Abstract: Forging the Future

AAPI Nexus: Forging the Future Volume 9, Number 1&2 Fall 2011 Abstracts


Overview: Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Data and Policy Needs in Civil Rights
By: Taeku Lee and Janelle Wong

Crossing Intersections: Challenges Facing Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Youth: Exploring Issues and Recommendations
By: Ben de Guzman and Alice Y. Hom

The experiences and the everyday life stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth who are also Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) are not well-known or documented in the literature about LGBT or AANHPI communities. To help address this lack of information and knowledge, this article highlights some of the issues that these youth face and offers recommendations regarding data collection, cultural competency, and utilization of an intersectional lens of race/ethnicity and sexual orientation to ensure changes will be considered to policies that affect these populations. The policy recommendations focus on issues such as bullying and sexual and reproductive health.

Bringing Asian American Voices to Policy Debates: Findings from the 2008 National Asian American Survey
By: S. Karthick Ramakrishnan, Jane Junn, Taeku Lee, and Janelle Wong

Where do Asian Americans stand when it comes to public policy? In what ways are they most likely to participate in politics in order to exert their influence in public policy making? More often than not, the answer to these questions is mired in assumptions, anecdotes, and selective evidence because until only very recently, little systematic, nationally representative data on this emerging group has been available to the public. In this brief, we introduce the 2008 National Asian American Survey (NAAS), the first multilingual, multiethnic national survey of Asian American political attitudes and behavior, and suggest that these data shed light on: (1) critical questions about Asian Americans’ public policy attitudes and (2) the types of political action Asian Americans are most likely to take to pursue their policy interests.

Rights at Risk: South Asians in the Post-9/11 United States
By: Sangay Mishra.

South Asian Americans, one of the fastest-growing and most diverse immigrant communities, have experienced increased discrimination and hate crime during the post-9/11 period. South Asians bore the brunt of racial hostility triggered in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, with Muslims and Sikhs bearing the greatest burden. The domestic security policies inaugurated after 2001 further impacted both South Asian and Arab communities adversely. These official policies ranging from surveillance of mosques and communities to delayed naturalization and restricted immigration have severely encroached upon the civil liberties of the groups. The ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks should be an occasion to review some of these policies in order to ensure that South Asian and Arab communities are not being profiled and targeted in the name of domestic security.

An Agenda for Policy Change: Participatory Research and Data Collection by Southeast Asian Youth
By: Kohei Ishihara

In a policy-making world that is influenced by “model minority” ideology and racial aggregate data, Southeast Asian Americans have become one of the most underrepresented and misunderstood Asian American communities. Cambodian, Laotian, and Hmong youth leaders in Providence, Rhode Island, protested this lack of representation by surveying 16 percent of the city’s Southeast Asian youth population. This data became the first of its kind to provide a quantitative and qualitative portrait of the lives and issues experienced by the city’s Southeast Asian residents. Youth leaders were trained in survey administration and data analysis in order to design and execute the survey. Survey results revealed the very intricate and oppressive realities faced by Southeast Asian youth, including lack of education, gang violence, racial profiling, inter-generational conflict, as well cultural conflict over ideas of gender and sexuality. Youth leaders used the data and a process of consensus decision making to develop a list of policy-change recommendations targeting Rhode Island decision makers and power brokers.

Bamboo Ceilings in the Federal Service
By: Carson K. Eoyang

This article is an update to the 2006 AAPI Nexus Journal article about Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) senior executives in the federal government. Despite notable progress in recent years, AAPIs remain underrepresented in the Senior Executive Service (SES). Although recent administration initiatives have been beneficial for increasing diversity in the civil service, budget pressures and workforce constraints still hinder further advancements in executive diversity.

Policy Recommendations to Reduce Toxic Exposures for Nail Salon Workers
By: Julia Liou, Catherine A. Porter, and Thu Quach

The nail salon sector is growing rapidly. Nail salon workers are predominantly Vietnamese immigrant women who are exposed to numerous harmful chemicals in nail care products. The situation is exacerbated by limited safety information, language barriers to information, and lack of government oversight. This brief discusses the health and safety issues faced by workers at the nexus of environmental and worker justice and the policy recommendations by which to address these issues from a public health and regulatory perspective. Although these policy recommendations pertain to California where the sector is largest, they also have far-reaching implications at the national level.


