Governor Jay Inslee appointed Michael Itti as the executive director of the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs in early April. Itti is a second generation Thai-Chinese American born and raised in Washington.
He will advise the governor, the Legislature, state agencies, and local government on policies, programs, and needs of the Asian Pacific American community.
Itti was the program coordinator for the Asian and Pacific Islander American Voices in Education Initiative at the Win/Win Network. He engaged students, families, and community members across Washington state in education policy-making to support the success of Asian Pacific American students. Prior to joining the Win/Win Network, he worked to promote civic engagement as a staff member for the Legislature and as an education advocate for the League of Education Voters.
Itti serves as a council member for the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority and is a former board member for the Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce. (end)
Bernie (Bernadetee) Creaven says
As you are aware the House Bill 2522 directs the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services to take the first steps to develop a premium assistance program to ensure that citizens from Palau, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia — the nations involved in a U.S. diplomatic pact called the Compact of Free Association — have the same access to health care as U.S. citizens in Oregon. I’m hoping that WA will also pass a similar bill, so that legal immigrants from the Marshall Islands have access to Medicaid and health care.
I’m a community Health nurse, with over 30 years of health care experience. For the past 14 years I have been providing health care to sheltered, homeless families. In the last two years, we have seen an increase in families from the Marshal Islands. Prior to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, the Marshallese and COFA migrants were eligible for Medicaid. Many of the uninsured Marshallese adults I meet, are concerned about costly medical bills. They are often reluctant to seek medical care until they have a medical crisis.
A typical Marshallese family, I care for, who reside in an urban shelter, have a multitude of health issues, including diabetes, latent tuberculosis, poor dental care, marked cavities and obesity. They are a hardworking people; many did not access primary health care in the past because of a lack of health insurance. I have encountered multiple Marshallese families who present with preventable medical conditions, conditions that are costly if left untreated. Due to a host of environmental and sociological factors, the Marshallese have suffered disproportionate rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, latent tuberculosis, obesity, thyroid cancers and cancers related to radiation exposure.
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the Marshallese is among the highest in the world. Rosie, from the Marshal Islands, is an example of a client with un-treated Diabetes. Before we connected her to the local Community Clinic, her blood sugars were so high that she was constantly fatigued, “it was hard to work, I had no energy” she reported. She now takes her “diabetes meds”, her blood sugars are controlled, she eats healthy food, lost weight and exercises with her son daily at the local park. She reports that she has “lots of energy and is looking for a job”.
Today, I met a young Marshallese mom at the shelter, she stated that she “knows of some elders in her community, who have gone blind from untreated diabetes, because they don’t have Medicaid, they are afraid to get medical care because they could not afford medical bills”.
Recently, I met a community leader from the Marshall Islands, he articulated the unfairness of the situation, whereby the United States conducted nuclear testing in his homeland, destroyed the economy, invited his people to live and work in the U.S., but does not allow them the benefits of Medicare and Medicaid. “It’s a little know secret, my people pay taxes and serve in the USA military in very high numbers. Is this fair?” he asked.
It’s time to provide Medicaid to the Marshallese who migrated legally, work and pay taxes and contribute to the economy. This is especially important since they were subjected to untold nuclear testing by the United States from 1946 to 1958.The Marshallese had their health and homeland ruined for the security interests of the U.S. We’re in a critical a critical position to remedy this injustice, the thousands of Marshallese living in Washington state would greatly appreciate access to affordable health care.
I appreciate any assistance you can provide on this matter. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Bernie Creaven, RN MN
Program Manager/Outreach Nurse
Health Care for the Homeless
Carolyn Downs Community Health Center
Phone: (206) 816 5283
Inomoratifn is power and now I’m a !@#$ing dictator.