This year, we celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at our annual Kickoff event on April 28th at the African Event Center of the Columbus Zoo. Although our member organizations were busy with their own events and celebrations for the month, each took time out of their day to celebrate the past year’s successes and to look forward to those yet to come.
The kickoff featured Dr.Ryan Squier as he spoke about the fight against the opioid epidemic in Ohio as well as his specific experiences combatting the epidemic as an emergency medical physician. He broke down myths about the opioid epidemic and discussed what actions we can take to help. These include having frank discussions with those around us about addiction, reducing stigma, and properly using and disposing of medication. The Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH) has several resources for those looking for more information on this topic, and for resources on proper prescription disposal.
Nancy Pyon shared the touching story of her family’s experience with Hepatitis B and the importance of being tested. Hepatitis B, when left untreated can cause serious liver problems, such as liver disease and cancer. Hep B disproportionately affects the Asian-American community, emphasizing why it’s incredibly important to be tested. You can hear the story of Nancy’s father below with English and Korean subtitles.
Next, we honored individuals who completed Interpreter Training from 2017-2018, presenting them with their certificates of accomplishment. These volunteers completed several hours of training and a language test in order to receive this certification, which allows them to give back to their community and be hired as official translators in several healthcare settings.
Each of our attending OAAHC members shared the great accomplishments they have made in the past year, and the important work they continue to do while engaging in the community. Dr. Lu emphasized the importance of this community engagement, and, additionally, the importance of civic engagement. Although the AAPI community is small, we are America’s fasting growing community and must continue to make our voices heard in the governmental sphere. Some ways we do this is through the AAPI Advisory Council, our participation on the New American Advisory Council, and through Ohio Legislative Day.
Dr. Lu presented Wanda Dillard, Director of Community Involvement at the Wexner Medical Center, with this year’s API Heritage Month Leadership Award for her tremendous impact on the health of the Asian-American Pacific Islander community.