Overview: Challenges in Analyzing and Tracking Asian American Pacific Islander Economic Conditions
By: Paul Ong

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Employment Issues in the United States
By: Marlene Kim

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the United States face problems of discrimination, the glass ceiling, and very high long-term unemployment rates. As a diverse population, although some Asian Americans are more successful than average, others, like those from Southeast Asia and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs), work in low-paying jobs and suffer from high poverty rates, high unemployment rates, and low earnings. Collecting more detailed and additional data from employers, oversampling AAPIs in current data sets, making administrative data available to researchers, providing more resources for research on AAPIs, and enforcing nondiscrimination laws and affirmative action mandates would assist this population.

The State of Asian American Businesses
By: Diem Linda Tran and OiYan A. Poon

Business success is a dominant theme in the Asian American narrative. However, Asian American entrepreneurship is more complex and multilayered than commonly believed and requires careful scrutiny. This brief examines the state of Asian American business ownership between 2005 and 2007. Findings suggest that although Asian Americans form businesses at higher rates than other racial/ethnic minorities, Asian American business ownership and outcomes continue to trail those of non-Hispanic whites. Potential factors contributing to racial/ethnic gaps and policy recommendations are discussed.

The Changing Landscape of Asian Entrepreneurship, Minority Banks, and Community Development
By: Tarry Hum.

This policy brief examines minority banks and their lending practices in New York City. By synthesizing various public data sources, this policy brief finds that Asian banks now make up a majority of minority banks, and their loans are concentrated in commercial real estate development. This brief underscores the need for improved data collection and access to research minority banks and the need to improve their contributions to equitable community development and sustainability.

Disaggregation Matters: Asian Americans and Wealth Data
By: Melany De La Cruz-Viesca

This policy brief explores the usefulness and limitations of existing federal government data sets in better understanding the wealth position and asset-building needs of Asian Americans. As Asian Americans continue to be one of the fastest-growing racial groups in the United States, it is critical for federal data sets to disaggregate Asian Americans by ethnicity and by immigrant versus nonimmigrant status, in order to provide a more accurate and nuanced analysis of the Asian American experience with asset accumulation. The lumping of all Asian American ethnic groups under the aggregate “Asian” category masks a high degree of variation in social and economic status across these subgroups.

Working but Poor in New York City
By: Howard Shih

This policy brief summarizes the methodology and key findings of the Asian American Federation’s report, Working but Poor: Asian Americans in New York City. The report marked the first time Asian American poverty in New York City was examined in detail using the new American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Sample. The report also uses two definitions to examine struggling Asian Americans, the official poverty thresholds traditionally used and a concept of low-income families defined as families living below twice the federal poverty thresholds. After a summary on the methodology of the report, the brief will cover the findings and recommendations through three issue areas: improving job opportunities for working-age Asian Americans, building skills to help Asian American children broaden their future opportunities, and helping seniors in need of access to the social safety net. The brief concludes with an overview of Asian American poverty from a national perspective and discussion of future areas of study.


Overview: Educational Data, Research Methods, Policies, and Practices that Matter for AAPIs
By: Shirley Hune

Asian American College Students over the Decades: Insights from Studying Asian American First-Year Students from 1971 to 2005 Using Survey Research Data
By: Julie J. Park

The purpose of this brief is to discuss insights from using survey data from the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program’s (CIRP) Freshman Survey to study Asian American first-year students. The CIRP is the country’s oldest, ongoing study of college students, and 361,271 Asian American students have completed the survey since its inception. In addition to describing unique findings that came from disaggregating data by gender and income level, I discuss the need for survey response options to be tailored to the needs of Asian American students.

The Importance of Critically Disaggregating Data: The Case of Southeast Asian American College Students
By: Dina C. Maramba

The following policy brief calls for the improvement in data collection of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and, more specifically, Southeast Asian Americans (SEAAs) in order to facilitate college access and success. First, context and the concern for the lack of data are provided. Second, an explanation of the challenges with the existing data and importance of disaggregating data with regard to ethnicity and other important factors such as language and generational status are discussed. Also emphasized is the importance of incorporating the use of qualitative data in the policy decision-making process. Third, suggestions and recommendations that will benefit research and eventually positively influence policy decisions regarding SEAAs in education are discussed.

