Department of Native Hawaiian Health

graduating class holding hands forming a circle
Native Hawaiian MD graduates join with department faculty, medical school and UH leadership and loved ones in a Kiheī Ceremony at JABSOM in 2012.


The Department of Native Hawaiian Health (DNHH) is concerned with the healthcare of Native Hawaiians. Through research and education, this department helps to develop a comprehensive program that addresses the healthcare status of Native Hawaiians. The John A. Burns School of Medicine provides assistance in educating the community on health issues of Native Hawaiians. This department also houses two divisions related to Native Hawaiian health and welfare – the ʻImi Hoʻōla Program and the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence.

Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence

The mission of the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence (NHCOE) is to promote the health of Native Hawaiians by recruiting students into the health professions, conducting health disparities research, promoting faculty and student development, implementing cultural competency development training, and disseminating information resources relevant to the health of Native Hawaiians.

ʻImi Hoʻōla Program

ʻImi Hoʻōla is a 12-month post-baccalaureate program that directly supports the diversity of the physician workforce and produces physicians who have a strong commitment to practice in underserved communities in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. Each year, up to 12 students are selected to participate in the program.  Upon successful completion, they will matriculate into the MD program as first-year medical students.  Eligible individuals are from a disadvantaged socio-economic and/or educational background who have demonstrated a commitment to serve in areas of need in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands.

Research is a major focus of the department, and includes a study of the health disparities that disproportionately affects the Native Hawaiian population. The Hawaiʻi EXPORT Center, a five-year, five million dollar grant from the NIH National Center of Minority Health and Health Disparities, will focus 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.

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) 692-1050
677 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 1016B
Honolulu, HI 96813

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