On March 26, 2015 KILN scholars, Habin Cho ‘ 16, Hana Chung ‘17, Taylor Fischer ’15, Tammy Leung ’15, and Lourdes Talavera ’16, attended the Asian American Pacific Islander Nurses Association (AAPINA) twelfth annual conference in Las Vegas, NV. Taylor and Lourdes also presented posters about the research they conducted with Dr. Tam Nguyen. The conference rejuvenated the students’ desire to continue being part of the nursing profession and provided an environment to network with nurse leaders across the nation. Below are some reflections from the students:
In the keynote presentation, “Self-Management of Chronic Conditions: State of the Science in Dissemination and Implementation,” Usha Menon, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor at Ohio State University College of Nursing, discussed factors that threaten health and wellness: low health literacy, infrequent medical visits, language and cultural barriers, lack of health insurance, and lack of focus on preventive care. These factors are prevalent among minority populations, including the AAPI community. I learned that cancer is the leading cause of death for Asian-American females because of late diagnosis; this population is less likely to undergo breast cancer screening. I have become aware of the importance of health promotion and preventive care to ensure that this population can maintain a healthy life.
During the poster session, I was drawn to a presentation by Jin Young Seo, RN, WHNP, MSN, PhD candidate at University at Buffalo School of Nursing, which highlighted Korean immigrant women’s healthcare utilization. In her review process, Jin Young focused on individual determinants of healthcare utilization, which excluded environmental characteristics. Some of the significant variables in determining whether Korean women go to hospitals for care included gender, marital status, knowledge of the screening guidelines, perceived susceptibility, and education. There were also enabling factors, such as having health insurance, a primary doctor, and speaking English proficiently. By learning about the characteristics of these individual determinants, I was intrigued by the similarities I found between Jin Young’s literature review and my own knowledge of Korean culture.
I presented two different posters designed in collaboration with my undergraduate research mentor, Dr. Tam Nguyen: “Prevalence of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” and “A Systematic Review of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Prevention and Management Interventions for Asian American and Pacific Islanders.” This was my first time fully designing a research poster and presenting; and it was a great experience. Not only did I get to see my ideas come to fruition, but I also got to disseminate research and have meaningful dialogue with some of the people whose research I had reviewed! Although I thoroughly researched my topics, I was still unprepared for some of the questions I received. It really made me think on my feet and see the research in a different light.
In addition to the need to participate in nursing boards and committees for change, this conference also inspired me to conduct research on minorities, especially Asians. It was interesting to learn that in research, there is rarely a delineation of the various Asian subgroups. Even though there are many subgroups, it is common for researchers to consolidate all these different cultures into one. For those unfamiliar with the different types of Asians, it is easy to conduct research on one type of Asian and have them represent the entire Asian population. As a Chinese American, I know that the Vietnamese are really different from the Chinese, as we are really different from the Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese, etc. The list continues because even within the Chinese, there are many villages with their own cultural practices that affect their health practices. To have one represent all is simply a misrepresentation of data. It was also helpful to know that these presenters faced challenges to conducting research on minorities, especially immigrants, and I was able to connect this to my own research with Dr. Carina Katigbak, RN, PhD, on smoking cessation in Chinese immigrants. I conducted a literature review on the barriers to recruitment and retention of Chinese immigrants as research participants, and the presenters at the conference also discussed similar barriers of decreased knowledge on the definition and purpose of research, lack of education, and conflicting commitments.
I was able to discuss the research I have done with Dr. Tam Nguyen on the prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus in Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with other nurse leaders. Besides gaining experience in presenting research, we also received recommendations about journals to which we could submit a related manuscript. The conference and the experience of presenting are helping me shape my thoughts of the research process.
All the students expressed their gratitude to the Price Family Foundation for funding that allowed them to expand their horizons on important issues as they develop into the nurse leaders of the future.