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Efforts Improve Health Of Pacific Islanders, Blacks

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The following summarizes coverage of events and initiatives that seek to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.

* Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has awarded the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma American Indian tribe a three-year, $1.5 million grant to go toward residential substance use treatments for pregnant and postpartum American Indian women. The tribe's Chi Hullo Li (We Care) Residential Treatment Center will receive the grant. The program offers primary care, mental health and social services, with a focus on family support. The funding will go toward expanding "comprehensive, culturally sensitive, high-quality residential treatment services for low-income" American Indian women, according to an SAMHSA release (SAMHSA release, 9/26).

* Hawaii: Several top federal health officials and leaders of U.S. territories and states on Monday gathered in Honolulu for a two-day conference that sought to develop strategies and programs for improving the health of Pacific Islanders, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne convened the conference, titled "The Future of Health Care in the Insular Areas." Sessions focused on the federal government's role in assisting Pacific Island governments and health professional groups with public health funding, personnel, facilities and training needs (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 9/29).

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* Florida: NIH's National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities has awarded three universities with a five-year, $1.7 million grant to study the efficacy of faith-based interventions that address nutrition and lifestyle issues in the black community, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The study will be led by Florida State University and include researchers from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and Iowa State University. Four black churches in Leon and Gadsden counties will be enlisted in the study to aid development and implementation of programs that aim to reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors among their congregations (Tallahassee Democrat, 9/30).

* National Hispanic Nurses Association: The Wilmington News Journal on Monday examined how the NHNA supports Hispanic nurses across the nation by helping them navigate the U.S. system and learn English to pass a U.S. nursing examination. According to the News Journal, many Hispanic nurses who were trained in other nations are unable to work in U.S. public hospitals because they have not passed the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses. Foreign nurses are able to work for Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals without taking the U.S. exam, according to the News Journal. The local Delaware chapter also encourages Hispanic high school students to pursue careers in nursing (Ratnayake, Wilmington News Journal, 9/29).

* Polk County, Fla.: Polk County officials last week held the Partnerships for a Healthier Polk health summit, which included a session on how physicians can recognize and respect cultural differences among patients, the Lakeland Ledger reports. Physicians on the interactive panel discussed the importance of understanding cultural differences to provide the best care to patients. The session also included role-playing and tips on improving communication (Williams Adams, Lakeland Ledger, 9/26).

* San Antonio, Texas: The American Diabetes Association last month held a conference, titled Por tu Familia's Second Annual Conferencia: La Diabetes y la Nutricion, which aimed to educate the local Hispanic community about diabetes, the San Antonio Express-News reports. The conference included interactive and bilingual seminars on culturally appropriate lifestyle choices, nutrition education workshops and no-cost health screenings and cookbooks (Villa, San Antonio Express-News, 9/30).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.