Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

COVID-19 took serious toll on Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander mental and physical health

Two UC Riverside-led studies found concerning psychological and physical health problems among more than 300 NH/PIs in five US states


September 20, 2022

Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, or NH/PIs, comprising more than 20 ethnic groups hailing from Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia, are understudied despite being the third fastest growing racial group in the United States. Two studies now report that NH/PIs have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrew Subica at the University of California, Riverside, led research groups that surveyed more than 300 NH/PIs from April-November 2021 in Washington, Utah, Oregon, California, and Arkansas — states with large NH/PI populations. Their findings are published in two journals.

Described in the first paper, published in Public Health Reports, the researchers found 30% of the NH/PI participants reported being diagnosed with COVID-19 and approximately 50% of the participants reported having a close family member with COVID-19.

Further, nearly 1 out of 5 NH/PIs reported the death of a close family member due to COVID-19 infection.

In the second paper, published in Drug and Alcohol Review, Subica and his team share their findings after conducting a large-scale investigation of NH/PI substance use, mental health, and treatment need during COVID-19.

The research team found NH/PI communities experienced high levels of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, depression, anxiety, and unmet treatment need during COVID-19; 47% and 22% of NH/PI adults reported current alcohol and cigarette use, respectively, while 35% reported lifetime illicit substance use.

About UC Riverside

The University of California, Riverside is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment is more than 26,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual impact of more than $2.7 billion on the U.S. economy. To learn more, visit


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