Pacific Islander American Health Study

a MiCDA Research Project Description

Investigators: Sela Panapasa

Funding: W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 2009-2011 (WKK2009UM)

Pacific Islanders in the United States represent a distinct and rapidly growing population with ancestral ties to the indigenous people living in the Pacific Basin. Traditionally Pacific Islanders have been aggregated with Asians to form the broad Asian and Pacific Islander (API) category. Because of their relatively small numeric size, the social, economic and health status of Pacific Islanders is under-represented in national surveys. When they are combined within the broader “Asian or Pacific Islander,” the health and SES of the larger established Asian populations tend to mask the patterns for Pacific Islanders. To overcome these data limitations the specific aims of the pilot study are: Aim 1: To investigate the health, well-being and healthcare utilization of Samoans and Tongans living in California. Select measures derived from the National Health Interview Survey, California Health Interview Survey, and National Survey on American Lives to develop: (a) survey module to assess health condition and health behavior; (b) survey module to assess disability and sexual health; (c) survey module to assess women’s and men’s health; (d) survey module to assess mental health; (e) survey module to assess health insurance; (f) survey module to assess healthcare utilization and access, domestic violence; (g) survey module to assess psychosocial factors; (h) a qualitative module to elicit key components of core health beliefs and health seeking behaviors and strategies among Samoan and Tongan immigrants and nationals. Aim 2: To describe the prevalence of health conditions for each racial and ethnic subgroup. Aim 3: To assess survey completion rates and interviewing experiences among Samoans and Tongans. A sample of 600 households, evenly divided between Samoans and Tongans is derived from select census tracks in the Los Angeles County, and San Francisco County in California. Community partnership with the NHPI Alliance, Samoan National Nurses Association and Taulama for Tongans will identify Samoan and Tongan churches in the project areas to recruit households for the survey. They will also help facilitate the recruitment of Pacific Island interviewers within the community. The survey instrument will comprise of select questions from the California Health Interview Survey, National Health Interview Survey and National Survey on American Lives. Descriptive statistics of the survey will be summarized in the form of a report for the APIAHF. Project partners will develop and implement a dissemination plan of the final results. The project findings will be used to leverage additional resources for a more comprehensive study of the Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander population.

Research Signature Themes:

International Research

Country of Focus: USA