Setting the Scene
One of the most significant effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was the shutdowns that
occurred worldwide as governments aimed to prevent the spread of COVID through
closing down in person day-to-day activities. These activities were where many of us
gained our most important social interactions, whether that be through work, school,
or leisurely activities such as going to a restaraunt. This shift in a way of living
day-to-day life brought on a whole novel set of issues that we were faced to deal with
without much guidance.
Social Isolation and Economic Issues Hurt Health
For many of us, the majority of our social interaction spent during the day is through
work. The average US American averages 90,000 hours of work in their lifetime, about
1/3rd of their lives. Before the pandemic, the Asian Americans unemployment rate was
among the lowest in the US - around 2.8%. When the pandemic hit, the Asian
American unemployment rate skyrocketed to 15% in May of 2020, higher than other
groups like Whites (7.3%) and Latinos (10.3%). Asian women faced significant hits in
their career lives, with many of their jobs shut down.
Furthermore, lack of access to child care due to factors such as school closures, child
care closures, and economic issues prevented many women from being able to
continue working. These issues caused by the pandemic led to high rates of social
isolation. Social isolation leads to feelings of loneliness which leads to increased levels
in mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicide risk. It can also
increase negative health issues such as heart problems, obesity, and risk for dementia.
Many solutions to these health issues that are available do not include cultural and
language considerations that create a sense of community and connectedness for
Improving Health by Bringing Community Back
Take a look at one community outreach program from Philadelphia. It is known that
Asian American women face a higher burden of cervical cancer in the US. With this in
mind, this outreach program used proper language and cultural knowledge to provide
HPV-related education, self-sampling test kit instructions, and start a dialogue going
with group discussions. From surveying these women after participating in this
community intervention, resulting data showed that Asian women felt more
empowered to self-test themselves as well as a better sense of social support and
connectedness that helped get rid of stigma that surrounded the issue of poor health.
Establishing community-based coalitions that address community health issues with
cultural knowledge and tailored language approaches can help lead to lower levels of
social isolation and the fear that is associated with getting involved in health.
Participating in community-based outreach programs that focus on health
empowerment, education, awareness, and promotion of community connectedness has
the power to lead to positive health changes.
If you are in search of a community based program that will offer resources that can
benefit your health, visit the website, https://www.asiancaucusma.com/resources-1 to
find a community based health program for you.
By: Allison Tamburrano, Northeastern University Student