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Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

* Ms. CHU. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the board and staff of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum on the 25th anniversary of their founding. They are guided by a mission to influence policy, mobilize communities, and strengthen programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. As the largest national Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander advocacy organization in the country, they maintain strategic relationships to move sound policy forward that benefit our communities.

* Founded in 1986, the organization came together in response to the federal government's first groundbreaking report on minority health. ``The Secretary's Report on Black and Minority Health'' erroneously concluded that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were healthier than other minorities despite the ``paucity of data.'' Community leaders, advocates and medical providers who served Asian American populations came together to challenge this ``model minority'' myth and formed the Asian American Health Forum, solidifying the visionary idea of a national organization that would grow into the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum. Working out of a basement of the old Chinese Hospital in San Francisco Chinatown with few staff, the organization has now grown to be a national organization with over 30 staff headquartered in San Francisco, an office in Washington, DC, and a national network comprised of more than 15 groups.

* Over the years the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum has reached several milestones. In the early '90s, the organization received funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to implement innovative outreach programs targeting chronic disease issues in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B. As the number of API individuals in the U.S. increased, the organization continued to grow to do work to improve the health of the community by developing tobacco cessation programs, cancer education and outreach programs and reducing domestic violence. In 2006, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum received the largest ever philanthropic investment in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities through a $16.5 million grant by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation which has helped build capacity across the country through the Health Through Action Program. Today the organization continues to advocate on behalf of our communities as the Affordable Care Act is implemented.

* As the Chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I have had the privilege of working with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum to eliminate health disparities in this country. Their analysis and research have informed the work of policymakers for many years at the local, state and national level. The work produced by its programs and divisions are valuable resources for community groups, legislators, agencies and researchers in understanding the unique health issues that affect Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations.

* On behalf of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I would like to once again congratulate the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum on their 25th anniversary and wish them the best in their work to achieve health justice over the next 25 years and beyond.


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