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!
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,
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.
Let me know what your thoughts are!
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.
Overview: ALC website update, YLC section overhaul, delicious Indian Food, Twitter things, and weekend highlights! I can’t believe it is already Friday. As EN said in a tweet, this was the fastest week ever. I’m looking forward to this weekend to have the opportunity to hammer out some more application things and for my picnic adventure. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.
Asian Liver Center / Jade Ribbon Campaign Updates
Finished updating portions of the ALC website with pictures and some videos. I’ve drawn satisfaction from the redesign of the Youth Leadership Conference portion of the website where it’s less text heavy, and more picture-heavy (although it can still be argued that there still is too much text). It’s not completely done, but it will be soon after TC gets the team presentations uploaded onto our YouTube account. He’s been working hard on them (editing and everything), so hopefully the students will enjoy them. I’ve also updated with the 99 Ranch Market JRC reusable bag photos on our Flickr account as well. Staring at the computer screen coding brings back fun memories of coding late into the night when html was still the new kid on the block. Of course, this constant staring has also dried my eyes out (oi!).
I created a Jade Ribbon Campaign “twibbon” for those who use Twitter and would like to join the Jade Ribbon Campaign. Basically it puts up a little icon on your Twitter icon indicating you support the cause. There are a lot of various twibbons out there, so you can definitely explore. Regardless of the social media platform, customization is always in style. You can find the JRC twibbon here. This is an example:
Going to help TC with a Korean Church education and screening this Sunday – that shall be fun! Excitement for educating people.
Went out to fantastic Indian food last night at Amber India Restaurant in Mountain View with CT. The food was delicious and the service was excellent. I definitely reccommend it to anyone who enjoys good food. I hope to return soon.
I’ve found that most of my news now consists of what I read in Twitter feeds. It initially struck me as a bit odd considering that I used to get my news from browsing the NYTimes.com website (not that I don’t anymore, but with less frequency), but after a bit of thought it didn’t. As we’re continuing to use social media to let our friends know of various news items we find important, these platforms become dynamic news sources instead of stagnant ones. Now, I don’t have to go in search of news – it comes to me. And, I can choose what things come to me through the people I follow. Maybe I should begin following Kristof and Dowd so I at least get my daily dose of NYtimes.
I’ll be going on my picnic tomorrow with CT. We’ll be headed out to Safeway to purchase the goods tonight, so I’m looking forward to that. I’ll let you know how the picnic goes.
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading today. I cant believe it is already past mid-August! Been trying to wade through my work email after YLC and the CDC conference – man, they don’t stop coming! Alright, onto the good stuff:
Hepatitis B and the Jade Ribbon Campaign
The past two days have been meeting days, and I have had the opportunity to work some really great people. Of note, today, I was invited to the Vietnamese Reach for Health Coalition meeting by CW, and was impressed by the dedication and influence of many of those who were in the room. The people there are all incredibly committed to improving the lives of those in their communities, and I really want to express how much it inspired me today to see them all in that room. There were familiar faces, but there were many new ones, and I’m looking forward to learning more about what they do and how the ALC can partner with them to reach the Vietnamese community.
Also worked on some Jade Ribbon Campaign design ideas for a well-known Asian bakery on the west coast, so hopefully the product ideas will be inspiring to them! Will share when things are more finalized.
Today, in the office, we took some cute pictures of our Jade Ribbon Campaign cows (we do one animal each year in accordance to the Chinese Zodiac – and this year is the ox). I thought you’d enjoy seeing them. They were actually inspired through a cow twitpic contest – thanks to CL and TC for rounding up the cows for these photos:
Disappointment with Stanford San Francisco Club
I just learned that the Stanford San Francisco Club is endorsing Jenny McCarthy’s group that says that vaccines cause autism in children. I am just so incredibly disappointed and rather appalled that a Stanford group would endorse such a organization that touts such non-evidence based information and misinforms well-meaning parents. More on this tomorrow. I’m a little too tired to express things coherently. Also – if you’re a felow Stanford alumn, and would like to hear more and are interested in what you can do, let me know.
Thank you for reading!
First and foremost: welcome to the Club 23, SLC and GK. 🙂
Two posts today to make up for the lack of updates yesterday! I’m currently in my Web 2.0 class learning about wikis and the next topic is about a social media tool called brickfish. Today’s class is not as applicable as other classes, but it is still nice to learn about these various platforms.
