Tina Shaw - Office of Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs

iowa department of human rights

December 28, 2018

Commission of Asian & Pacific Islander (CAPI) Affairs


Office of Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs


  • FEATURE: Lip-reading app - Father & Son Story


  • ELDERCARE: New Federal Dental Health Law

  • Naturalization - LSI Citizenship Test Preparation (Des Moines)

  • EMPLOYMENT:  5 Most-Read Business Immigration Stories of 2018

  • Community-Based ESL - LSI (Des Moines)

  • HEALTHCARE: Medicare Part A Conditional Applications


  • HEALTHCARE: 500 Women in Medicine Initiative

  • GLOBAL STUDIES: US-Japan Relations


FEATURE: Lip-Reading App. - A Father & Son Story


Brandon Isobe recently contacted DHR's Office of Deaf Services from his home in Hawaii as part of his quest to help those who are deaf or hard of hearing - like his father, Gerald. Together, this father-son duo developed the MyEar app. which translates voice to text to help those who are deaf or hearing impaired better communicate.

Prior to the app, Gerald Isobe, 66, would lip read because no one in his family knew sign language. The elder Isobe didn’t learn sign language until his first year of college—there were very few resources and opportunities to learn ASL growing up. He now uses the app every day at work, at home and when running errands.

Brandon is hard at work on other apps to help those in the deaf and blind communities.


ELDERCARE:  New Federal Dental Health Law

The Action for Dental Health Act of 2018 (H.R. 2422) was signed into law recently. The new law reauthorizes oral health promotion and disease prevention programs through FY2022 and expands eligibility for US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grants to implement initiatives to improve oral health education and dental disease prevention to more types of organizations. The Act also aims to reduce geographic, language, cultural, and other similar barriers in the provision of dental services; establishes dental homes for children and adults, including the elderly, blind and disabled; reduces the use of emergency departments by individuals who seek dental services more appropriately delivered in a dental primary care setting; and facilitates the provision of dental care to nursing home residents.


EMPLOYMENT:     5 Most-Read Business Immigration Stories of 2018

In the context of employment-related immigration, the overriding theme of 2018 was the change in how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) analyzes and processes applications and petitions for foreign national workers, resulting in significant increases in requests for evidence and denials.

Experts say that new policy changes, in addition to a more-restrictive approach to adjudications, will have a chilling effect on employers hiring foreign talent in 2019. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was also busy in 2018, ramping up work-site enforcement and Form I-9 audits.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management


HEALTHCARE: Medicare Part A Conditional Applications

Social Security Administration (SSA) Clarifies Handling of Medicare Part A Conditional Applications

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wrote a letter to state Medicaid directors entitled, "Ten Opportunities to Better Serve Individuals Dually Eligible for Medicaid and Medicare."

Among the recommendations are several aimed at improving beneficiary experiences, including encouraging states to simplify their eligibility and enrollment processes for Medicare Savings Programs and to execute Part A buy-in agreements. These agreements allow the state to directly enroll eligible individuals into Medicare Part A at any time of year and without late enrollment penalties, and allow beneficiaries to bypass the cumbersome "conditional enrollment" process.

Source: Justice in Aging


HEALTHCARE: 500 Women in Medicine Initiative

For the past 25 years, women have represented greater than 40% of medical school matriculants, but continue to be underrepresented in positions of academic medical leadership. Women account for only 22% of full professors and 16% of deans and department chairs in U.S. medical schools. This suggests that the number of talented women in medicine is not lacking, but rather that promotion and advancement of women in medicine is ineffective.

And, despite the fact that around 20% of medical school graduates have been Asian American, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data, finding Asian Americans as medical school or school of public health Chairs, Deans, or other leaders is a lot more rare. The National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians cited 2009 data that showed "only 3.8 percent of medical school department chairs are Asian American, and no deans of 237 medical schools are Asian American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander."

