January 4, 2019
For a country as diverse as the U.S. – culturally, linguistically, and economically – it’s essential that our social systems reflect this diversity to better serve our growing population. Unfortunately, many of our social systems follow a one-size-fits-all model which jeopardizes the nuance necessary for communities to thrive.
Our healthcare system is one such social system that historically has not taken into account the diversity of those living in the U.S. As such, it often fails to capture the information needed to create sustainable solutions to unique challenges, enact effective healthcare policies, prioritize culturally competent approaches, and provide tailored care to all.
At the Arab-American Family Support Center, we specialize in serving Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities and witness this gap in our healthcare system daily. AMEMSA populations are increasingly marginalized, hard to reach, and highly vulnerable due to the tremendous cultural, legal, and language barriers which make it difficult for families to access suitable healthcare services and to collect information that reflects their unique needs. AAFSC was founded to provide culturally and linguistically, trauma-informed care to immigrants, refugees, and the otherwise marginalized. We advocate for the community, facilitating the entry of newcomers and their children into the American social fabric and helping to break down barriers of language, discrimination, and cultural differences. One of the many ways we promote equity is by increasing access to community healthcare. We enroll over 1,200 individuals in free or low cost health insurance yearly, provide medical referrals, help families navigate the healthcare system, and offer regular workshops on preventive care, women’s health, diabetes, smoking cessation, and more.
Thanks to the All of Us Research Program and committed allies, we believe the gap in our healthcare system can be a thing of the past. Through precision medicine, the program seeks to learn more about what makes people unique so that we can take a major step toward creating a more customized healthcare system. Precision medicine takes into account the differences in the environment, our lifestyles, and biology to provide individual-centered care so that each person knows how best to stay healthy based on their background. It will not only help patients receive custom care, but it will also help researchers conduct more complete analyses to ensure providers understand the challenges their patients face. This equates to higher quality of care.
The All of Us Research Program has an ambitious goal – bringing together 1 million people that reflect the diversity of our communities to volunteer their health data over the span of 10 years. This is an amazing opportunity to improve our healthcare system for future generations, learn about your own health, and be a champion for communities who have been excluded from medical research.
To learn more about how to join this crucial movement, as well as how your data will be used and kept safe, please visit https://www.joinallofus.org/together and sign up to be a participant today! Your help will ensure that nobody is barred from receiving the quality healthcare we all deserve to live, work, and thrive in our community.