November 3, 2015

Volunteers Help Shape APANO’s Vision for a Healthier Oregon

Sandy Tsuneyoshi and Tram Nguyen are two women with stories of how health has impacted their individual lived experiences. They are volunteer leaders of Our Families, Our Health” APANO’s campaign to ensure that all Oregonians, regardless of their income, color of their skin, their gender identity, sexual orientation, and citizenship status have the rights and resources to be healthy. Through their interest in health equity and social justice issues, these women, along with others have become active volunteers in our vision to fight for health access for all. Check out our Campaign for Health Equity and Access and APANO's Fight for Micronesian Health for a deeper look at the communities who are particularly affected.

We asked them why they are passionate about health equity and why they got involved with Our Families, Our Health. APANO’s goal is to achieve equitable healthcare for all, focusing on immigrants, refugees, Pacific Islanders, low-income Oregonians, and LGTBQ individuals. Sign our PLEDGE TODAY to show your support!

If you would like more information on Our Families, Our Health or volunteering, please contact Kathy Wai, Policy Coordinator at kathy@apano.orgSandy Tsuneyoshi, Corvallis, Oregon

I’ve been involved with APANO since the early beginning when the organization was just getting started. I currently serve on its Board of Directors and on the Health Campaign team. My passion and commitment to health equity has been fueled by family’s personal history. My mother was born and raised on a sugar plantation on the island of Hawaii. Her immigrant mother treated and cured plantation workers and their family’s toothaches (as they had no dental care). Her mother, a Japanese national, was not allowed to travel to Honolulu for medical treatment after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. As a result, she died of a rare kidney stone disease. I have my doctorate in Clinical Psychology and taught in higher education. I have worked with and treated veterans, immigrants, refugees and their families who sought a better life and safety leaving poverty, political turmoil, war, and radiation exposure and environmental toxicity caused by U.S. nuclear testing.I know how important it is to advocate for culturally competent services, as well as address exclusions that prevent people from receiving health care. I’m involved as a member of Our Families, Our Health Team to organize with community members and advocate for more equitable policies.

Tram Nguyen, Portland, Oregon
My time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya and Zambia had tremendous impact on my interest for health equity. I saw first hand how gaining access to simple health treatments would make a difference in a person’s life; whether or not a child will get HIV from mother-to-child transmission, or walking the 15-20 km each time to the clinic for anti-retro therapy drugs or malaria medicine and being able to get those drugs for free. I’ve always been interested in health equity because I believe that access to health care should be available to everyone. It’s a basic human right. Only when citizens are healthy can they contribute to society and protect the environment around them. I’ve been involved with APANO since August 2015 since moving recently to Oregon. Our health equity work really focuses on ensuring that all people, regardless of their background, has access to health care. As a volunteer, I am currently helping out with our Town Halls happening in November. Anyone with an interest in social justice and working with the community should join us.