Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month 2014 continues

May 12, 2014 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. The stories will be posted on MCW’s Honoring Diversity webpage.

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.

MCW 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.

MCW’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 20 faculty members working in eleven different countries across Asia, representing eight MCW departments – Biophysics, Emergency Medicine, Medicine, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, and Surgery.

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.