In the state of Arizona there are limited publicly available data on Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian (AA and NHPI) health risks and challenges. This limitation has a negative impact on community health programs and funding priorities. Without accurate local data, public health interventions rely on anecdotes and nationally collected data for the design, implementation and evaluation of programs. While this approach can lead to innovative programming and contribute to lessons learned, the dearth of reliable information also means that many health issues in the community remain unknown or lack the evidence base to be adequately addressed or funded.
As an AA and NHPI health-serving organization, Asian Pacific Community in Action (APCA) and the Health Through Action Arizona (HTAA) Coalition decided to fill this information gap by drawing upon expertise within the local community to raise awareness about emerging health issues or unique challenges, unmasking the disproportionate risks facing certain language/cultural communities, and highlighting the different programs and agencies working to improve the health and well-being of AAs and NHPIs in Arizona. The hope was that researchers and activists in the local community would use the information gathered to further investigate particular topics or develop robust programs and policies in response to community issues.
While these goals seemed daunting in the beginning, APCA had built upon the work of Health Through Action Arizona (HTAAZ) that was formed with partners and allies from various sectors of the community that came together for various health related initiatives. This includes fulfilling the goals of what became known as the “data book” project, which became State of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Arizona, Volume 2: Health Risks, Disparities, and Community Responses.
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