My to-do list just keeps on growing and growing, and I feel that the amount of “have-dones” just aren’t keeping up. Post-notes make up a colorful melee of now illegible text all over my desk and monitor and my excel to-do list glares more reds (not done) than greens (finished). Youth Leadership Conference is in 16 days and there is still SO much to do! I just need more time to work on the handbook with CL. Really – where does the time go? However, the 99 Ranch Market / Jade Ribbon reusable bag are clearly on first priority this week. There is so much work involved with contacting media, developing the programming, and being patient and persistent. I am very grateful for the interest and support that the ethnic media has shown, and I look forward to seeing them out in Cupertino on Friday. One cool note, we’re in the Korea Times: http://sf.koreatimes.com/article/537062
I’ll be heading to Google San Bruno tomorrow as the ALC’s third venture to increase awareness about hepatitis B and liver cancer in their employee network. It’s the YouTube site, so I’m excited to see what the demographics that are there.
Learned today that TT got engaged, so that was super exciting! Congratulations to her and her fiancé! TT has been a strong supporter and advocate for hep B and liver cancer in the Bay Area Vietnamese community, and I’m happy for this next stage in her life.
Had lunch today with GH and EN at the Clark Center. It was great being able to steal away from work for a moment in the day to reminisce about college years and friendships. One particularly notable happenstance was when we all got different dishes and immediately began to portion them into thirds so we could all share. How I love friends, especially those who are like-minded! It was good seeing GH; her contagious enthusiasm and energy always brightens my day. And I learned the EN was also accepted into the Berkeley post-bacc program! Congratulations to him! 🙂 This piece of knowledge, apparently old news, reminds me that I need to redouble my efforts to connect with my good friends. I admit, that I have dropped off the face of the earth due to work and applications. Sorry about that! RN and I were briefly discussing the difficulty with balancing life and work, especially for workaholics like us. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this, do let me know.
And to end today’s post, I do have some sobering, but important news: today at noon Commander Bok Pon died due to liver cancer induced by hepatitis B. He was a very big figure in the SF Chinese community, and many people will miss him. This is just another reminder that hepatitis B is still a very real and very deadly disease. In fact, every 30 seconds, someone dies of liver failure / liver cancer caused by hep B, and I strongly believe that by outreaching and educating our friends and family (even if it’s just talking to one person), we can prevent such needless suffering.
Thanks for reading!
Hope you all enjoyed your weekend. I had a pretty event-packed weekend, and I’m just getting to sit down now to write about it! Here’s a recap of my weekend:
The day started off with heading to the Miss Asian America press conference at Ana Mandara restaurant in Ghirardelli Square in SF. I wasn’t keen on fighting traffic and searching for parking, so I decided to take public transportation via Caltrain and the Muni. I have always found working on the Caltrain particularly fruitful, and I worked on catching up on work email (I love the Gmail offline feature where you can sync things and have things work very similar to Thunderbird / Outlook). Big apologies to all those who I have not responded to – I’ll get back soon! While I was riding along, there was a group of obnoxious high school boys who were incredibly disruptive with their talks about how big their cars were (“Hey, I can fit my drum set, my two guitars, and three chicks in my car – how about you?”) and how intelligent they were. The wonders of what goes on within the mind of a high school male. Makes me very glad that I’m now out of college and my male friends have more interesting things to discuss (well, at least when I’m within hearing distance). The Muni was fine, but man, when it crosses the Chinatown area – yeesh! – so many Asian people crowd onto the bus. I became well aquainted with two older Asian ladies with five bags of groceries in each hand (now wouldn’t it have been more convenient for them to have a nice huge Jade Ribbon Campaign reusable bag? :p haha). When I got to Ghirardelli Square, I was rather famished and decided to try Kara’s cupcakes. It wasn’t bad – the frosting was whipped so it wasn’t sweet – definitely a plus over Sprinkles’ cupcake frosting – however, the cupcake itself was a bit on the sweet side. I got the mocha cupcake (paid $3.25!), and decided that I liked baking my own $.89 box of Betty Crocker cupcakes. But I AM in the Bay Area where these speciality stores are abundant, so might as well as take in the culture while I’m here.
