Let me tell you a little bit about my community: a close knit, South Indian community in Pittsburgh. My story starts with four year old me and my immigrant parents moving to Pittsburgh during the early 2000s tech boom. Similar to other immigrant families, we came here in search of a better life. Though I left the Steel City after college, my parents stayed there for the better part of 20 years. Why? Because of the strength and love of the community. These are the people with whom we celebrate Pongal, Diwali, and Navarathri. These are also the people we called upon when times were particularly tough. Like others across the country, I see my community as my pillar of strength.
Although this was my personal community experience it does not necessarily mean that this South Indian experience is generalizable to all members of the AAHNPI Community. For example, as a South Asian American, my history carries privileges that my counterparts in the AAHNPI community may not. I believe that there lies the tragic flaw in our understanding and collection of race and ethnicity data – we carry the false assumption that folks from the same continent have the same experiences. Grouping us in a large category of AAHNPI overlooks not only the diversity of our experiences, but also the barriers faced by some and not others. This leads to assumptions about who is overrepresented and who is underrepresented; it allows for worsening representation and deepened inequities by creating heterogeneous groups that are too large and imprecise to really address underrepresented and minority communities. As health care professionals and social mission advocates, it is imperative that we consider this in our efforts to advance health equity.
This newsletter captures how we, as members of the Social Mission Alliance, are taking steps to celebrate the nuances of our diverse health workforce.