A health conference specifically catered towards the needs of Korean Americans will be taking place for the first time in Los Angeles.
The “First Annual Korean American Health Conference 2016,” which will be hosted by the Korean American Graduate Medical Association (KAGMA), came about as a coalition of 13 organizations — including KHEIR (Korean American Health Education Information and Research) Clinic, the Korean American Coalition (KAC), Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC), and Korean American Family Services (KFAM), among others — saw the need for deeper research on the health concerns and needs of Korean Americans.
While other ethnic minority groups have had medical research done regarding the groups’ specific needs, not much specific study has been carried out for the Korean American population, according to Dr. David Kim, the assistant director of the residency program at Cedars-Sinai and who is heading the upcoming conference. A lack of research on the health needs of Korean Americans hinders them from receiving the care, resources, and funding that they may otherwise be qualified for.
“Korean Americans face greater language barriers in trying to access health care, and are more uninsured than other Asian groups,” Kim added, leading to disparities in health conditions. He said he hopes the conference — themed, “Improving Health Outcomes in Korean Americans through Education, Collaboration, and Empowerment” — could provide the Korean American community with more information about health care and specific health concerns.
Organizers also said they hope the conference would serve as a platform through which these concerns can be voiced to the greater community, as political figures including Los Angeles Councilmember David Ryu, California State Treasurer John Chiang, and Deputy Consulate General of South Korea Sang Min Ryu will also be present.
“I’m hopeful to see that the new generation is becoming more engaged in the community,” said Erin Kim of KHEIR Clinic. “And I hope that this conference could spread awareness of the needs of the Korean American community, leading to policy changes and long-term impact of the health of Korean Americans.”
Main sessions of the conference will focus on health disparities in the Korean American community, the Affordable Care Act and its impact on Korean Americans, and gastric cancer in Korean Americans. Two sessions of roundtable discussions will also discuss other concerns including cardiac disease, Alzheimer’s disease, lung cancer, hepatitis, breast cancer, colon cancer, and perfectionism and mental health.
The conference is on Saturday, January 16, from 8:30 AM to 1 PM. To register and for more information, visit kagmahealthconference2016.eventbrite.com.