For Immediate Release
January 19, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum’s (APIAHF) Policy Director, Priscilla Huang and Policy Analyst, Paulo Pontemayor received the Families USA’s inaugural Health Equity Advocate Award tonight during the Families USA Health Action 2012 conference, in recognition of their commitment and advocacy toward achieving health equity for all. Families USA is a national nonprofit organization working to advance high-quality, affordable health care.

Families USA acknowledged Huang and Pontemayor for their work as the lead conveners of a community working group focused on reducing health disparities and advancing health equity. The working group, comprised of over 150 community stakeholders, worked in partnership with the Congressional Tri-Caucus– comprised of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus –to introduce the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) of 2011. The bill builds upon the success of the Affordable Care Act and provides federal support, resources and policies to address health and health care disparities experienced by racial and ethnic minorities, and other underserved communities.

“We are extremely proud of Priscilla and Paulo, and honored that Families USA has recognized our work with the community working group and the Tri-Caucus on the HEAA,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF President & CEO. “Last year’s introduction of the bill was the result of collaboration by members of a diverse range of advocacy groups from around the nation and Congressional leaders who worked together to develop a bill with targeted solutions to improving the health and well-being of all individuals.”

The HEAA outlines initiatives that will better identify racial and ethnic health disparities, while providing innovative and effective investments and reforms for closing the gap in care. The bill offers increased data collection and reporting, ensures workforce diversity, makes available cultural and linguistically appropriate health care services and improves overall heath for women, children, and families.

The bill was introduced in September, 2011 by Rep. Barbara Lee, along with Rep. Donna Christensen, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard and dozens of members of the Tri-Caucus, and is expected to be introduced in the Senate next month.

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.