Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about President Obama’s plan to combat rising college costs, an upcoming Google Hangout about the Health Insurance Marketplace in Korean, the Administration’s work to prepare communities for the impacts of a changing climate, WHIAAPI Commissioner and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dilawar Syed’s immigration story, and more agency announcements.
President Barack Obama, with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, talks with college students, recent graduates and educators at Magnolia’s Deli & Café, as a child plays on the floor, in Rochester, N.Y., Aug. 22, 2013. The President stopped at the restaurant during his college affordability bus tour. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Last week, President Obama traveled to the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York to announce his plan to combat the soaring costs of higher education. The speech, the first stop on a two-day college affordability bus tour, is a part of his broader initiative to secure a better bargain for middle class families. In his remarks, the President Obama laid out three steps to ensure that college remains within reach for all young people: connect financial aid to school performance, support academic innovation and competition, and make college affordable. President Obama said: “At a time when a higher education has never been more important or more expensive, too many students are facing a choice that they should never have to make: Either they say no to college and pay the price for not getting a degree -- and that's a price that lasts a lifetime -- or you do what it takes to go to college, but then you run the risk that you won’t be able to pay it off because you've got so much debt.” Read more about President Obama’s plan to combat rising college costs.
Recently, Health & Human Services Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health Dr. J. Nadine Gracia traveled to Oakland, California, to participate in a town hall about how the Affordable Care Act is improving health and strengthening communities – especially communities of color that have long faced disparities in health and health care. At the event, a woman in the audience read a letter from her daughter, who was unable to attend. She had started college a few years later than most, at the age of 22. During her freshman year, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis - a devastating discovery. But there was one source of relief: thanks to the health care law's provision enabling young people to stay on their parents' health insurance until the age of 26, she was able to stay on her parents' health plan, access the treatment that she needed, and continue her studies. And even though she has since turned 26, the opening of the new Health Insurance Marketplace - and the law's ban on discrimination due to pre-existing conditions - will provide her with new opportunities to secure affordable coverage. The last excerpt that the woman read from her daughter's letter was directed to President Obama. Thank you, she wrote. The health care law had helped to save her life. Read more about the Affordable Care Act’s capacity to change lives and lift communities.
Commonsense comprehensive immigration reform isn’t just something that makes sense to 68 members of the United States Senate or a majority of the American people – it also makes sense to American business. In fact, there is a rich history of employers helping their employees achieve the American dream of citizenship. And our legal immigration system provides avenues for employers to apply for green cards for their employees, which is a critical step toward the path to citizenship for immigrants. One of the first companies to do this was Bethlehem Steel, which supported their immigrant workforce more fully integrating into the United States by offering free English classes back in 1915. Today, there are many more companies who are honoring that legacy by assisting their employees with the citizenship process. That’s because businesses recognize that citizenship is an asset not only for their workers and their families, but for the economy as a whole. This week, the White House released a report highlighting the economic benefits of providing a path to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the U.S. shadow economy. Read more about the support for a path to citizenship from American businesses.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, joined a Google+ Hangout to discuss education in the United States. Secretary Duncan and Khan answered questions submitted via and Twitter. In the hangout, Secretary Duncan reinforced the importance of making higher education more affordable and accessible for American families. “At a time when going to college has never been more important, unfortunately it has never been more expensive,” Duncan said. “And so we have to work together to drive down costs. We have to have much greater transparency and help young people and their families make better choices.” Watch the video of Sec. Duncan’s Google+ Hangout with Sal Khan.
Nearly 1 in 5 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) do not have health insurance. We know that health coverage is important to our families, and now, it will be more accessible than ever through the Affordable Care Act —what some may know as Obamacare, health reform, or the health care law of 2010. You’ve probably heard about the new Health Insurance Marketplace, which will be open on October 1. But you probably still have questions, like what is the Marketplace, and can I really get health insurance? To provide information about the new Health Insurance Marketplace to members of the AAPI community who do not understand, or have difficulty understanding English, the White House Initiative on AAPIs will host a series of online Google+ Hangouts in AAPI languages. The first of these Hangouts will be in Korean. During the Hangout, there will be a live question and answer period with representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They will respond to your questions and provide information on how to obtain health care coverage through the new Marketplace. The Hangout will be on Tuesday, August 27th at 3pm EST. Learn more about WHIAAPI’s Google Hangout in Korean. Watch the English-language or the Korean-language promotional video.
Dilawar Syed, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley-based Yonja Media Group and member of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs shared his immigration story in a blog post, saying in part: “My immigration story is not inherently about family or necessity— it is about the pursuit of opportunity. I was drawn to America’s innovative spirit and the possibility that I could do anything if I worked hard at it. The entrepreneurial spirit that drew me to this country is America’s core strength. And for America to inspire and attract future generations of the world’s finest talent, a fair and efficient immigration system is a must.” Read Mr. Syed’s blog post.
