Intercultural Cancer Council Symposium begins on Friday, March 15

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Tina M Shelton, (808) 692-0897
Director of Communications, Office of Dean of Medicine
Lee Buenconsejo-Lum, (808) 426-3379
Associate Professor of Medicine, Symposium Directo, John A. Burns School of Medicine
Posted: Mar 11, 2013

Leaders of the Hawaii-USAPI conference, 2010.
Leaders of the Hawaii-USAPI conference, 2010.
The 2013 Intercultural Cancer Council (ICC) Hawai‘i-Pacific Regional Symposium opens this Friday, March 15 at the University of Hawai`i Cancer Center in the Sullivan Conference Center.
The theme of the two-day conference is creating “Sustainable Partnerships” to reduce cancer and the non-communicable (NCD) health disparities which exist among minority populations in Hawai`i and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Island jurisdictions (USAPI). Health disparities refer to the documented worse health conditions and outcomes, preventable premature deaths or shorter life expectancies that are faced by many members of minority populations. Research to better understand and reverse health disparities is a major focus of study among health scientists at the University of Hawai`i (UH) including the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), and the University of Hawai`i Cancer Center in partnership with some of the minority communities in Hawai‘i and the USAPI.
“What makes this gathering unique is the involvement of many bright and passionate young people, from students in high school to undergraduate and graduate students from Chaminade, Hawai‘i Pacific University and throughout the UH System,” said Dr. Lee Buenconsejo-Lum, symposium director and JABSOM associate professor and residency program director for the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. "These students, who are pursuing degrees in various biomedical science or health care fields, represent the future providers, scientists, and community leaders who will help in the fight to eliminate health disparities.”
According to Buenconsejo-Lum, the theme, “Sustainable Partnerships” also refers to the working relationships the UH medical school, Cancer Center and the Hawai‘i Department of Health have with communities in Hawai`i and the Pacific Region to improve health.
“An inspiring part of our symposium includes sharing success stories in the effort to reduce cancer and other non-communicable disease in Hawai‘i and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Island jurisdictions (USAPI). This Symposium provides a tremendous opportunity for learning and moving forward together more effectively as current or future partners," said Buenconsejo-Lum. She added that cancer survivors themselves would share their perspectives as survivors, policy makers and partnership-builders between survivors and the various health systems.
Guest speakers include Hawai‘i State Senator Rosalyn Baker in Friday’s Opening Plenary panel on health disparities, the Executive Director of the Pacific Islands Health Officers Association (which is the regional health policy-making body comprised of the Senior Health Official of each USAPI country or jurisdiction), Hawai‘i State Director of Health Loretta Fuddy and the Secretary of Health of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), who will take part in a panel discussion on Saturday about FSM’s efforts to address challenges connected to the obesity epidemic.
On Saturday afternoon, scientists from the JABSOM and the UH Cancer Center will describe efforts in translational research working with Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities in Hawai‘i and the USAPI. Translational research seeks to transfer findings in basic research more quickly and efficiently into medical practice in order to promote meaningful health outcomes. In working with populations challenged with greater obstacles to optimal health, engaging these communities throughout the translational research process is mandatory.
“True community engagement with partnerships across sectors and disciplines, advocacy and self-determination are critical to improving the health of our varied populations,” said Buenconsejo-Lum.
Other symposium speakers will include experts in community-based or community-centered policy, system and environmental changes in Hawai‘i and the USAPI. The symposium agenda includes plenary sessions, “rapid fire” town hall discussions and breakout sessions featuring community-based success stories in policy change, prevention, cancer screening and cancer survivorship.
Additional details about the program, as well as the many partners from across the U.S. and Hawai‘i who helped make the symposium possible can be found on the symposium website at:

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