Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month 2016

May 2, 2016 MCW News - In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, the Medical College of Wisconsin has created a series of video vignettes and stories that will be posted on InfoScope during the month of May. The vignettes highlight some of our Asian-Pacific faculty, staff and students and the contributions they have made. 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.

Office of Global Health

MCW’s Office of Global Health inventories the patient care, research, education, and community engagement 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 nine MCW departments – Biophysics, Emergency Medicine, Medicine, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, and Surgery.

A recent training collaborative was led by the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), which welcomed five visiting medical providers from Malaysia in October 2015 to participate in a two-week comprehensive training program in spasticity management with intrathecal baclofen (ITB).

John McGuire, MD, and Mary Elizabeth Nelson, DNP, were contacted by Dr. Ai  Lee Ooi, the Head of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, in Ipoh Malaysia. Dr. Ooi, and the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Malaysia, searched for Centers of Excellence in ITB therapy to model the development of the first ITB program for the country of Malaysia. Their search led them to our Comprehensive Spasticity Management Program in the MCW Department of PM&R.

Since their return to Malaysia, the medical team continues to work with the MOH and is moving forward on developing the program. Dr. Ooi reported that the test injection of Baclofen has now been approved by the MOH and is available to provide screening trials for the first patients being considered for ITB in Malaysia. Future plans include ongoing collaboration on patients and practices in spasticity management, the development of an academic paper on the experience of this intensive training program, a reverse training to assist them in treating their first cohort of patients in Malaysia, visiting professor lectures in Malaysia to assist in educating the medical teams and future collaborations and lectures on spasticity management, possibly through the International Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation World Congress.

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, spasticity, spinal disorders, and orthopedic surgery with colleagues in Cambodia, China, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.

View the global health interactive map to learn more about these faculty-lead efforts that address Asian-Pacific health disparities.

Student programs
The MCW student chapter of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA), run by MCW medical students, advocates Asian Pacific American issues and concerns within the health care field; serves the health care needs of the Asian Pacific American community; provides a forum for Asian Pacific culture; and enhances cultural awareness and competence among medical practitioners.

MCW APAMSA received a Medicine in the Community grant from the Association of American Medical College (AAMC), MCW’s Montecarlo Cultural & Community Medicine grant, and additional funding from the MCW Student Assembly and MCW’s Alumni Association to serve Milwaukee’s Hmong community through the Hmong Health Education Project (HHEP). This project includes weekly blood pressure screenings, a mentorship program with Hmong high school students, and health-education radio shows.

MCW APAMSA also founded the “Hepatitis B Screening and Awareness Campaign for the Milwaukee Hmong Community” in 2012, an ongoing campaign to increase knowledge of hepatitis B and provide free hepatitis B screenings for the Hmong, an ethnic group that has disproportionately high reported rates of hepatitis B infection. The project most recently held successful screening events in November 2015 and April 2016. Funding is possible through grants from the Hepatitis B Task Force: Focus on Asian Pacific Islander Americans, National APAMSA, and Gilead Sciences. The program recently received a grant from the MilwakeeCares 2014 Grant Award Program, which is funded by the Foundation of the Medical Society of Milwaukee County.

In addition, MCW APAMSA organizes a variety of other activities in the local community, including an annual health fair with Neighborhood House Community Center, working with 21 other student organizations and other community partners, to reach out to families in central city Milwaukee and a Mock Interview Night for pre-medical students from all over Wisconsin and Illinois.

On campus, MCW APAMSA also organizes an annual bone marrow registration drive for the Be the Match Registry, which helps locate donors for patients in need of marrow transplants. While the drive registers all eligible donors, they encourage people from under-represented populations – especially Asian Americans and African Americans – as there is a lack of available donors for Asian American and African American patients in need of a bone marrow transplant. MCW APAMSA also promotes cultural diversity in the MCW community by hosting lunch/dinner events with faculty from various cultural backgrounds, a Spring Festival of Cultures, Asian food sales, a mentorship/shadowing program, and other events.

In 2013 and 2015, MCW APAMSA won National APAMSA's "Best Chapter of the Year" award out of 84 chapters, in light of its extensive community service involvement and on-campus efforts to promote Asian Pacific health issues. The chapter was presented with its latest award at the 2015 National APAMSA Conference in Irvine, CA.

Dr. B Li, MD, Professor of Pediatrics (Gastroenterology), and Dr. Clarence Chou, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, serve as the chapter’s advisers.

International Adoption Clinic

In 2015, more than 3,100 children were adopted into U.S. families from Asia (e.g., China, South Korea, Philippines, Taiwan), representing about 56% of all children adopted internationally into the U.S. during that year.  This is a stable percentage of annual international adoptions into the United States and is likely the majority of the 377 children who were adopted into Wisconsin or Illinois families during 2015. 

Medical College of Wisconsin faculty and staff seek to support these children and their families through the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW) International Adoption Clinic. Located in the CHW Child Development Center, the International Adoption Clinic (IAC) offers a range of services to children and families that attend to their unique medical needs and psychosocial development (e.g., adoptive understanding and racial identity development).

Pre-adoption services include reviews of available medical information for a child; specialists provide information to the family with regards to identified or potential medical needs for a child awaiting adoption. The IAC also offers pre-adoption psychosocial consultations to support the potential family in understanding the emerging developmental, behavioral, or transitional needs of a child adopted internationally.

Following adoption, the IAC offers specialty medical evaluations (within 2-4 weeks of immigration into the United States) and ongoing medical/psychosocial follow-up. The IAC provides services to approximately 30-50 new internationally adopted children annually.