Pacific Islander Health Disparities the Focus of May 24-26 Conference

By Yavonda Chase

This conference is an opportunity for researchers, health care providers, public health leaders and members of the community who work with Pacific Islander populations to share research, programs, knowledge and lessons learned. The goal is to build a community of researchers and practitioners in Pacific Islander health to develop and implement strategies to reduce health disparities.

Between 150 and 200 attendees are expected to hear presenters from as far away as Massey University in New Zealand and from U.S. institutions including Yale University, New York University, UAMS and Washington State University. Representatives from the Ministries of Health from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau will also be presenting at the conference.

Notable presenters include Sheldon Riklon, M.D., who is one of only two Marshallese physicians educated in the United States; Joseph Keawe’aimoku “Keawe” Kaholokula, Ph.D., a professor and Chair of Native Hawaiian Health in the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa; Raynald Samoa, M.D., a clinical endocrinologist with expertise in diabetes and obesity prevention and treatment; Kathy Ko Chin, president of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Sam Wu, from the Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Tina Kauh, Ph.D., from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and Russell Carey of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

The gathering is funded in part by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Sponsors include UAMS, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Mercy Northwest Arkansas, Washington Regional Health System, the Beaver Water District and the Fayetteville Advertising & Promotion Commission.

More information on the conference, including the agenda, speaker list and bios, can be found at

The Center for Pacific Islander Health is a multi-disciplinary center on UAMS’ Northwest Campus that focuses on research, community programs, training and policy. It is the first center in the United States that focuses solely on Pacific Islander health issues.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,240 students, 913 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.