‘Imi Hale Native Hawaiian Cancer Awareness, Research and Training Network is an example of an Asian American-focused CBPR.157 This network was nationally funded through the National Cancer Institute of the US National Instittes of Health (NIH) and was the only network of its kind based in a CBO rather than an academic or medical center. ‘Imi Hale staff were primarily Native Hawaiians, while their Community Council members included various professionals from throughout the Hawaiian islands, and the Scientific Council comprised academics, half of whom were Native Hawaiian. In line with the CBPR principle of capacity building, ‘Imi Hale worked with several Native Hawaiian Heath Care Systems, providing them with funding for their outreach staff. ‘Imi Hale also provided training in community outreach and mobilization, cultural competency, research, health education, grant writing, manuscript writing, and program evaluation to all network members. For their part, Native Hawaiian Heath Care Systems helped recruit participants and test educational materials. To continue the collaborative research process with the Native Hawaiian community, ‘Imi Hale aimed to build their cancer research skills. This iterative process was time and labor intensive, consisting of many cycles of seeking and incorporating community feedback on general research directions and then on the cultural relevancy of materials.

The ‘Imi Hale network also provided training and opportunities for Native Hawaiians to work on the research study and be involved in all important decisions, including how funds were spent. This collaborative network, led by and for Native Hawaiians, was able to build community capacity to write scientific papers, provide cancer education, mobilize, and other skills, as well as increase the availability of Native Hawaiian-specific educational materials.

As with other groups, successful CBPR efforts with Asian American communities require understanding of opportunities and challenges and appropriate application of the CBPR process. Community-based participatory research has great potential to help increase understanding of the unique and varied health needs of Asian Americans including disaggregating information about Asians and better understanding and attending to the needs of individual subgroups that comprise the Asian American community in the United States.

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