Broadening Support for Asian American and Pacific Islander Immigrant Families: The Role and Impact of Community- based Organizations in Family-Community-School Partnerships
By: Nga-Wing Anjela Wong

Children of immigrants are the fastest-growing population in the United States; therefore addressing their needs has become an important issue that faces educators, researchers, and policy makers nationwide. This policy brief examines the services and support for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) families during nonschool hours. Specifically, I illustrate the role and impact of a community-based organization (CBO) in family-community-school partnerships and how CBOs provide information, support, and advocacy for low-income Chinese immigrant families.

Charter School “Miracle”? Youth Participatory Action Research and Education Reform in Post-Katrina New Orleans
By: Jacob Cohen and OiYan A. Poon

This policy brief examines and identifies education disparities within the context of a much-touted New Orleans “charter school miracle.” After describing the Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) method employed at a local Vietnamese American youth organization in New Orleans, we summarize findings on inequalities in academic rigor and access to quality teaching, which suggest that charter school reforms are not bringing about an education “miracle” in post-Katrina New Orleans and that students of color, in particular, are inadequately served. The brief also discusses the potential implications of YPAR methods for asserting Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) perspectives and voices in ongoing education reform debates.

Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions: Areas of Growth, Innovation, and Collaboration
By: Robert T. Teranishi.

This policy brief aims to raise the national visibility of the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) program and link the needs of these institutions to the hundreds of similar Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) (e.g., historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and tribal colleges and universities). More specifically, this brief demonstrates how and why the MSI policy strategy is an effective way to increase the success of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) college students, and how the AANAPISI program can be further strengthened.


Overview: What a Difference a Data Set and Advocacy Make for AAPI Health
By: Ninez A. Ponce

Limited English Proficiency as a Critical Component of the Department of Health and Human Services Proposed Rule for Medically Underserved Areas
By: Rosy Chang Weir, Stacy Lavilla, Winston Tseng, Luella J. Penserga, Hui Song, Sherry M. Hirota, Jeffrey B. Caballero, and Won Kim Cook

Medically underserved Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders (AA&NHOPIs) and other racial/ethnic minorities are often left out of the health center system (OMB, 1997; Papa Ola Lokahi, 2007). The Department of Human and Health Services is updating its Proposed Rule, which determines key population health indicators for medically underserved areas (MUA) and health professional shortage designations. This is important as revisions could increase Community Health Center (CHC) health care access for underserved AA&NHOPIs. We recommend that Limited English Proficiency be used as one of the measures in determining MUAs, as it is a scientifically valid and available measure that can identify where underserved AA&NHOPIs and other minorities who face an added language barrier can access needed health services.

Collection of Local Asian American Health Data Closes Health Disparity Gaps
By: Beverly J. Gor and Lovell A. Jones

Lack of disaggregated health data for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) continues to be a barrier to identifying and addressing health disparities in the AAPI population. Because the AAPI population is relatively small, health surveillance groups frequently overlook or disregard them in their data collection, often citing that AAPIs are “difficult to reach,” or that it is too costly to include them in data sets. This brief addresses these barriers and demonstrates that when there is sufficient support from policymakers, committed academic partnerships, and genuine engagement of the community, scientifically sound health data can be collected in a cost efficient manner. Such data not only identifies health needs, but also may generate significant benefits to communities, health planners and researchers and can lead to funding to address those needs.

Childhood Obesity in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities: Critical Data Needs and Research Priorities
By: Shao-Chee Sim

Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) have some of the fastest-growing rates of obesity of all ethnic groups (Harrison et al., 2005). Preventing childhood obesity among AANHPIs is a challenge constrained by resource and research gaps. These include the lack of national prevalence data, insufficient funding support, limited knowledge of risk factors associated with childhood obesity, particularly in these populations, and the lack of programmatic evaluations. The finding of this literature review shows that only 0.11 percent of PubMed articles on childhood obesity focused on AANHPIs. Recommendations to advance what is known about AANHPI and childhood obesity include targeting community prevalence studies, community needs assessments, risk factor studies, and program evaluations; training and mentoring junior researchers; and creating a national clearing-house to compile research literature and evidence-based practices.

