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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(Kaka‘ako, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i)   Papa Ola Lōkahi is pleased to announce that Ms. Sheri-Ann Daniels will assume the helm as Executive Director of Papa Ola Lōkahi (POL) on April 4, 2016.

“On behalf of the board of directors, we welcome Sheri to lead us into the next chapter for Papa Ola Lōkahi,” expressed Kilipaki Vaughan, president of POL’s board of directors.

Born and raised on Maui, Ms. Daniels is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools – Kapālama campus. She holds degrees in the field of counseling psychology and has several license certifications.

“Sheri will be a great leader in furthering POL’s strategic goals,” adds Sharlene Chun-Lum, who is retiring as Executive Director. “Her familiarity and collaboration with community partners will strengthen services for more Native Hawaiians.”                           

Ms. Daniels has more than 20 years of experience in social services programs across Hawai’i in both the non-profit and government sectors.

She was recognized in 2014 with the Maui County Women of Excellence award. Other awards include the Pacific Business News – 40 under 40 (2010) and Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow (2008).  She is actively involved in various community organizations on Maui, including Hawaiian Language education.

“Her ‘groundedness’ and ability to walk in more than one world will enable us as a Hawaiian organization to go forward into the future,” adds Vaughan.

“I am humbled by this opportunity to help and engage with the Native Hawaiian communities across the state (and beyond),” expressed Daniels. “This is the time to continue building partnerships and bridging gaps in order to address the overall health needs of Native Hawaiians.”

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Kāhuna, Traditions of Hawaiian Medicinal Priests and Healing Practitioners, by Rev. Malcolm Nāea Chun, Ph.D.


Papa Ola Lōkahi is pleased to announce the publication of a new book, Kāhuna, Traditions of Hawaiian Medicinal Priests and Healing Practitioners, by Rev. Malcolm Nāea Chun, Ph.D.

Whereas earlier publications by Dr. Chun have focused on plant medicine, this volume focuses on the priests and practitioners who developed and prescribed treatments through prayer, ritual, medicines, and more.  Beginning with the origins of Hawaiian medicinal kahuna, it brings the reader to the present day realities facing practitioners.

More works by Dr. Chun, and supported by Papa Ola Lōkahi, can be found hereKāhuna is available at local bookstores.

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Moloka‘i ku‘i lā‘au


We, the directors and staff of Papa Ola Lōkahi, the Native Hawaiian Health Board, remain committed to honor and perpetuate the legacies of the visionaries who built sturdy foundations upon which we strive to achieve balanced health and well-being in our community.

Whereas, William Akutagawa, Jr., or “Billy,” was born and raised at the East End, attended college on the G.I. Bill and returned home to Moloka‘i as an employment and training coordinator.

Whereas, Billy was a social worker and community organizer whose leadership was meaningful and varied:  mentoring Moloka‘i students to colleges; defining and seeking solutions for mental health needs on the island; and promoting a drug-free environment on Moloka‘i.

Whereas, in 1985 Billy was an original member of the Nā Pu‘uwai Research Group, looking at improving the health conditions of Moloka‘i.  The innovation in research around two early projects,  the Molokai Heart Study in 1985, and the Molokai Diet Study in 1987, informed the passage of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act in 1988, and established Nā Pu‘uwai as the Native Hawaiian Health Care System for the islands of Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.

Whereas, Billy is the longest serving executive director of any of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems, and the only one Nā Pu‘uwai has ever known.  As the main post, he pioneered community health programs in diabetes education, cancer screening and education, established a fitness center, provided outreach to those unable to leave home for health care, and assured that traditional healing practices were available to patients who seek them, and that practitioners were supported in their work; he addressed the health needs of the residents of Kalaupapa; quickly expanded to serve Lāna‘i; mentored new generations of healthcare professionals for Moloka‘i and elsewhere; and he established long term care on island so that patients needn’t leave.

Whereas, Billy is an avid hunter and fisher, he led the island’s initiatives to revitalize Hawaiian fishpond and limu production; develop and teach a hunter education program; and with others, establish Mo‘omomi as the State’s first community based subsistence fishing reserve.

Whereas, Billy’s colleagues testify to his greatest asset the ability to bring together all the agencies, programs and necessary resources to address an issue, such as the recent restoration of Kalaniana‘ole Hall, a community gathering place that reopened in 2010.

THEREFORE, LET IT BE KNOWN that we at Papa Ola Lōkahi extend our sincere appreciation and respect to Billy, his wife Abigail and their ‘ohana; we embrace his legacy of foresight, resourcefulness, leadership and especially his deep sense of place; we celebrate his dedication and faithfulness in carrying out the mission to serve his community; and we endeavor to achieve balanced health and well-being for all Kānaka Maoli as Billy Akutagawa has been able to provide for his community.

I Moloka‘i-Nui-a-Hina!


Kilipaki Vaughan, President         Sharlene Chun-Lum, Executive Director                         April 19, 2016

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