Thursday, November 30, 2023

$2 million award supports UH’s work on Indigenous health disparities

A new $2-million award will help the University of Hawai’i address Indigenous health disparities and improve health equity in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities.

The award from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) supports UH’s Center for Indigenous Innovation and Health Equity (CIIHE, pronounced: cheeee heee), with the potential to receive an additional $8 million from OMH over the next four years.

The five-year initiative emphasizes the implementation of innovative and cultural frameworks to prevent and improve disparities in chronic diseases, such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes, in partnership with Tulong Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, a federally qualified health center based in Honolulu.

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“We are excited about the opportunity this project gives us to continue to directly support our regional cultural practitioner communities in growing the evidence base for understanding traditional cultural practices as effective contemporary practices. health intervention,” said Principal Investigator and UH Office of Indigenous Knowledge and Innovation Director Kamuela Enos.

UH’s efforts will focus on supporting community-based efforts that increase NHPI patients’ exposure to traditional cultural practices such as lāʻau lapaʻau (plant medicine), cultural birthing practices, nursing of the land (land care), lomilomi (massage) and ʻai pono (healthy food). These practices can serve as a buffer against chronic diseases, especially cardiometabolic diseases and mental health disorders, through collaborative services, education, research and policy initiatives.

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CIIHE was launched with a $1-million grant in fiscal year 2021 from the HHS OMH. The Center was created through a vision between Enos and UH Office of Strategic Health Initiatives Director and CIIHE Co-Principal Investigator Aimee Malia Grace.

In early 2023, CIIHE received an additional $4.6 million through an anonymous gift that will fund the Center’s first endowed chair and provide funding for programs and activities to advance their work.

“American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations experience a high burden of health disparities or disparities in health outcomes compared to other populations,” said Rear Admiral Felicia Collins. , MD, deputy assistant secretary for minority health and OMH director. “Therefore, we are pleased that the Center for Indigenous Innovation and Health Equity will continue to develop, implement, and evaluate culturally appropriate methods for reducing and eliminating these disparities through collaboration with academic institutions, Indigenous leaders, and community members.”

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