March 23, 2015

APANO Member Spotlight: Jean Yamamoto on Health Equity

The Health Equity and Reform Team (HEART) workgroup was formed several years ago in response to the need to address issues identified by our community. We know that our experiences with the health delivery system are uneven and certain APIs face great disparities in health and wellness as a result of lack of access to quality, affordable healthcare and appropriate care that honors cultural values. What’s encouraging is that we can do something about righting these wrongs now. And there’s a place at the table for all to bring your skills, talents, and interest to be a part of the change.

I joined HEART because I’ve always been interested in health matters even though I was not a healthcare professional or had any formal schooling in public health. As my father used to say, “If you have good health you have everything”; It was a key piece to happiness and prosperity and I’ve been very lucky to have full and continuous health insurance coverage. Over the years I’ve worked on the edges of health in government program reimbursement and hospital finance and finally at a union where health coverage was a priority for members. My eyes were opened to so many who weren’t so lucky which made me question why must we have to rely on luck for such a basic need.

I extend a warm welcome to all who are interested in learning more about HEART and what you can do to make a difference for APIs in Oregon. The annual Community Health Forum is coming up on April 4 - Please come and share the day with us. I look forward to meeting you!

Join us on Saturday, April 4th for the APANO Community Health Forum! Register here to join us for a day of discussion and strategizing on health equity policy advocacy, reproductive justice, and community building. APANO members and students can register at a discount price. Contact Luann Algoso at for more information. We will not turn anyone away for lack of funds.