May 23, 2017

Identifying and intervening on barriers to healthcare access among members of a small Korean community in the southern USA.

By Miguel Valdez Soto



We used community-based participatory research (CBPR) to explore barriers to healthcare access and utilization and identify potentially effective intervention strategies to increase access among members of the Korean community in North Carolina (NC).


Our CBPR partnership conducted 8 focus groups with 63 adult Korean immigrants in northwest NC and 15 individual in-depth interviews and conducted an empowerment-based community forum.


We identified 20 themes that we organized into four domains, including practical barriers to health care, negative perceptions about care, contingencies for care, and provider misconceptions about local needs. Forum attendees identified four strategies to improve Korean community health.


Despite the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), many Korean community members will continue to remain uninsured, and among those who obtain insurance, many barriers will remain. It is imperative to ensure the health of this highly neglected and vulnerable community.


Potential strategies include the development of (1) low-literacy materials to educate members of the Korean community about how to access healthcare services, (2) lay health advisor programs to support navigation of service access and utilization, (3) church-based programming, and (4) provider education to reduce misconceptions about Korean community needs. Learn more

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