April 21, 2020

Diabetes Disparities and Promising Interventions to Address Diabetes in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Populations

Pearl A. McElfish, Rachel S. Purvis, Monica K. Esquivel, Ka’imi A. Sinclair, Claire Townsend, Nicola L. Hawley, Lauren K. Haggard-Duff, Joseph Keawe’aimoku Kaholokula

Current Diabetes Reports

Purpose of Review: The Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) population is rapidly growing in the USA. NHPIs face significant health disparities and have a high prevalence of diabetes compared to the general US population.

Recent Findings: Recent culturally-adapted diabetes interventions have shown promise in addressing these disparities among NHPI communities. The interventions showed success by utilizing a community-based approach that honored NHPIs’ collectivist culture, addressed social determinants of health that influence disease control and prevention, and utilized NHPI community health workers (CHWs.) and peer educators for key roles in implementation of the intervention.

Summary: To address health disparities in the NHPI community, much can be learned from existing, successful interventions. Promising interventions share several attributes. The interventions were: culturally adapted using a community-based participatory research approach; addressed specific social determinants of health (i.e., cost of healthy food, transportation, access to health care) that influence disease control and prevention: honored the collectivist culture of NHPI communities by integrating social networks and extended family members; and utilized NHPI community members, including peer educators and CHWs, for intervention implementation. Further investment to scale these interventions for regional and national implementation is needed to address the significant diabetes disparities that NHPIs face.


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