Innovations Spring 2019 | Page 5

Cancer Statistics for Pacific Islands
Cervical Cancer
Oral Cancer
Chuukese and Marchallese women have among the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world .
Areca ( betel ) nut is chewed by approximately 600 million people of all ages and social classes worldwide , including in Guam . The oral cancer incidence rate is two-three times higher on Guam compared to the U . S average .
Through the partnership between the UH Cancer Center and the University of Guam , important research has emerged addressing key cancer disparities affecting each of our populations as well as those unique to the Pacific . Importantly , the partnership has also helped to strengthen cancer surveillance in the Pacific which can inform these research needs ,” said Brenda Hernandez , PhD , MPH , UH Cancer Center epidemiologist and U54 study co-investigator .
The USAPIJ includes : territories of American Sāmoa , Guam , and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands ; three Freely Associated States : the Republic of Palau , the Federated States of Micronesia , and the Republic of the Marshall Islands .
Notable milestones of U56 Comprehensive Planning Grant ( 2003-2009 ):
n Establishment of the University of Guam ( UOG ) Cancer Research Center n Stabilization of the Guam Cancer Registry ( GCR ) with hire of additional full-time data collection specialists . n Natasha Protection Act of 2005 supported strict legislation for
tobacco control
Notable U54 Grant Milestones :
Tobacco Control ( 2009-2015 ) n Guam Cancer Trust Fund established by law to provide direct services for Guam cancer patients . n 1 percent Tobacco Tax sustains the Guam Cancer Registry n Landmark legislation in Guam resulted in decreased tobacco use and increased tobacco taxes
Research ( 2015-2020 ) n Study of Health Risks for Betel Nut Chewers n Health Information Trends and Needs in the Pacific n Cervical Cancer Prevention Project
Training n 34 Pacific Island students trained in cancer research – two graduates are now University of Guam faculty n Five online training modules developed for graduate students at partnering institutions
Establishing INSPIRE in American Sāmoa

The Indigenous Sāmoan Partnership to Initiate

Research Excellence ( INSPIRE ) seeks to establish a culturally-grounded and durable foundation for conducting public health research to contribute to scientific advancements while reducing the colorectal cancer-related health disparities in American Sāmoa . INSPIRE is a five-year project funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities . Since its initiation in 2016 , INSPIRE communitybased investigators in American Sāmoa and academic partners at the UH Cancer Center and Vanguard University California achieved several major project milestones including :
n Established a community-based research facility in American Sāmoa with computers , internet access , and software for data collection and analyses . The new resources are essential to research capacity strengthening .
n Provided technical assistance to the existing Institutional Review Board in American Sāmoa to build capacity to conduct clinical and public health research .
n Recruited and trained a cadre of four masters- and doctorate-educated American Sāmoa-based investigators interested in advancing their research knowledge relevant to cancer disparities .
n Collected data for a population-based study of 750 American Sāmoan adults , testing the use of the Short Form Test of Functional Health Literacy Adults ( STOFHLA ). This is the first adaptation of the STOFHLA for use with a Pacific Islander population .
Kevin Cassel , DrPH , one of the INSPIRE project co-investigators from the UH Cancer Center .
As the INSPIRE project enters its fourth year , investigators are working to analyze the population-based STOFHLA data , and crafting proposals for studies that examine the use of the American
Sāmoa-tested STOFHLA .