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.  *   

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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Community Voices socialPapa Ola Lōkahi’s mission is to improve the health status and well-being of Native Hawaiians and others by advocating for, initiating and maintaining culturally appropriate strategic actions aimed at improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of Native Hawaiians and their ‘ohana and empowering them to determine their own destinies.

Aloha survey participants, inclusive of those 18 years old or younger: while participation in this survey is anonymous and voluntary, we ask for your assistance in answering all of the questions provided. Please note that your responses are appreciated and will add to the validity of the survey.
This survey is designed to give insight into the health behaviors of our communities.  Please complete the Community Voices Survey developed by Papa Ola Lōkahi.

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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.  *   

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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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Summer Internship

Native Hawaiian Focus on Budget and Policy

The Hawai‘i Budget & Policy Center, a project of Hawai‘i Appleseed, seeks to ensure that our state and local economic policies increase opportunity for all residents.  We do this by analyzing and understanding the implications of tax and budget decisions and making sure that the public and policy-makers are informed through strategic communications, coalitions, and key partners.  Our work is guided by the belief that government at all levels should play an active role in helping people reach their full potential. 

The HBPC is a member of the highly-regarded State Priorities Partnership (SPP), a national network of 43 budget and tax policy centers that align their work with that of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).  CBPP pursues federal policies designed both to reduce poverty and inequality and to restore fiscal responsibility in equitable and effective ways.  SPP organizations fill the same role at the state level. 

Internship Scope of Work

The intern, with guidance and supervision from the HBPC Director, will carry out an analysis of the state budgets for the Executive, Judiciary, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs branches that may include but not be limited to assessing state spending for the benefit of Native Hawaiians.  The following work is envisioned:

  • Identifying or developing estimates of the number of Native Hawaiians served by public programs in the Departments of Human Services, Health, Education, Hawaiian Home Lands, Public Safety, and University of Hawai‘i System, as well as in the Judiciary Branch and Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
  • Describing programs explicitly targeting Native Hawaiians, including the purpose, genesis, funding amounts and sources, and outcomes.
  • Summarizing expenditures for programs in state agencies identified above and calculating per capita spending for or on behalf of Native Hawaiians or estimating proportional spending for Native Hawaiians compared to their representation in the total population or other analysis, as appropriate.
  • Identifying any federal grants made to state agencies that proposed to aid Native Hawaiians and analyzing the disposition and resulting benefits to Native Hawaiians of those grants.

The intern may also analyze the Hawai‘i state constitution and state statutes for language that explicitly addresses the status or needs of Native Hawaiians.  This work, which may include territorial policy decisions, will help put decisions specific to Native Hawaiians into historic context.

Intern Credentials

The intern should be enrolled in or have recently completed a graduate degree in public policy, health, or administration, political science, law, or a related field.

Knowledge and skills intern will gain

  • General understanding of state policy-making
  • Increased understanding of state agency budgets and reporting
  • Skills in applied budget and population research and analysis

Work conditions

The intern will be expected to maintain a regular work schedule of 35-40 hour per week for approximately 10 weeks during the summer of 2019. The intern will report to work at the HBPC office in Downtown Honolulu or other location as required.

A $5,000 stipend will be provided.

To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to HBPC Director Beth Giesting at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by April 1, 2019.

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