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Health Disparities, Grantsmanship Addressed
Aloha State Warmly Receives NIH Group

Photos by Jennifer Gorman

A 15-person NIH delegation led by NIH acting deputy director Dr. Yvonne Maddox and NCCAM director Dr. Stephen Straus recently traveled to Hawaii for a 5-day regional workshop that was initiated by Doug Yee, a member of NIH's Council of Public Representatives and vice president of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in Honolulu.

Acknowledging that the visit gave NIH an opportunity to "share ideas and information with the biomedical and health research professionals at Hawaii's universities," Governor Benjamin Cayetano issued an official proclamation deeming the visit Biomedical Research Week in the state.

Dr. Anthony Coelho of NIH's Office of Extramural Research and NIH acting deputy director Dr. Yvonne Maddox (c) are welcomed to the University of Hawaii by its director of grant development, Dr. Leslie Isaki.

Workshops on grantsmanship and the availability of other funding opportunities were also presented in an effort to help Hawaii compete better for more of NIH's medical research dollars. NIH funds are distributed via contracts, grants and other mechanisms to each of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Hawaii received just under $40 million in fiscal year 2001, an increase over the $30 million in grants the state received in 2000. Hawaii ranked 41st among states and territories in total NIH support in FY 2000.

In addition, Maddox spread the word about NIH's strategy to address health disparities. The death rate from stomach cancer is substantially higher among Asians and Pacific Islanders, including Native Hawaiians, than among other populations. Also, Native Hawaiians are among several groups including Native Americans, Hispanics, African Americans, and other Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders such as Japanese Americans and Samoans, who are at particularly high risk for development of type 2 diabetes.

NHGRI's Dr. Alan Guttmacher gives remarks at a public forum in Hawaii.

"We are going to work with faculty at the University of Hawaii and in the community to make people aware of NIH and of the federal dollars we have available for medical research," explained Maddox, during an interview with one of Hawaii's morning news programs. "Also, as part of our health disparities initiative, we'll be providing educational messages about disease prevention strategies and how people can take better care of themselves."

Along with Maddox and Straus, members of the delegation included representatives from nearly every aspect of NIH's biomedical enterprise, from IC director to procurement specialist to grants officer to clinical research advisor. Speakers from the NIH group addressed public assemblies at the local colleges as well as smaller settings of state legislators, business leaders and policymakers, and focus groups. In addition, NIH made plans to adopt the public elementary school that some of the delegation visited on the trip's final afternoon.

The group's itinerary was arranged by Jennifer Gorman, NIH public liaison coordinator.

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