat with one of my religious studies professors yesterday, and he brought to my attention an interesting new phenomena that has grown popular as of late: The New Atheists.  Essentially, they attack organized religion and see religion as the root of evil and what causes war and subordination.  Now, I don’t disagree that fundamentalist thinking does lead to such violence, but from what I gleaned off the internet and from my professor, it seems that these New Atheists don’t quite give religion its due respect.  I’ll need to pick up their books and then read Terry Eagleton’s polemic against the New Atheists’ assertions.  What’s interesting about Eagleton is that he isn’t particuarly religious himself.  He gave a lecture series at Yale, which I’ll listen to, and post later.   Let me know if you’ve read anything about this / have any thoughts – I would love to hear them.

Alright, back to writing.  Thank you for reading,

Amy

Jade Ribbon Campaign and Miss Asian America 2009

Posted in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer, Of Interest by missamyyu on August 29, 2009

Hi Everyone,

Wal-Mart in Fremont, CA donated $1,000 to the Jade Ribbon Campaign (specifically, LIVERight).  Thanks to SW for applying for this community grant and thank you to Wal-Mart for their generous contribution to supporting liver cancer and hepatitis B awareness.  When I went to accept the check, I had the opportunity to chat with a fantastic Filipina lady by the name of C.  She was pretty remarkable in that she worked two jobs, seven days a week and survived the death of her youngest son to liver cancer.  Hopefully we can work with her in some capacity on some Filipino hepatitis B outreach.

Jade Ribbon Campaign and the Fight against Hepatitis B
This week was the last week for our summer interns (how sad!), and we’ll be hiring the new team in late September.  I’ve seen three teams of interns during my time at the Asian Liver Center, and I’m always sad when they leave.  It’s been such a pleasure watching this team grow and learn new skills and gain confidence in their communication or team building techniques.   And, in turn, they also teach me a few lessons about how to be a better leader, how to communicate in a more direct and positive manner, and how to manage projects so that they feel an investment, and I can make sure that projects move forward.  Of course, I’m still learning, but I am indebted to the past three teams of interns for their great work and their inspriration.

Speaking of inspiration, I met with a trio from Saratoga High this week to discuss their ideas for a Jade Ribbon Campaign awareness club at their school.  It is really heartening to hear their enthusiasm and drive to create a club that makes a difference in their community.  The meeting was productive in that we identified potential projects they could undertake during the year and ideas for their weekly meetings so that the meetings are geared more toward education and not only volunteer opportunities.  We’re beginning to get a lot more high school clubs with each subsequent YLC, and they are all excited about coordinating efforts nationwide as well – letter writing campaigns, and a coordinated Hepatitis B Awareness Week.

I’ve been working with SC to create some sticker and box designs for Sheng Kee Bakery to raise more awareness about the Jade Ribbon Campaign – so that has been very fun.  I will post some of the designs up when they’re at a more finalized state.  If you have any ideas, feel free to message me!

Me at the Miss Asian America 2009 Pageant with Sugar Bowl Bakery Mr. and Mrs. Ly

Me at the Miss Asian America 2009 Pageant with Sugar Bowl Bakery Mr. and Mrs. Ly

And in line with pastries, this is a picture of me at the Miss Asian America pageant with Sugar Bowl Bakery CEO and his wife (who are both so incredibly nice!) pinning them with the Jade Ribbon!  Thank you again to Miss Asian America for their support of the Jade Ribbon Campaign.  Furthermore, there’s the Jade Ribbon dress ST made!  That was a pretty exciting night, although I was fairly exhausted since it was right after the last day of Youth Leadership Conference.

Multitasking – a Detriment to our Cognitive Abilities?

I was listening to NPR yesterday, and currently, a study by Professor Clifford Nass is all the rage because it indicates that individuals who engage in multimedia multitasking are often bad at it, AND, they pay a mental price for it.  From the study, it appears that those who multitask at high rate have difficulty in differentiating between relevant and irrelevant information; hence, multitasking on a media level (e.g. chatting via IM while writing an email, watching the television, and reading a NYtimes article) can have a detrimental impact on our cognitive abilities.  Makes me consider if I should be multitasking (of course, it’s so ingrained into how I operate, that I’m undergain how I can stop).  Here’s the article from NPR, and a transcript of an interview with Professor Nass.

Next post: Tweetups.

Thanks for reading,
Amy