Culturally-tailored Community Health interventions are Effective in Decreasing Smoking Rates among Southeast Asian Men

Culturally-tailored Community Health interventions are Effective in Decreasing Smoking Rates among Southeast Asian Men

Though smoking prevalence rates have decreased due to smoking cessation policies and intervention programs since 1970s, not all interventions have equally targeted different ethnic groups in which smoking incidence and prevalence rates remain high. For example, Southeast Asian men in the United States have been found to have one of the highest smoking rates among all ethnic groups despite increased implementation of smoking cessation interventions across the country. 

Featured in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is data analysis of a successful smoking cessation intervention targeting Southeast Asian men. Findings among survey data analyses of over 14,000 Southeast Asian adults in San Francisco, California and Lowell, Massachusetts indicated that community-based interventions are effective in reducing disparities among Southeast Asian smokers. For smokers participating in targeted outreach interventions such as the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Project, smoking prevalence decreased among Southeast Asian men at a higher percentage (6.4% for Vietnamese; 13.9% for Cambodian) compared to to all U.S. men (3.8%). 

Highlighted lessons learned from this tailored intervention includes:

  1. Building capacity: Coalitions with multiple stakeholders have been shown to be effective in community health efforts targeting Southeast Asian smokers. Coalitions typically included representatives form local health departments, community-based organizations, academia, and other research organizations. Community health efforts were based on community action plans that included lay health outreach efforts, patient navigation assistance, and continuing medical education for healthcare providers. 
  2. Targeted Action: All actions must be culturally, linguistically, and literacy-level appropriate for the target population. Various health communication materials were used to target Southeast Asian smokers, including news media, educational CDs, posters, and fact sheets. These materials were also distributed through venues beyond the typical healthcare setting, such as churches/faith-based venues, grocery stores, and worksites. 
  3. Changing communities and health systems: This includes reducing barriers for Southeast Asian communities to access information and utilizing health services that were culturally and literacy-level appropriate.

Evidence from these outreach programs can be used in informing policymakers and other stakeholders within the field of smoking cessation and emphasizes the importance of cultural appropriateness. For more details about the data analysis and limitations, please click here

EVENT: Creating pathways to success for men and boys of color April 18-19


It’s been twenty years since the intellectual work of the African-American Men and Boys Initiative sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation was started. This led to the groundbreaking report by the National Task Force on African-American men and boys; Repairing the Breach: Key Ways to Support Family Life, Reclaim Our Streets and Rebuild Civil Society in America’s Communities

The Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Dean’s Advisory Committee on Equity and Diversity and the Morehouse Research Institute invite you to join us on the weekend of April 19th as we reflect on the significance of the taskforce and Repairing the Breach twenty years later with Dr. Bobby William Austin, the developer of the initiative and editor of the report.

Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center

New IPCC Climate Change Report Reasserts Disparate Impacts on Marginalized Communities


In an interview with Between the lines, Interim Director of the Joint Center’s Energy and Environment Program, Dr. Michael Dorsey, discusses the latest IPCC climate change report and the disparate impacts of climate change on low-income communities and communities of color.

The first thing to understand is that those that contribute the least amount of carbon pollution to the atmosphere are regrettably those that are harmed the most from the contributions of that very same carbon pollution to the atmosphere, as well as a host of concomitant co-pollutants. So, African Americans in the U.S., their emissions are about a fifth of those of wealthy, white Americans in the country. Yet when we look at the effects of asthma-associated mortality, we find that African Americans are about a third more likely to die of asthma, particularly asthma that is exacerbated by polluted air that can be exacerbated also as the average mean temperature rises. And this particular problem of the disproportionate impact of carbon pollution and its effects on particular marginalized communities in the U.S. is a problem that faces the world. So, indigenous communities in the Arctic; communities in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly poor communities in sub-Saharan Africa; in South Asia; in the high Andes. Those poor, marginalized communities, they are right now living out and experiencing the deleterious effects of the unfolding climate catastrophe that’s gripping the planet.

Please click here for the full interview.


Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center

HIV/STD intervention program for African-American MSM



African American men-who-have-sex-with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Young African-American MSM accounted for the highest number of new HIV infection among all gay men in 2010. To address this disparity, the CDC has shown an evidence-based intervention program to be effective in addressing the epidemic in the African-American gay community.

Some key features of the program:

  • The program, Many Men, Many Voices (3MV) has been demonstrated to be effective and sustainable in reducing sexual risk-taking behavior in this community.
  • It addresses social determinants of health, such as homophobia, stigma, and discrimination, which can have a direct impact on sexual risk-taking behavior in African American MSM.
  • 3MV utilizes group interaction and education to foster positive attitudes and knowledge about HIV/AIDS and other STD’s.
  • 3MV has been implemented in various clinical and community settings and proves to be highly effective and culturally relevant model.



Adedotun Ogunbajo, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Air Pollution Exposure Greater for Minorities

A new report titled National Patterns in Environmental Injustice and Inequality, indicates a disparity in exposure to air pollution, specifically nitrous oxide exposure, among nonwhites compared to whites.  This disparity is greater between nonwhites and whites than it is between people from contrasting economic backgrounds.  Youth and elderly nonwhites are particularly at risk.  Key findings from the report are as follows:

  • Urban outdoor air pollution is one of the leading causes of death in nations with stronger economies
  • Concentrations of nitrous oxide are greater in 87.5% of nonwhite groups studied than groups of whites studied for this report
  • With intervention, about 7,000 annual deaths related to nitrous oxide induced heart disease could be reduce
    • For comparison, an intervention with a similar benefit would be 3.2 million fewer adults (age 30–44) beginning smoking

Authors of the article say disparity in nitrous oxide exposures among minorities is a public health concern and it is a matter of environmental injustice that requires attention.


Patrice Garnette, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, The George Washington University Law School



More Americans Get Covered in States Embracing ACA

According to the Gallup poll released yesterday, the uninsured rate is dropping faster in states that have fully embraced the Affordable Care Act.  The uninsured rate among adults 18 years and older in the 21 states (including Washington, DC) that set up their own healthcare exchanges and expanded Medicaid, have dropped 2.5%.  The 29 states who choose not to expand Medicaid and/or not to set up healthcare exchanges only declined 0.8%.



Click here to learn more about Medicaid Expansion in the politically conservative Deep South.

Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center

EVENT: Arkansas Minority Health Summit- April 18th


Date: Friday, April 18, 2014
Time: 8:00 AM- 5:00 PM
Join public health leaders from around the country for a full day of activities designed to provide learning opportunities about new and emerging trends focused on health equity for minority communities in Arkansas.
Be in attendance as we release the results of a new UAMS study, funded by the Arkansas Minority Health Commission, that suggests that eliminating health disparities for Arkansas minorities would have resulted in a reduction of direct medical care expenditures of $518.60 million in 2010. In this study, AMHC and UAMS sought to estimate the economic impact of racial and ethnic disparities in Arkansas.
Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center