Kuwahara serves as National Vice Chair of the American Medical Women’s Association’s Policy and Advocacy Committee. She is a primary care internal medicine physician and health policy fellow with expertise in international cardiovascular disease and currently serves on the Healio Primary Care Peer Perspective Board.
The United States House of Representatives recently passed a bill that aims to address the disproportionate impact of heart disease in the South Asian population.
If signed into law, the South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act of 2022 would support research on heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other heart-related conditions in the South Asian community and additional at-risk populations. It would also allow states to establish awareness initiatives and distribute educational materials to promote prevention.
“I’m really proud that we got 18 Republicans on the bill,” US Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said during a press conference. “This is an issue that affects every single district across the country. It was really great to have such a big bipartisan vote as we go into the Senate.”
According to Jayapal, people in the South Asian community are four times more likely to develop heart disease compared with the general population.
Rita K. Kuwahara
During the press conference, Rita K. Kuwahara, MD, MIH, National Vice Chair of the American Medical Women’s Association’s Policy and Advocacy Committee, said “the lack of research and awareness of early onset heart disease in the South Asian community has resulted in increased poor health outcomes and death, disproportionately affecting those of South Asian descent. ” More research, she added, is needed to develop evidence-based interventions to address the issue.
“We also need to increase clinician and community awareness of high rates of heart disease in the South Asian community and we must update clinical risk calculators, so that we can accurately estimate heart disease risk among those of Asian descent,” said Kuwahara, who is also a primary care internal medicine physician and health policy fellow at Georgetown University and a Healio Primary Care Peer Perspective Board member. “The House passage of the South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act is historic, and we must move this bill forward in the Senate as an issue of health equity.”
HR3771 – South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act of 2022. https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3771/all-info. Accessed July 29, 2022.