Justice for George Floyd.

Black Lives Matter.

On behalf of Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL), we join in solidarity with Black communities throughout our country and the world in calling for justice for Mr. George Floyd. We are deeply saddened, pained and outraged by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the latest in a long history of brutal killings that include Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Oscar Grant, Stephon Clark, and countless other African Americans. Black communities have been the target of police brutality and violence deeply rooted in structural and systemic racism.

Many of us as Asian Americans, at least in part, contribute to sustaining a social structure in this country centered on White privilege. It hurts that Tou Thao, one of the police complicit in the murder of Mr. Floyd is Asian American. Indeed, we cannot stand by and watch when our inaction and silence do harm. To stand in solidarity requires us to address anti-Blackness within our communities with renewed commitment and vigilance.

Like all sectors of our society, the institution of public health is not immune to racism. All too often, we fail to call out our own privilege, especially its dependence on institutional racism and systems of power, as we simultaneously call for “health equity.” Racism is a key public health issue and dismantling racism is a fundamental public health strategy, without which we cannot realize health equity.

Our hearts go out to our friends in Minnesota with whom we have collaborated on community building and leadership programs, especially the LAAMPP Leadership Institute. We offer our condolences, support, and steadfast commitment to amplify calls for racial justice, racial equity, and health equity in tobacco control.

We must support Black Lives Matter and take action accordingly in every facet of our lives.

In solidarity,

Rod Lew, MPH
Executive Director
Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL)

Joon-Ho Yu, MPH, PhD
Chair, Board of Directors
Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL)

To find some places to donate and ways to take action as Asian Americans, take a look at the crowdsourced document Asian Accountability to Black People.

ASPIRE and Self-Made Health Networks co-hosted a webinar that highlighted how tobacco cessation is utilized to address cancer survivorship from a culturally relevant perspective. Participants will learn about the how Asian Smokers Quitline services maximizes use of demographic data (e.g. low socioeconomic status characteristics) and the types of support provided to assist government programs, healthcare systems, coalitions as well as communities and health equity stakeholders with improving tobacco cessation outcomes.

To view the webinar recording, you can register here.

You can download the slide presentations here


PJ is part of the Los Angeles Fellows Team. He is currently a Project Manager for the Health of Philippine Emigrants Study (HoPES). 

“Being the first natural born U.S. citizen in a family of immigrants, I hold this project very dear to my heart as it pertains directly to the Filipino community and it aligns with my passion in Public Health.  Not everyone is so lucky to live the best of both worlds. I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to give back to my community through this project, as well as provide valuable evidence-based information to future Filipino migrants.”

About the study:

The Health of Philippine Emigrants Study, or HoPES, is a collaborative effort between researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, the University of Washington School of Nursing, the University of the Philippines Population Institute and Demographic Research and Development Foundation, and the University of San Carlos Office of Population Studies.

Initial data collection for the study took place in the Philippines prior to migrants leaving for the United States. This allows us to analyze the outcome of migrating to the United States on an individual’s health. Information collected during this study will help us observe changes in general health status and chronic diseases, food and beverage consumption habits, attitudes and beliefs, stress levels, and smoking and drinking habits among Philippine migrants.

My role:

I started as a Research Assistant for HoPES in September 2018 and took on the role of Project Manager in May 2019.  My current duties as Project Manager include:

  • Help assess current project needs to plan all management and work group meetings; organize and deliver meeting notes and maintain archives of meetings and monitor progress on action items determined through these meetings.
  • Develop, communicate, monitor and update timelines and strategies in meeting project goals across all study sites.
  • Work with fund manager to ensure funding agency compliance; assist PI with completion of progress reports and correspond with funding agencies on progress reports.
  • Prepare and manage IRB/human subject documentation for research project and documents for collaborating organizations with human subjects approval processes.
  • Supervise research staff in administering project-related duties and tasks.
  • Liaison with key stakeholders to develop relationships to improve intervention implementation.
  • Help develop, plan, oversee and evaluate the implementation of training and follow up technical assistance.
  • Assist in the writing, editing and formatting of articles for publication in peer- reviewed journals and provide overall coordination of manuscript preparation.
  • Independently search for additional contract/grant funding opportunities to supplement existing research dollars.
  • Assist PI in writing, editing, and submission of additional funding/research proposals.

