Health Help From Puppets

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Navigating the health care system in this country is tough enough for people who grew up here. Toss in a language barrier and things can get downright hairy.

So the St. Louis Christian Chinese Community Center is reaching out to recent Asian immigrants and elderly Asians through an ancient and traditional art form: puppetry.

The Center puts on puppet shows and also brings the shows to larger cultural events. The shows discuss having a primary care physician and questions to ask a doctor. Eighty percent of the center's clients are uninsured and more than 60 percent are over fifty.

"For new immigrants, the literacy program definitely helps them communicate with healthcare providers and to know more about American health care system," says a social worker at the Center, Chia-An Lin, in a press release. (Lin is currently writing a puppet show about quitting smoking.)

With a two-year, $150,000 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health, the Center has reached about 700 people so far.

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