The Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program, a program of Papa Ola Lōkahi, is proud to announce eight scholarships awarded to students in health care professions.


NHHSP 2016 2017 scholars


Professional training being funded in this year’s cohort includes students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and social work.  Scholars are enrolled in bachelors, masters and doctorate programs.

“This cohort includes a good cross-section of disciplines,” points out M. Keaulana Holt, NHHSP director, “which enables us to contribute to several different professional gaps in Hawai‘i.”

The Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program (NHHSP) addresses access to health care by developing a Native Hawaiian health care workforce of professionals committed to serving the unique health needs of Hawaiian communities. The program recruits and nurtures professionals-in-training for primary and mental care disciplines most needed to deliver quality, culturally competent health services to Kānaka Maoli in Hawai‘i.

This merit-based program awards scholarships to eligible individuals that are dedicated to providing primary health services to Native Hawaiians and their families in Hawai‘i.  Scholars receive funding for tuition, books, other related educational costs, and a monthly stipend while enrolled full-time in an accredited university/college program. Scholarship recipients are obligated to serve full-time in medically under-served areas in Hawai‘i for two (minimum) to four (maximum) years, depending upon the length of scholarship support.  A coordinated service plan (licensure, service site) is designed for each scholar, matching health provider to community.

More than 265 scholarship awards have been made in almost 20 different health and mental health disciplines.

Of the eight 2016 scholars, two are studying in the continental US, and six are training on O‘ahu in both public and private universities.  One is a second-time awardee who has completed the service obligation that was attached to the first scholarship award.

The scholars are:

  • Kapono Ikala‘i Chang                                   Medicine, A.T. Stills
  • Alyssa Ann Ka‘ihilani Chun-Honda            Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine
  • Michelle Izzi                                                   Nursing, University of Phoenix Honolulu
  • Leimomi Kanagusuku                                   Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine
  • Ka‘imaile Kiefer                                             Nursing, UH Hilo
  • Michael Keawe Makaimoku                         Pharmacy, Lake Erie College
  • Ashley Morisako                                            Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine
  • Clarence Bernard Vierra                               Social work, Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work

“It has been demonstrated that Hawaiians are more likely to seek care when they feel they can relate to the health care providers,” says Holt.IMG 8098

Earlier this year, the program placed more than ten NHHSP graduates into worksites around the islands where they are now serving their communities as health professionals.

“There are needs on all islands and we fill them with the best candidates for those communities,” asserts Holt.  “Several of our alumni are working in their home communities.”

“The real measure of success is how a more robust Hawaiian health care workforce is impacting the health and well-being of our communities.”

For more information about the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program visit our website at    Applications for the year will open on December 1, 2017.

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