Chinatown meeting roundup: Chinatown Resident Association, Chinatown Coalition, Healthy Chinatown Coalition
By Ling-Mei Wong
The Chinatown Coalition met Sept. 12 at 38 Ash Street, while the Chinatown Resident Association and the governor’s Asian American Commission held a mayoral forum on Sept. 11 at the Josiah Quincy School. The Healthy Chinatown Coalition met Sept. 18 at 38 Ash Street.
The CRA and the governor’s AAC held a mayoral forum with District 8 city councilor Mike Ross. He discussed worker rights, affordable housing and education. Ross planned to reform the Boston Redevelopment Authority and supported building a library in Chinatown.
“Like many of you, my father came here with nothing,” Ross said. “His family, aunts, uncles and cousins were murdered during the Holocaust. As sad and as broken as he was, he had heard about the American dream. … Part of the American dream is to make sure it remains available for other people.
The Chinatown Coalition
The Chinatown Coalition will draft a letter for Boston’s next mayor, which will be delivered January 2014 when the winning candidate takes office. It will list neighborhood priorities for Chinatown, such as city support for a Chinatown library and affordable housing. TCC will solicit community input before sending the letter.
A presentation on the Community Oncology Disparities Initiative was given by Susan Parsons, oncologist at Tufts Medical Center’s Cancer Center. The initiative looks at disparities between Caucasians and Asian Americans during cancer treatment, with Asians reporting dissatisfaction with U.S. cancer care.
Certain cancers tend to be more prevalent in the Asian population, such as liver, stomach and cervical cancers. “Cancer is the leading cause of death for Asian American women,” Parsons said. “Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Chinese American women.”
A Chinatown Community Survey collected responses from 250 individuals in eight focus groups, split by age, gender and language (English, Cantonese and Mandarin). One finding was a strong belief in Chinese medicine, regardless of the person’s level of acculturation. Parsons said physicians must address Chinese medicine when discussing care with cancer patients.
The survey also found a mental disconnect regarding screening and treatment for cancer. Patients saw no need to go for cancer screening until they felt ill. Because of this cultural difference, the Tufts Cancer Center saw more patients seeking help at advanced stages of the disease, rather than coming in for preventive screening to catch problems early, Parsons said.
To address cultural needs, the Cancer Center added signage in Spanish and Chinese. It also started a free acupuncture and massage program for patients to alleviate chemotherapy and radiation symptoms. Two full-time Cantonese and Mandarin navigators help patients understand the health care process.
“We’re trying to help people walk out of an incredibly difficult journey,” Parsons said.
Healthy Chinatown Coalition
The Healthy Chinatown Coalition will compile a list of health issues. Child care center directors noted playground safety issues with trash and homeless individuals, along with hazardous equipment. It will coordinate with other agencies and organizations such as the CRAon the list. The coalition will invite the two final mayoral candidates to tour Chinatown and discuss health priorities.
This post is also available in: Chinese