Pacific High Schools STEP-UP Program

Pacific High Schools STEP-UP to One Health in Saipan – Tropical Medicine Ph.D. candidate Aquena Ball (far right) spent a week in the Pacific (Saipan/CNMI) training local science teachers to run a molecular biology laboratory workshop for high school students. This work is part of the department’s outreach and training efforts to establish a pipeline of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders pursuing a career in biomedical research in the USAPI, and is supported by a grant from NIH/NIDDK: Pacific High Schools STEP-UP to One Health.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Short-Term Education Program for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP) is a component of the NIDDK Strategic Plan on Minority to reduce and eliminate health disparities, expand research education and training opportunities for underrepresented minority scientists, and provide information to racial  and ethnic minority groups of disease. The most striking disparities in the burden of disease in the United States are experienced by African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, and Asians.  In addition to these ethnic and racial minorities, health disparities exist among population groups segregated by gender, education or income, disability, geographic location, and sexual orientation.  As a result, it is essential to diversify the biomedical and health care workforce with research scientists who are culturally competent and responsive to the multiple cultural and social needs of underrepresented persons. To date collaborative workshops have been established in American Samoa and Saipan.

NIH awarded a 5-year grant to the University of Hawaii to continue development of the Pacific STEP-UP program.  May 9, 2012 marked the official opening of the Pacific STEP-UP Research Training Laboratory at the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI), a project supported by a grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the University of Hawaii. The lab is a result of a new collaboration between the NIH, CMI and the University of Hawaiiʻs School of Medicineʻs STEP Program. 11th and 12th grade students can now gain hands-on laboratory research to foster an interest in biomedical research. Future labs are planned for Ponape and Chuuk.

Application Period: November 15 to February 15

For more information, contact STEP-UP Program Director Dr. George Hui or visit the following websites: