Working Towards Cancer Health Equity

The COE Office works with trusted partners within communities to support health promotion and disease prevention activities with the emphasis on populations who experience disparities in cancer incidence and mortality, including Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.  The expected outcome includes reducing disparities in cancer risk exposure, improving treatment and survival for diverse groups in the population of Hawaiʻi and communities across the USAPI.

Increasing Breast & Cervical Cancer Screening Among Pacific Islander Women

working with micronesian women in the community

Many Pacific Island women cannot afford health insurance or medical care, and do not get regular health screenings. This has resulted in higher incidence rates and deaths for breast cancer among Pacific Island women. The COE Office has developed an educational program for Pacific Island women about the importance of early detection, and navigate low-income women who are either uninsured or underinsured to breast and cervical cancer screening. This includes enrollment of Pacific Island women in the Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (TMIST).

Researchers National Impact

AACR Report 2022 cover

The impact of the COE Office goes beyond Hawaiʻi and the Pacific, with involvement on national committees contributing valuable research from the UH Cancer Center. COE Office Faculty Director, Kevin Cassel, DrPH, has served on the American Association for Cancer Research Cancer Disparities Progress Report 2022 steering committee. This report raises awareness about the enormous toll that cancer places on racial and ethnic minorities, and other medically underserved populations. The UH Cancer Center’s Hawaiʻi Tumor Registry provided the latest cancer data in the report, highlighting the impact of cancer health disparities on Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

Improving the Health of Native Hawaiian men


No Ke Ola Pono a Nā Kāne,” using a peer-led health-activated support group model based on the traditional practice of the “hale mua” (men’s house) and kūkakūka (discussion groups). The hale mua historically provided an opportunity for dialogue among kāne about the methods used to sustain families, the training needed for initiating young men into manhood, and teaching the traditions of culture and family. A community-based approach, this cultural practice is used to promote health and well-being among Hawaiian men.

Collaborating Across the Pacific


pipche logo

Pacific Island Partnership for Cancer Health Equity (PIPCHE) is a collaboration between UH Cancer Center and University of Guam. PIPCHE focuses on delivering public education about cervical and colorectal cancer screening, tobacco and betel nut use prevention, HPV immunization, and participation in clinical trials among Micronesians and Filipinos in Guam and Hawaiʻi.


The UH Cancer Center has established the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Cancer Prevention (TPPCP) which includes the University of Guam, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, and the American Sāmoa Community Cancer Coalition. TPPCP is designed to enhance research collaborations, provide community education, and facilitate the successful attainment of community engagement and research objectives to reduce cancer burden. The COE sponsored a UH Cancer Center RFA to TPPCP members on cancer prevention research in the USAPI, and funded a project to develop culturally and language-appropriate education tools on oral cancer on Satawal Island, Yap State, FSM.