$1 Million Awarded to FAMILY MEDICINE to Reduce Chronic Illness in US Affiliated Pacific Islands

Today the Pacific Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities (P-CEED) at University of Hawai`i John A. Burns School of Medicine, was awarded a grant of $1 Million for Policy, Systems and Environment interventions in the US Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI).

The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) award is part of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities, and control health care spending. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will administer the grants, which will run for three years, subject to availability of funds. The award will be housed in the medical school’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.

Overall, HHS awarded $35 million in new grant awards to 49 local health agencies. REACH, a CDC program that began in 1999, and financed in part by the Prevention and Public Health Fund of the Affordable Care Act, focuses on racial and ethnic communities experiencing health disparities (more instances of disease, with worse outcomes in treatment.)

The funds to P-CEED will immediately expand their scope of work to improve health and reduce health disparities. REACH is financed in part by the Prevention and Public Health Fund of the Affordable Care Act.

The Hawai`i based physician-investigators say the need is great.

“The World Health Organization ranks obesity rates amongst Pacific Islanders the highest worldwide, and estimates that 75% of deaths in the Pacific are caused by non‐communicable diseases, that are associated with risk factors such as obesity, tobacco, and poor nutrition” said Dr. Neal Palafox, P-CEED’s Principal Investigator. “The infrastructure and organization of our center has been developed and designed to work with coalitions based in the US Affiliated Pacific Islands towards more effective prevention and control of these illnesses.”

The P-CEED, under the direction of Dr. Neal Palafox and Project Director Dr. Lee Buenconsejo-Lum, has worked with the Cancer Council of the Pacific Islands for 12 years to address cancer and chronic disease health disparities. This new project will further develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based interventions that decrease tobacco use and promote good nutrition, with specific goals to curb illness.

“These interventions and other efforts in comprehensive cancer control, diabetes and tobacco prevention and control are all aimed to achieve long-term goals of reducing rates of death and disability due to tobacco use by 5%, reduce the prevalence of obesity by 3% and reduce rates of death and disability due to diabetes, heart disease and stroke by 3% in the USAPI populations,” said Dr. Buenconsejo-Lum.

To learn more about P-CEED’s prevention and wellness projects and the other Pacific Regional Cancer Programs and partnerships, visit pacificcancer.org. Morning news interviews may be available upon request.

* US Affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions consists of the Territories of American Samoa and Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

About the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM):

Community Impact-Workforce: JABSOM is proud to have trained half of the physicians who are currently treating patients in the State of Hawai`i. Through its medical education (MD) and graduate medical education (MD Residency) programs, JABSOM is training 494 future physicians in 2014-2015.

Quality: More than 80% of the physicians annually identified as the “Best Doctors in Hawai`i” either trained or teach at the University of Hawai`i medical school.

Economic Impact: JABSOM faculty bring external funding of about $42 million annually into Hawai`i, most of it invested in jobs and services in the islands. The medical school also trains speech therapy and audiology professionals, medical technology students and some 200 students annually seeking graduate-level degrees in the biosciences: Cell and Molecular Biology (MS, PhD), Clinical Research (MS, PhD), Epidemiology (PhD), Developmental and Reproductive Biology (MS, PhD) and Tropical Medicine (MS, PhD).



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