Connie Nguyen-Truong

Connie Nguyen-Truong, an assistant professor at the Washington State University College of Nursing in Vancouver, and community partners Chiao-Yun Hsiao and Victoria Demchak, will be awarded the R. Davilene Carter Presidential Prize for best manuscript from the American Association for Cancer Education at the group’s annual meeting next month. 

Nguyen-Truong’s paper details the need for standardized data collection on race, ethnicity, language, and disability status, and the community organizing effort that helped bring about policy change in Oregon. The paper, “Community organizing to influence policy change for disaggregated data collection,” has been accepted for publication by the peer-reviewed journal Progress in Community Health Partnerships, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

The Institute of Medicine highlighted the need for standardized data collection in 2009. An institute subcommittee noted that simply having race, ethnicity, and language data doesn’t guarantee the data will be used to identify health care needs or take actions to reduce disparities in health care, but “the absence of data… essentially guarantees that none of those actions will occur.”

Nguyen-Truong said the Oregon Health Authority agreed with the IOM, but there was no plan to implement the urgently needed changes in data collection.

The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) took the lead. Nguyen-Truong is a member of that organization and provided evidence from research-led projects on cancer and screening disparities to back up the need for change. APANO mobilized 48 community organizations to support its efforts, resulting in new standards that were signed into law in Oregon in 2013. Nguyen-Truong testified in support of the legislation “to humanize the data,” she said, and she and her partners assessed the community policy engagement process in her manuscript submitted to the American Association for Cancer Education.

“It’s critical to have science to go with policy advocacy,” she said. “It helps provide that political lift when lobbying for necessary change.”

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Chiao-Yun Hsiao
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Victoria Demchak

Nguyen-Truong is primary author of the manuscript. Co-authors are Hsiao, previously a program coordinator with the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization/Asian Family Center and field organizer with APANO in Portland, and Demchak, a community advisor with Communities At-Large in Oregon, and previously policy coordinator with APANO.

Kathleen Heneghan, president of the American Association for Cancer Education, said in notifying the three of the selection of their manuscript, “Congratulations on all of your hard work to accomplish the policy change within the state.”

The association established the R. Davilene Carter Presidential Prize in 1993 in honor of the former president of the organization. Researchers globally can submit applications for consideration of their manuscripts.

–Story by Addy Hatch