Lauren Loor is the Statewide Program Manager for Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) Initiative.…
From May 8 to 19, four representatives from HIPHI and the Ola HAWAII Community Engagement Core (CEC) attended the Alaska Indigenous Research Program (AKIRP) at Alaska Pacific University on Denaʻina homeland to discuss community-based participatory research (CBPR) with Indigenous communities. The program’s goal was to increase the capacity to conduct culturally responsive and respectful health research that addresses the unique settings and health needs of Alaska Native and American Indian People. Attendees consisted of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, researchers, and health professionals across the globe who were passionate about building healthier and thriving Indigenous communities.
AKIRP featured speakers discussing their research methodologies that respected diverse perspectives, Indigenous worldviews, and ways of knowing. Avette Ponce (Molokaʻi General Hospital), JoAnn Tsark (HIPHI and Ola HAWAII CEC), and May Rose Dela Cruz (HIPHI and Ola HAWAII CEC) presented on their CBPR work in cancer prevention, cardiovascular health, and policy implementation in Hawaiʻi. Indigenous researchers highlighted efforts that benefited their respective communities, such as climate change response networks, COVID-19 prevention programs, HIV prevention strategies, and Indigenous language restoration programs. Avette, JoAnn, and May Rose participated in the first week that focused on community-based Indigenous research, and Kathleen Corpuz (HIPHI) remained for another week to be trained on ethical practices to consider when working with Indigenous communities.
When community leaders and researchers collaborate meaningfully, they can build more vital platforms to improve health outcomes for the entire community. This opportunity paved the way for HIPHI to share strategies and best practices to engage Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Filipino communities within the AKIRP network. HIPHI members are committed to deepening their understanding of Indigenous values and practices to support and empower community members in health research.