Papa Ola Lōkahi, in partnership with ‘Ahahui o nā Kauka, Association of Native Hawaiian Physicians, has embarked on an campaign to raise awareness of issues around Hawaiian involvement in genetic and genomic research for medical purposes. We have begun by introducing a series of presentations on Hawaiian Genomics in the fall of 2020, and we are providing a reading list below. Eventually, we will be reaching out to Hawaiian communities for guidance. Meanwhile, check back here regularly to catch up on the resources so that you and yours are able to make informed recommendations.
Part 3: Current Genomics
November 21, 2020, 4:00 PM HST
Hawaiian Genomics 101
October 10, 2020, Saturday, 4:00 PM HST
more will be posted soon
Ian Keaupuni Awai is a student at the University of Washington School of Medicine MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Program and a recipient of the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program. Raised in the state of Washington, he and his family will be returning soon to serve in a medically underserved community in Hawaii.
I have to admit, that when I heard about Coronavirus coming to our shores, I did not take it seriously, nor did I think much would happen. The news reported that we should prepare for our lives to be interrupted. I brushed it off.
I was wrapping up an orthopedic rotation when the first cases began. Living only an hour and a half from the nursing home that was hit first, these events began to gain my curiosity, but it did not quite have my attention yet.
My next rotation was my emergency room rotation at the Wai‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center. Things could not have gone better. I was gaining rapport with patients and the staff, and my preceptor was allowing me to participate in procedures. I was learning fast. This was where I wanted to be.
On the morning of March 16th, I received an email from the Dean of the University of Washington’s School of Medicine stating that we had to pack our things. All rotations are cancelled until further notice.
This came as a shocking blow. What did this mean? When can I go back to school? Am I graduating late now? There were a lot of questions with no answers.
No sooner did I find myself on a plane back to Washington State. At this point, there were more coronavirus cases, as well as deaths. This is when I realized this was a lot more serious than I had anticipated.
Shortly after my return, the governor placed the state on a statewide “shelter in place” and schools were cancelled. My kids were no longer going to school until further notice. We were to stay in our homes.
It is now late April, and our “shelter in place” orders continue until May. Maybe longer. This has been a trying time for our ‘ohana. Before lockdown, we were very social with friends and family. This could no longer be. We are having to socially distance ourselves from loved ones, which includes grandparents who live close by. This has been one of the most difficult aspects of this quarantine.
We find ways to keep ourselves busy, and most importantly, sane. We are moving out of our home to an apartment, until school is pau and we can begin our next chapter in Hawai‘i. Until then, we keep ourselves active. We have been homeschooling our kids to a degree, which has not been easy, but we are managing. One day at a time. We are virtually visiting friends and family through Zoom and FaceTime, which does help. The gym has closed down, so I workout with water bottle cases and other household items, which has been a great method of self-care. I have time to study for my boards, as well as some time playing a bit of Call of Duty with friends. This has all helped.
During this time, I am reminded of a quote I heard growing up: “come what may, and love it.” There are things we can change, and there are things we cannot. We can choose to sink into depression and be pissed at the world for what is going on. That is a fair reaction. However, what purpose does this serve? I spent a good amount of time angry. Angry that I will be graduating late, angry that I couldn’t spend more time at a rotation I loved, angry that I am unable to see my loved ones in person, angry that our lives have been disrupted. Will my anger and frustration cause the disease to leave? Will it allow our economy to survive or prevent me from potentially getting sick? Probably not.
If there is one take away, it’s this: do what you can with what you have. We have laughed, cried, yelled and screamed together. It has been a time for us to grow together in ways we haven’t before. I am grateful for this unexpected trial in life. There are a lot of uncertainties right now, and questions with no answers right now. All we can decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
~ Ian Keaupuni Awai, PA student
Some of the funniest memes I’ve seen on social media lately are those regarding parents being at home with their keiki while they continue the school year through distance learning. I have always known I could never do the job of a kumu and now I join so many others who have a new admiration and respect for the kumu in our lives.
Quite honestly, I have never been much help with my high school freshman’s assignments even “pre-pandemic.” My enhanced appreciation for the teachers in my life is multiplied for those kumu who are parents themselves, doing double duty from the home office. As our haumana are adapting, so are the kumu.
They have had to adjust, acquire new skills and face many challenges and expectations themselves.
Mahalo to the countless educators I have as friends and family who influence and encourageme and my children. It can’t be easy to do your job with the added responsibilities of teaching online, tending to your own family situations, and defending your value to the nay-sayers.
Mahalo to my hiapo’s professor, who, suddenly compelled to learn and use unfamiliar technology, had the humility to seek help.
Mahalo to my son’s coaches and kumu who conduct daily calls and texts to see if my son is keeping up with college courses and to offer help that extends beyond the schoolwork.
Mahalo to my high school freshman’s kumu for the daily check-ins, emails, updates and endless outreach to support my daughter and ensure she and her classmates finish their last quarter strong.
Lastly, mahalo to my own "Lunch & Learn" kumu who offers us the opportunity to, via video-conference, learn ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i and to honor beliefs and practices around our Hawaiian culture and health.
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. Join me in honoring (or appreciating) our teachers, kumu, coaches and mentors past and present.They sacrifice, shape lives, sow seeds of success, and they do it with aloha in action and word. Mahalo nui.
~ Tam-e Fa'agau
Alexander Friedenburg Ka‘ōhiai Ka‘ōnohi, born on this day in 1905, combined the mana of his kūpuna with modern science of his time. A naturopathic physician, pharmacist, botanist and healer, Dr. Ka‘ōnohi was beloved by family and patients alike. He was also a mentor and a teacher, who personally sponsored other Hawaiians in their healing pursuits whether nursing, medicine or lā‘au lapa‘au.
So, it seems only fitting that we honor Dr. Ka‘ōnohi on his lā hānau by shining some light on a modern day Hawaiian naturopath.
Dr. Landon Kalaua‘e ‘Ōpūnui has recently been appointed medical director at Nā Pu‘uwai, the Native Hawaiian Health Care System that serves the islands of Lāna‘i and Molokai, including Kalaupapa. He may be the only kanaka maoli naturopath today.
Dr. ‘Ōpūnui is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, Loyola Marymount, and Bastyr University in Seattle where he studied naturopathic medicine. Like Dr. Ka‘ōnohi, whose grandfathers and great-grandfathers were herbal medicine practitioners, Dr. ‘Ōpūnui was inspired by his kupuna to be a healer.
When the Ka‘ōnohi Clinic opened on the corner of Castle and Kapāhulu streets in Honolulu in 1940, Dr. Ka‘ōnohi specialized in Hawaiian herb treatments, drugless medicine and bloodless surgery. He was a pioneer in integrating western and traditional practices into his daily work.
Dr. ‘Ōpūnui is also a pioneer: the first naturopathic doctor to serve as medical director for any Native Hawaiian Health Care System, and the first naturopath to become fully credentialed as a primary care physician in HMSA’s network of PCPs. His practice serves a bridge between western and traditional medicine. He is licensed to assess, diagnose and treat disease like his medical counterparts, then is likely to offer more natural therapies to manage each patient’s illness while seeking out the root cause.
Among Dr. ‘Ōpūnui’s visions for Nā Pu‘uwai are to create and implement innovative programs that address the health needs of the community, and promote collaboration within the Native Hawaiian Health Care System and among health care providers, clinics and hospitals that serve Molokai and Lāna‘i.
Congratulations, Dr. ‘Ōpūnui, on your appointment! As you honor your own kūpuna, we see you are also honoring the genealogy of Hawaiians in naturopathic medicine.
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