Outreach to California Medicaid Smokers for Asian Language Quitline Services

Anne Saw, Susan L Stewart, Sharon E. Cummins, Neal D. Kohatsu, Elisa Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction: Asian male immigrants have high smoking rates. This article describes outreach approaches in the Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking project to incentivize California Medicaid (Medi-Cal) calls to the California Smokers’ Helpline (Helpline) Asian-language lines. Methods: Outreach efforts adapted Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking materials for the Asian-language lines. Community-based efforts included outreach at ethnic supermarkets and distribution through community networks. Leveraging the Helpline's Asian print media campaign, three press releases promoted Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking with Lunar New Year or community physician messaging. Medi-Cal all-household mailings with tracking codes also included the Asian-language lines. Helpline caller characteristics and trends were examined for project period 2012–2015. Analyses were conducted in 2018. Results: Among 4,306 Asian American Pacific Islander Medi-Cal callers, there were 37% Asian-speaking Asian Americans (9.5% Chinese, 17.2% Vietnamese, and 10.5% Korean); 44% English-speaking Asian Americans; 9% Pacific Islanders; and 10% Asian American Pacific Islander not otherwise specified. Almost 10% of Asian-speaking Asian Americans were activated by the financial incentive and this was similar for all-household mailings, although this was lower than the other groups. Medi-Cal calls to the Asian-language lines increased, from an average of 18 calls/month to 47 calls/month (162% increase) in the first and last 12 project months respectively. Community outreach was limited by timing and sustainability. The 3-month call totals before and after the Asian-language press releases were significantly greater for Asian-speaking calls than for English-speaking calls (Cochran–Mantel–Haenszel p<0.001, OR=1.70, 95% CI=1.45, 1.99). Conclusions: Whereas community outreach is challenging, promising population-based methods for in-language, culturally tailored outreach can include press releases with ethnic media and direct-to-member mailings. Supplement information: This article is part of a supplement entitled Advancing Smoking Cessation in California's Medicaid Population, which is sponsored by the California Department of Public Health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S196-S204
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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