UCLA School of Public Health Field Studies Program

Community Health Sciences

Field Placement: Thai Community Development Center
Hollywood, CA
Chancee Martorell
Student Name: Kimberly Yee
Year: 2005

Thai Community Development Center (Thai CDC) is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to helping low income Thai immigrants. It is located in Hollywood, just west of Thai town. Previously, Thai CDC focused on social services, providing Thai immigrants with help in housing, legal affairs, and employment. However, as of October 2004, Thai CDC reorganized and made economic development its new focus. With the restructuring, old and new programs were directed towards improving the social and economic well-being of low and moderate income Thais. One program Chancee Martorell, Executive Director and Founder of Thai CDC, envisioned was a Healthcare Career Ladder Program tailored to Thai immigrants. The goal of the program was to help Thais navigate through training program prerequisites, job training programs, volunteer opportunites, immigration issues, and job placement. During the summer of 2005, I researched general healthcare career ladder programs and healthcare training programs. We also realized we needed to conduct a needs assesment to accurately gauge the interest of the Thai community. I developed an ad to be placed in several Thai newspapers along with an interest form to be completed over the phone or in person by a Thai CDC staff member. I also spent time identifying funding sources for this program, as money would be needed to hire a full-time Thai-speaking staff member and possibly provide scholarships for those interested.

The second project I worked on from mid-August to the end of September was the development of a Thai Health Network (THN). The THN is a collaborative of several Thai and Asian American health workers and organizations dedicated to improving the health and access of Thais in America. Recently seed money was granted with the purpose of formalizing the THN and eventually turning it into a 501 (c)(3) organization. I worked with Koy Parada, a UCLA CHS PhD candidate. I created a survey for individuals and organizations associated with the THN that would help us in determining the direction the THN should take. I also worked on the THN’s Hepatitis B Screening events. Hepatitis B is a significant problem in the Thai community. While only 0.1% of caucasians are chronic hepatitis B carriers, 10% of Asian Pacific Islanders are carriers. The greatest health disparity between Asian Americans and white Americans is liver cancer, of which 80% is caused by chronic Hepatitis B infection. With such a high prevalence in the API community, especially amongst Southeast Asians, the THN holds regular hepatitis B screenings to increase awareness in the Thai community. Screenings are held during major Thai holidays at local Thai temples and throughout the year at various locations. I created a database of all the patients that have been screened. The database will be used in the future to help refer patients to appropriate health organizations and caregivers in the THN. I also helped revise and send out letters to patients telling them their lab results and giving them recommendations based on their results. In addition, I researched how to start a nonprofit, where to get discounted lab work, and where to get donated or discounted medical equipment. Finally, I was able to participate in AANCART’s (Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research, and Training) Grantwriting workshop. This workshop provided valuable information that I know will be useful in all areas of public health.


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