Long Lives, Short Lives: Why Are There Stark DIFFERENCES Among Hawai`iʻs People?

The University of Hawai`i’s multidisciplinary research into why some of Hawai`i’s residents live the longest while others struggle to get beyond their 50’s will continue under the leadership of John A. Burns School of Medicine Dean Jerris Hedges, MD.

Through a UH clinical trial, Leroy Piiohia is managing his diabetes, one of the diseases with high rates among Native Hawaiians. RMATRIX-II seeks new ways to treat or prevent illnesses like diabetes.

Through a UH clinical trial, Leroy Piiohia is managing his diabetes, one of the diseases with high rates among Native Hawaiians. RMATRIX-II seeks new ways to treat or prevent illnesses like diabetes.

The $15.4 million, five-year renewal comes on the heels of a successful foundation laid in the first four years of the RMATRIX* grant, a centerpiece of how investigators across UH Mānoa are focusing health research on an essential theme: how to make the lives of people in the state’s multi-ethnic population better.

Echoing one research goal, Dr. Kathryn Braun, Director of the Community-Based Research Core of the project asks, “What programs and treatments are needed to improve the health of ALL of Hawai`i’s people?”

“RMATRIX-II continues ho`okahua (to lay a foundation) for leading-edge research that promotes a healthier Hawai`i,” said Dr. Noreen Mokuau, dean of the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, and–along with Dr. Hedges–is Principal Investigator of the grant.

Research awards earned by the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) also benefit the university as a whole. Fifty percent of each award to JABSOM goes to UH Mānoa and the other campuses of the University of Hawai`i System, for support of their operations.

*RMATRIX stands for RCMI Multidisciplinary and Translational Research Infrastructure Expansion. The RCMI is the Research Centers in Minority Institutions of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Our main photograph shows Piiohia and fellow diabetes lifestyle intervention study participants Sam Miyasato, Joy Gold, and Principal Investigator Dr. Richard Arakaki, in July 2014. 

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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