News Release

April 11, 2006

Contact: Patrick S. Keefe, 860-679-2447

Webcast Examines Cambodian-American Health Emergency

UConn Health Center Hosts National Townhall April 17

A national videoconference and webcast townhall meeting to address the Cambodian-American health emergency will be held April 17, from noon to 5 p.m. at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Henry B.C. Low Learning Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington.

The National Cambodian American Health Initiative (NCAHI) is a nationwide collaboration of community based organizations and individuals committed to addressing the health disparities faced by Cambodian Americans. NCAHI believes that recent health studies have shown that Cambodian Americans continue to face the ongoing degenerative effects of genocide even after three decades of refugee resettlement in the United States. Cambodians are dying disproportionately from complications associated with diabetes, heart disease, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Cambodians are among the largest groups of survivors ever admitted into the United States. Over 147,000 arrived as refugees in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and continued to be resettled throughout the 1980’s. Nearly all suffered extreme starvation and faced torture and trauma under the genocidal Khmer Rouge creating health problems that continue to this day. The upcoming trial of the Khmer Rouge is scheduled to begin in early 2007. This historic event will be the first attempt at seeking justice for the crimes against humanity committed by the Khmer Rouge. Trials of perpetrators of torture and genocide are generally associated with increased levels of PTSD that will have a great impact on the health and mental health of Cambodian Americans.

April 17th marks the Cambodian New Year as well as the infamous day when the Khmer Rouge came to power. The day will be a forum for Cambodian community members, community leaders and health experts to discuss the health emergency faced by Cambodians. Information gathered from this meeting will be used in developing a national strategic plan to address the health issues.

Organizations participating by videoconferencing are the Cambodian Association of America in Long Beach, CA; Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization in Portland, OR; a coalition of organizations from Lowell Massachusetts that include the Lowell Community Health Center- Metta Health Center and the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Lowell; Khmer Health Advocates in West Hartford, CT; and the Cambodian Association of Illinois in Chicago, IL. At this writing, arrangements are being made for other organizations to join the meeting via web casting. For web casting information, please contact Mary Scully at 860-561-3345 or email to

The Connecticut meeting site is organized by Khmer Health Advocates and the University of Connecticut Health Center, Community Based Education Program. For additional information, please contact Heang Tan at 860-833-1332.

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