Executive Director, Zachary Darrah attended the VOICES Conference in Washington D.C. on September 14 through September September 16. The conference was hosted by the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) and was focused around pertinent issues with regards to health in the Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander communities. There are many health issues that are unique to these communities and advocacy is essential to make sure that the country’s leaders hear the needs of the community.
One of the highlights of the conference was the opening keynote by the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy. Dr. Murthy vocalized the importance of walking in the Asian American community to battle many diseases that plague this community. Did you realize that the Asian American community is the only people group in the country where cancer is the number one cause of death? Diabetes and obesity are also significant challenges, but Dr. Murthy encouraged everyone to focus on access to healthy, culturally competent foods and increases in physical activity to battle these and other chronic illnesses. The conference concluded with group visits to Capitol Hill where Zachary Darrah met with representatives from Barbara Lee’s (D-CA-13) and Mike Honda’s (D-CA-17) offices to educate them about Asian American/Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander health issues.
FIRM has already started working on their grant from APIAHF to increase physical activities amongst Asian American children 0-8. We feel strongly at FIRM that a healthy life begins as a child and we intend to create spaces for Hmong, Laotian and other Southeast Asian groups to have access to the same resources as more affluent communities in Fresno. We are excited to begin this work and to partnering more in the future with APIAHF!