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CHW Health Disparities Initiative

Meeting the Diverse Heart Health Needs of Filipino Americans

Rates of heart disease and risk factors such as overweight/obesity, smoking, and diabetes vary widely across Asian and Pacific Islander communities. In 2009, the White House issued an executive order to develop more strategies to improve the health and well-being of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. The executive order also called for more data collection and research on health indicators among the diverse subpopulations.1

Filipino Americans are among the three largest Asian American communities, and they have higher rates of heart disease risk factors, including hypertension and diabetes, than other subgroups.2 After assessing Filipino Americans’ need for culturally specific heart health resources, the NHLBI decided to work with community health workers (CHWs) to deliver culturally specific heart health resources to major Filipino communities in the United States.

Read on to find out how CHW heart health programs targeting Filipino Americans were implemented:

About Healthy Heart, Healthy Family

Healthy Heart, Healthy Family (HHHF), a program of education, community activities, technical support, and strategic partnerships, was developed by the NHLBI, Filipino American-serving organizations, and federal partners to address heart disease risk factors.

Experts and community leaders in Asian American health provided input and recommendations to shape the program. The partners supported the NHLBI’s approach of adapting the Your Heart, Your Life manual for Filipino Americans, stressing the importance of using culturally appropriate, bilingual tools that incorporate Filipino cultural traditions and language.

Healthy Heart, Healthy Family Pilot Programs

In 2008, the HHHF program was pilot tested in two federally funded community health centers in Honolulu, Hawaii. Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services and the Kalihi-Palama Health Center sent outreach workers and other staff to the NHLBI for training on how to use the HHHF curriculum. The newly trained CHWs returned to their sites and trained more staff to use strategies to implement the HHHF curricula. Both community health centers reached several hundred community members and patients with heart health education and risk factor management tools, and they established new local partnerships to expand the program’s reach.

The HHHF program was also chosen as the main education component of Project AsPIRE, a program dedicated to reducing Filipino health disparities that is run by New York University’s Center for the Study of Asian American Health. The Center worked closely with the NHLBI to adapt some of the HHHF sessions to meet the immediate needs of Filipino Americans in target areas of New York City and New Jersey.

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1 Exec. Order No. 13515 pdf document icon (PDF, 132 KB), 3 C.F.R. 261-265 (2009).

2 Palaniappan, L. P., Rosario, M., Assimes, T. L., Barrett-Connor, E. L., Carnethon, M. R., Criqui, M. H.,…Wong, N. D. (2010). Call to action: Cardiovascular disease in Asian Americans: A science advisory from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 122, 1242-1252.

Last Updated: June 2014