For 2 years, HRA researchers have partnered with the Korean Community Center of the East Bay on a Korean Health Needs Assessment (KoNA) study. HRA’s Susan Ivey and Winston Tseng and the research team produced a Bay Area report and 7 policy briefs (on LEP/Health Literacy, Mental Health, Tobacco, Intimate Partner Violence, Civic Engagement, Cardiovascular Disease, and Women's Health). The documents are available online from the
Korean Community Center website (www.kcceb.org/konabayarea).
Koreans are the fifth-largest Asian American population group in the U.S. More than 500,000 reside in California. Compared with the overall population, Koreans have unique socio-demographic characteristics and health and social needs. Despite this, very few needs assessments have been done with this population. The most recent one in the San Francisco Bay Area was conducted more than 10 years ago, and only in Alameda and Santa Clara counties (Lee, Kazinets, & Moskowitz, 2006).
The more recent study assessed the health and social needs of the Korean community in the Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and San Mateo counties), in order to determine the best intervention strategies and programs to improve the overall health of Korean Americans. While the group has relatively high education levels, there are low levels of employer-sponsored health insurance (33%) and relatively high levels of Medi-Cal eligibility (18%). Also, despite high levels of citizenship status (64%), our sample population was largely unaware of their health and civil rights as a US citizen – only a quarter of those eligible were registered to vote, and only half reported being familiar with patients’ rights under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The comprehensive report highlights priority issues identified by the study (see above) and provides recommendations for improvements. Among other things, survey results revealed that Bay Area Koreans face significant health disparities, higher (than state average) rates of fair to poor health, a number of self-reported chronic condition rates that are worse than California Koreans in the California Health Interview Survey, including higher prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.