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Innovation in Action to Meet Specific Needs

Last Updated Friday, August 12, 2011 2:35:42 PM

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Creating Innovative Programs to Address the Needs of a Diverse Community

Doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of our patients begins with understanding exactly who they are. Since our hospital first opened its doors back in 1961, our patient base has become increasingly diverse. We have seen an influx of people of Asian and South Asian descent, with specific needs revolving around culture, language, and health risks related to both lifestyle and genetics. As an independent community hospital, we have the autonomy and the agility to create offerings tailored to the particular medical issues affecting these burgeoning communities. Our efforts have resulted in two pioneering programs: the South Asian Heart Center and the Chinese Health Initiative.

The South Asian Heart Center: A Proactive Approach to a Heart Disease Epidemic

People who trace their ancestry to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, or Bangladesh may come from different cultures, but they share the same elevated risk for heart attack and stroke. Many are nonsmoking vegetarians, yet their risk of coronary heart disease is four times the U.S. average. What's more, South Asians tend to experience heart attacks and strokes at a younger age: 50 percent of heart attacks in South Asians occur before age 55--10 years younger than the average. Our South Asian Heart Center--the first facility of its kind in the world--was created to raise awareness of this health risk, offer specialized testing to screen people for emerging and genetic risk factors, and help them make positive lifestyle adjustments. Participants undergo a specific series of tests and then meet with the Center's clinician to receive a customized summary of risk factors, as well as a plan for ongoing exercise, diet, and stress management.

The Chinese Health Initiative: Culturally Sensitive and Medically Savvy

MDsAs the South Bay's Chinese community continues to grow at a rapid pace, two critical needs have emerged. Specific health risks and health disparities within this patient group have to be addressed and health care must be provided in a way that meets the cultural preferences and expectations of the Chinese population. The Chinese Health Initiative focuses on health issues affecting this community, including hepatitis B, hypertension, liver cancer, and lung cancer. In addition to offering special screenings for these and other conditions, the Chinese Health Initiative offers workshops in Chinese, staffed by physicians from our Chinese-Speaking Physician Referral Network.