National studies have shown that South Asians in America face difficulties in getting good healthcare. Many South Asians report that language is an issue; they cannot communicate well in English and therefore find it harder to make their health needs understood. Often large percentages of the South Asian population are uninsured. All these factors prevent certain South Asians from seeing a doctor regularly and getting check-ups. Consequently, they are screened less for blood pressure and diabetes, diseases that are easily manageable if properly diagnosed and treated.
Now India Home’s Desi Senior Center is doing something about this problem. We recently had a program to teach volunteers from the community how to properly use and read blood pressure monitors. The DREAM Coalition and NYU in collaboration with India Home has started the first steps of the Keep on Track program. According to Leah of NYU’s Center for the Study of Asian American Health, “This CDC funded federal program is aimed at reducing heart disease in Asian American communities throughout New York City and New Jersey by allowing members of the community to have regular blood pressure screenings. Local volunteers were trained at Star Kebab by the DREAM Coalition and observed by the NYC DOH. ” Twenty-five community volunteers, recruited through India Home, were taught about the risks factors that contribute to heart disease. They were also taught about how to prevent heart disease, and the proper use and reading of blood pressure monitors. The first screening event was held on November 11th at India Home.