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Strength in Numbers: Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders Building Tools for Health Equity

The Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) community, often hidden by a lack of disaggregated data, has been devastated by COVID-19; Dr. Ninez Ponce, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR), leads efforts by CHPR’s NHPI Data Policy Lab to study and respond to these problems

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021
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The Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) community, often hidden by a lack of disaggregated data, has been devastated by COVID-19; Dr. Ninez Ponce, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR), leads efforts by CHPR’s NHPI Data Policy Lab to study and respond to these problems.

Over the last year, research has shown that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on many racial and ethnic minorities. The impact on the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) community has been devastating, with NHPIs experiencing the highest COVID-19 case and death rates of any race and ethnicity in California. They are three times more likely to contract COVID-19 compared to white people and nearly twice as likely to die.

As part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the NHPI Data Policy Lab at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) and the Regional Pacific Islander Taskforce (with support from the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative) have unveiled the California NHPI COVID-19 Data Dashboard and the Bay Area COVID-19 Pacific Islander Data Dashboard, two exciting tools that provide a closer look at COVID-19 case and death rates among NHPIs in California.

Policymakers, health officials, community leaders, and the public are invited to learn more about the California and Bay Area dashboards, as well as COVID-19 challenges continuously faced by the NHPI community and the need for resources to address them.

Calvin Chang, JD, data analytics director for the UCLA CHPR NHPI Data Policy Lab, will walk through a new dashboard which provides COVID-19 case and death rates by California county, and Winston Tseng, PhD, associate professor of research at UC Berkeley and the data committee lead for the Regional Pacific Islander Taskforce, will share the Bay Area COVID-19 Pacific Islander Data Dashboard.

Community partners, including the Pacific Islander Health Partnership (Orange County and SoCal), Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), Pacific Islander Community Partnership (San Mateo and San Francisco), and Regional Pacific Islander Task Force (Tri-County), will highlight the continued needs in the regions of California they’re providing services for, how the data has been useful in their efforts, and opportunities for county/state agencies, funders, and policymakers to address equity in those regions.

UCLA CHPR's NHPI Data Policy Lab launched its first NHPI COVID-19 dashboard, which focused on statewide NHPI case and death rates across the United States, in August 2020. Since then, the NHPI Data Policy Lab has been featured in UCLA magazine, news media, academic journals, and received a $500,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

by Elaiza Torralba


The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founded in 1961, is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals from diverse backgrounds, translating research into policy and practice, and serving our local communities and the communities of the nation and the world. The school has 631 students from 26 nations engaged in carrying out the vision of building healthy futures in greater Los Angeles, California, the nation and the world.