PHILADELPHIA (October 2, 2023) — Researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center and the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University will serve as two of the principal investigators on the Asian American Community Cohort and Equity Study, which is part of a new seven-year epidemiological cohort study of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AsA-NHPI).
The initiative will gather important health information on these populations, which are underrepresented in biomedical research. It will include researchers from several other centers across the United States who will work together to lead community-engaged efforts to recruit and follow individuals from AsA-NHPI populations residing in their geographic areas.
Carolyn Fang, PhD, Associate Director for Population Science and a Professor in the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program at Fox Chase, will join forces with Grace Ma, PhD, Founding Director of the Center for Asian Health, Associate Dean for Health Disparity, and the Laura H. Carnell Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Urban Health and Population Science at the Katz School of Medicine.
This epidemiological cohort study is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, along with four other NIH institutes. Fang, Ma, and a third principal investigator, Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD, MPH, the Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will receive $4.4 million in funding over the seven years of the study.
“Funding like this fuels the research needed to improve the health of AsA-NHPI communities both in our backyard and across the United States. We’re very thankful for it,” said Fang.
“Dr. Fang and I, along with the entire Center for Asian Health, have collaborated on research into health disparities affecting Asian American communities for the last 20 years,” added Ma. “This funding will help us continue this very important work to address data gaps in the understudied and underserved Asian American ethnic subpopulations.”
The study is a response to the lack of data for these populations, including their health and their risk factors for a variety of diseases. It will drill down into risk factors that drive cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, diabetes, cancer, mental health, and other chronic health conditions by collecting a number of biospecimens, including blood, urine, and microbiome samples to analyze for this and future studies.
The research team plans to recruit at least 2,400 people across the region for the study. These data will contribute to the larger cohort of 10,000 AsA-NHPI participants being created nationwide. In addition to describing the current health status of these populations, the researchers will follow individuals over time to monitor their health through psychosocial, behavioral, clinical, and biological data.
The research is supported by the NIH under award number 1UG3HL170034-01, and its content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.