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PAPA OLA LŌKAHI HONORS AND SUPPORTS SACRED PLACES

 

Ka ʻIkena—the vision adopted by Papa Ola Lōkahi—is a thriving Native community composed of healthy individuals and families informed about their rich heritage and culture, living in a state of lōkahi (unity), and making informed choices and responsible decisions in a safe island society that is pono (in proper order).

Among our guiding principles is mālama: a Hawaiian cultural value that guides our work to nurture, care for, and steward. As the Board of Directors for a Native Hawaiian-serving organization, we recognize that our edict of mālama encompasses people, the environment, and our living culture.

As Kānaka Maoli making up the Native Hawaiian Health Board, we know that wahi kapu, sacred places, are essential to Hawaiian identity, health and well-being.

Papa Ola Lōkahi supports the protection and preservation of all sacred places in the interest of perpetuating traditional and customary rights of Native Hawaiians.

E ola mau a mau.

Ratified by Papa Ola Lōkahi board, July 16, 2019 [PDF]

 

 

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Papa Ola Lōkahi, the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems and the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program

Improving Hawaiian Health and Well-Being for 30 Years

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FOR RELEASE:   June 19, 2019

 

SHERI-ANN DANIELS SELECTED TO SERVE ON U.S. ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON MINORITY HEALTH

First Native Hawaiian to Serve in this Role

 

DanielsS OMH 2019

(Kaka‘ako, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i) – Dr. Sheri-Ann Daniels, Executive Director of Papa Ola Lōkahi, has been appointed by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar II to serve a four-year term, effective April 26, 2019, on the Office of Minority Health’s Advisory Committee on Minority Health.

Born and raised on Maui, Daniels is the first Native Hawaiian to serve on the Committee since its formation in 1998.

The Committee advises HHS on improving the health of racial and ethnic minority groups, and on the development of goals and program activities within the Office of Minority Health. Committee members must have expertise regarding issues of minority health, and are selected based on nominations received from across the U.S.

“It is an honor to represent the Native Hawaiian community on the Advisory Committee on Minority Health at the request of Secretary Azar,” said Dr. Daniels. “I look forward to serving with my new colleagues to address the unique needs of our diverse communities and ultimately improve population health outcomes.”

Dr. Daniels was named Executive Director of Papa Ola Lōkahi in April 2016. In this role, she leads efforts to improve the overall health and well-being of Native Hawaiians and their families, through strategic partnerships, programs and public policy.

In 2017 Dr. Daniels was appointed chairperson of Nā Limahana o Lonopūhā, the Native Hawaiian Health Consortium. An integrated network of leading senior executives and health care providers, consortium members propose progressive models of culture- and research-based methods in implementing prevention and treatment programs focused on systemic outcomes among various levels of Hawaiian health and wellness.

A graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, Dr. Daniels received her bachelor’s in family resources from the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She carries a master’s in counseling psychology from Chaminade University of Honolulu, in addition to a doctorate from Argosy University, and currently holds several license certifications. Dr. Daniels is actively involved in various community organizations on Maui, where she lives, and O‘ahu, including Hawaiian language education.

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Papa Ola Lōkahi, the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems and the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program

Improving Hawaiian Health and Well-Being for 30 Years

 

NEWS RELEASE PDF

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Contact:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at 808-597-6550 x815 

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Mahina Wahine.  In tribute to Women's Month, Papa Ola Lokahi presents a series of authentic stories that are profound and personal, intimate and inspiring.  *   

He ula o Kahoolawe compress

It started with a yes. Yes, let’s have a baby. That was August of 2015. It’s now March 2019.

That yes started me on a fertility journey and along the way I found me.

How did it all begin?

Well my best friend, baby daddy, donor, Peter asked me one night, “let’s have a baby?” I said “YES!” A week passed and I confirmed my decision to him and with a parting embrace left New Zealand.

We went our separate ways. I returned home and began the process of looking into assisted reproductive technology, otherwise known as fertility treatments. I faced some barriers:  First, I was unmarried; second, Peter lived in New Zealand; and third, health insurance plans have some terms. Financially, fertility treatments can start at $10,000 and be upward of $50,000. I considered embarking on this journey in New Zealand and contacted a clinic there.

