CBPR Institute 2013

Home » Healthy Living: Chinese Lay Health Worker Outreach Project

Healthy Living: Chinese Lay Health Worker Outreach Project



Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening saves lives but CRC screening rates remain low among Chinese Americans, the most populous Asian American group. Little is known about how to conduct effective and culturally appropriate community-based health promotion in this ethnic group. Lay Health Worker Outreach (LHWO) is an effective modality to promote some healthy behaviors in some communities, but much remains unknown about this approach and no prior work has been done with Chinese Americans. Using CBPR, this research team is currently conducting a group randomized controlled trial to study the effectiveness of lay health workers (LHW) to promote CRC screening among Chinese Americans in San Francisco, California with a pilot component to evaluate the role of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) healers as health educators. The project also will explore ways through which LHWO can be disseminated and community capacity can be sustained. The findings of this project will greatly expand understanding about effective and culturally appropriate cancer health promotion among ethnic minority communities.


Adam Burke

San Francisco State University

Janice Tsoh, PhD

University of California, San Francisco

Gem Le, PhD

University of California, San Francisco

Tung Nguyen, MD

University of California, San Francisco

Ching Wong, BA

University of California, San Francisco

Kent Woo

NICOS Chinese Health Coalition

Elaine Chow

NICOS Chinese Health Coalition

Lei-Chun Fung, MPH

San Francisco Department of Public Health


Adam Burke, PhD, MPH, Lac, is a Professor of Health Education and Director of the Institute for Holistic Health Studies at San Francisco State University. Dr. Burke is a former chair of the California Acupuncture Board (State of California, Department of Consumer Affairs), and an Advisory Council member of the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). His CBPR related research has focused on the traditional medicine community and its evolving role in mainstream healthcare.

Janice Tsoh, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Her current research, being funded by National Institute on Drug Abuse, the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), and the American Cancer Society (ACS), targets tobacco use and cancer prevention in Asian Americans in community and clinical settings. As Research Director of the Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project at UCSF, she has participated in a variety of community-based participatory research intervention studies focusing on health promotion in Asian Americans.

Gem M. Le, PhD, MHS, is the UCSF Project Manager who coordinates the overall management of the Chinese LHW Project. She received her doctoral degree in Epidemiology from UC Berkeley School of Public Health and her masters degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Dr. Le has worked with the UCSF Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project for more than 6 years. Concurrently, she is also a Research Scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California and Consulting Assistant Professor in Department of Health Research & Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine, where she conducts studies aimed at addressing cancer disparities in diverse populations. Dr. Le is a social epidemiologist whose work centers on the role of the social environment in cancer health disparities and translation of these findings into solutions for improving community health. Her primary area of research is focused on identifying the role of social networks and support in influencing cancer-related health behaviors and outcomes in multiethnic populations.

Tung Nguyen, MD, is Professor of Medicine at UCSF, where he is the Director of the Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project, a community-academic research unit working on Asian health issues since 1986. Dr. Nguyen is Program Co-Leader of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center’s  Cancer Control Program and Director of the Asian American Research Center on Health (ARCH).  Dr. Nguyen’s research focuses on addressing health disparities using community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods.  His prior work included CBPR projects to increase breast and cervical cancer screening among Vietnamese American women, colorectal cancer screening among Vietnamese and Latino patients, breast and cervical cancer screening among African American, Chinese, Latina, Filipina, and non-Latina white women, and studies on tobacco use among Vietnamese Americans and participation in cancer research among Asian American women. Dr. Nguyen is a Principal Investigator of the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research, and Training (AANCART), a National Center funded by the NCI to address cancer disparities through research, community involvement, and capacity building since 2000.  His current projects include controlled trials of lay health worker outreach for colorectal cancer screening among 5 different Asian American populations and novel ways to address smoking cessation among Asian Americans. Dr. Nguyen is currently a Commissioner on President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Ching Wong is the Executive Director of the Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project for 22 years. He is tricultural, trilingual in Vietnamese, Chinese and English; he has been involved in a wide range of health topics studies serving as the Project’s Media Director/ Materials Developer and Health Educator for most research projects.

Kent J. Woo, MSW, has served the Asian American community for more than 25 years, the last 17 as the executive director of NICOS Chinese Health Coalition, a San Francisco-based public-private-community partnership of more than 30 health and human service organizations. A recipient of a Blue Cross of California Community Service Award (2003), Kent is a co-founder, first co-chair and steering committee member of the San Francisco A&PI Health Parity Coalition; a co-founder of the API Problem Gambling Task Force; a co-founder of the Asian and Pacific Islander Bay Area Health Council; a member of the Asian American Research Center on Health; a member of the Chinese Community Health Care Association Advisory Board; and a member of the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Program/ Office of Problem Gambling’s Advisory Committee.  A native San Franciscan, he has served in several mayoral-appointed roles, including as a member of the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Families’ Citizens Advisory Committee and the San Francisco Census 2010 Complete Count Committee.  He is formerly a Steering Committee member of the Building a Healthier San Francisco Collaborative and formerly a member of the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco.  His publications include a chapter in the Praeger Handbook of Asian American Health (2009).

Elaine Chow is the NICOS Project Coordinator with several years of experience working in non-profit organizations. As a bilingual and bicultural team member, Ms. Chow coordinates the day-to-day management of lay health workers and is responsible for recruiting, training, and retaining lay health workers in the current project.

Lei-Chung Fung, MPH, is a health educator working at the Chinatown Public Health Center in San Francisco Chinatown, where she is responsible for planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating health education programs for the Chinese speaking population. Since 1987, she has developed many innovative health education programs and Chinese language cancer support groups and services for the Chinese speaking community. Ms. Fung serves as a Consultant for NICOS to lead the development and implementation of the LHW Training Program for this project.

Presentation Video

Presentation Materials

Chinese LHW SFSU 20130624


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