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AdventHealth Medical Group Doctor Brings Awareness to Health Disparities in Asian Americans

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According to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Asian Americans are the only U.S. ethnic population for which cancer is the leading cause of death. Compared to other racial and ethnic groups, Asian Americans have the lowest cancer screening rates and are typically diagnosed at a later stage.

Ming Wu, MD, is a family medicine doctor at AdventHealth Medical Group Primary Care at Littleton and knows these statistics all too well.

“There are many factors contributing to these health disparities, and one of them is something called the ‘Model Minority Myth.’ That is the perception that many Asians have successfully adapted to American life, so they are often considered to be on par with the white population when it comes to many areas, including health care.”

Dr. Wu says the biggest problem with that myth is that it lumps Asians together into one large group, instead of focusing on the individual.

“Asia is a massive continent. Often studies are based on the six largest Asian groups: Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese. But that ignores the diversity and social and economic challenges within the Asian population,” said Dr. Wu.

Asian Americans face many barriers to health care access, such as lack of insurance, language and cultural differences, logistical difficulties, and low awareness of preventive care. These barriers contribute to health disparities and lower utilization of services such as cancer screenings.

“Even if they have health insurance, some Asian Americans are worried about the perceived cost of testing. Many of them will actually travel back to their home country for routine care, and not even take advantage of their insurance because they don’t know what is covered and they may not ask because of cultural and language barriers.”

Dr. Wu has patients who drive out of their way to see him because he is one of the few providers in the metro area who speaks Chinese. It’s one small way he hopes to address the health disparities within the Asian American population.

“My Chinese patients want to see me because I can speak to them in their language,” said Dr. Wu. “I love that I’m able to take care of a population that otherwise wouldn’t be taken care of.”


Ming Wu, MD

Ming Wu, MD, PhD, is a Board-certified family medicine physician in the south Denver area. He specializes in care for diabetes, hypertension, asthma, headaches and joint pain, as well as routine sick care. Dr. Wu speaks English and Chinese. Dr. Wu strives to be inclusive, meeting patients from all walks of life and accepting each one for who they are.

Dr. Wu believes the relationship between the patient and physician is the foundation of medicine and that health is a partnership between both parties. Dr. Wu was called to the medical profession to help improve others’ quality of life and works to provide exceptional whole-person care.

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