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August 24, 2021

JABSOM’s Department of Native Hawaiian Health partners with Washington State University to combat dementia in Native, Pacific Islander communities

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has awarded a $15 million grant towards a new project battling disparities associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander groups, as well as American Indian, and Alaska Native. Led by Washington State University (WSU), the project, Natives Engaged in Alzheimer’s Research (NEAR), will bring together 11 tribes, six academic and research institutions, seven urban Indian organizations, and five Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community organizations.

The Hawai‘i-based research project of NEAR will involve the adoption and testing of a lifestyle intervention grounded in the practice of hula previously found effective in improving blood pressure and reducing cardiovascular risk in Native Hawaiians. This hula-based intervention will be adapted to address a broader range of vascular risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

Dr. Joseph Keaweʻaimoku Kaholokula, PhD, chair and professor of Native Hawaiian Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) is the project lead for this Hawai‘i-based project.

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