Source: North Jersey/Montclair Times
Chicken adobo, the national dish of the Philippines, will join kimchi and congee on the menu at Holy Name Medical Center as the Teaneck hospital expands its Asian medical services – now serving Korean and Chinese residents – to include the Filipino population in New Jersey.
At a ceremony Wednesday marking the launch of the Filipino medical program, Kyung Hee Choi, the medical center’s vice president for Asian health services, introduced some of the 20 physicians of Philippine ancestry on staff. The program will focus on medical care as well as community outreach, she said.
Filipinos are the second largest group of Asian-Americans in the United States, with 3.4 million people, including large populations in California and Hawaii. New Jersey, the state with the fifth-highest Filipino population, has more than 100,000 Filipinos, with the biggest concentrations in Hudson and Bergen counties.
While almost all Filipinos speak English as a second language, culturally sensitive medical care also involves “keen understanding of Filipino dietary and health habits,” said Dr. Ray Villongco, an internal medicine specialist with offices in Teaneck and Dumont. The flavorful cuisine relies on soy sauce and fish sauce for seasoning; rice as the main carbohydrate; and frying as the preferred cooking method, he said, and the most common health problems include coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
The program has already held health-screening events at churches in Teaneck and Bergenfield, and plans more, including one this Sunday in Jersey City. “This is just the beginning, said Veronica Lavarro, the program manager.
Besides screening for diabetes, hepatitis B, and body mass, the community events have also offered help signing up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
Arvin Amatorio, a Bergenfield councilman, and Rolando Lavarro, the Jersey City council president, spoke at the opening ceremonies, along with a representative of the Philippine Consulate General in New York. Bergenfield has the largest Filipino population in Bergen County, with nearly 5,000 residents of Philippine ancestry, and Jersey City has the largest Filipino population in the state, with more than 16,000.
Holy Name launched its Korean medical program in 2008, and its Chinese medical program earlier this year. Besides offering some ethnic food selections on the menu, the hospital also includes ethnic cable channels and local ethnic newspapers among its amenities.