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Group Photo Of The Pinerds - Hawai‘i’s Filipino Health Researchers

Health Research Led by Filipinos for Filipinos

Araw ng Saliksik (Research Day) was held at the Oʻahu Veterans Center on October 14, 2023, as one of the events commemorating Filipino American History Month. Filipino health researchers, community members, and students came together for a “report back to the community” event to share and hear research results that benefit Hawaiʻi’s Filipino community. The event was sponsored by Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute, the University of Hawaiʻi’s John A. Burns School of Medicine’s Ola HAWAII Community Engagement Core, and the Pinerds – a group of Filipino health researchers Hawaiʻi. The Pinerds emphasized the importance of their roles as mentors and to ensure research conducted on Filipinos is culturally appropriate and shared with the community.

Twelve Filipino health researchers and public health doctoral students reported on their research to engage the community and inform Filipinos of current and future research. The topics presented included substance abuse, breast cancer survivorship, HIV, COVID-19, and the immigrant workforce. Attendees posed questions that created lively discussions with the researchers. A Waipahu High School student asked Dr. Melissa Agsalda-Garcia if she could share data on the number of Filipinos with HIV. Data disaggregation was brought up many times during this meeting, and Dr. Agsalda-Garcia mentioned, “Filipinos are placed in the ‘Asians’ category, so it is not clear how many Filipinos have HIV.” This is also troublesome for substance abuse, mental health, and other health data. By placing Filipinos in the “Asians” category, accurate numbers of Filipinos are lacking. The Pinerds hope there will be frequent meetings like this to continue these discussions, share research findings, educate students, and allow community members to be more interested in research.

A Filipino high school participant stated, “The field of research has always interested me, but I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to do until today. I finally saw myself in the researchers that presented. I was inspired by them and know that I, too, can be a researcher.”

Rows of seated attendees from Filipino community organizations, students, and health professionals gathered at Araw ng Saliksik.
Attendees from Filipino community organizations, students, and health professionals across the state gather to explore Filipino health insights and strategies to foster greater participation in health research.

For questions about this event or to find out more about future events on Filipino health research, contact Dr. May Rose Dela Cruz at

May Rose Dela Cruz, DrPH, MPH

May Rose Dela Cruz, DrPH, MPH

Director of Health Equity & Research
Kathleen Corpuz

Kathleen Corpuz

Program Manager on Community-Based Research
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