Top Health Concerns for San Jose’s Vietnamese Community

More than 130,000 Vietnamese have relocated to Santa Clara County since the end of the Vietnam War.

Over 130,000 Vietnamese people relocated to Santa Clara County since the end of the Vietnam War. (Photo: Monica M. DaveyAFP/Getty Images)

The first wave of Vietnamese refugees came to the San Jose area in the 1980s, after the fall of Saigon. Now San Jose has the largest Vietnamese population of any city in the country. Santa Clara County is also second largest of any county in the U.S., after Orange County.

Today, Santa Clara released its first-ever Vietnamese health assessment to get a better understanding of this growing population’s health needs.

Health Officer Martin Fenstersheib says Santa Clara County didn’t have a good understanding of what the health needs of its Vietnamese community were prior to this report.

“We had a great interest in doing this because we tend to lump all of our statistics together, especially in the Asian, Pacific Island community. So things are reported that way also.”

Vietnamese adults have the highest mortality rates for liver cancer, more than four times higher than other county residents.

Three top health concerns are highlighted in the report: access to health care and health insurance, stigma related to getting mental health services, and cancer — particularly liver cancer related to Hepatitis B. Fenstersheib says the report recommends creating a task force to focus on reducing these health disparities.

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