Diabetes in the AANHPI Community

Today, 25.8 million Americans suffer with diabetes, and our minority communities are especially affected, with Asian Americans encompassing 8.4%. According to the Office of Minority Health, Asian Americans are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as compared to non-Hispanic Whites.

During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, let’s honor the contributions of Asian Americans by learning how we can lower this health disparity by being leaders within our communities. Combatting diabetes requires understanding the three key health areas: prevention, improving care, and diabetes research.

Every year, the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians (NCAPIP) hosts a conference on the impact of diabetes in Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI). This year’s conference evaluated key ways physicians and patients can better work together to improve AANHPIdiabetes disparities.

Fighting these health disparities requires changing the way diabetes research is conducted to ensure that treatments meet the needs of all patients. Increasing diversity in clinical trials is an important stepping stone for improving diabetes treatment for these groups--especially in large metropolitan cities where Asian Americans comprise a large demographic, such as Los Angeles and New York.

To help improve diversity in clinical trials, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the National Minority Quality Forum launched the “I’m In” campaign to improve health by increasing clinical trial participation among traditionally underrepresented populations.

According to Dr. Salvatore Alesci, PhRMA Vice President of Scientific Affairs, minorities will constitute 40% of the U.S. population by 2020. By increasing the diversity in clinical trials through advocacy, education, and technology, we will increase the safety and effectiveness of new medicines and improve health for all patients.

Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu of NCAPIP spoke about how physicians can act as communicators and leaders by working for and advocating for those they serve, which encompasses a new calling for physicians. We have the power to lower the diabetes epidemic in AANHPI communities by talking about diabetes with family and friends, taking action, and living a healthy lifestyle.