From left: Melanie Dulfo, director of Community Health Education; Therese Rodriguez, CEO and Glenn Magpantay. AJPress Photo by Momar G. Visaya
A recent study has provided valuable information about the health needs, challenges in accessing care, and availability of services for LGBTQ Asian communities in New York City.
After a year-long study, Apicha Community Health Center has unveiled the results of its groundbreaking research focused on the health and wellness needs of New York City’s LGBTQ Asian, Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander communities. This comprehensive needs assessment has not only highlighted the urgent healthcare needs within these communities but has also shed light on the barriers hindering access to quality care.
At the press conference, Apicha CEO Therese R. Rodriguez emphasized the importance of mental health and the involvement of parents in the healing process for LGBTQ individuals.
“This study contributes to the larger body of literature and studies that assess the health and wellness of LGBTQ AAPI communities and it adds a more precise intersectional analysis,” Rodriguez said. “It also builds off of and addresses needs that might have been missing in the New York City Department of Health Mental Hygiene acclaimed 2021 report.”
Glenn Magpantay, a civil rights attorney and principal investigator of the study, said that the survey results indicated a need for more education and awareness among participants, as some expressed a desire for additional STI testing, even though free testing is already available through organizations like Apicha.
Other needs identified in the survey included family planning, contraception, pregnancy testing, and addressing mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and addiction treatment.
These study findings provide essential insights that will guide Apicha and other organizations in better understanding and meeting the unique healthcare needs of LGBTQ API individuals in New York City.
The report’s key recommendations to address the most prevalent health and wellness needs of New York City’s LGBTQ API community are the expansion of mental health services and psychiatry, more publicity about free testing for STDs/HIV/AIDS, health education on sexual health and hygiene, dermatology, and culturally-competent, bilingual, LGBTQ-sensitive, and nonjudgmental healthcare providers.
The study involved surveys taken between June and October 2022 and included responses from 344 LGBTQ Asian individuals who spoke different languages. There were also discussions with local LGBTQ API organizations aside from focus groups of specific underserved high-risk groups. The report also includes professional assessments from Apicha CHC staff, physicians, and other healthcare providers.
The study not only focused on medical needs but also highlighted the significance of addressing mental health and social needs within the community.
Rodriguez encouraged members of the Filipino American community to utilize Apicha’s services and actively provide feedback to help expand and improve the services already being offered.
“We are part of your family and we want you to come and use the services and tell us as well what you need so that we can figure out how can we expand the services that we are already providing,” Rodriguez said.
Magpantay and Rodriguez also talked about a surprising aspect identified during the survey – the complexity of dermatological issues within the LGBTQ+ community, particularly concerning gender identity and self-perception.
Dermatology was ranked as a new emerging need in the survey, ranking behind mental health, STD/HIV/AIDS testing, and sexual health. It was identified from a list of services that Apicha does not address in-house but makes referrals for.
Rodriguez stressed the importance of paying attention to these specific issues faced by the community, saying that certain STI-related concerns may be disguised as common ailments like rashes or eczema, but the trust and understanding between provider and patient can be a significant barrier to seeking appropriate care, especially for individuals who may be closeted or face language barriers.
Apicha CHC’s pioneering needs assessment has provided a comprehensive understanding of the health needs and priorities within the LGBTQ API community. The insights gained from this study will play a pivotal role in shaping the programs and services offered at Apicha CHC’s new Center in Jackson Heights, Queens.
By addressing these identified needs, Apicha CHC aims to deliver tailored and effective healthcare solutions that meet the unique requirements of LGBTQ API individuals. This groundbreaking study marks a significant step towards creating a more inclusive and responsive healthcare environment for the LGBTQ API community in New York City. n
Momar G. Visaya
Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at [email protected].
Discovered on: 2023-06-08 15:56:13
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