Sixth National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations: Main Conference Concurrent Workshops Hmong Healthcare Professionals Coalition - Building Bridges between Western Providers and the Hmong Community

E-2 Collaboration between physicians, communities, and health care organizations: Improving Asian health

Hmong Healthcare Professionals Coalition - Building Bridges between Western Providers and the Hmong Community
Wednesday, September 24, 2008: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM, Minn Marriott, 4th Floor - Deer Lake
This presentation will describe the work of the Hmong Healthcare Professionals Coalition (HHCPC), a collaborative partnership invested in improving the health and well-being of the Hmong community by providing education, advocacy, and supporting health research.

Our Innovative Approach: HHCPC is a group of doctors, health educators, nurses, health interpreters, social workers, program directors, and coordinators who come together to address health issues in the Hmong community. As the Hmong community began interacting with mainstream health systems and mutual learning developed, the Coalition revised its goals to reflect an evolving and maturing Hmong-American Community. Today, HHCPC has increased its network of resources to provide many opportunities for Hmong and Western healthcare professionals. Successes: 1) Since 1995, the HHCPC has held a Health Fair at the annual Hmong Soccer Tournament in Minnesota. The event reaches about 2,000 to 4,000 Hmong individuals with health prevention and maintenance messages and offers limited screening such as blood pressure and blood glucose. 2) HHCPC conducted numerous surveys addressing issues such as depression, hypertension, diabetes, smoking status, health insurance status, and kidney stones. HHCPC also helps promote preferred distribution channels for disseminating health messages. These surveys ensure that the work of HHCPC reflects the needs of the Hmong community. 3) HHCPC members serve as guest speakers for Hmong radio shows "Health Talk" through Kev Koom Siab TV Show (KKS) and Hmong Radio Health Talk. KKS TV and Hmong radio are great mediums in health awareness and education reaching thousands of Hmong individuals in Minnesota and nationwide. 4) HHCPC is closely involved in the planning of the Hmong Resource Fair, which provides opportunities for Hmong families to learn about health, employment and social services available in Minnesota. This annual event creates an opportunity for Western healthcare providers to meet and initiate relationships with the Hmong community.

Ongoing challenges for the HHCPC include: 1) The wide spectrum of skill sets in the Hmong community when accessing and understanding Western health care, 2) Consistent support from the mainstream healthcare community, and 3) Data specific to Minnesota Hmong. HHCPC continues to develop strategies to educate both professionals and the communities on culturally appropriate practices and health education.

Practical advice from HHCPC on developing and maintaining a successful model includes 1) Build trust between the Hmong community and Western health care system, 2) Promote cultural awareness by sharing information on health beliefs and practices of the Hmong to Western healthcare providers, 3) Educate the Hmong community about Western healthcare practices and health concerns to prevent chronic diseases 4) Advocate for access to quality healthcare services, 5) Build a network of support within and for Hmong health professionals. 6) Work towards improving Hmong medical terminology and appropriate translation. 7) Serve as a health resource and health educators to both the Hmong and Western communities. 8) Be involved in community-based health research with the Hmong Community.

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  • Presentation Information:

    Program: Main Conference Concurrent Workshops
    Primary Category: Culturally Competent Care
    Subtopics: Community health education, Patient education, Social services, Mental health services, Clinical interactions, Disease specific focus, Access in underserved communities, eg, rural, urban, Disparity reduction

    Region Addressed by Presentation: Asia
    Organization: Non-Profit Organization/Association
    Population/Demographic: Hmong community & Western providers
    Keywords: Hmong, Community, Healthcare, Barriers, Education


    Mao Thao, LPN, BA , Ramsey County Department of Public Health, Saint Paul, MN
      Hmong Health Coordinator
      Ramsey County Department of Public Health
      50 W. Kellogg Blvd.
      Saint Paul MN, USA 55102

      Phone: 651-266-2462
      Fax: 651-266-2593
      Email Address:

      Biographical Sketch:
      Mao Thao is the Hmong Health Coordinator for Minnesota’s Ramsey County Public Health Department. She holds a BA in Public Health Education and Administration from Metropolitan State University. Mao, who is also a nurse, collaborates with local health and social service agencies working in the Hmong community. In 2003, Mao traveled with St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly’s delegation to Thailand to prepare for the Hmong refugees coming to Minnesota from the Wat Tham Krabok. Mao founded the Hmong HealthCare Professionals Coalition in 1995. In 1993, Mao was hired as a coordinator assistant for the Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome Project and worked in Phana Nickhom Refugee Camp in Thailand with the IOM. Mao was the first Hmong refugee to return to Ban Vinai in Thailand in 1982. Mao is also a recipient of the Bush Foundation’s Leadership award.