Through provisions of the Affordable Care Act, more Americans will have access to affordable health care coverage. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the law’s benefits will help reduce disparities in both health care and health outcomes through expanded insurance coverage and better access to high-quality health care services. For example, the Affordable Care Act has enabled 121,000 young Asian American and Pacific Islanders ages 19 to 25 to gain health coverage, because they can now stay on their parents' plans until age 26. Also, about 3.8 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with private insurance have gained expanded coverage of free preventive care, such as mammograms, diabetes screenings, and hepatitis A and B vaccines for infants, children, and adults. Lastly, nearly 2 million uninsured Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will have new opportunities for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Read more about how the health care law represents good news for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Every health insurance plan sold in the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace will offer 10 essential health benefits. These essential health benefits include outpatient care, trips to the emergency room, and treatment in the hospital for inpatient care. Read the list of 10 essential health care benefits. When open enrollment starts on October 1, 2013, you’ll be able to apply,compare plans, and enroll in the Marketplace. Coverage starts as soon as January 1, 2014. Don’t wait, create your Marketplace account today!
The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) is requesting information regarding nondiscrimination in health programs and activities until September 30, 2013. If you have faced discrimination in a health programs and activities because of your national origin, sex, disability or age, please consider submitting a comment. HHS is also seeking information about best practices regarding effective language assistance services and compliance approaches. Read more or submit a formal comment at the Federal Register.
Last week, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Jocelyn Samuels wrote on the Department of Justice blog: “Fifty years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. articulated a vision of equality that animates the work of the Department of Justice to the present day. Over the past five decades, there is no doubt that we as a country have made tremendous strides toward realizing the uniquely American promise of equal justice and equal opportunity for all. Yet for all that we have accomplished, much work remains. Next week marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. King’s monumental “I Have a Dream” speech. On this historic occasion, the Civil Rights Division salutes the tremendous sacrifices made by Dr. King and so many others in the face of bigotry and violence. This landmark anniversary offers us another opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to advancing Dr. King’s call for a more perfect union.” Read the full blog post on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
The regions affected by Hurricane Sandy last fall have made great strides in their recovery but there is still more work to do. Today, President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force (Task Force) released a Rebuilding Strategy to serve as a model for communities across the nation facing risks from extreme weather and to continue helping the Sandy-affected region rebuild. The Task Force, which includes Secretary Lew, made 69 policy recommendations that will help homeowners, strengthen small businesses, and revitalize local economies. The Rebuilding Strategy will also help protect families, small businesses and communities across the Sandy-impacted region from the risks posed by sea level rise and more extreme weather events – risks that are made worse by the reality of climate change. Read more about the Treasury Department’s efforts to provide aide to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The National Export Initiative has announced a webinar series for businesses that are looking to expand into the global marketplace. Exporting is a great way to increase your sales and competitiveness, especially since 95 percent of your potential consumers live outside of the United States. If you want to learn more, register for the Go Global Webinar Series. The series provides you the resources necessary to expand into new markets and be a successful exporter. Find participant information on the Go Global Webinar Series webinars.
NIH offers a grant for health promotion among racial and ethnic minority males. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages Exploratory/Developmental (R21) grant applications from applicants that propose to stimulate and expand research in the health of minority men. Specifically, this initiative is intended to: 1) enhance our understanding of the numerous factors (e.g., sociodemographic, community, societal, personal) influencing the health promoting behaviors of racial and ethnic minority males and their subpopulations across the life cycle, and 2) encourage applications focusing on the development and testing of culturally and linguistically appropriate health-promoting interventions designed to reduce health disparities among racially and ethnically diverse males and their subpopulations age 21 and older. The grant expires on September 8, 2013. Read more about the grant opportunity.
The mission of the Biomedical Engineering (BME) program is to provide opportunities to develop novel ideas into discovery-level and transformative projects that integrate engineering and life science principles in solving biomedical problems that serve humanity in the long-term. The Biomedical Engineering (BME) program supports fundamental research in the following BME themes: Neural engineering (brain science, computational neuroscience, brain-computer interface, neurotech, cognitive engineering) Cellular biomechanics (motion, deformation, and forces in biological systems; how mechanical forces alter cell growth, differentiation, movement, signal transduction, transport, cell adhesion, cell cytoskeleton dynamics, cell-cell and cell-ECM interactions; genetically engineered stem cell differentiation with long-term impact in tissue repair and regenerative medicine). The BME projects must be at the interface of engineering and life sciences, and advance both engineering and life sciences. The award ceiling is $600,000. The grant closes on October 29, 2013. Read more about the grant opportunity.
NIDA grant-funded research programs aiming to develop medications for the treatment of Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) are often hindered by a lack of both human and financial resources.Drug development is a lengthy process that requires a wide range of skill sets.Consequently, individual grantees with the necessary expertise in one area of medications development are often unable to advance a project through the next stage because of a lack of real world experience in the development process and/or the financial resources to advance a medication through the development pipeline in an acceptable timeframe. The opportunity closes on September 7, 2016. Read more about the grant opportunity.