Community Engagement

Native Hawaiian Task Force

On September 23, 2013, the Senate of the Twenty-Seventh Legislature of the State of Hawai‘i, Regular Session of 2014, passed Senate Resolution No. 60, S.D.1, creating a Native Hawaiian Health Task Force, to specifically improve the health of Native Hawaiians with implications for other Pacific Islanders and all people of Hawai‘i.

Per Senate Resolution No. 60 S.D.1, the task force will focus on the following work:

  • Create data sharing policies between state agencies to improve access to these data for timely and disaggregated analyses to help inform policies and programs aimed at improving Native Hawaiian health;
  • Propose cost-effective improvements to the environments where Native Hawaiians live, learn, work, and play;
  • Propose state legislation to address social and cultural determinants of health in Hawai‘i;
  • Raise awareness and propose programs to advance health equity;
  • Propose programs and legislative action that will address barriers to access to health care;
  • Guide the use of existing collaborations, systems, and partnerships to leverage resources and maximize outcomes;
  • Propose activities that will support community organizations promoting their own health on their own terms; and
  • Propose initiatives that will increase preventive services available in Native Hawaiian communities

The goal of the task force is to articulate priority areas that will help to advance health equity for Native Hawaiians, and in turn, the health of Hawai‘i’s entire population. The framework and recommendations discussed should be embraced by community members, agencies, government, and individuals in addition to those who view themselves as native-serving institutions. This work is community- and land-focused and emphasizes Native Hawaiian values and aspirations.

The resolution called for this task force to be co-chaired by the Chair for the Department of Native Hawaiian Health of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, the Director of Health, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (or their designees). It also called for an additional 20 members from the Native Hawaiian community to serve on this task force.

Social & Cultural Determinants of Health for Native Hawaiians

Ancient Hawaiians understood the role political, social, environmental, and cultural factors played in a person’s health and wellbeing. This understanding has been passed down to Native Hawaiians in present day and is figuratively illustrated in the above ‘Ōlelo No‘eau (Hawaiian proverbial saying). Conventional sciences have only recently uncovered what this ancient derived wisdom has understood for generations–that the foundation for optimal health, the well-being, is tied to the quality of our interpersonal relations, of the environments in which we live, work, learn, play, age and of society’s support for one’s cultural identity and preferred modes of living. All of these factors are linked to political decisions and derived policies. The Native Hawaiian Health Task Force uses a social and cultural determinants of health model to inform and situate our findings.

Please click HERE to view our fact sheet.

Please click HERE  to view our final report.