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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

Asian Adults in SEPA Experience Serious Barriers to Health Care Access, According To Local Study
Wednesday. November 15, 2006

Philadelphia—While the topic of health disparities among ethnic minorities—particularly for Latino and African-American communities—continues to garner national attention, a local study reports that Asian adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania do not get the preventive health care they need.  

According to the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base project, Asian adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania fall far behind adults in other their ethnic and racial groups when it comes to getting screened for diseases that, when caught early, have better survival rates.  In particular, PHMC’s 2004 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, a survey of more than 10,000 households in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, found that:

·  Asian women ages 18 years and older (26.7%) are more likely than White (4.7%), African-American (3.1%) and Latina (6.5%) women to never have had a PAP test.
·  Asian women ages 40 years and older (15.1%) are almost twice as likely than White (8.6%%), African-American (8.5%) and Latina (8.9%) women to never have had a mammogram.
·  27% of Asian women ages 18 years and older have never had a clinical breast exam, compared to White (4.7%), African-American (3.1%) and Latina (6.5%) women.
·  Asian men ages 45 years and older (40.1%) are more likely than White (17.8%), African-American (19.5%) and Latino (36.4%) men to never have had a prostate exam.

PHMC’s Household Health Survey also found that Asian-American adults are less likely than their ethnic and racial counterparts to have access to health insurance, which might impact their ability to get access to preventive care. For example:

·  17.4% of Asian adults do not have health insurance coverage, compared to 12.2% of African-American and 5.4% of White adults.

The survey also showed that Asian-American adults are more likely to experience language problems when they seek treatment, compared to others. For example:

·  Among adults with a regular source of care, Asian adults are two to three times more likely than their racial and ethnic counterparts to have encountered translation service barriers at their health care provider. Two out of five Asian adults (40.2%) have not had someone that speaks their language at their source of health care, compared to White (27.8%), African-American (19.7%), and Latino (14.7%) adults.
·  Among Asian adults who have experienced barriers in translation services, 86.2% cite their doctor’s office as the location of their regular source of care.

PHMC is a non-profit, public health organization committed to improving the health of the community through outreach, education, research, planning, technical assistance, and direct services. The Household Health Survey is conducted by PHMC’s Community Health Data Base Project, which is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation, The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and a variety of participating agencies from the health, government, nonprofit, and academic sectors.
Results from PHMC’s 2006 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey will be available in February 2007. To be placed on the Household Health Survey e-mail list, contact Johanna Trowbridge at

For more information on the minority health disparities in Southeastern Pennsylvania, please contact Francine Axler, Senior Research Associate, at 215-985-2521 or Additional Survey findings are located online at