Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Conference in L.A. Sept. 24-25

August 27, 2012


ANN ARBOR—Representatives of the news media are invited to attend the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health Disparity & Health Equity Conference at the Westin LAX Airport Hotel in Los Angeles on September 24-25.

The conference features preliminary findings from the Pacific Islander Health Study, the first representative survey to assess physical and mental health and healthcare utilization of a random sample of Pacific Islander adults and adolescents living in California.

“Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders are the second fastest growing minority population in the nation,” said Sela Panapasa, a researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) and principal investigator of the study. “But they remain understudied and underserved. The goal of this conference is to increase awareness of health disparities affecting this community and to start developing evidence-based interventions that will effectively reduce these disparities and build healthy communities.”

Traditionally, Panapasa explained, Pacific Islanders have been combined with the broader “Asian or Pacific Islander” population of the United States, which tends to mask important health problems affecting this group. Since 1997, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders have been treated as a distinct racial category by federal mandate emphasizing the need for these data and creating the opportunity for this scientific study.

Keynote speakers at the conference include Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; J. Nadine Gracia, deputy assistant secretary for minority health (acting); David Williams, the Florence Sprague Norman & Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health and professor of African and African American studies of sociology at Harvard University; Steven Heeringa, ISR research scientist, and director of the ISR Survey Research Center Summer Institute, and the ISR Statistical Design Group; Nathan Wong, Polynesian Voyaging Society; and Fa’auuga To’oto’o, State of Hawaii First Circuit judge.

For more information about the conference, visit:


Established in 1949, the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research is the world’s largest academic social science survey and research organization, and a world leader in developing and applying social science methodology, and in educating researchers and students from around the world. ISR conducts some of the most widely cited studies in the nation, including the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, the American National Election Studies, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Health and Retirement Study, the Columbia County Longitudinal Study and the National Survey of Black Americans. ISR researchers also collaborate with social scientists in more than 60 nations on the World Values Surveys and other projects, and the institute has established formal ties with universities in Poland, China and South Africa. ISR is also home to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, the world’s largest digital social science data archive. For more information, visit the ISR website at