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Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month 2013 continues

May 22, 2013 College News - In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, the Medical College of Wisconsin is creating a series of stories that will be posted on InfoScope during the month of May. The stories highlight MCW programs that address health problems that impact Asian-Pacific populations disproportionately.

Asian-Pacific encompasses all of Asia, including China, Japan, and Korea; India; Southeast Asian countries like Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand; the Philippines; and Pakistan.

Some of the health concerns that disproportionately impact these populations include stomach cancer, liver cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, cleft lip and palate, and type II diabetes.

Among Caucasians and other children of European descent, approximately one in 700 babies are born every year with a cleft lip or palate, where there is an opening in the lip or roof of the mouth or both. Among African Americans, the number of babies born annually with this birth defect is even lower. Among children born among Asian-Pacific Americans, cleft lip and palate occurs in approximately one out of every 500 births annually.

Medical College doctors on the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Cleft Palate Team treat a number of Asian children with a cleft lip or palate, most of whom were adopted from orphanages in China. Word-of-mouth has informed prospective parents that an orofacial cleft, while it may appear to be a severe affliction in a newborn, is actually a completely treatable condition present in otherwise healthy and happy children.

These children come to the program at various stages of repair, and are folded into the team’s multidisciplinary clinic where they receive coordinated care in plastic surgery, otolaryngology, speech pathology, dentistry, orthodontics, prosthodontics, genetics, and psychology to address their individual needs.

John Jensen, MD, Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery, who is a member of the Cleft Palate Team, said they have worked with several families who have returned to China to adopt another child with a cleft lip or palate after their experience with the CHW team.

Byung-il (Bill) Choi, MD, Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), a Korean-American, works with Asian-Pacific American students to introduce them to investigating the disease burden of Asian-Pacific populations.

“I think it is important for Asian-Pacific American students to have any understanding and interest in why people from their native countries have a higher prevalence of certain diseases – like why so many have higher rates of coronary artery disease after moving to the United States,” Dr. Choi said. “Once they see the problem exists, they can develop ways to prevent the same thing from happening to others.”

Dr. Choi receives one Korean student each year for a two-month clinical rotation. The student gets the opportunity to shadow Dr. Choi and meet with MCW students. This summer, two MCW medical students will travel to Yonsei University and Severance Hospital in Seoul. One of the students will study the utility of cardiac imaging in clinical cardiology and the other will work in pediatrics and conduct research on child development in Korea.

“I hope that real student collaboration in study and research could develop through the experience,” said Dr. Choi, who will be visiting the MCW students in July to see their progress and help with any issues they encounter.

The College’s Global Health Program inventories the clinical, research, education and public health efforts of faculty working locally with the global Asian-Pacific communities of the world.  There are currently 24 faculty members working in eight different countries across Asia, representing nine MCW departments – Biophysics, Emergency Medicine, Institute for Health & Society, Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, Pediatrics, Family & Community Medicine, Surgery, and Urology.

Faculty are advancing the clinical care, training and research in the fields of cardiac surgery, emergency medical systems (EMS), developmental and behavioral pediatrics, pediatric gastroenterology, primary care, respiratory virus diagnosis, spinal disorders and orthopedic surgery with colleagues in China, Vietnam, South Korea, India, Cambodia, Nepal, Philippines, and Singapore.

View the   global health interactive map   to learn more about these faculty-lead efforts that address Asian-Pacific health disparities.
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 07/23/2013