Micronesians Building Healthier Communities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Dina M. Shek JD, MA; Rebecca Delafield PhD, MPH; James Perez Viernes PhD; Joseph Pangelinan PhD, MA; Innocenta Sound-Kikku; Jendrikdrik Paul; Tulpe Tosie Day BA; and Shanty Sigrah Asher JD, MS
Hawai‘i Journal of Health & Social Welfare
Micronesian communities in Hawai‘i have a long history of mobilizing to address challenges they encounter as the most recent and fastest growing Pacific Islander immigrant population in the state. In particular, community leaders navigate a slew of obstacles specific to systemic racism and health care access. These hurdles have become exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting a range of Micronesian-led responses to the health crisis including strategic adaptations to existing networks and roles to address essential public health functions. These community responses have filled many critical gaps left by the state’s delayed response to addressing the disparate impact of COVID-19 on Micronesian communities. This article highlights and encourages engagement with diverse models of collaboration and elevation of Micronesian leadership that has resulted in more productive cooperation with government leaders, agencies, and policymakers. This work offers insight into pathways forward toward healthier Micronesian families and communities.