Pa Vang, the daughter of Hmong immigrants from the mountains of Laos who settled in Minnesota following the Vietnam War, does not fit the stereotypical mold of a rosacea patient -- who is often fair-skinned, older and of northern European descent. But the sophomore at the University of Minnesota-Morris who was diagnosed with rosacea in her early teens is doing her part to broaden the public's perception of the disorder and whom it affects.
As one of a dozen students in the University's Multi-Ethnic Mentorship Program, Pa conceived a project that would not only raise awareness of rosacea in young people and people of color but would also raise funds for the National Rosacea Society research grants program. She organized a holiday gift-wrapping booth at a local book store and used the time it took to wrap each gift as an educational opportunity.
Pa talked about her individual case and also distributed a fact sheet about rosacea to each customer. Pa said she successfully manages her condition with topical medication.
"Adults were more familiar with rosacea, but a lot of the younger students had never heard of it," Pa said. "They wanted to know how I got it and what it was like."
Although Pa said she knows of only one other Hmong who has been diagnosed with rosacea, a recent study of the disorder's prevalence among various ethnicities found that nearly 6 percent of Asian women had rosacea.