For the Houston Health Department (HHD) staffs it is one more year of celebrating with gusto the Asian American and Pacific Islander month. This annual celebration is Houston Health Dept.’s, Cultural and Linguistic Competency (CLC) group’s initiative to encourage staffs to explore Houston’s Asian diversity during the month of May. This year’s celebration titled “The Bold and the Beautiful” was hosted in two segments, with speakers and events on Wednesday May 8; and an incomparable artistic display of fashion hosted by the Houston Health Dept. staffs on Wednesday May 22, 2019. Varsha Vakil, an epidemiologist and a co-leader of the Cultural and Linguistic Competency, devoted months to set these events into motion highlighting the Asian American culture and applauding their commitment to reduce health disparity. Barbara Sudhoff-McGill is the Cultural and Linguistic Competency co-director and oversees the program’s execution at the Houston Health Dept.
The Executive Director of India House, Retired Colonel Vipin Kumar, did an outstanding job of sharing the abundant resources available for free at the renowned India House. Colonel Vipin Kumar successfully conveyed the health benefits with its utilization. Yoga and meditation classes are a big hit among Houstonians and its availability for free grasped the attention of the health-conscious Houston Health Dept. staffs. Computer classes for seniors and Hindi language classes to build linguistic competency was also well-received by the staffs. Colonel Vipin Kumar humbly announced the ease of accessing health care at India House to all irrespective of their race or ethnicity. Identifying avenues to access health care is the first step to diminish the gaps in health disparities. Combating health disparities is a priority to the Houston Health Dept.
The Cultural and Linguistic Competency team comprises of several co-leaders working yearlong to acquaint staffs with the cultural and linguistic diversity in Houston. May is the month of highlighting Asian American and Pacific Islanders, their contribution to the community and to appreciate the roles they assume to make a difference. Vadtal Dham – Houston’s Ina Patel charmed the Houston Health Dept. staffs with a galore of health benefits to the routinely used Indian spices. Ina Patel added the heat of personal zing to describe the benefits offering a realistic approach for those reluctant to use the herbal spice blend common in an Indian kitchen. The May 8th event also included a noteworthy dance performance by the Kalaangan – Odissi School of Dance, spearheaded by the talented Supradipta Dutta. Houston Health Dept. staffs were captured in amazement to a live classical dance performance far beyond their customary world of dance. This celebration was adorned with free Indian cuisine from Maharaja Bhog.
The month-long celebration at the Houston Health Dept. concluded with the excitement of a fashion show that took center stage on Wednesday May 22nd. India’s elegant and exquisite fashion was presented by the Houston Health Dept. staffs by both Indians and non-Indians. Houston Health Dept. staff’s broadmindedness to welcome a diverse ethnic culture, cuisine and fashion without prejudice is noteworthy. The Cultural and Linguistic Competency endeavor is probably making an impact in a slow and subtle manner. The Asian American and Pacific Islander month celebration was a huge success at the Houston Health Dept.