As a volunteer, Dr. Bing Bing Qi (right) offers free education programs to Chinese immigrants in Philadelphia, programs based on her research findings. Her ultimate goal is to improve the health status of Asian-Americans.
Many middle-aged and elderly Chinese women and men who emigrated to the United States at an older age may have had poor childhood nutrition. They may have thin body structures and experience difficulty accessing health care due to lack of finances, education, insurance and English skills. This vulnerable and hard-to-access population has a high risk of osteoporosis and low bone mineral density that can lead to pain, fractures, deformity, disability, costly rehabilitation, poor quality of life and even premature death.
Their plight is of great interest to Dr. Bing Bing Qi, a native of the People’s Republic of China who earned her MSN at the College of Nursing and also her doctoral degree in the United States. She is concerned about this health issue because the traditional lifestyle modifications promoted in many U.S. health education programs are not effective for Chinese immigrants, due to differences in culture, language and existing access barriers. Her study of nutrition as it relates to exercise and osteoporosis in Chinese immigrants is of particular significance, given their high incidence of osteoporosis. These cultural factors have also contributed to researchers and policymakers giving insufficient attention to the problem.
Dr. Qi believes her passion and commitment, along with her scholarly inquiry directed toward the improvement of health care of Asian- and Chinese-Americans, will lead to more culturally sensitive, appropriate health education and interventions, as well as the allocation of needed resources for the health of this population.