Welcome to our blog series, “Meet the AAPCHO Team,” where you’ll have a chance to get to know our staff! Meet Justin Santos, Data Specialist.
What’s your role at AAPCHO?
I am the data specialist for the Pacific Islander Diabetes Prevention Program (PI-DPP) team. I work alongside our Data Evaluator in data collection and correction/maintenance in preparation for submission to the CDC.
What are three Asian American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander health topics that you think people should know about?
As part of the data team at AAPCHO and working hands-on with this data, I have seen how important data collection and (most importantly) the disaggregation of data is to the health of AA and NH/PI communities. Disaggregated data allows us to see hyper-specifically what a certain group of people or community needs for their health, and in turn, can be given that health care and assistance.
Cancer is the leading cause of death among AAs and NH/PIs. As someone with a personal history with cancer, I feel very strongly about cancer awareness and prevention. Providing these communities information on possible cancer risks, cancer screenings, and cancer treatment is essential in decreasing the mortality rate of cancer.
Lastly, mental health has become an important topic in communities all around the world. Specifically in the AA and NH/PI communities, mental health has been a taboo topic. Recently, more people are being more open about their mental health issues, which are allowing communities to talk about mental health more freely. I hope people everywhere will be able to talk about mental issues comfortably and receive any assistance they may need.
How would you describe what community health centers do and why they should support them to someone who may not be familiar with them?
Community health centers are an essential part of a community because they provide quality health care services to people who might not be able to receive such care, regardless of any socioeconomic factors. They focus on the specific community they serve, which allows them to provide care with language and cultural preferences in mind. They offer a comprehensive service, which also includes transportation, health education, and more.
What are you most looking forward to in your new position at AAPCHO?
I’m looking forward to working more with the data team and these different AA and NH/PI communities and learning more about how these CHCs are helping these communities. I’m excited to see the data roll in and show how much these communities are improving in preventing diabetes and bettering their health overall.
What is your favorite or go-to childhood comfort food?
Filipino adobo for sure. My dad makes the best adobo!