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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
Tuesday, May 13, 2003 Contact: OPHS Press Office
(202) 205-1841

HHS EXPANDS ONLINE HEALTH INFORMATION FOR ASIAN AMERICANS, NATIVE HAWAIIANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS

In recognition of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today launched two new online health resources of special interest to Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. The new Websites expand on the department's Steps to a HealthierUS initiative, which underscores the President's call to action for healthy lifestyles through public awareness of disease prevention efforts. "Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander communities are affected disproportionately by cardiovascular disease, cancer, hepatitis B, tuberculosis and other diseases," Secretary Thompson said. "At HHS, we're increasing our online presence to bring culturally relevant and appropriate health information and services to their fingertips. Together, these two new resources provide a rich network of complementary information, and offer broad-based knowledge of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. " Starting today, the department's consumer oriented healthfinder® Website will include a new section devoted to Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations.

Available at http://www.healthfinder.gov/justforyou, the user-friendly Website brings together multi-lingual information in Cambodian, Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Laotian, Samoan, Thai, Tongan and Vietnamese. The new consumer resource will be useful to caregivers, patients and others searching for health information on behalf of individuals more comfortable in their native language. Complementing the new healthfinder® section is "Asian American Health," a companion Website launched by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Library of Medicine. Found at http://asianamericanhealth.nlm.nih.gov, the site features census data on major Asian American populations, background on cultural traditions and heritage, links to health policy offices, online medical databases, publications and other organizations. According to the 2000 census, more than 12 million Americans identify themselves as Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, or other Pacific Islanders. In addition, Asian Americans are exceedingly diverse, coming from nearly 50 countries and ethnic groups, each with distinct cultures, traditions and histories.

"These two new Websites are excellent resources that health care providers and community organizations can use in their work with Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders," said John Duong, executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. "Families with internet access in these communities can also benefit from the useful information it provides. Access to reliable information is an invaluable tool for disease prevention, treatment and wellness." healthfinder® is spearheaded by HHS' Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) and is guided by a departmental steering committee that includes representatives from agencies across HHS, including the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and other federal partners. Launching the new Web resources in tandem is part of a coordinated effort by HHS to maximize the reach of information to Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. "We are dedicated to improving the health of these communities," Secretary Thompson said. "HHS is providing two complementary, quality resources that can be accessed virtually anywhere at any time."

The new healthfinder® site is the third special population section developed through extensive community input and partnerships. The ODPHP partnered with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the HHS Office of Minority Health and the American Public Health Association's Asian Pacific Islander Caucus to improve access to health information for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. healthfinder® español was launched in 2001, and an American Indian and Alaska Native section was launched in 2002. Similarly, NLM's "Asian American Health" Website is the second in a series of special population Web presences created by the NIH. The initiative began with the launch of ArcticHealth in 2001. NLM expects to add other special population Websites in the near future.

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.