The MAA press conference was pretty fun. Had the chance to chat with Rose more, and continue to build a relationship with her. It’s pretty amazing what she’s been able to build with this pageant and all the work she’s done in building the San Francisco Asian American community. I had a ball meeting the contestants and the escorts. Notable escorts were Jeff and Steven who took the time to chat with me, so big shout out to them! I also had the opportunity to meet and greet with reporters and other notables in the Asian community, so I was pretty excited about the event. The contestants appeared interested in the cause, and our jade ribbon pins looked very nice on their red dresses. It was very kind of Rose to say that they’ll be wearing the pins at all future events. I finally got a contact at Sing Tao Daily, so hopefully that will prove fruitful for the 99 Ranch Market press conference on Friday. Oh! And I got to use my business card holder I got from Daiso! It’s not the classiest thing in the world, but it is sufficient and helps me look more professional than me digging around my purse. After the MAA press conference, I beelined for Chinatown to get some delicious dim sum and devoured a mantou as I walked down the Stockton tunnel. The 30 and 45 bus lines were overcrowded so I decided to walk to my destination: Davies Symphony Hall. It was quite a walk considering I was lugging my JRC resuable bag filled with outreach swag, dim sum food, and a huge bag of cherries (only $.99 / pound!) and my laptop. But I suppose it was good advertising for the bag. :p Decided to stop by Ross, and I purchased a tan purse so I could have something that matched my outfits that weren’t black (and of course, the bag is good sized so I can fit everything in there). Then I went down Market street, which is scary even at 4 PM in broad daylight. I’m glad I didn’t decide to hang out at a Starbucks and walk down that street at a later time. I ended up at the San Francisco public library which was pretty impressive, and a place that I’d like to go and explore in more detail on a future visit to SF.
And now, to the main event of my Saturday evening: the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds symphony concert (http://www.ffdistantworlds.com/) by the world-renowned SF symphony orchestra. Met up with a good portion of my old archery teammates for the concert along with C and his crew. Thanks much to S for planning and organizing the event! It was an interesting experience because the music was accompanied by clips from the FF games. Definitely brought back memories and makes me want to go back and play the games again (read: huge time sink). The composer of the all the Final Fantasy game music was there, which was pretty cool – he had a very individual sense of fashion that made him stand out against the crowd. I really enjoyed hearing Terra’s theme (Final Fantasy 3 (the one with Terra) was definitely my favorite game!) and the encore piece Sephiroth!
Today was another jam packed ALC day. We had two events go on simultaneously: T’s Korean education and screening event and U’s Vietnamese Parishoners Festival. I really wish I was able to go to both, but alas, I headed out to the Korean event because there was a lot more logistical work involved with it. Overall, it was a pretty successful event in the sense that the parishoners really learned about the importance of hepatitis B and liver cancer in their community. In fact, after the education piece, people were getting their friends in the church who were unable to attend the education seminar to get tested. It was really neat to see people educate their friends about hepatitis B and why it was important that they all get screened. Education is so key to altering behaviour change. One thing that T and I need to do is hammer out logistics to help the education / research piece run more smoothly, and we had a good brainstorming session later in the afternoon. Hopefully the next screening (which will be much bigger) will run more smoothly on the registration end. The issue with working in an education AND screening event into a regular church Sunday is that people have other commitments (e.g. choir practice, etc) that prevent them from attending the seminar (which is really the point for us going out there) or the screening (which is secondary). We have only a finite period of time and we have to move things efficiently and quickly in light of lots of forms. N will be doing a similar venture with the Filipino community, and one suggesiton I had for her was considering the possibility of dividing the education and screening into two weekends so as to cut time down and give people the option of scheduling a specific time for their blood draw. But we will need to think about this more and consider it’s cost-effectiveness, too. In the past, when we did ethnic community education / screening events, we did them on Saturdays and the events were open to the public, so we didn’t have busy parishioners needing to stick to their regularly scheduled events – we WERE the event. But you learn something new each time, and it’s nice to be able to work with one church community at a time because they all get involved and that way, the message is promoted via friends, which inherently goes a lot farther than having someone like me stand on a soapbox. Hopefully we’ll be able to get T enough n for his research project!
On another note, U’s event seemd to have gone well, but I’ll update with more details tomorrow after I speak with her.
Another highlight today was going to the Milpitas Ranch 99 (yes, again) and seeing our posters up! I wasn’t expecting to see the posters hanging in the store, so it was definitely a delightful surprise!
I think one of my suggestions to T will be to ask if the cashiers can actively promote the bag (E.g. “Would you like to donate $2 to fight liver cancer and get a reusable bag?”) or at least put up an example so people can see useful the bag will be. But overall, I’m so impressed with how GENEROUS Ranch 99 has been. I was also very very excited to see an individual go up and grab a brochure (Know HBV) and read through it while he was walking out of the store (he’s pictured in the photograph I sneaked of him). One more person educated about hepatitis B! Tomorrow will be confirming press to come to the press conference on Friday at Cupertino. I’m also trying to sit down and work on YLC material since we need to get the handbook in NOW. C has been working hard and coming into the office on the weekends to get things done for the conference. I’m super excited, but there remains QUITE a bit of work to do.
On another note, GH is in town, and I’m going to catch lunch with her on Tuesday. And DS will be coming soon to film the second chatper of DCK, so that should definitely be fun. Can’t wait.
Alright, I need to sign off and get some eventual shut eye. Thanks for reading through this post, and take care.