Posted by: BPSOS | March 6, 2009

Tin Tức – News: BPSOS Senior Services Experts Present at National Leadership Summit

xuan-and-duongBPSOS senior services specialist Xuan Le and counselor Young Hoang at the leadership summit.

March 6, 2009: BPSOS senior services specialist Xuan Le and counselor Young Hoang spoke last week at the 3rd Annual Leadership Summit of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.

In her workshop at the February 25-27 event in National Harbor, Maryland, Le presented on Health Disparities of Vietnamese Refugees and Immigrants. Key among her points were the fact that Vietnamese Americans ages 55 and over are at a particularly high risk for physical and mental distress due to resettlement at a later age and due to pre-migration trauma suffered in refugee and communist labor camps.

“Many individuals within this demographic are reluctant to discuss their health and mental illnesses with a professional, and in the instances they are reported, show a higher prevalence of health and mental health illnesses compared to non-Latino whites,” said Le.

She noted that cancer remains the leading cause of death among Asian Americans, with cervical cancer among the highest incidence rate.

“The rate of cervical cancer in Vietnamese women is five times higher than the rate among Caucasian women,” added Le. “Meanwhile, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among Vietnamese women, with a prevalence rate of 37.5 per 100,000 people.”

step_poster_xuanSenior services specialist Xuan Le with an informational display about BPSOS services for seniors.

Hoang, a social worker, addressed the issue of mental and behavioral health, and noted positive steps forward in that regard. Still, the facts he laid out for the audience were sobering.

“Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability in the US and Canada, accounting for 25 percent of all years of life lost to disability and premature mortality,” he told participants in his workshop, which covered three mental health areas: public policy and practice issues in mental health with Hispanics, bipolar disorder outside of mental health settings, and the mental health disparity among Vietnamese Americans.

For more information about seniors and public policy, particularly under the new administration, click here.

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