Dean Jerris Hedges met with U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono in Washington, DC on March 26, 2014. The Dean and the Senator discussed funding for the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI), a network of 18 research institutions which includes the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa (UHM).
The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) has a number of major research endeavors which encompass the primary goal of RCMI, which is to stimulate collaboration across the 18 institutions and within various disciplines to understand and eliminate health disparities. JABSOM has focused its clinical research on reducing the differences in access to health care and treatment outcomes which are markedly different for people of traditionally underserved backgrounds, including Native Hawaiians.
“We are fortunate to have a long record of engaging our community so that they have input in our clinical research efforts,” Dr. Hedges explained. “The community’s contributions are incredibly important, because they help JABSOM researchers zero in on challenges which constitute primary concerns in the community. When you do that, the results are more likely to be accepted by and implemented within communities to improve their health.”
The financial support Congress and the President allocate to the National Institutes of Health (and through NIH, the RCMI) benefits Hawai`i’s communities beyond the all-important boost in both the lifespan and the quality of life within our islands. Research funding which flows from NIH into Hawai`i and JABSOM is also used to hire people who support researchers in their laboratories and in the community, and to purchase goods from Hawai`i businesses.
JABSOM’s research environment is facilitated via the following core activities: histopathology and microscopy, proteomics, behavior and electrophysiology, magnetic resonance imaging, human tissue biorepositories, bioinformatics, and biostatistics and research ethics. Each of these cores provides facilities and/or service to the UHM research community. In addition, a key mechanism for direct support is provided by a core pilot project program. See JABSOM’s RCMI-Bridges website for more information.