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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 10:45 a.m., Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Native Hawaiians attend D.C. health summit

Advertiser Staff

More than 100 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders will gather in Washington, D.C., today and tomorrow to develop a Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander National Health Agenda aimed at improving their health status.

The 2007 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health Summit: Navigating Towards Health & Well Being will bring together healthcare professionals and advocates, researchers, policymakers and government representatives to address the need for capacity building, overall health disparities and other unmet health needs of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities on the continental U.S., in Hawai'i and the Pacific Basin, and develop strategies and solutions to improve the access to, and quality of, healthcare for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

With more than 0.3 percent of the total U.S. population, these groups have one of the highest rates of uninsured, diabetes and other chronic diseases; are among the lowest representation in health professions; and poorest outcome of cancer detection and treatment.

Available research and studies continue to lump these groups with the "Asian American" or "other" categories, thus masking the true health status of this population. Community-based organizations would like to have funding provided directly to them to increase their organizational capacity to better and more effectively address these critical issues themselves within their own communities.

The summit is sponsored by the U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Papa Ola Lokahi, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations and Weaving an Islander network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training, and will be held at the Academy for Educational Development Technology Center.