UAMS Gets $2.1M to Fight Diabetes in Marshallese Community

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Thursday, May. 18, 2017 11:28 am   1 min read

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has been awarded another $2.1 million grant to attempt to reduce diabetes in the Marshallese community in northwest Arkansas.

The money comes from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The three-year award will allow UAMS' Northwest Regional Campus to expand its research "a culturally adapted diabetes prevention program designed to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by teaching people who have pre-diabetes how to make modest lifestyle changes that can prevent diabetes."

The Marshallese have some of the highest documented rates of type 2 diabetes of any group in the world. UAMS said its health screenings found that 41 percent have diabetes, compared to 9.3 percent of the U.S. population. 

Northwest Arkansas has more than 11,000 Marshallese in the region — the largest community of Marshallese in the continental U.S.

"The goal of this research is to reduce disparities related to type 2 diabetes within the Marshallese community," said Pearl McElfish, associate vice chancellor for the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus, co-director of the Center for Pacific Islander Health and the principal investigator on this project.

"This particular study was conceived by working with members of the community — largely through churches — to identify the health questions that the Marshallese in Arkansas most want answered," she said. 

UAMS said the study will be implemented within Marshallese churches.

The Walmart Foundation is also supporting this research. In December, it awarded a $125,000 grant to the program.

Since 2014, more than $10 million has been awarded to the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus to reduce health disparities in both Marshallese and Hispanic residents of Benton and Washington counties. 

PCORI is a nonprofit authorized by Congress to fund comparative clinical effectiveness research.



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