In October 2016, we officially began our fertility journey with a clinic in Hawaii. We were not immediately blessed with pregnancy. Challenges such as sperm quality and quantity, as well as egg health, were major factors in succeeding. After four intrauterine inseminations (IUI)--three are required per the health plan before in vitro fertilization (IVF) is approved for single or same sex couples--and two embryo transfers, we were finally pregnant in December 2017.

Peter and I along with our collective families were overjoyed with the news. We kept the news to a few and as I began my second trimester, shared the news publicly. On March 29, I was admitted to hospital, 21 weeks pregnant. Benjamin Peter, our son, was impatient. Born on March 31, 2018, he lived for 26 minutes on my bosom in my hands.

Did your son's death deter me from moving forward with your journey?

No. If anything his death became a driver. At this point, I came into a space of needing to have my own family. Now, I know pregnancy is possible. You see I come from a line of strong and very determined women. I tried again in October 2018, but that resulted in no pregnancy. As of now, I’m waiting on Peter to get to Hawaii.  You see, I am out of sperm. But that’s another story.

What impact has this had?

I should mention that during this time, my mom was diagnosed with stomach cancer in July 2015 while I was studying in New Zealand. In 2016, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. My mom died in June 2017, my sister in March 2018, and then, my son.

No one is ever prepared for death. To lose three generations in a 9-month span took a toll on me. The grief was compounded.

Through the fertility journey, I became familiar with my body, my emotions, my feelings. All these sensations were heightened for more than 2 years. I learned to manage my emotions, including my grief. At my lowest, I found myself crying daily. A year later, I am stronger, in a better space.

Once off hormones, I knew my true self again. It truly was a struggle. I felt bad for my immediate family and Peter. He got the worst of me.

The journey is not an easy one nor is it for everyone. The toll was emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. I struggled at all levels. Along the way, I met women who shared their stories. Some had positive pregnancy results but were unable to sustain a pregnancy past the first trimester.  Others had stillbirths.  Yet, others are still trying. In the end, we all agree: it’s worth every sacrifice to have a baby. I believe that for some women it completes them.

My greatest lesson was the words Peter shared with me after our son died, “Benjamin Peter is our love, life, and light.”

 

~ Donna-Marie Palakiko, wahine, mother, daughter, sister, lover 

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A KaonohiAlexander Friedenburg Ka‘ōhiai Ka‘ōnohi, 1905-1960, was a naturopathic physician, pharmacist and botanist descended from a long line of Hawaiian healers.  He was a pioneer in integrating western and traditional practices into his daily healing work.

Alexander was born April 24, 1905 to James Ka‘ōhiai Ka‘ōnohi and Minnie ‘Awa‘awa Friedenburg. His grandfathers and great-grandfathers were herbal medicine practitioners

His obituary claims he was the only licensed Hawaiian drugless physician in Hawai‘i when he opened up his new clinic, Ka‘ōnohi Naturopathic Clinic, on the corner of Castle and Kapāhulu streets in Honolulu.  He specialized in Hawaiian herb treatments, drugless medicine and bloodless surgery.  He had branches on Maui and Hawai‘i Island, where he saw patients and mentored younger medical and lā‘au lapa‘au practitioners.

Dr. Ka‘ōnohi graduated from the Standard and National College of Drugless Naturopathic Physicians in Chicago with doctorate degrees in naturopathy and drugless medicine, and a masters in natural medicine.  He was also certified in pharmacy.

Dr. Ka‘ōnohi has been an inspiration to the Hawaiian health community for his holistic approach to healing and his commitment to mentoring others striving to serve the greater good.

Thus, Papa Ola Lōkahi has presented the Ka‘ōnohi Award to 64 individuals for their significant contributions to the health and well-being of Native Hawaiians and their families.

Learn more about Dr. Ka‘ōnohi in this 2011 video.

Hau‘oli Lā Hānau, Dr. Ka‘ōnohi!

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 Mahina Wahine.  In tribute to Women's Month, Papa Ola Lokahi presents a series of authentic stories that are profound and personal, intimate and inspiring.  *   

Dancers feet HOSW img 8436 crop

Infertility.

