At A Glance
All of Orange County, California’s nearly 206,000 Vietnamese residents now have increased access to free preventive and chronic care services. In August 2015, Boat People-SOS of Orange County, California (BPSOS-CA) launched the Clinical Community Linkage (CCL) referral network to provide Vietnamese residents a better way to manage chronic conditions. The network—made up of eight nonprofits and two primary care providers (PCPs)—linked 1,027 patients to health services for managing chronic diseases and smoking cessation.
Public Health Challenge
Vietnamese men in California had the highest prevalence of smoking compared to whites and most other Asian Americans according to a 2005 analysis of California Health Interview Survey data. About 60% of deaths among California Vietnamese men and women are caused by cancer, heart disease, and stroke, according to 2005–2010 death records. Research also shows that death by cancer is rising among Vietnamese American men. However, many speak limited English, and it may be considered culturally taboo to publicly acknowledge chronic illness. These barriers may contribute to a low health literacy rate, which could make it harder for many in the Vietnamese community to access and navigate services designed to help them better manage and prevent health problems. Consequently, chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and mental health issues like depression may go undiscussed and undetected.
BPSOS-CA worked with eight nonprofits and two PCPs to form the CCL referral network. The formation of the network allows the PCPs to pool the resources of the nonprofits to provide free services to a largely Vietnamese population, increasing efficiency of services while being sensitive to linguistic and cultural needs. BPSOS-CA created an educational campaign for Vietnamese residents with limited English to promote health services, improve understanding of basic health information, and connect them with the care they need. Examples of services provided include tobacco cessation, cancer screening, high blood pressure screening, nutrition counseling, and stroke prevention.