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Spectrum CTSA Resources Help Advance Asian Health and Research

The Stanford Center for Asian Health Research and Education (CARE) is growing multi-disciplinary research, education, and clinical care support for Asian health

July 2021

Asians make up 60% of the globe, 6% of the United States, and 30% of the Bay Area. As the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the U.S. (25% of all foreign-born people), Asians in the U.S. are projected to reach nearly 34 million by 2050. However, less than 1% of NIH research goes toward Asian health, and what little research does exist tends to group all Asians together, masking important differences in disease risk, treatment patterns, and outcomes between Asian subgroups. Asians are vastly underrepresented in clinical trials and genetics research.

The CARE team is working toward a future where every person has access to precise, culturally tailored healthcare that meets their individual needs and ensures equity...

“As healthcare providers, we have no data to guide our treatment of minority patients, who experience tremendous disparities in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and mental health. There is a crucial need to address these disparities in the lab, the clinic, and the home,” explains Dr. Latha Palaniappan.

Stanford’s Center for Asian Health Research and Education (CARE) is tackling this situation head-on. Founded by Dr. Palaniappan and Dr. Bryant Lin in 2018, CARE provides support, training, and mentorship opportunities for clinical and translational science research in Asian health, with its faculty, staff, and students pursuing biological, industry, and government research at national and global levels. The CARE team is also utilizing Spectrum CTSA infrastructure resources such as biobanks, the Clinical and Translational Research Unit (CTRU), the Stanford Research Registry, and the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design (BERD) program to positively impact Asian clinical care and improve the health of Asians everywhere.

Notable CARE initiatives include:

  • Awarding faculty Seed/Sapling Grants to investigators in Asian medical therapy and for research on traditional Asian medicines,
  • Relaunching the quarterly Journal of Asian Health (first issue July 2021), which features manuscripts, studies, reviews, and opinion editorials on healthcare issues and disease risks and outcomes in Asian populations,
  • Hosting Annual Conferences, including the Gastric Cancer Summit, the International COVID-19 Conference, and the Evidence-based Traditional Asian Medicine (ETAM) Conference, and
  • Leading cutting-edge research projects, including:
    • Project Legacy, which aims to create a data bank of medical information and biospecimens voluntarily donated by patients post-mortem. Patient stories and obituary information will be collected to capture rich data about end-of-life care.
    • Project DAsH: Data on Asian Health, which brings together diverse datasets to understand complex health issues and find solutions for Asian precision health. Rich and diverse national and international data will be acquired, with opportunities for potential linkage, recruitment, and long-term follow-up for transdisciplinary research across many health outcomes.
    • Project COAVE: COVID Asian Vaccine Efficacy Study, which aims to advance equitable, personalized precision health by investigating the effectiveness of COVID vaccines in Asian Americans. COVID vaccine data will be acquired and analyzed by Asian American subgroups to understand potential disparities, with the goal of better health outcomes in diverse groups.
    • Stanford Research Registry/CARE is working with the Spectrum CTSA to increase the representation of Asians in research. Please sign up to find out about research studies that may be of interest to you.

In alignment with Spectrum’s education and workforce development goals, CARE initiatives also include a summer immersion scholars program in Data Science and Vulnerable Populations for undergraduate and graduate students, with a focus in Asian Health. In addition, CARE offers a monthly series of Community Health Talks on an array of topics.

The CARE team is working toward a future where every person has access to precise, culturally tailored healthcare that meets their individual needs and ensures equity and excellence for all by increasing research in Asian health; educating patients, providers, and the community about Asian health needs; and improving the culturally sensitive and evidence-based delivery of Asian clinical care.