On February 4th, the 2017 Region VI conference was hosted by the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI.
The conference opened with a few words from APAMSA national president Ruey Hu, who invited students to explore cultural differences in health perception and what it means to be a part of APAMSA.
Presentations began with keynote speaker Dr. B Li, co-founder of National APAMSA, who shared his own personal experience with the difficulties of securing a bone marrow transplant for his own wife. Dr. Li discussed the stress, grief, and devastating consequences that were a reflection of the health disparities in the Asian-American population. Although many conference attendees were already a part of the bone marrow registry, Dr. Li’s touching story inspired many more attendees (17) to register for the National Bone Marrow Registry.
With that, Dr. Kathleen Yang-Clayton, a former deputy director of Asian-Americans Advancing Justice, spoke on advocacy through examining the needs of the community within a broader political and civil context. In highlighting the value of teamwork not only within the Asian-American community but also with other minority groups, Dr. Yang-Clayton reminded us that we all play a larger role in the fight for minority rights.
While Dr. Yang-Clayton inspired us to look beyond the Asian-American community, Dr. Xa Xiong emphasized the need to look within it. Dr. Xiong is one of six total Hmong physicians in the state of Wisconsin and explained that even within the Asian-American community, the Hmong population has been overlooked in many areas, including healthcare. In order to bridge this gap, Dr. Xiong spoke on Hmong culture and the need to be culturally competent.
After lunch, breakout sessions were held and included topics on: Herbal Medicinal Use with the Hmong (Dr. Kajua Lor), Patient Advocacy and Policy and Legislative Involvement (Dr Clarence Chou), Global Health Efforts in South Asia (Dr. D Kim), Spiritualism and Hmong Health Beliefs (Dr. Kajua Lor), Succeeding in Wards as an Asian-American (Dr. B Li), Importance of Context in Asian-American Mental Health (Dr. Seeba Anam), Strategies for Effective Medical Lecturing (Dr. Carlyle Chan) as well as presentations from the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians (Dr. Suhaila Khan, Dr. Ho Luong Tran, Dr. Dextor Louie). In addition, we welcomed a pre-medical panel hosted by MCW Dean Dawn Bragg, MCW Assistant Dean Jane Machi, Dr. Xa Xiong, and MCW medical students.
The day concluded with a panel of physicians including Dr. Carlyle Chan, Dr. Clarence Chou, Dr. Seeba Anam, Dr. Xa Xiong, and Dr. B Li who openly discussed the advancements and challenges in mental health, advocacy, health inequalities, and cultural sensitivities in the AAPI community.
We would like to thank all of our speakers, attendees, volunteers, and sponsors on making the 2017 Region VI Conference a valuable experience. We hope to continue advocating for the health of the AAPI community and cultivating more knowledgeable and motivated healthcare providers through these APAMSA events.