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Planning for Census 2020 provides the perfect opportunity to look at our traditions and remind ourselves of the brilliance of our ancestors.

Census-taking is not a new practice. As far back as 1500, ‘Umi-a-Liloa conducted a census of Hawai‘i Island to help him assess the resources of his realm. 

As chief, ‘Umi directed all citizens to bring a stone representing his or her stature to the slopes of Hualalai. Babies were represented by pebbles, smaller stones stood in for keiki, ʻōpio were represented by somewhat larger ones, and mākua larger still. Kūpuna offered stones according to their strength. Warriors placed the largest pohaku of all.

The latter information became important when ‘Umi needed to assemble his army to confront Maui forces.

Stones were placed in piles assigned to the districts of the moku, thus providing a quick assessment of the population of each district.

There are several 19th century accounts of these rock piles and the ingenuity of our aliʻi. Bingham recognized eight pyramids. Alexander described these pyramids with detailed dimensions. Some referred to the pilings as columns. Remnants of this earliest census remain today, as do the stories of this innovative method of counting.

A regular accounting of population informs how resources are allocated and programs are developed. The information will assist us in knowing our communities so that we can design and execute services, evaluate programming, and advocate for those we serve.  This is why Papa Ola Lōkahi is proud to encourage participation.

You Count!  Place your pohaku. Participate in Census 2020.


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Mahalo to Momi Imaikalani Fernandez whose research in behalf of Papa Ola Lōkahi contributed to this reprisal of ‘Umi-a-Liloa’s story.  These related articles were published in Ka Wai Ola in December 2009, January 2010, and in this 2010 Census newsletter.

Mahalo to Natalie Kamaka‘ike Bruecher for her original artwork.

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SCR 74 report cover page


Papa Ola Lōkahi assessed the social, financial and cultural impacts of mandating health insurance coverage for certain Native Hawaiian cultural activities, as requested by the State Legislature in 2018 legislative session.  Here is our report.

Mahalo nui to all the kumu hula, health plan professionals and others who contributed to this assessment.

Click on the image to download a copy of the report [PDF].

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 Me ke aloha pumehana a pau, ka ‘ohana Papa Ola Lōkahi.

COVER POL Newsletter Makahiki 2019

 Click on image to access entire 10-page newsletter.

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1507855 894127117264831 7965611947234454739 nThe theme of the 2020 American Public Health Association Annual Convention is Creating the Healthiest Nation:  Preventing Violence.

The American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian Caucus (est. 1981) invites abstracts for presentations that address health programming and practices, research approaches, and policy and structural approaches for Indigenous populations.  Authors should submit to the best-fit category for their abstract.

"Last year, there were few Native Hawaiian submissions," reports Babette Galang, Caucus chair from 2016-2018. "We are hoping to improve these numbers in 2020."

Suggested themes, categories, processes and more information may be found on the attached CFA

The 184th Annual Meeting & Exposition will be held in San Francisco, October 24-28, 2020.  West coast meetings have always benefited from greater participation by Hawai'i public health professionals and students.

Babette invites you to call her for more information.


ABSTRACT SUBMISSION DEADLINE:  Thursday, February 20, 2020.

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NHHSP Scholars Portrait SY2019



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                  

December 5, 2019

Contact:  Kim Ku‘ulei Birnie

     808-597-6550 or 808-383-1651                                           


Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship goes to nine deserving students

(Kaka‘ako, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i)   The Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 cohort of scholars.  Our congratulations to all!

These nine awards are going to students attaining seven different degrees in six different professions:  medicine, psychology, pharmacy, nursing, dental hygiene, and physician assistance.

Six are in school in the continental U.S.; three are studying at home, one each in Honolulu, Hilo and Kahului.  Three students are from Maui; six are from O‘ahu.

“We are inspired by the enthusiasm of these aspiring health professionals to serve their communities,” proclaimed Sheri-Ann Daniels, executive director of Papa Ola Lōkahi, which administers the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program.

The purpose of the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program (NHHSP) is to improve both accessibility and acceptability of health care.  It has contributed to building a health work force that is knowledgeable and committed to serving the unique needs of Hawaiian communities.

The NHHSP is modeled after the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), which was established in 1972.  As with the NHSC, the award obliges the scholar, upon completion of study and licensure, to serve full-time in a clinical capacity in medically under-served areas in Hawai'i for a period commensurate with the length of scholarship support.

Since 1991, almost 300 NHHSP awards have been made in 20 different primary and behavioral health care disciplines. More than 200 have been placed into the workforce across six islands impacting the well-being of the communities they serve. More than half of those who have fulfilled their service obligations have continued to serve medically underserved areas and populations in Hawai‘i.

“The Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program has been vital to building capacity in the health workforce,” Dr. Daniels continues. “The students of today, will in 10, 15, 20 years be the leaders across Hawai‘i’s health care system. This is the quintessential grow-your-own program.”

Visit for more information about the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program.

The next round of applications will open on February 1, 2020.

PDF News Release attached

Poster attached

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