On January 26, 2021 President Biden issued an Executive Order condemning and combating racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). We applaud the President in highlighting these discriminations that are further aggravated by the COVID-19 outbreak. We fully support the determination and efforts of the administration in seeking equality and social justice for the AAPI communities and all underrepresented populations in the United States.
Racism, xenophobia, and intolerance are results of longstanding neglect, stereotypes and misunderstanding. AAPI communities also have to fight against the model minority myth, language and culture barriers, and lack of official acknowledgements of disparities and government responses. We urge the administration to take additional steps in making long-term, strategic investments in fighting the structural racism and reduce disparities that AAPIs are facing. These include better understanding of discrimination and disparities against AAPI communities; raising societal awareness of the unique and diverse background of AAPIs, their needs and challenges they face; developing trust and long-term partnership with these communities; and establishing policies and resources to help AAPIs overcome inequalities and social injustice.
One area of disparity AAPIs face is in healthcare and medical research. While AAPIs make up 7% of the US populace, prior research found that the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research focusing on AAPI composed only 0.17% of the total NIH budget between 1992 and 2018, a 41-fold deficit when population proportion is considered.
The Asian Cohort for Alzheimer’s Disease (ACAD) is founded by a team of scientists, healthcare providers, and community advocates who deeply care for the AAPI communities and believe in the importance of diversity in medical research. Our team bring together expertise, connections, and experience in serving other underrepresented populations in order to develop an international collaborative network that will recruit Asian Americans and Asian Canadians to better understand risk factors for dementia in this population. We take a community-based participatory research approach to connect with the communities, help them become more informed about the disease, and understand and communicate their needs for dementia care.
We thank the National Institute on Aging, our affiliated institutions, advisors and research partners for funding, supporting and believing in our cause. We hope our study will reduce the disparity gaps that the AAPI communities are facing in dementia care and medical research, and our engagements and service of the AAPI community contribute to fighting against systematic racism.
Li-San Wang, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Tiffany Chow, M.D., IQVIA
Gyungah Jun, Ph.D., Boston University School of Medicine
Van Park, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco School of Nursing
On behalf of the Asian Cohort for Alzheimer’s Disease (ACAD) Study