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‘Imi Hale

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Polynesian musician, Courtesy of Hawaii State Archives

Native Hawaiian Cancer Awareness,
Research and Training Network

‘Imi Hale is a program developed and managed by Native Hawaiians to increase cancer awareness and research capacity among Native Hawaiians. This U.S. subgroup of indigenous people of the Hawaiian islands has disproportionately high rates of cancer mortality and low rates of participation in health and research careers.

As a community-based research project, ‘Imi Hale spent its first year gathering data from Native Hawaiians about their cancer awareness and research priorities. ‘Imi Hale’s community and scientific advisors, Nā Liko Noelo (budding researchers), and staff develop and carry out projects that address these priority areas. Emphasis is placed on transferring skills and resources to Native Hawaiians through training, technical assistance, and mentorship. A biennial survey assesses the extent to which community-based participatory research principles are being followed.

By the end of the second year, statewide and island-specific awareness plans were produced, and 9 funded awareness projects are supporting the development and dissemination of Hawaiian health education materials. Research accomplishments include the enrollment of 42 Native Hawaiian Nā Liko Noelo, 22 of which are involved in 14 funded research projects. The annual evaluation survey found that 92% of the advisors felt that ‘Imi Hale was promoting scientifically rigorous research that was culturally appropriate and respectful of Native Hawaiian beliefs, and 96% felt that ‘Imi Hale was following its own principles of community-based participatory research.

‘Imi Hale is successfully employing a community-based participatory model to meet its objectives of increasing cancer awareness and research among Native Hawaiians.

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