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Meng Secures Important Provisions to Improve Health and Wellbeing of AAPI Community

Aug 27, 2019
Press Release
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced today that she secured several important initiatives that aim to improve the health and wellbeing of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). These items include measures that the Congresswoman attached to fiscal year 2020 spending bills that recently passed the House of Representatives. They consist of the following:
  • Providing $65 million for the Office of Minority Health, which works to improve the wellbeing of racial and ethnic minority populations – including AAPIs – through the development of policies and programs that help eliminate health disparities. The funding is $8,330,000 above last year’s enacted level.
  • Providing $71,950,000 for racial and ethnic approaches to community health, an increase of $16 million.
  • Providing $50 million for the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Division of Viral Hepatitis which works to combat viral hepatitis.
  • Calling for an update on the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) research on liver cancer. With up to 60 percent of global liver cancer cases caused by hepatitis B, the provision encourages greater priority for addressing liver cancer, and continued close collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and active participation in the newly-established Trans-NIH Hepatitis B working group.
  • Providing an increase of $11 million for the CDC to develop a plan to boost hepatitis B vaccines in adults. Despite the availability of the vaccine, less than 25 percent of adults aged 19 and older are vaccinated. The provision encourages the CDC to partner in this effort with states, local health departments, and leading hepatitis B organizations.
  • Urging NIDDK to pursue research laid out in “Roadmap for a Cure’’ in which the hepatitis B research community identified the most urgent research questions related to hepatitis B. The provision also calls for NIDDK to work in coordination with other institutes and centers on hepatitis B research planning.
  • Urging the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) director to use the common fund to support research by the Trans-NIH Hepatitis B working group. The group includes NCI, NIAID, NIDDK and the Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) which coordinate their agendas to fund research seeking a cure for hepatitis B and improving liver cancer outcomes. The NIH common fund seeks to support research between two or more NIH entities.
  • Directing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit a report to Congress regarding its collection of mental health data on AAPI veterans. The report, which must be submitted to Congress within 90 days of the provision’s enactment, seeks to improve and increase the amount of data specific to veterans of AAPI descent. Presently, there is little data available on this issue.
“I am proud that several of that my provisions to improve the health and wellbeing of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community were attached to these important spending bills,” said Meng. “It is critical that we continue to address these health-related issues and ensure that necessary resources are allocated. I’m especially pleased that my measures to combat hepatitis were included. Hepatitis B disproportionately affects AAPIs who account for more than half of the cases in the United States despite making up only six percent of the population. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Hepatitis Caucus, I am committed to raising awareness of this deadly virus and supporting efforts to find a cure. I look forward to obtaining even more items to benefit the health of the AAPI community in future appropriations bills.”
Meng’s provisions were included the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill and the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.