Strategic Data and Research Opportunities on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Health through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
By: Winston Tseng, Priscilla Huang, and Won Kim Coo

This paper summarizes the federal requirements under Section 4302(a) of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); the opportunities for improving data collection to address health disparities affecting Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders; the provision’s limitations; and how to address these limitations. Our recommendations for ACA Section 4302(a) implementation include: (1) adhering to the 2009 Institute of Medicine’s data standards on race, ethnicity, and primary language; (2) requiring federally-supported national surveys, health care providers, and publicly-administered health programs at the point of care and enrollment to comply with Section 4302 requirements; (3) ensuring compliance with Title VI and ACA Section 1557 non-discrimination requirements by providing translated health surveys and increasing language assistance capacity; and (4) engaging communities in the design of race, ethnicity, and language data to ensure community relevance.


 Overview: Lots of Aloha, Little Data: Data and Research on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders
By: Shawn Malia Kana‘iaupuni

Efficacy of Federal Data: Revised Office of Management and Budget Standard for Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders Examined
By: Sela V. Panapasa, Kamana‘opono M. Crabbe, and Joseph Keawe‘aimoku Kaholokula

This policy brief examines the status of federal data since the implementation of the 1997 Revised OMB 15 standards for the collection of race and ethnic data, identifies ongoing data limitations, and present recommendations to improve policy and interventions for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (NHPI). While most federal agencies are taking appropriate steps to comply with the revised OMB standards, many are having less success reporting disaggregated information on NHPIs. This suggests that increased efforts to obtain robust samples of NHPIs warrants immediate attention in order for federal agencies to fully comply with the revised OMB standards.

New Research on the Impact of Cultural Influences in Education on Native Hawaiian Student Outcomes
By: Shawn Malia Kana‘iaupuni, Brandon Ledward, and Ku‘ulani Keohokalole

The long-standing education achievement gaps of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) students in our nation represent a significant concern, one that diverse stakeholders are committed to resolving. Although national data sets fail to address NHPI populations, thereby limiting the ability to drive effective policy and programs, local-level research and developments in education provide fresh opportunities to reexamine the learning and teaching of NHPI students. This report shares the results of a quantitative research study that examines the impact of culture-based education (CBE) on student achievement and socio-emotional development. The findings indicate that culture-based educational strategies positively impact student outcomes, especially Native Hawaiian student outcomes. The implications of this study are valuable for education practitioners, programs, and policy makers seeking to eliminate achievement gaps for NHPI and indigenous students.

Policy Recommendations to Prevent Youth Violence and Substance Abuse and Foster Positive Youth Development among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Adolescents
By Karen Umemoto and Earl S. Hishinuma

Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders represent diverse groups with unique histories and rich cultural traditions. They also confront significant challenges in health and education, experiencing disproportionally higher rates of violence and substance abuse. Policy recommendations regarding youth delinquency, substance abuse, and positive development include: (1) application of a socio-ecological approach; (2) utilization of a positive youth development and restorative approach; (3) development of culturally based interventions; (4) the building of capacity for youth-serving organizations; (5) development and strengthening of collaborations; (6) juvenile justice reforms; and (7) encouragement of research that disaggregates ethnic groups and gives greater consideration to community perspectives.

Indigenous Knowledges Driving Technological Innovation
By: The Hi‘iaka Working Group

This policy brief explores the use and expands the conversation on the ability of geospatial technologies to represent Indigenous cultural knowledge. Indigenous peoples’ use of geospatial technologies has already proven to be a critical step for protecting tribal self-determination. However, the ontological frameworks and techniques of Western geospatial technologies differ from those of Indigenous cultures, which inevitably lead to mistranslation and misrepresentation when applied to cultural knowledge. The authors advocate the creation of new technologies that are more conducive to Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies in an effort to break down the barriers to the expression and preservation of cultural heritage and cultural survival.

Liberating Data: Accessing Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Data from National Data Sets
By: Maile Taualii, Joey Quenga, Raynald Samoa, Salim Samanani, and Doug Dover

Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics, an assessment was performed on the quality of death reporting in accordance with standards, a working definition was developed, death counts and rates for several racial categories were analyzed, and data was modeled for use in data structures optimized for analysis and reporting with simple client tools. Most states were still not compliant with the 1997 Office of Management and Budget racial categories by 2005. Comparing the mortality experience of NHOPI to whites revealed many differences. Mortality was higher in NHOPI males and occurred at younger ages for both males and females. The place of death differed between NHOPI and whites, while place of injury (where applicable) was similar. Causes also varied after the top two causes of death.