The number of South Asians in the United States has grown tremendously in the past decades, and now stands at over 2.5 million. This population, which hails largely from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal, has staggering cardiovascular and cancer risk. Although diverse, it often faces tremendous cultural, socioeconomic, linguistic and structural obstacles to achieving good health. Coupled with this is a paucity of detailed data on the populations'unique cardiovascular and cancer risk profiles, etiologic mechanisms, and effective interventions to address the health disparities affecting first and second- generation South Asians in the United States. This data gap compels a convening of those who are working in these areas to develop more targeted research and evidence-based practice and policy. Two leaders in the field, the South Asian Health Initiative (SAHI), a community based participatory research program in New York, co-directed by the Center for Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities (CIHCD) at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS), and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) in California, are thus partnering to bring together the first national South Asian translational research convening, South Asian Health: From Research to Practice and Policy, to take place in New York City on September 20th, 2013. This one day invitational conference will join a multidisciplinary group of researchers, community members, and practitioners in medicine, nursing, health policy, social science, public health, and economics to partner in a multi-faceted South Asian health disparities research review to identify gaps and synergies, and to develop a blueprint for future research priorities. Conference planning efforts will be led by a robust Steering Committee consisting of national and international experts in South Asian health disparities research and practice, and community leaders. They will advise all aspects of conference planning and execution, which will lead to a blueprint for a translational research agenda and action on cardiovascular disease and cancer in the South Asian community. The convening will include approximately 50 invited experts, and a group of observers, who will participate in working group sessions divided by themes: genetic risk and metabolic syndrome;smokeless tobacco use;inflammation, infection, and exposure;and health care access. The conference will be truly translational in nature, bridging outreach and education, research, practice, and policy. Five post-conference community town hall meetings, in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, will extend the conference's interactions with the community. The meetings will utilize a modified Delphi process to further engage the SA community in identifying research and service priorities, facilitate the development of the research blueprint, and disseminate conference findings. The working group sessions and the community town hall meetings will be the foundation for a yearlong collaborative effort to chart a blueprint for South Asian health disparities translational research and action, and to develop resultant research programs. The work will culminate in a special supplement in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.
South Asian Health: From Research to Practice and Policy will review current research, identify gaps, and develop an action agenda moving forward to address the staggering cardiovascular disease and cancer risk in the large, growing South Asian communities in the United States. This research convening will unite the community, scientists, providers, and policy makers to reduce the large health disparities faced by South Asians in the United States.
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