Two Hawaii youth leaders and advisor to represent U.S. at First Youth Global Meeting in New Delhi, India

University of Hawaiʻi
Sharon Shigemasa, (808) 586-3011
Cancer Research Center of Hawaii
Lynette Lo Tom, (808) 275-3004
Bright Light Marketing Group
Posted: Nov 14, 2006

HONOLULU—Tyson Suzuki of Oʻahu and Denise Della of Maui, accompanied by advisor Nicole Sutton of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi, are among four youths who will be representing the United States at the 2006 Global Youth Meeting in New Delhi, India from November 14—19. Suzuki and Della have served as youth leaders under the guidance of Sutton as project director for REAL, the Hawaiʻi Youth Movement Against the Tobacco Industry. They were recruited for this opportunity because of their years of experience in tobacco control in Hawaiʻi as well as their stellar presentations and mobilization of other young people around global tobacco activism, including a march and rally at the World Conference on Tobacco Control and Global Youth Advocacy Training held in Washington, D.C. in July of this year. The other two U.S. youth representatives are from Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively.

The first-ever Global Youth Meeting on Health is being organized by Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth (HRIDAY) and Student Health Action Network (SHAN) and is being sponsored by the World Health Organization, the World Bank and many other internationally recognized health organizations. Thirty-six nations are expected to participate with four youths and one adult representing each country.

At this meeting, Suzuki, Della and Sutton will be responsible for designing and delivering training about youth tobacco control initiatives and projects. They will work on advocacy projects related to different health topics including diet and nutrition, reproductive health, physical activity promotion, and avoidance of addictions as well as environmental protection and conflict resolution. Activities will include debate sessions, discussions with policy makers and drafting advocacy documents, which will be forwarded to relevant national government authorities. At the conclusion of the meeting, youths will decide on one health theme and a plan of action that they will take home to implement at a national level during 2006—2007. To ensure ongoing networking and mentoring after the global meeting, an interactive e-forum and website will be set up specifically for this purpose.

Suzuki, Della, and Sutton were invited to Lucknow, India prior to the Global Youth Meeting on Health to collaborate with local youth and anti-tobacco advocates on a youth advocacy training and several tobacco control youth activism project. This has been arranged through Essential Action Partnerships for Global Tobacco Control in Washington, D.C. Support for their participation was provided by the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund and the University of Hawaiʻi‘s Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi.

REAL was started in 2000 with a group of about 15 youths from Hawaiʻi whose mission was to create an empowered, healthy, smoke-free generation of young people; to attack the tobacco industry, not the consumer; to expose the tobacco industry‘s products and its effects; and to educate, protect, and empower the youth generation. REAL was initially directed by former Cancer Research Center researcher Karen Glanz, Ph.D., and more recently by Cancer Center researcher David O‘Riordan, Ph.D. Aside from its early funding from the American Legacy Foundation, majority support for REAL has been provided through the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation by Tobacco Settlement dollars from the State Department of Health and Tobacco Prevention Trust Fund.

Today REAL is comprised of approximately 3,000 youths across the Hawaiian Islands, including Lanaʻi. They are charged with planning, developing and implementing youth-relevant anti-tobacco activities in their own island communities, under the guidance of an adult leader. Since its inception, tobacco rates among youths in Hawaiʻi have significantly declined from approximately 24 percent to less than 13 percent, as reported by Youth Tobacco Survey data.

The Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi is one of only 61 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers throughout the United States. As a research unit of the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, it conducts cancer research, educational activities, and community outreach, including the operation of the Hawaiʻi Tumor Registry, the Hawaiʻi Clinical Trials Unit, and the Cancer Information Service of Hawaiʻi. The Center‘s research takes advantage of Hawaiʻi‘s ethnic and cultural diversity, geographic location, and unique environment. Its research programs focus on: the possible causes of cancer and possible reasons for different cancer rates among Hawaiʻi‘s ethnic groups; reducing the incidence and impact of cancer in the Hawaiian population; and discovering new anti-cancer agents from local plants and marine microorganisms. The Center is located at 1236 Lauhala Street in Honolulu. For general information on the Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi, please visit its website at

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