Palo Alto Medical Foundation Newsroom

NIH Awards $2 Million Grant to PAMF Research Institute to Study Asian Americans’ Health

Researchers at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) have received a five-year, $2 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to study Asian Americans’ health.  Asian Americans comprise the largest racial/ethnic minority group of patients at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF). This study will improve the understanding of causes of death in this population.

The Causes of Asian American mortality Understood by Socio-Economic Status (CAUSES) study is a collaborative effort between PAMFRI and Stanford University, and will be co-led by Latha Palaniappan, M.D., associate investigator at the PAMFRI, and Dr. Mark Cullen, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Stanford University.

Dr. Latha Palaniappan, associate investigator at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute

For several years, PAMF has proactively conducted extensive outreach to South Asian patients to address issues of health and wellness, including nutrition, fitness and health maintenance.

Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, with a population of more than 14 million; this figure is projected to reach nearly 34 million by 2050. Very little is known about disparities among the Asian American subgroups (Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese).

Dr. Palaniappan and Dr. Cullen will lead the study team, which also includes David Rehkopf, ScD, MPH, assistant professor in the department of Medicine at Stanford University; Karen Eggleston, Ph.D., Fellow and Asian Health Policy program director at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University; Ben Goldstein, Ph.D., senior biostatistician in the department of Medicine at Stanford University; Shripad Tuljapurkar, Ph.D, Dean and Virginia Morrison professor of Population Studies at Stanford University; and Diane Lauderdale, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago.

The goal of the CAUSES study is to examine differences in mortality among Asian Americans by place of birth (nativity) and compared to other racial/ethnic groups (non-Hispanic whites, African Americans and Hispanics) while taking into account various socio-demographic and environmental factors. The information learned from the study will help to inform both treatment and prevention efforts within the diverse Asian American subgroups.

“Most studies examining disparities in health do not separate underlying racial or ethnic and socioeconomic factors,” says Hal Luft, Ph.D., director of PAMFRI. “This new NIMHD-funded study leverages PAMF’s talented research team to bring new, methodologically sound, research to bear on this critical question.”