Flu Fighter: Lily Shen

Meet Flu Fighter Lily Shen, Chief of Staff and Managing Director of COVID-19 Response of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), the oldest and largest national organization addressing health disparities, social determinants of health, and cultural competency for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. Lily leads a national AANHPI response to COVID-19 and flu outreach and educational efforts in collaboration with CDC and more than 30 community-based organizations.

Lily Shen, Chief of Staff and Managing Director of COVID-19 Response of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

1. Why is fighting flu important to you? In the US, over 24 million AANHPIs live in every state, territory, and U.S.-affiliated jurisdiction, of which approximately 7 million are limited English proficient. It is crucial for us to stay up to date with the latest announcements and guidelines on flu immunizations, to carefully craft clear messaging to the community members we serve. We continue to partner with CDC and community-based organizations to strengthen flu outreach, including connecting AANHPI communities to vaccination providers. We also continue to develop and translate resources in up to 36 Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander languages as well as support community-based organizations with multilingual direct services during flu- and COVID-19-related events.

2. How do you fight flu? In our work, I lead the facilitation of various educational opportunities to reach AANHPI communities, including webinars, infographics, FAQs, and guides. During National Influenza Vaccination Week, we will amplify our network of community partners’ events and resources as well as release our new community-informed resource for the fall and winter respiratory disease season. Our team at APIAHF is proud to collaborate with a diverse group of community-based organizations, community leaders, and community messengers to reach AANHPI communities via direct service, mobile flu clinics, etc.

3. What would you say to people who are hesitant to get a flu vaccine? To increase vaccine confidence for AANHPI individuals, we are increasing education about access to immunization services. To increase the acceptance of vaccines among AANHPIs, we are working to address disparities in AANHPI populations, including encouraging equity in distribution of flu vaccines as well as expanding cultural responsiveness with culturally appropriate and sensitive messages and resources.

4. How are you taking a stance to fight flu? We are continuing to develop and deploy community-based, culturally tailored, and linguistically appropriate messages on flu, COVID-19, and the importance of vaccination. To view APIAHF’s resources on flu season and flu vaccine, visit: https://www.aa-nhpihealthresponse.org/. Our resources are translated into Spanish and 36 Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander languages.