Compassion & Choices Announces Formation of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Leadership Council

May 20, 2021

Compassion & Choices today announced the formation of an Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Leadership Council to continue its commitment to culturally competent outreach and communication with AANHPI communities in the United States around end of life health care and planning.

The partnership with the Council will explore new ways to educate, empower and elevate work already being done in AANHPI communities to improve end-of-life care and advance the nonprofit organization’s strategic goal of ensuring all Americans can chart an end of life health care journey that is aligned with their personal priorities, family values and spiritual beliefs.

“We are excited that this group of community leaders will help us continue working to ensure that everyone may have access to the full range of end-of-life care options,” said Compassion & Choices Chief Advocacy Officer Charmaine Manansala. “Their perspectives, experiences and expertise will help us reframe what end-of-life choices mean to our communities, such as changing perceptions of hospice and palliative care, and strategize enhancements to Compassion & Choices’ work, specific to the needs of the AANHPI community.”

Studies have shown that Asian Americans are less likely to fill out Advance Health Care Directives than their white counterparts, with completion rates at around 12%, while non-Hispanic white Americans fill out their Advance Directives at a rate of 26%-36%.

Federal data demonstrates that only 28% of Asian Americans utilize their Medicare hospice benefits at the end of life, compared to 46% of the white population, 34% of African Americans, and 37% of Latino/Hispanic people.

There are few studies on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander end-of-life planning. One limited study on advance directive completion and preference for in-home death and hospice in two state-wide telephone surveys in Hawai‘i found living will and healthcare power of attorney completion rates of Native Hawaiian (22%) and Filipino (13%) in Hawai‘i were lower than those of local Japanese (34%), Chinese (36%), and Caucasian (36%) ancestry (1998 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 1999 OmniTrack health survey)

“There are remarkable advances in medicine, but in some situations, the medical treatments and technology basically prolong the dying process with no realistic chance of recovery,” said AANHPI Council member Dr. Mitsuo Tomita, a UCSD Medical School assistant clinical professor and retired family medicine practitioner. “Individuals should have the ability and choice with modern medicine to ease their end-of-life suffering with palliative care, and in addition, they should have the choice to hasten their dying instead of suffering and dying. I am delighted to be part of Compassion and Choices new AANHPI Council to help improve end-of-life care and increase awareness of choice and control over the end of life.”

“I came to Compassion & Choices as a fearful, grieving daughter who just wanted to help my dying mother find peace,” said AANHPI Council member and advocate Monona Yin. “I found that and much more — caring advisors, practical resources, and a community of people who are willing to speak the truth and do something about it, namely, that we will all die one day and each of us deserves to leave this life with dignity and agency. I am proud to serve on Compassion and Choices new council to increase awareness and engagement among Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities — who are too often left out of this essential conversation.”

“As a Native Hawaiian community leader, I have a responsibility to elevate the importance of community and culture with the type of compassionate care Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders need,” said AAHNPI council member and advocate Mahina Paishon-Duarte. ”Though we share many commonalities, our needs are not identical. As a result, our health needs and challenges are just as varied and diverse as we are, including high quality of end-of-life care and comprehensive support for end-of-life planning.”

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are one of the fastest-growing groups in the United States, The nation’s Asian population rose to 11.9 million by 2000 and then nearly doubled to 23.2 million by 2019 – a 95% increase within two decades. The Census Bureau projects that, by 2050, the AAPI population will grow to 37.6 million and constitute 9.3% of the population.

Compassion & Choices Asian American, Native Haiwaiian and Pacific Islander Leadership Council members include:

Amy Agbayani, Emeritus Assistant Vice Chancellor Student Diversity, University of Hawai’i

Tida Beattie, End-of-life doula & community organizer

Semoon Chang, Author, scholar & retired economics professor

Ben de Guzman, Director of the Washington, DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs

Caitanya Min, Nurse Practitioner, hospice & palliative care

Mahina Paishon Duarte, CEO of Waiwai Collective

Dr. Sue Royappa, Internal Medicine physician, Chief Medical Officer of HealthSecure

Dr. Mitsuo Tomita, UCSD School of Medicine assistant clinical professor & retired family physician

Vincent Wiraatmadja, Government affairs professional & policy advocate

Monona Yin, Advocate & author

Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

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