Source: 500 Women in Medicine Initiative



Counseling for the Elderly and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program Grants

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program, established in 1978, provides tax counseling and return preparation nationwide to people who are 60 or older. Volunteers receive training and technical assistance.

Created in 1969, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program assists under-served communities, such as low- and moderate-income individuals and limited English proficient taxpayers.

Source:  Internal Revenue Service

tce vita find button

NATURALIZATION - Test Preparation

Based in Des Moines, Lutheran Services of Iowa - Refugee Community Services, in a partnership with Justice for Our Neighbors, offers eligible students the opportunity to study for the naturalization exam in a structured, leveled class AND allows them priority access to legal services through LSI's legal partner - Iowa JFON.

Please see the below flyer for upcoming informational meetings...

Details: Classes are 10-weeks long. The next session will run from January 22, 2019 to March 28, 2019. High Beginning class (CASAS 190-200) meets on Tuesday/ Wednesday/ Thursday from 10am-12pm. Intermediate class (CASAS 201-210) meets on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6-8pm. Each student receives their own textbook(s). (CASAS = Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems)

Eligibility: Students need to be a legal permanent resident who has lived in the US for at least 4 years and 9 months and has not left the country for more than 6 months at a time. Students DO NOT have to have come through the refugee resettlement process--LSI is offering these services to all legal permanent residents. LSI also requires a CASAS Reading score between 190-200 (High Beginning class) or 201-210 (Intermediate class)--testing takes place at registration. Students must also pay a $20 enrollment fee.

Source: LSI - Refugee Community Services

Related website: USCIS Citizenship Hub

LSI winter 2019

English Second Language Classes - LSI Des Moines

lsi toplsi cbesl middlelsi cbesl footer



Book:   Amazing Iowa Women

Not too late to pick up a great gift this holiday season: "Amazing Iowa Women" by Katy Swalwell, Ph.D now available at Ray Gun.  Chinese novelist, Hualing Engle; former Iowa DHR API Executive Officer, Henny Ohr, and Mone Aye of EMBARC ; Des Moines Register columnist Reka Basu are among the trail-blazing women featured.


Film:   The year’s 20 best films born from the Asian diaspora

Stories told by the world’s immigrant, refugee, first- and second-generation Asian filmmakers in 2018

Source:  Polygon


Holiday Archives:   Hey Arnold! Holiday Episode - Mr. Hyunh's Christmas

Hey Arnold! - a popular children's animated series in the late 1990's - tackled the plight of separated Vietnamese immigrants in one holiday episode. In this episode, Arnold, a caring youth, helps Mr. Hyunh reunite with the daughter he was forced to give up many years ago so she would have a chance of surviving in the US - far away from the horrors of the Vietnam War. Moving and poignant, it's worth watching.

Source: Hey Arnold!  Nick Animation


U.S.-Japan Foundation Accepting LOIs for Pre-College Education Programs

Since 1980, The United States-Japan Foundation has supported projects that have involved more than 5,000 pre-college teachers in the U.S. and Japan in mutual study and learning on topics related to the U.S.-Japan relationship, including in-depth study of the culture, society, and history of both countries. Through these teachers, as well as through a variety of curriculum materials, Web-based collaborative activities, and partnerships between U.S. and Japanese schools, tens of thousands of young people in both countries have begun to study and understand their mutual connections and the importance of the friendship and partnership that binds their two nations so closely.

Through its Pre-College Education Program, USJF supports programs that take advantage of new technology to bring Japanese and American teachers and students together; build human networks among teachers on both sides of the Pacific with a mutual interest in teaching and learning about Japan, the U.S., and U.S.-Japan relations, particularly in the fields of social studies and Japanese-language instruction; and invest in programs in regions in both countries that have been under-served in terms of exposure to and resources for learning about the other country.

Letters of Intent (LOIs) must be received no later than July 15, 2019. Upon review, selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal by August 31, 2019.

Source: US-Japan Foundation