Research on Diabetes Affecting Two Indigenous Populations in Hawaii

To study that diabetes is 2.5 times higher among Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, a group at the University of Hawaii has received a five-year grant worth $3.3 million. This grant comes from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, a department within the National Institutes of Health. Diabetes research has become an increased focus for grant-making institutions.

Dr. Alika Maunakea will be leading the research team at the University of Hawaii that will study the nature of this disease among these two indigenous populations. Maunakea and his team will be recruiting Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders between the ages of 20 and 50 for the research study. The team will collect data and samples from healthy, pre-diabetic and diabetic participants. This will enable them to monitor and analyze the data and potentially affect the long-term health of these communities. Considering the health complications that can result from diabetes, as the risk of amputation, kidney failure, or even death, this kind of diabetes research is imperative.

“Part of our mission is really to understand what drives these disparities so we can ultimately restore health equity. It’s been a challenge getting this through, but we’re so excited about it and looking forward to starting the study,” Maunakea told Hawaii Public Radio.

Diabetes Risks

According to the Mayo Clinic, the risks associated with diabetes are substantial. Complications from untreated diabetes can include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Eye damage (retinopathy)
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Foot damage
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy)
  • Skin conditions

In the short or long term, diabetes is a disease that requires treatment and study. If left without treatment, there is a risk of complications leading to death.

According to Dr. Maunakea, this is the first study of its kind. This research will be the first epigenome and microbiome study to include relatively young members of these populations.

GrantNews Notes

GrantWatch has a grant listed for USA, Canada, and International Organizations for diabetes advocacy, care, and prevention in developing countries. GrantWatch hosts two relevant categories for grant-seekers looking for similar projects. First, we have a research and evaluation grant category. This category includes grants for types of research, including critical medical research grants. The second relevant category is our health and medical grant category. Sign up for a paid GrantWatch subscription to gain access to all of our resources for grant-seekers.

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