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Elevating the Voices of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities
We are amplifying the voices of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and ramping up our outreach and education to help people realize an end of life aligned with their values.
May 26, 2021Editor’s Note: While Kim Callinan is away, Chief Advocacy Officer Charmaine Manansala is this month’s guest writer. May marks a time to celebrate the distinct cultures, nationalities, languages and history that make up Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. At Compassion & Choices, it is also a time to remind people of the importance of community and culture as we educate and advocate for end-of-life care aligned with our values. Unfortunately, we know little about the end-of-life experiences of people from Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander backgrounds largely due to limited data. As a Filipina American, I often seek out data about my community and find we are often pooled together with Asian Americans because of the lack of disaggregated data or relegated to the “other” category due to lack of data. This does little to help us understand the health status of our communities and to create programs and initiatives that support our needs. We do know just 12% of Asian Americans are likely to fill out an advance directive, and only 28% have taken advantage of their Medicare hospice benefits at the end of life. There is even less data on end-of-life planning among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. However, it has been alarming to see that Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander have been among the hardest hit with the COVID pandemic in certain parts of the country, but have been underrepresented on state and local government reports. That’s why I am pleased to announce the formation of our new Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Leadership Council — a group of professionals from across disciplines representing medical care, nonprofit patient advocacy, education, family caregiving, and local and state government. They bring a wide range of knowledge, skills and experience to guide us in reaching these diverse communities authentically. The council will share their perspectives, experiences and expertise to help us understand what end-of-life choice means to our communities — for example, changing perceptions of hospice and palliative care — and help us strategize ways to elevate the importance of community and culture at the end of life. So, as May draws to an end, our work has just begun. We’ll explore new ways to educate, empower and elevate work already being done in AANHPI communities to improve end-of-life care and advance our strategic goal of ensuring all Americans can chart an end-of-life healthcare journey that is aligned with personal priorities, family values and spiritual beliefs. With warmth, Charmaine