Dear APPEAL Partners and Members,

First of all, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. During these very uncertain and trying times it is our individual and collective health that is most important.  We especially would like to recognize and thank those who are on the front lines for risking your own health in serving all of our communities.

As with other community organizations, the APPEAL team is observing the shelter-in-place policy in California until at least May 3. And like many of you, we are readjusting to working remotely and balancing taking care of work, our families, and ourselves.  We wanted to let you all know that APPEAL is committed to continuing our tobacco control, leadership development, and health equity efforts during this time. With smokers and vapers being more vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, the work around tobacco cessation and control becomes increasingly important.  We are also joining with other organizations to denounce the increasing racist attacks against Asian Americans and bring awareness to equity issues such as the loss of jobs, the increased risk for those in the health industry, and the communication and technology divide in this country that determines whether it’s easy to “work from home.”

In addition to tobacco, we are continuing to advocate for health equity.  Whether focused on commercial tobacco use, healthy eating and active living, the impact of opioids on AAs and NHPIs, or COVID-19, we continue our efforts. Collaboratively. While we won’t be able to meet in-person (so important for building partnerships!), we will adjust and expand our efforts to communicate in this new world virtually through webinars, online calls, social media, and other avenues for community engagement.

We are still hoping to convene APPEAL’s 25th Anniversary Conference on September 9-10, but will not make a determination on how we will convene (in-person or virtually) just yet.  Our staff and advisory committee will continue planning for this event in the meantime.

We have partnered with many of you for years (and decades) and are so grateful for your expertise and collaborative spirit that have benefitted our communities.  We continue to look to you to see how we can best address the growing needs in our local AA and NHPI communities. Please let us know what we can do to help.

Thank you to our amazing APPEAL staff, board, and partners for your amazing commitment to continuing to serve our communities and striving for health equity.

Wishing you and yours the best of health.

In solidarity,

Rod Lew

The most recent Surgeon General’s report on tobacco use was released last month. This year’s report focuses on smoking cessation, a topic that has not been addressed in the report within the past 30 years!

Check out the infographic below for a visual summary.

Source: Office of the Surgeon General

You can also read the full report here.

Some of the highlights we think are important to recognize

More than 3 out of 5 U.S. adults who have ever smoked cigarettes quit.
However, less than one-third use FDA approved cessation medications or behavioral counseling.

Smoking cessation can be increased by:
– Raising the price of cigarettes
– Adopting comprehensive smoke-free policies
– Implementing mass media campaigns
– Requiring pictorial health warnings
– Maintaining comprehensive statewide tobacco control programs

Considerable disparities exists in the prevalence of smoking across the U.S. population, with higher prevalence in some groups. There are also disparities in key indicators of smoking cessation, including quit attempts, receiving advice from a health professional, and using cessation therapies.


We know that tobacco use disproportionately impacts our Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities, despite the lack of mainstream representation of tobacco health disparities that our communities face. As an organization, APPEAL is committed in our work towards eliminating these disparities and advancing health equity for tobacco-free AANHPI communities.

Chronic infection with the Hep B and Hep C viruses are the most common risk factors for liver cancer in the United States. Despite the significant decline in viral hepatitis B infection in the U.S. since the 1990s, hepatitis B remains a significant cause of health disparities in communities of color, especially in Asian and Pacific Islander (API) and African American communities. This webinar focuses on addressing these health disparities and highlight prevention efforts for these priority populations.

Check out the recording below:

Accompanying slides for this webinar can be  downloaded here .






Webinar Topic: Hepatitis B Health Disparities in Priority Populations 

In this webinar, participants will learn:

  • How hepatitis B disproportionately affects API and African American communities
  • Campaigns to increase Hep B awareness, screening, and vaccination
  • Risk factors for Hep B and liver cancer, including tobacco
  • Health provider education on Hep B prevention

Kate Moraras, Hepatitis B Foundation
Dr. Richard Andrews, HOPE Clinic Houston
Farma Pene, NYC Health Department

November is Diabetes Awareness Month – a time to raise awareness about type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Read this guest post by our ASPIRE partner Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi:

Pictured here: Participants and staff of Hui Mālama’s diabetes support group

Diabetes affects about 13% of the adult population in Hawaiʻi. Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders are 2.2 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than the white population in Hawaiʻi. Along with heart disease, diabetes remains the leading chronic illness of Native Hawaiians. Diabetes doesn’t have to take lives.

At Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi (Hui Mālama), our mission is to uplift the health of the Hawaiian nation. We work to address and alleviate health challenges that affect our community, such as diabetes. Hui Mālama provides diabetes education services, nutrition counseling, diabetes counseling, free diabetes management classes, and a free diabetes support group. With these services, Hui Mālama encourages those affected by diabetes to take control of their health and their diabetes. Recently, Hui Mālama received recognition from the American Diabetes Association, which has empowered us to provide the highest standards and most up-to-date services. To learn more about our diabetes services, visit


Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Incorporated in 1991, Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi serves as the Native Hawaiian Health Care System for Hawaiʻi island, providing medical, behavioral health, and community education services with the sole objective of improving access to quality healthcare, education, and services for the people of Hawaiʻi. Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi is dedicated to improving the wellness & well-being of Hawaiʻi island so that all residents can Live Longer & Feel Better, Together.

This webinar, in collaboration with the Nuestras Voces Network, highlights resources to support efforts for cervical cancer education and prevention, and present examples of implemented interventions in Hispanic and Asian and Pacific Islander communities, such as:

1. The Es Tiempo Campaign: A focus on clinic and environmental cues to promote screening

2. The Papalooza Screening Event: An effort to increase delivery of affordable cervical cancer screenings for uninsured women.

Download the presentation here

The mission of the Light and Salt Association (LSA) is to provide quality health care to the needy and vulnerable, promoting healthy living, and fostering a sense of community responsibility in the greater Houston area since 1997. We work particularly among underserved first-generation immigrants within the Chinese community who tend to have limited English language capabilities and a low socio-economic status. Within this group, a primary focus is on cancer patients and their loved ones and caregivers. In 2018, we served 272 cancer patients and have a database of 1,123 patients and survivors.

The services we provide for or connect to cancer patients include, but aren’t limited to, healthcare system navigation, transportation and language assistance to treatment-related appointments, daily living and housing assistance, one-on-one peer support, in-person and online support groups, newsletters, and cancer educational materials. Our survivorship support programs are something that we’re particularly proud of. We adopt a “patient-centered” approach and believe cultural competence and sensitivity is incredibly important. Many cancer patients have said to us that they not only found an organization, but a family, a family they can trust and count on. They didn’t feel alone when undergoing the lengthy and tough journey towards getting better.

Many of our volunteers have been cancer patients or family members of cancer patients themselves. They came back to lend their first-hand experience to serve others with similar situations. We’ve been blessed with the support of the Chinese community, in particular the churches, within the greater Houston area. Our goal is to further improve and expand on our services to reach more of the underserved Asian American communities.


Light and Salt Association (Houston, TX) is a one of APPEAL’s network partners under the ASPIRE grant (Cooperative Agreement Number, NU58DP006490, funded by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.)

May is nationally recognized as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of the diverse cultures and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in the United States.

May 10th is Asian Pacific American Mental Health Awareness Day in the State of California.

It has been well documented that stress is a risk factor for various physical and mental health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.

Recently, one study has also linked increased tobacco use with high levels of stress among Samoan smokers in California. Find it here.

Our partners at Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi in Hilo, Hawaiʻi shared some tips from their April 2019 Newsletter on healthy ways to manage stress. Everyone responds and manages with stress differently. The first step to adopting healthy coping behaviors is to identify stressors and recognize signs of stress. Are you feeling angry or depressed? What is making you feel these emotions?

Identify people who you can turn to for support. When needed, reach out to family members, friends, or your community for help. Ask them to join you in stress relief activities, it can be as simple as talking story or going out for a hike at a nearby trail. If you have persistent feelings of stress it may be good idea to see a licensed mental health professional.

Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration here for more resources on mental and behavioral health.

The Statewide Pacific Islander Asian American Resource and Coordinating Center (also known as SPARC) is funded through the California Tobacco Control Program and addresses tobacco related health disparities in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Our Executive Director, Rod Lew, was interviewed by Joseph Martin from the Rover Tobacco Control Library at UC Davis.

Listen to the podcast below to learn more!

Some of the highlights include:

  • Importance of using disaggregated data to see the high prevalence of tobacco use among diverse subpopulations
  • The need for strong advocates, and opportunities through our leadership development program
  • SPARC’s goals for developing community competent resources including toolkits, in-language educational materials, and digital storytelling!



Secondhand smoke harms children and adults. The CDC Tips campaign shares stories of real people living with serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. Learn more about the 2019 CDC Tips campaign at 

Read stories from people affected by secondhand smoke below.

Asian Smokers’ Quitline offers services in multiple languages. Call today to quit or help a family member or friend quit.

Chinese: 1-800-838-8917
Korean: 1-800-556-5564
Vietnamese: 1-800-778-8440