CHDIS Mission and Goals

The mission of the Center for Health Disparities Innovation and Studies (CHDIS) is to improve lives by reducing health disparities in underserved populations and communities through services, education, research and training.

Our goals: to produce sustainable health outcomes via the Policy, Systems and Environment (PSE) approach. During the process, we:

  1. Empower target communities and priority populations by leveraging multi-level partners that include individuals and families, governmental offices, legislators and other related health care resources,
  2. Forge strategic partnerships,
  3. Identify key informants/leaders and build on community assets and educate stakeholders,
  4. Collect and share local data,
  5. Evaluate programs and interventions, and finally transfer successful interventions to other communities.

The CHDIS currently houses a five-year  project, funded by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH). Among 31 award recipients in the nation, our initiative is the only one solely focused on the priority population of Asian Americans in Michigan. In this five-year initiative, our team will also conduct much-needed research to identify and understand contributors to health disparities among Asian Americans and develop and implement culturally-tailored strategies that reduce the health disparities and improve health outcomes.

Our Impact

Over the past 20 years, through the work of Healthy Asian Americans Project, Dr. Tsu-Yin Wu and her team have worked with Asian American community to eliminate health disparities in chronic disease, cancer control and mental health issues with the implementation of culturally and linguistically appropriate health interventions and initiatives. 

  • Strengthening evidence base 

    Our team has generated high quality peer-reviewed publications to educate members of communities, public health authorities and policy makers about the critical health needs of underserved minorities. The findings from these publications were widely disseminated to provide the evidence base for setting up priorities and creating programs to address health disparities affecting these populations. Example of recent studies:

    • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Utilization of Preventive Health Care Services Among Asian Americans in Michigan during Pre- and Post-Affordable Care Act Implementation (2019)
    • Predictors and Cancer Screening among Asian Americans in Michigan: Role of Refugee Status (2017)

    Please go to research and publications to find out more.

  • Strategic political and policy involvement
    Working with Michigan Asian Pacific Americans Affairs Commission in conducting town-hall meetings throughout Michigan that gather voices of health and other needs among Asian Americans community, our team has been able to increase the awareness of various resources for affected communities and connect them to state government offices, social services and programs.
  • Improving health access and utilization
    With funding from Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, our bilingual navigators educate and enroll individuals for health coverage. From 2014-2019, our team has been educating more than 20,000 individuals across seven Asian communities in Michigan and enrolling more than 8,160 individuals and families since the 2014 open-enrollment period.
  • Empowering priority population
    Informed by previous study results, our team built a unique academic-community partnership to train and certify bilingual navigators to serve limited English proficient (LEP) Asian Americans and provide culturally- and linguistically- appropriate education to increase awareness on various health topics, e.g., breast, cervical and colorectal cancer, chronic disease, mental health, etc. In addition, these navigators overcome structural and system barriers to build community capacity and connect individuals to care.
  • Addressing global health needs
    Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in women worldwide. Lack of population-based screening or early detection in low-income and middle-income countries is linked to poor breast cancer survival. With the dissemination of HAAP’s Lay Health Advisor (LHA) framework, Dr. Wu promoted breast cancer awareness and strengthened the capacity of local health professionals providing cancer screening in underserved areas that covered 27 cities China as well as Taiwan and the Philippines. The initiative has resulted in more than 17,000 women getting breast cancer screening and for many of them, for the first time in their lives.

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