Foundation that Fund Medical Education

The HMSA Foundation has awarded funds to support two innovative new University of Hawai`i initiatives that will help improve the quality of life for Hawai‘i’s aging residents, and the health of Native Hawaiian men.

$25, 000 is awarded to the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) for Healthy Aging Online Videos. The Healthy Aging online videos will be produced as part of the Mini-Medical School on Healthy Aging (MMS), a new initiative at the UH medical school. The program was developed by Dr. Virginia Hinshaw, UH Mānoa Chancellor Emeritus and JABSOM Professor of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology. Hawai‘i’s MMS is unique in that it focuses on healthy aging within the context of Hawai‘i’s specific needs, population and culture. It is designed to prepare seniors for the second half of their lives by delivering relevant scientific information on aging, similar to what medical students learn, but tailored for public lay audiences.

The inaugural six-week MMS course featuring a distinguished panel of inter-disciplinary speakers was held in Spring 2014 to an audience of over 160 participants. HMSA Foundation’s grant will fund the production of videos featuring selected MMS topics and speakers that will be posted online and made available to community groups.

Hawai‘i’s older adult population (60+) continues to increase. Between 1980 and 2010, Hawai‘i’s older population increased by 139.8% while the total population only grew by 34.2%. With greater life expectancy, this percentage is expected to grow, and by the end of the next decade, Hawai‘i will be the #1 state in terms of senior citizens as a percentage of its overall population.

“The MMS video project will benefit the people of Hawai‘i by providing senior citizens, their families and caregivers with ready access to reputable, evidence-based public and medical health information on crucial healthy aging issues on a 24/7 basis via home, library or work computer, ” said Dr. Virginia Hinshaw. “This project also provides access to some of our best experts in the state on aging and valuable information on what our seniors need to know and do to remain healthy and enjoy high quality lives.”

NKOPONK logo HMSA also awarded $68, 300 to a program to prevent colon cancer in Native Hawaiian men, which involves the University of Hawai`i Cancer Center.

Colon cancer is the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer death, killing nearly 60, 000 people each year. In Hawai‘i, Native Hawaiian men have one of the highest death rates from colon cancer, compared to other ethnic groups. The high mortality rate amongst Native Hawaiian men is due to later stage diagnoses compared to other ethnic groups. Early and regular screening for precancerous colon lesions can prevent nearly 90% of colon cancers. However, Native Hawaiian men have limited access to screening and are not as likely as other ethnic groups to be screened for colon cancer.

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