Native Hawaiian Health

Introduction | Faculty & Staff

The mission of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health is to be an academic center of excellence committed to optimal health and wellness for all Native Hawaiian people through research, education, and quality health practices. To accomplish this mission, the department will actively seek partnerships with others in the community who share our mission and vision.

The department is developing quickly. It has established a community board, created synergistic partnerships with other university health programs, and has been awarded federally funded grants. In addition, the department is in the processof creating a long-term business and strategic plan.

To increase and improve the health workforce through education and training, especially in Native Hawaiian communities, two existing programs will be integrated and expanded. These programs are:
  1. The native Hawaiian Center of Excellence, which in addition to other programs is developing a culturally competent curriculum at the medical school
  2. The Imi Ho’ola Post-Baccalaureate Program, which continues its efforts to increase the number of disadvantaged students entering the practice of medicine.
In addition, new partnerships with other Native Hawaiian organizations will focus on developing models of health care practices which may include the use of traditional healing methods, telemedicine technology, and/or the translation of science-based practices with traditional healing approaches.

Research is a major focus of the department, and includes a study of the health disparities that disproportionately affects the Native Hawaiian population. The Hawai'i EXPORT Center, a five-year, five million dollar grant from the NIH National Center of Minority Health and Health Disparities, focuses on reducing and eliminating diabetes-related disparities in Native Hawaiians and other Pacific-based populations. This involves activities such as conducting hypothesis driven research, developing pilot studies, training new researchers and networking with Native Hawaiian communities to disseminate research information. Examples of these studies include researching whether Iomi Iomi (massage therapy) can reduce stress in Native Hawaiians with type 2 diabetes, why Pacific Island women seek prenatal care late in their terms, and why Native Hawaiians, Filipinos and Japanese in the islands have higher rates of kidney disease. The center also conducts lectures to improve diabetes self-care among Native Hawaiians.

Other research initiatives include existing grants and contracts listed under the Diabetes Research Projects as well as an Endowed Chair for Research, established through an NIH award.

Phone: (808) 587-8570
677 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 1016B,
Honolulu, HI 96813


John A. Burns School of Medicine • University of Hawai`i at Manoa
651 Ilalo Street • Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813
© 2008