We  provide resources to study participants on our monthly newsletters as well as per request.  Since we have more than 900 migrants all over the United States, we try our best to look for resources depending on the inquiry and location.  We also provide resources on our Facebook page. We are approaching our final wave of data collection later this year and will have results on the study by Fall 2021.

You can find more information about HoPES on our website – https://hopesstudy.weebly.com.

Jake is our coach for the Southern California Students Team and also a long-time APPEAL leadership participant and supporter!


Public Health wasn’t a direct career pathway. To no surprise, I started with a pursuit for a career in medicine. It turned out to be more of a challenge than something I enjoyed. I pivoted and found public health. Thankfully, it was the best decision I have ever made.

After graduating with my MPH in 2016, I did a leadership training with APPEAL in which the experience has been the catalyst to a lot of my work and research interests as a current doctoral student and professional in Public Health.

As a doctoral student and thriving researcher, I consider my identity and privilege in my work. I understand that I come from and represent communities that are underrepresented and underserved, and it is my “Kuleana” or duty to uplift them.

Studying public health has been both frustrating and empowering. It is frustrating to learn about the inequities and health disparities especially in the communities I represent. I take this to also be empowering because I have the privilege and opportunity as a member of my community to bridge those gaps and contribute to providing solutions.

In my current research, I am investigating the effectiveness of existing health education materials on tobacco, cancer and healthy activities to improve health literacy and engagement for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. Among the AANHPI population in general, health engagement remains relatively low compared to other groups. I hope to inform creative ways of developing and delivering health information that is representative and meaningful.

More importantly, I wish to bring more representation of the diverse AANHPI communities to my research. AANHPIs are heterogeneously rich in culture and experiences. Yet, many of the present literature is unable to capture those experiences. Most agencies, particularly at the federal level present AANHPI into one or two groups. I am a huge advocate for collecting and presenting disaggregated data. Having detailed data that highlights the diversity of our communities can better guide us to create meaningful, inclusive, and equitable policies for all.

Being a part of APPEAL has given me the opportunity to connect with community members and leaders who share similar interests, concerns, and goals. The experiences have always provided fresh and invigorating perspectives in ways to optimize the promotion of health equity and other areas that I have not yet been able to explore. APPEAL continues to inspire and propel my leadership in becoming a viable resource to improve health in our communities.

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.

Andersen is part of the Gold Country Fellow Team. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health at UC Davis. Read about his project below.

“There is a growing concern of high smoking rates among international students on smoke-free campuses across the nation. Though the research on this topic may be limited, there is a need to address strategies that will engage this population with the campus smoke tobacco-free policy and tobacco cessation resources. This year-long project comprises three phases: outreach, data collection, and an adaption of a communication plan. In the outreach phase, we started marketing language-specific tobacco quitline advertisements in Chinese and Korean to new students at events on campus. During the data collection phase, we will be conducting focus groups with international students and international-related community stakeholders to gather information about health messages, strategies, and channels to effectively reach this population. Finally, we will use the data to develop tobacco prevention- communication materials and strategies in preparation for the next school year or for future campaign efforts.”

Alana is part of the Southern California Students Fellow Team. In September, she shared tobacco education resources at PIFA – the Pacific Islander Festival.

“PIFA is the largest and longest running Pacific Islander Festival on the mainland. This past year was it’s 25th anniversary and we welcomed more than 20,000 people. It takes place every year at Ski Beach in San Diego, CA and is held on the third weekend of September. My role for PIFA is Miss Pacific Islander of San Diego First Princess. Throughout the year I act as PIFA’s ambassador and take part in many community events throughout the year promoting PIFA’s message to promote, preserve, and perpetuate the cultures of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Through this role I also created my own community project called “Sincerely, Alana.” I’ve been working on this channel and website for two years now and my mission is to educate youth about social issues, promote confidence, and provide resources – www.sincerelyalana.org. I’ve mentioned APPEAL and SPARC in multiple places on my website and have actually gotten a few people who have reached out and talked to me about applying for the next fellowship opportunity.”

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 hmono.org/diabetes


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.