Hawaii Office of Health Equity
Prepared by National Association of State
Offices of Minority Health (NASOMH)
Christian Kimo Alameda, Ph.D., Administrator
Hawaii State Department of Health, Office of
1250 Punchbowl Street, Room 257
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Phone: (808) 630-1700
Cell: (808) 306-8223
Fax: (808) 586-5654
The Office of Health Equity was established in the year 2000 under the direction of Dr. Bruce Anderson, Director of the Hawaii State Department of Health. It currently is an attached office, located in and reporting directly to the current Director. The Office pays special attention to the health disparities that occur in our indigenous people, Kanaka Maoli.
The Office is not mandated by state statute nor is it currently part of the Department’s formal Organizational chart. The Director has begun the process of establishing the Office as part of the Department’s organizational chart where it will be placed in the Office of Planning, Program and Policy Development.
The Office of Health Equity is responsible for providing leadership and support in the Department of Health’s efforts to identify and address health disparities among Hawaii’s populations. A role of the OHE is to make recommendations to the director for policy changes, both internally and externally, that will help identify culturally appropriate interventions and their effectiveness within the diverse populations that the department serves. The OHE will develop and facilitate collaborative partnerships with community-based public and private health agencies, as well as department programs to create opportunities for health projects, interventions and activities designed to eliminate health disparities in Hawaii.
Activities addressing the elimination and/or reduction of health disparities that impact Hawaii’s multi-ethnic/racial populations include:
▪ Participating in strategic planning throughout the Department to assure population and evidence based interventions that target the social determinants of health, rather than only biomedical outcomes;
§ Participating in strategic planning throughout the Department to assure culturally appropriate interventions and inclusion of cultural values that target specific ethnic groups;
▪ Participating in the development of the standardization of reporting race/ethnicity categories;
▪ Recommending policy changes in race/ethnicity categories in data reporting;
▪ Participating in the formation and design of the Department’s data warehouse;
▪ Participating in the design, data information, and publication of the Department’s Community Profiles using Healthy People 2010 indicators;
Organizing the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Health Science Trust, to reshaped data and research by and for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders to achieve health equity in Hawai‘i and the Pacific
Organizing the State Health Equity Summit, to achieve evidence-based community level and policy interventions to move Hawai‘i towards health equity for all;
▪ Serving on the Interagency Council on Immigrant and Refugee Services, a group that was instrumental in passing the State’s new Language Access Bill that was officially signed into law by the Governor;
▪ Serving on the Community Partnership Group advocating and promoting “best practices that utilizes cultural values” for Native Hawaiians with co-occurring diagnoses (mental illness/substance abuse);
▪ Developing and continuing to develop web-based cultural and linguistic sensitivity training program for the Department personnel and general public;
▪ Serving as a liaison to the University of Hawaii, School of Medicine, Public Health Office on improving campus/community partnerships to address disparities within the state of Hawaii State Dept. of Health;
▪ Serving as board member of the Hawaii State Public Health Association and planning committee member that bi-annually presents the Pacific Global Health Conference in partnership with Department of Heath, CDC, Cancer Research Center, Papa Ola Lokahi, University of Hawaii/School of Medicine, Hawaii Primary Care Association, Native Hawaiian Health Systems, Pacific Islands Health Officers Council and others;
Serving as a board member of Papa Ola Lkahi, the coordinating agency for the Native Hawaiian Health Systems;
▪ Providing group training in cultural competency and linguistic appropriateness; and
▪ Providing training in forming community partnerships with communities made up of minorities and Native Hawaiians.
Eliminating Health Disparities Statewide Initiatives
The Office of Health Equity’s new initiatives include:
▪ Formation of a consortium consisting of researchers, key community providers, and government agencies that will identify, advocate for and promote community programs that are examples of “best practices” for minority groups in Hawaii and, in particular, Native Hawaiians.
▪ Partnering with Papa Ola Lokahi and the International Indigenous Council of the Healing Our Spirit Worldwide Conference to plan the next conference in Hawaii in 2010.
Conducting research into the pathways between the determiantns of health and individual health outcomes, and population level intervention to improve health eequity.
Year Federal State
The Office is staffed with one FTE, and 0.20 FTE Cultural Consultant.