Koreans have the highest rates of being uninsured among all racial/ethnic groups in California, with the highest rates of serious psychological distress among Asian American adults, and the highest suicide rate of all racial groups. Koreans (47%) reported the lowest rates of neighborhood safety across all racial/ethnic groups and one of the lowest rates (5%) of strongly agreeing that people in their neighborhood know each other, indicating lower neighborhood social interaction. Korean adults aged 65 years and older reported the highest rates of food insecurity issues (3.2 times higher than the state average) with not enough money to purchase food, eating less healthy to stretch their money, and often going hungry (CHIS 2001-2010). Alzheimer’s disease is the fastest growing cause of death for Korean Americans (200% growth from 2005-2010 vs. total population growth 41% same period-California Dept. of Public Health, Death Public Use Files 2005-2010).
There are over 2000 publicly funded agencies embracing challenges of AANHPI communities in the Bay Area. There are two culturally and linguistically competent agencies serving and advocating specifically for Korean population, which is the 6th largest AANHPI population in the Bay Area.
Health Research for Action at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health is collaborating with the leading Korean organization in the Bay Area, the Korean Community Center of the East Bay (KCCEB) to conduct the first major Korean community assessment in the San Francisco Bay Area. For this community needs assessment, we aim to conduct a survey with 400 Koreans across the San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties). We will evaluate Bay Area Korean health and social needs including demographic characteristics, health status and behaviors, healthcare access and utilization, and health communication needs and preferences, and will assess access to the healthcare system in the context of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Covered California. This study will be conducted during the same period in which KCCEB leads efforts for the Korean community on ACA education and enrollment of the San Francisco Bay Area into Medi-Cal or Covered California programs.
The results of the community assessment will guide KCCEB staff and programs sharply targeted to the evolving needs of clients and will deepen the engagement level with the community by incorporating community voice into program design. It will also provide KCCEB with a credible way to represent its findings to key stakeholders in order to advocate on behalf of its constituency. And the needs assessment will serve as a tool to assess access to the healthcare system in the context of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Covered California. It will be conducted during the same time period in which KCCEB leads efforts for the Bay Area Korean community on ACA education and enrollment into Medi-Cal or Covered California programs.
We look forward to sharing our findings upon completion of this study in the third quarter of 2014. We would be also very interested in discussing potential opportunities to work together during this project, or on subsequent projects to meet the needs identified in our survey.