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September 24 & 25, 2012, Los Angeles

The Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health Disparity & Health Equity Conference brought together NHPI leaders, community stakeholders, advocates, policy makers, philanthropic leaders, researchers, and students from across the continent, Hawai’i, the US Associated Pacific Islands and other Pacific Island Nations. Together we presented and examined new and innovative concepts, methods, and research findings on health disparities that impact the NHPI community. This conference highlighted the importance of robust health and healthcare data for evaluating the status of understudied and underserved populations. Attendees received a summary of key findings from the Pacific Islander Health Study, a representative survey on the health and healthcare utilization of Pacific Islander adults and adolescents. This was a great opportunity to network, share research, and learn from the community.

Envision The Future NHPI Conference Logo

About the Logo

The logo for Envision the Future sets a course for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. The linear pattern of waves symbolizes their Pacific origins and anchors the bar graph that represents how evidence-based research is essential to achieving health equity. The image conveys and envisions a future of Hope. The Graphic Designer for the image was Momi Cazimero.


Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs) represent the second fastest growing minority population. According to the 2010 Census, there are 1.2 million NHPIs, but they remain both understudied and underserved. The lack of health and healthcare related data in either quantity and quality to evaluate the status of the population and develop meaningful interventions and policies remain inadequate. Among the few available representative studies; NHPI’s face disproportionately elevated risks for chronic disease and co-morbidities, as well as high rates of poverty, underinsured, and mortality. The need for evidence-based data and translational research in NHPI communities is essential to reduce health disparity and contribute to health equity.

In 2009, the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), and W. K. Kellogg Foundation to conduct the Pacific Islander Health Study (PIHS). Modeled after the National Health Interview Survey, California Health Interview Survey, National Survey on American Lives and Chicago Community Adult Health Study, the PIHS collected information on the demographic characteristics, housing, health, heath behavior, mental health, oral health, healthcare utilization, psycho-social stressors, nutrition, physical activity and religion from a random sample of Pacific Islander adults and adolescents living in California. Results from the study were disseminated to the NHPI community and general public in fall 2012.

The PIHS represents a promising model for data collection in numerically small but densely clustered populations like Pacific Islanders and addresses key priorities presented by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities,” as well as the “National Partnership for Action Stakeholder Strategy”. The conference represents the beginnings of a future course for evidence-based interventions to effectively reduce health disparity and build healthy communities.

Collage of Pacific Islander faces


Native Hawaiian Elder Winona Kealamapuana Ellis Rubin Addresses the Conference Attendees

Post Conference Steering Committee Members 2013

S. Haunani Apoliona, MSW
Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Honolulu, HI

Darlene Kehaulani Butts
Ke Ali’l Maka’Ainana Hawaiian Civic Club
Washington, DC

Oreta Chrichton, PhD
American Samoa Governor’s Office
Pago Pago, American Samoa

Jacob Fitisemanu, Jr.
Utah Department of Health, Office of Health Disparities
Salt Lake City, UT

Johnny Hedson, MO, MBBS, MMEd
Pohnpei State Health Services
Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

Chris Krenz, BA
University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research
Ann Arbor, MI

Pamela C. Krochalk, PhD
California State University, Division of Health Sciences
Carson, CA

Albious Latior
Arkansas Support Network
Spring Dale, AR

Sela V. Panapasa, PhD (Chairperson)
University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research
Ann Arbor, MI

Yvette C. Paulino, PhD
University of Guam
Mangilao, Guam

Christina L. Perez, MN, FNP, RN
Office of Public Health and Science, OMH, Region IX
San Francisco, CA

Leafa Tuita Taumoepeau
Taulama for Tongans
San Mateo, CA

Marlena Vaifale
Pacific Islander Health Partnership
Santa Ana, CA

CAPT John Walmsley
Office of the Regional Health Administrator, Region IX
San Francisco, CA

2012 Conference Contributors

2012 Conference Partners

Program for Research on Black Americans

Research Center for Group Dynamics

Institute for Social Research