May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month, observed annually in the U.S. to highlight the contributions that Americans of Asian and Pacific Island heritage have made to American history, culture, and society. At United Hebrew of New Rochelle, we’re celebrating the contributions of our AAPI staff who have worked tirelessly on the frontlines to keep our residents happy and healthy.
Our AAPI workforce is significant. Over 25 percent of our total skilled nursing facility’s workforce identifies as AAPI. They hail from Korea, China, India, the Philippines, South Asia, and elsewhere, and are represented in our frontline nursing staff as well as leadership. We invited our staff to wear to work clothing traditional to their native countries as a way to honor their heritages and cultures.
“We have an incredibly diverse staff here at United Hebrew, all of whom have interesting and unique backgrounds,” notes Rita Mabli, president/CEO. “That diversity enriches the work and patient experience every single day. We proudly celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and thank and honor our employees for their contributions to our community and culture.”
At our celebration, Beverly Clemente, director of clinical reimbursement, draped a Filipino embroidered neck scarf, or “alampay shawl,” around her shoulders. Jennifer Tan, chief nursing officer, wore a classic Filipino blouse with butterfly sleeves made of pineapple fiber. Kyung Bae, art therapist, wore a traditional Korean dress called “hanbok.” And Matt Deligero, nursing supervisor, donned a Filipino “salakot,” a rice farmer hat worn as protection from the sun.
Deligero said it gave him great pride to share his culture with his fellow co-workers and residents.
“It means a lot to me to see my employer appreciate our work and our cultures. Awareness of our positive contributions is especially important now, when there has been a rise of anti-Asian incidents in America,” he explained.
The representation of AAPI individuals is especially notable in healthcare, according to a new report from The New American Economy which shows the AAPI population is overrepresented in healthcare, given their share in the overall U.S. population. The report found that 8.5 percent of healthcare workers identify as AAPI, as compared to 6.8 percent of the U.S. population. At United Hebrew, the ratio is even higher, Mabli noted.
“Over a quarter of United Hebrew’s nursing home workforce identifies as AAPI,” she says. “They are among the dedicated staff who ensured the health and well-being of our residents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our pleasure to be able to celebrate them as individuals, as employees, and as members of our United Hebrew family.”