Honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Recently, Dana-Farber’s Vice President and Chief Inclusion, Diversity & Equity officer, Ian Matthew-Clayton, and the co-chairs of Dana-Farber’s employee resource group, Mosaic, sent a letter to employees recognizing Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Mosaic celebrates and contributes to the cultural and racial diversity of the Dana-Farber community. Their message celebrates and reflects on the contributions of the AAPI community and recognizes how much further we must go to ensure true inclusivity and equity.

May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. During this time, we celebrate the diverse histories, cultures, and experiences of Americans hailing from across the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. AAPI Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize and learn more about the contributions and influence of the AAPI community woven throughout U.S. history. 

This month is also dedicated to acknowledging the history of discrimination and racism against AAPI communities in the U.S., from the past to present day. At Dana-Farber, we strive to ensure all people can reach their full potential and no one is disadvantaged because of who they are. Discrimination, in any form, is never acceptable. Each of us is responsible for creating an environment where every patient, family member, caregiver, and faculty, and staff member feels valued and respected. 

As the Institute works toward its vision of a world free from the fear and burden of cancer and related diseases, we maintain our focus on reducing the impact of cancer on communities that have been historically marginalized and experience barriers to care. Dana-Farber’s 2022 Cancer-Focused Community Health Needs Assessment revealed that Boston’s Asian residents have the lowest incidence of overall cancers. However, the AAPI community has significantly higher rates of liver cancer mortality compared to white residents. 

In response to this data, Dana-Farber continues to provide tailored, culturally relevant education and culturally competent care while also working with community partners to increase access to our evidence-based programs. Over the past year, bilingual Community Outreach SpecialistJenny Lee has developed relationships with partners supporting the Asian community in Greater Boston. By continuously presenting to the Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking communities, participating in traditional celebrations, and attending health fairs with bilingual materials, Jenny continues to focus on education and genuine engagement to ensure effective communication and access to care. If you are a provider interested in participating in community outreach events, please contact Community Health.  

Throughout the month of May, we invite you to celebrate and reflect on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As we recognize the myriad histories and cultures in our community, we must also continue to consider the active role we play in making it an inclusive one. Thank you for your commitment to our mission and our Dana-Farber family. 

Learn more about Dana-Farber’s Cancer Care Equity Program (CCEP), which aims to reduce cancer disparities in marginalized communities. Donations to The Dana-Farber Campaign, our ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer, help support this program and others, by funding the Institute’s strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise. As a community, we have the power to create a more hopeful, cancer-free future—in Boston and around the world. Together, we can defy cancer at every turn. Learn more about The Dana-Farber Campaign and how you can get involved at DefyCancer.org.