Primary health-care delivery gaps among medically underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander populations

Public Health Rep. Nov-Dec 2009;124(6):831-40. doi: 10.1177/003335490912400611.


Objectives: Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) historically have faced multiple social and racial/ethnic health disparities in the United States. We gathered national-level health-care data on AAPIs and examined medically underserved health service areas for them.

Methods: We used 2000 U.S. Census data and the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) 2004 dataset for primary care physician full-time equivalents per 1000 population, as well as AAPI population, AAPI poverty, and AAPI limited English proficiency, to develop an index of medically underserved AAPI counties (MUACs). The index identifies U.S. counties that do not adequately serve AAPIs.

Results: We identified 266 counties of medically underserved health service areas for AAPIs across the nation, representing 12% of all U.S. counties. One hundred thirty-eight (52%) MUACs were not designated as BPHC medically underserved counties. Of these counties, 20 (14%) had an AAPI population of at least 10,000, and 29 (21%) had an AAPI population of at least 5000.

Conclusion: This project complements federal efforts to identify medically underserved health service areas and identifies U.S. counties that need new or expanded health services for medically underserved AAPIs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Local Government
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Oceanic Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians, Family / supply & distribution
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data
  • Primary Health Care*
  • United States