Using Culture to Educate Pacific Islander Men About Health and Aging
Relatively little attention has been paid in the literature to strategies promoting the health of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander (NHPI) men. To fill this void, a Native Hawaiian cancer survivor and a Marshallese minister in Orange County, California, founded the Kane Group to promote men’s health information and support. This group is comprised of 10 to 15 NHPI men, ages 35 to 83, with a diverse background of experiences in the U.S. healthcare system and health conditions, including multiple site cancer survivors and/or co-morbidity and chronic condition, like high blood pressure, diabetes. The Kane Group provides social support and engages in discussions, using the island tradition of “talk story”, to relate a variety of men’s health issues from prostate cancer to physical fitness to end-of-life decision making in a supportive and safe environment. The group weaves Pacific Islander culture and values into the process and conduct of the support groups. This community commentary describes the innovative strategies, successes, and challenges that emerged with the development of the group that were designed to celebrate Pacific Islander men’s health, provide information, fellowship, and support for the many who are facing health crises.