As a Member of President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), I have the privilege to work on connecting the country’s AAPI communities with their Federal government. Yesterday, I was honored to facilitate a roundtable conversation with Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and a small group of AAPI health, business, and civic leaders from around the Seattle area.
The roundtable was hosted at the International Community Health Services (ICHS) International District medical and dental clinic. We began with a tour of the facility hosted by Teresita Batayola, CEO of ICHS, and senior members of her staff. The ICHS team highlighted for Ms. Jarrett the wonderful work being done from their facility to provide access to high quality and culturally sensitive health care, to address the challenges facing many in Seattle’s AAPI community.
Following the tour, there was a vibrant discussion on the need for culturally sensitive outreach services under the Affordable Care Act, the importance of disaggregating data for AAPI communities to address health disparities, ways to promote more venture capital investments in AAPI entrepreneurship, and the critical need for a balanced approach to comprehensive immigration reform that embraces family unification as well as the needs in high-tech or high-demand industries.
As Ms. Jarrett noted at the close of the roundtable, all of these issues – from health care to community development to small business – are fundamentally interconnected, and our success depends on us all working together. With the continued support and collaboration of partners throughout the Northwest, of President Obama and his team across the federal government, and with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, I am optimistic about the future and the health of our AAPI community.
Hyeok Kim is a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the Executive Director of InterIm Community Development Association, a Seattle-based nonprofit.