The Asian Pacific Health Corps (APHC) is the Fall 2012 recipient of the Mongelli Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement. The Asian Pacific Health Corps is a UCLA student volunteer organization whose mission is to promote healthy lifestyles among disadvantaged Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities. Devoted to this mission since 1980, APHC continues to serve API communities that have minimal access to healthcare and limited financial resources.
APHC started as a student group providing free hypertension screenings. Nearly 30 years later, the group built upon their mission to include health related mentorships for their members, language workshops to facilitate interaction with the communities they work with, and provide additional health screening options. APHC continues to expand their outreach by offering a broader program of education and services to combat the risk factors for the two leading causes of death in the API population: cancer and cardiovascular disease. APHC’s objectives include providing important health services to API communities and focusing on preventative and educational measures.
Each year, APHC puts on three health fairs for API communities: The Monterey Park Health Fair (MPHF), Chinatown Community Health Fair (CCHF), and Lady of Peace Health Fair (OLP). The services they provide include glucose/cholesterol, hepatitis B, orthopedics/chiropractics, dental, mammograms, pap smears, podiatry, osteopathic manipulative treatment, physician consultation, vision (basic and glaucoma), blood pressure, body mass index/ body fat percentage, and flu shots.
John Tsiang, a 3rd year Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major, is one of APHC’s health fair directors, describes the quarterly health fairs as “more than three months of preparation and work.” APHC organizes collaborations with community partners and UCLA student organizations to help plan a successful fair. After all the hard work, Tsiang explains: “One of the best feelings in the world is laying down on your own bed after a health fair knowing that you gave it your all, and helped a lot of people.”
Members also pride themselves on their personal interactions with health fair participants as they get a chance to educate Asian Americans who were unaware of their cardiovascular problems and direct them to available resources for treatment. To help facilitate communication, APHC’s newly pioneered volunteer language workshop, Language Interpreters and Translators Empowering Underserved Populations (LITEUP) encourages bi/tri/quadrilingual volunteers of various ethnicities to facilitate in the interpretation of languages and translation of screening and informative material for their communities served. Through one-on-one peer interaction, volunteers can easily brush up on their language interpretation abilities and vocabulary relating to cardiovascular health in different languages. These workshops are essential in order to broaden APHC’s outreach and resources. “Just seeing how grateful people are for the health information that you’re giving them was a very touching experience and something that I won’t forget,” said Jared Miya, a fourth year Biology major.
This upcoming Winter 2013, APHC plans to develop their first annual Rosemead Community Health Fair. Members may also participate in APHC’s medical, dental, and optometry student mentorship programs, which can get them geared up for graduate school and developing volunteers into capable members of the healthcare field. With six committees that range from Research and Evaluations to Student Affairs, APHC provides opportunities for volunteers to become involved in various projects. According to Becky Lee, a fourth year Ecology Behavioral and Evolutionary Biology major, APHC stresses that volunteers appreciate their own circumstances in accessing healthcare, and they also help them appreciate their ability as young college students to make a resounding impact on the community through their dedication and their kind hearts.