LANtern® (Lupus Asian Network)

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History of LANtern

In 1999, Suzy Kim, LCSW, ACSW, then a student intern in the Social Work Programs Department in HSS, conducted a study to determine the need for a culturally specific program for Asian American patients with lupus. The report concluded that a peer-based health education program about lupus would benefit the Asian American community, which often faces barriers to accessing and utilizing information to cope with lupus effectively. LANtern was founded to connect Asian Americans living with lupus and their families to others who could understand, through personal experience, the impact of the illness on daily life and its cultural implications. 

In 2003, LANtern was officially launched and conducted its first Peer Health Educator Training Program under the leadership of its founder, Karen Ng, MPH. The Peer Health Educator Training Program was established to teach individuals with lupus how to most effectively provide support and education to Asian American patients and their families. That year, the national LANtern Support Line went live.

Today it continues to bring support to individuals with lupus and their families under the leadership of Program Manager My-Lan Tran, LCSW. LANtern recognizes the importance of educating communities to dispel misconceptions about lupus and provide an optimal support network. The name of the program in Chinese means “lupus’ guiding light.” The lantern symbol connotes hope and light to people living with lupus and to their families.

Timeline:

2001:

  • Asian American outreach initiative is introduced to rheumatologists (in conjunction with the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation)
  • First Advisory Board meeting convenes in December under the name A.B.L.E. (Asians for the Betterment of Lupus Education)
  • First project completed: “Lupus Health Provider Directory for Asian Americans in Greater New York”
  • First professional conference presentation at the American College of Rheumatology/ Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals Annual Scientific Meeting. Presentation entitled, “A needs assessment to identify psychoeducational concerns of Asian Americans with lupus: Can a peer volunteer program work?”

2002:

  • Grant funding from Rheuminations, Inc., makes A.B.L.E. possible

2003

  • Program name is officially changed to LANtern® (Lupus Asian Network)
  • LANtern releases award-winning booklet “What Chinese Americans and Their Families Should Know About Lupus”
  • First LANtern Peer Health Educators training is conducted
  • LANtern Support Line goes live!
  • Outreach to national Asian American health organizations takes place in California
  • First “Meet & Greet” among participants, peer counselors, and advisory board members of LANtern and its sister lupus support programs (Charla de Lupus and LupusLine) is held in Chinatown to help create a sense of community

2005:

  • Second LANtern Peer Health Educators training is conducted

2006:

  • LANtern brochures “Lupus: Myths & Facts” and “Talking About Lupus” are developed and printed for wide distribution
  • LANtern conducts on-site presence at Bellevue Medical Center Lupus Clinic
  • Second “Meet & Greet” held in Chinatown

2007:

  • Filipino American Human Services, Inc., (FAHSI) Benefit Performance features a play about lupus and dedicates it to LANtern

2008:

  • Third LANtern Peer Health Educators training takes place
  • Third “Meet & Greet” held at HSS

2009:

  • LANtern, along with HSS lupus support programs Charla de Lupus and LupusLine, participates as a community partner in the Office of Women’s Health’s National Lupus Awareness Campaign. At the campaign launch in March, founder Karen Ng shares her personal journey with lupus, promoting lupus awareness among Asian Americans

2010:

  • LANtern conducts its first two radio broadcasts on a Chinese radio station, Chung Wah Chinese Broadcasting Company. The first broadcast is held in conjunction with Chinese Community Partnership for Health at the New York Downtown Hospital. The second broadcast is held in collaboration with the Asian Health & Social Service Council, through an invitation from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

2010
to
2012:

  • LANtern is one of five programs to represent the Hospital for Special Surgery’s Community Service Plan for the New York State Department of Health’s Prevention Agenda Toward the Healthiest State initiative, with the goals of building capacity with targeted organizations to increase awareness of lupus as an Asian American health concern, and to promote the need for early identification, diagnosis, and treatment of lupus in the Asian American community. 
For more examples of LANtern activities, please visit Events and Programs.
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