Study addressing critical health disparities among AANHPI gets $38 million grant

Study addressing critical health disparities among AANHPI gets $38 million grant
via Fred Hutch
Ryan General
September 15, 2023
A groundbreaking study focusing on the health of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) populations has secured a $38.7-million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), in collaboration with four other National Institutes of Health.
About the study: The seven-year initiative spearheaded by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is aimed at addressing critical health disparities and knowledge gaps across the communities. The study will delve into the risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, mental health issues, and other chronic conditions that affect the diverse communities composed of over 40 ethnic groups. 
Who are involved: The ambitious endeavor will involve five prominent research institutions, including the University of Hawaii, Stanford University, University of Chicago, Fox Chase Cancer Center, and New York University Langone Health Perlmutter Cancer Center.
The institutions will collectively recruit over 10,000 participants from AANHPI communities across the United States, gathering vital health data and biospecimens, such as blood, urine and microbiome samples, to answer pressing questions about their health. Fred Hutch will serve as the coordinating center for this monumental project.
Why it’s important: The glaring disparities within the AANHPI communities include higher rates of type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease and gastric cancer compared to white Americans. Aggregated data, which has often masked variations in risk factors, disease occurrence and trajectories within these communities, will finally be dissected to uncover the nuances within these populations.
“There are a lot of gaps in our knowledge about the health of these populations and their risk factors for a variety of diseases,” Dr. Garnet Anderson, director of Fred Hutch’s Public Health Sciences Division, was quoted saying. “With this grant, the National Institutes of Health is recognizing and responding to the lack of data on these populations.”
A crucial step towards health equity: This effort also aims to build a biorepository for future studies and examine the social determinants of health within AANHPI communities.
By adopting a multidisciplinary approach known as “populomics,” the study will delve into the complex web of influences impacting the health of these populations, including biological, lifestyle, behavioral, environmental and sociocultural factors.
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