DUBUQUE, Iowa, May 24, 2021 – Crescent Community Health Center (Crescent) is honored to recognize Irene Maun as an Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Hero. Irene Maun has been employed as a community health worker at Crescent since 2017. She is a champion at advocating for the Pacific Islander (PI) Community in Dubuque, Iowa and the surrounding area. Irene serves as a cultural broker between the PI community, Crescent and other local organizations to address and reduce social determinants of health faced by her community. Irene provides interpretation and translation services for provider visits, educational classes and promotional video campaigns highlighting healthy behaviors. She connects patients to specialty appointments and community resources while encouraging them to proactively manage their health by following through with preventative and chronic condition appointments and treatment planning. Irene is a profound leader who is graciously entrusted as the figurehead, spokesperson, and pioneer for the PI community. She is driven by a passion and devotion to enhancing their lives through her daily work which is evidenced in the respect she receives in return from them.
Irene grew up in the Federated States of Micronesia but later moved to the Republic of the Marshall Islands. She moved to the United States due to her husband’s healthcare needs and now works daily assisting others with getting their healthcare needs met.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the PI community was hit tragically hard, losing countless lives, and creating relentless hardships that further ostracized the PI community. Due to several cultural dynamics, such as multigenerational housing and tendencies to hold large gatherings, the PI community was extremely vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. At the height of the pandemic, Irene was instrumental in containing the spread of COVID-19 by continuously emphasizing the need to wear masks, maintaining social distancing and refraining from bringing large groups together. She worked tirelessly to coordinate resources such as food, transportation, healthcare and getting persons in need of quarantine to a shelter.
“As an organization, and as a community, we are fortunate to have such a valuable resource, advocate and servant leader to help us learn, navigate, and build trusting relationships with a community full of rich culture and benevolent humans,” said Ann Morris, Senior Leader of Population Health. “Without Irene, we would have missed an opportunity to meet our mission by fully serving and appreciating this disparate population in achieving the healthiest versions of themselves. Irene continues to enrich the lives of others and does so with humility, appreciation, and the highest level of sincerity.”
Crescent Community Health Center first opened its doors in October of 2006. Crescent was founded by a group of dedicated board members made up of community stakeholders who identified the need for primary medical and dental care for underserved populations. Since then, Crescent has been providing high-quality primary and preventive medical and dental care to members of the community.