AAPI bloggers & online media-ites who cover health, alternative health, or Asian health traditions share how new media is helping spreading the information about something that is dear to their hearts: health issues.
Dr. Michi Fu, clinical psychology professor at the California School of Professional Psychology of Alliant International University and asupervisor at the Asian Pacific Family Center talked about the fact that many Asian Americans kept their mental health problems to themselves such that when they finally sought help from a mental health professional, their conditions were much worse.
Lisa Lee, co-founder of Thick Dumpling Skin writes about Asian American body issues and eating disorders. She started her blog through her own story of weight loss and weight gain. So, others started to share their stories and soon people started to realize that eating disorders and body issues can happen to anyone, whether they are male or female, Asian American, white, or others. Sharing personal stories via social media helped people become a part of the solution by allowing them to feel the sense of community and find strength in other peoples stories. Lee also finds that Asian American women especially deal with how their elders and relatives tell them what their bodies should look like. They also have to deal with how the mainstream media tell them how they should look. Sharing their struggles with body image on social media helps Asian American women find that being different is okay.
LiAnn Ishizuka talked about Team Janet, a project that promotes Leukemia awareness. She discussed how the successful use of social media through Facebook, Twitter, face to face appeals has helped raise awareness about the lack of bone marrow matches and donors among the API community. The plight of Janet Liang who has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant has become a call to action among many in the API community when a video of her talking about her fear of dying was posted on Youtube. It went viral, and mobilized an army of people to help find her, and other API sufferers of leukemia a marrow match, something tat may be their only chance to live a healthy life. Team Janet’s effort to register marrow donors has resulted in over 20,000 potential donors and matches found for many leukemia patients.
Lloyd Y. Asato is the owner and founder of BuildCommunity, a full-service consultancy specializing in initiatives that address health inequities and the advancement of social justice. He says that now that we have the tools in our hands we need to use that power to make our voice heard in order to improve our health. To improve our health, we need to share our data. That’s when change will happen.
Photo courtesy of @CPAforg on Twitter
—Chloe Hsu, V3con blogger