It seems like such a bad word. Spoken in hushed tones as if no one should hear it. Not only is it hard to speak, but all the reasons one is infertile are just as troubling. The process to get to a place of acceptance has been a long one that has involved many questions, numerous tests, pills and shots, and above all, countless tears of doubt, anger, frustration and defeat.

My name is Sheri and I am infertile.  Which just means that I am not able to bear children.

I heard many times that once I “relaxed” it would happen.  So much advice, mostly unsolicited, that I eventually stopped saying anything when asked if we were trying for a baby. I cringed at every doctorʻs office visit, because I'd find myself sitting in a sea of pregnant women.  Instead of feeling excitement for them, I was usually plagued with self-doubt as a woman, wondering why I “lacked” this seemingly easy ability to procreate. I was smart, college educated, married and had the means to afford it, yet with all the “right” going for me, I could not achieve this one important thing that I truly wanted.

I don't remember being immediately diagnosed with Infertility.  That comes later when all options are exhausted. Over the years, I took tests that measured my uterine lining and tracked my ovulation, resulting in some conditions being ruled out.  My first tick mark was a diagnosis of hyperplasia.

Getting pregnant was really my only goal.  There were times when I felt like I lost all control of my actions and emotions in my relentless pursuit. Looking back, I am pretty sure my husband would have sold his soul to achieve this, to bring me back from the edge.

As each month passed with no success, further and further I fell into looking at other options. The pot of gold for me was in-vitro fertilization, or IVF. When my doctor informed me that the cells in my uterus were becoming more “abnormal,” meaning pre-cancerous, the option for IVF leapt to the top. With the goal of "re-starting" my body, we started with hormone injections, which replicates menopause that might impel my body to naturally re-start, an early step in the IVF process that would determine the viability for my body to eventually take to IVF.  A potential plus was that my own body might respond positively and I might even be able to get pregnant without the IVF. We were so hopeful. Unfortunately my body refused again to cooperate and after a few crazy (literally hot flashes, mood swings) days, it was evident that this plan wasn't going to work. 

Back to the drawing board.

Years passed and I was blind to reason. I wanted a baby at all costs. Sitting on the exam table listening to the doctor speak of my “projected success" with IVF (which wasn't good) and ignorning the warning of potential setbacks, ranging from total bedrest at the onset of pregnancy to hemorraging at birth where I, the baby, or both may not survive. In my fervent desire to be pregnant, I wanted to dismiss these scary scenarios that I knew they were required to lay out. My husband, on the other hand, had heard it all and was quick to agree to explore surgical options.

No! That was not in the plan! I was red with anger. It was my body that was not responding.  It was my body that was failing me.  Auwe, it was my body that I could not reason with or control.  My only hope had been IVF and that now was gone.

Surgery was scheduled and my anger subsided to numbness. I was operating on pure emotion, logic no longer part of my equation. Although I knew it was the best option for my health in the long run, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life – then and even now. Today, I know I was grieving. I was losing this power I believed I had as a woman to bear and nuture children. I lost the ability to make that choice.

Surgery was a blur and so were the days, weeks, months and years following. Life went on.  I never spoke of the full hysterectomy I had at the age of 26.  It's only in the doctor's office when I leave blank the question “the date of your last period” that I feel awkward.  Worse are the looks of pity from the nurses who hear my story.

Almost 20 years later, I don't even bat an eye.  In some existential shift, it feels more like a badge of honor than a death sentence.

Perhaps when you relax and let go, things do happen. When I did accept my body "malfunction," the most amazing and unimaginable happened. We had a BABY! In fact, we had 4 of them. All have their own stories and full knowledge of who they are and why they are so valuable to me. Adoption provided us the avenue to be parents in every aspect except that they did not grow in my belly. Thankfully, an aunty did that for me.  At some point, we contemplated surrogacy, but my husband and I didn't want our already-adopted keiki to think that they weren't enough.  

Infertility is part of me but no longer defines me. Hi, my name is Sheri.

Sheri Daniels, wahine, wife, daughter, aunty, mother

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