In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that Asian Americans (AA) are the fastest-growing racial group in the United Sates and Ohio. From 2011 to 2012, the AA population in Ohio increased 3.1 percent, compared to 2.9 percent in the U.S. While the total population in Cleveland, Ohio is steadily decreasing, AAs were the area’s fastest growing racial group, increasing 42 percent over the past decade. With current rates of immigration, Ohio’s AA population is likely to continue to be among Ohio’s fastest-growing demographic groups.
Despite its dramatic growth, the population of Ohio’s AAs remains relatively small compared to other minority groups. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey, the AA population in Ohio comprised about 1.9 percent of the total population. Consequently, aggregated data are often reported, thereby masking the socioeconomic characteristics of particular AA subgroups.
Through years of community partnerships and data collection, Asian Services In Action, Inc. (ASIA, Inc.) has found how powerful data can be when it comes to achieving health equity for the AA population. To address this issue of health equity, ASIA, Inc. brought together a multi-sector coalition called Reaching Asian Americans through Innovative and Supportive Engagement (RAISE) in 2013 to focus on healthy eating/active living initiatives through policy, systems, and environmental change. At the time that RAISE was formed, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health – Health Improvement Partnership Cuyahoga (HIP-C) had recently completed a Community Health Status Assessment (CHSA) to seek
answers to “How healthy are residents in Cuyahoga County?” The assessment targeted minorities in hard to reach communities; however, the results to the HIP-C assessment were staggering due to the low participation rate of AAs. More specifically, the assessment did not show an accurate representation of the health needs of AAs due to limited access in ethnic communities. In addition, the language barrier and lack of translated materials made it very difficult for AA community members to participate in the assessment. RAISE saw this collaborative as an opportunity to highlight the health disparities and inequity within the AA population by paving the way for HIP-C to have access to AA communities to collect data in a linguistically and culturally appropriate way while educating HIP-C about the need for disaggregated data.
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