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Study Finds Health Research Disparities For Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, & Native Hawaiians

Clinical research funding for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders remains stagnant compared to the National Institutes of Health’s overall budget, according to a recent study.

Oregon State University PhD candidate, Lan Doan found that over the past 26 years the NIH has allocated 0.17 percent of its budget toward 529 studies. 

“Understanding whether investments are inequitable is important because diversity in health research helps us better understand the health needs of our population and allows for public health practitioners, physicians to better tailor intervention and treatment options to the specific needs of these populations,” she said.

Doan’s says health studies often lump together Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians, making data on these groups insufficient and too generalized. 

"If diseases that disproportionately affect Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are underfunded, then these gaps in knowledge and therefore research towards prevention and treatment options are worsened for these populations," Lan said. Her research, which was published by the JAMA Network, called for greater direction of federal funds to address disparities. 

Although NIH funding  has increased over the past 2 decades from 0.12 percent before 2000 to 0.18 percent after 2000, Doan called for greater direction of federal funds. Her findings were published by the JAMA Network.

A response from the National Institutes of Health is pending.

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.
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