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Guanlin Gao, PhD, Associate Professor
School of Business, Chaminade University of Honolulu

Understanding NHPI Communities’ Strategies and Strengths in Healthy Eating

One out of five Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs) in the United States does not have regular access to nutritious and sufficient food, a key social determinant of health as defined by the World Health Organization. Although the challenges in accessing affordable, nutritious foods, including culturally-appropriate foods and the associated adverse health outcomes are documented, NHPI families’ specific needs and coping strategies for healthy eating and the community’s strengths and challenges in supporting NHPI families in healthy eating remain understudied. This study aims to gain a deeper understanding of NHPI families’ strategies for healthy eating and the community’s strengths in supporting NHPI families, including the consumption and provision of traditional foods. We aim to find synergies in the best practices from NHPI families and NHPI-serving organizations and explore expandable solutions to address the shared challenges to promote the consumption and provision of traditional foods.

Danielle Giroux, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Hawaii Pacific University

Coconut Wireless Pilot Program

An evaluation of the Coconut Wireless Curriculum offered at Ho’ola Na Pua’s Pearl Haven; a residential facility specialized for commercially sexually exploited youth. The Coconut Wireless Curriculum is a thirteen-week group therapy curriculum that was culturally adapted from an intervention program originating in California. This project seeks to determine if the Coconut Wireless curriculum will increase knowledge, self-esteem, wellbeing, and resiliency, for minors who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation.

Frankie Hale, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing & Dental Hygiene, University of Hawaii Manoa

Nurses Supporting Nurses: Assessment of Hawaii’s Hospital-Based Nurse Wellbeing

Poorer mental health and wellbeing (WB) stemming from both personal and hospital-based organizational issues has exacerbated the national nursing shortage, plus limited existing data suggests Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI), plus Filipinos may have a greater risk of depression, burnout, and exiting the profession than all others. Therefore, the goal of this 1-year exploratory, quantitative survey study is to identify individual (e.g., role, personal characteristics, and skills/abilities) and external (e.g., organizational and environmental) factors associated with nurses’ WB as well as uncover factors unique to NHPI and Filipino nurses. Hospital-based staff nurses will be recruited from 2 hospitals on Oahu, Hawaii and findings will inform future research to develop and test a culturally informed WB intervention to support the unique needs of Hawaii’s nursing workforce.

Ngoc Phan, PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science, History, Humanities, and International Studies, Hawaii Pacific University

Native Hawaiian Activists as Role Models of Health

Indigenous rights to land, language, and culture are intrinsically tied to health and survival (Blaisdell; 1993, 1996, 1998). The proposed research intends to explore the relationship between political activism, the effects of “weathering” – chronic exposure to social and economic disadvantage (Geronimus et al. 2006; Forde et al. 2019) – and the wellbeing of older Native Hawaiians. The specific aims include identifying themes related to political activism, discrimination, and wellbeing, as well as assessing the Radical Healing framework, which emphasizes reduced stress and increased social connections (French et al. 2020). Given the discrimination faced by Native Hawaiians (Kaholokula et al. 2021), this project highlights the potential significance of community-based interventions, suggesting that political activism might offer protective benefits against the negative impacts of racism and weathering. 

Lorinda Riley, SJD, Assistant Professor, Office of Public Health Studies/Kamakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaii Manoa

Mauliola i ke kāwā ola: Native Hawaiian Historical Trauma Across the Lifespan

Native Hawaiians (NHs), one of the fastest growing populations in Hawaiʻi, exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is linked to historical trauma. Historical trauma is defined as the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding over one’s lifespan and across generations. This study seeks to identify the constructs of historical trauma across the lifespan using Native Hawaiian developmental stages: ʻōpio (youth); makua (parent); makua oʻo (mature adult); kūpuna (grandparent), in order to adapt an existing historical loss scale for use in the Native Hawaiian community. 

Peter Washington, PhD, Assistant Professor, College of Natural Sciences, Department of Information and Computer Sciences, University of Hawaii Manoa

Developing AI to Support Digital Interventions for Meth Abuse by IPP

Our specific aims are to (1) understand the feasibility of continuous remote FitBit monitoring and ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) in NHFPI populations in Hawaii and to (2) develop personalized AI models which predict meth craving events in real time using wearable sensor data.  We expect to develop models which significantly outperform traditional supervised methods by fine-tuning to each individual subject’s data. Such methods will enable AI solutions which work with the limited data available from NHFPI populations and which are inherently unbiased due to their personalized nature.

Patricia Young, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Hawaii Pacific University

Effects of a hula intervention on balance and fall risk in kupuna

Older adults and those with cognitive impairment are at greater risk of falling and fall-related injuries, but balance has been shown to be trainable. Hula, the traditional dance of Hawai‘i, includes many components of balance training interventions, incorporating cardiovascular exercise, muscle strengthening (through the poses adopted) and lateral and anterior/posterior stepping. In this pilot study, we are partnering with the ‘IKE Kupuna Project, a group-randomized trial assessing the effects of a Hula-based intervention on vascular risk factors for Alzheimer’s dementia and related diseases (ADRD) and cognitive functioning in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders aged 50-75 years with subjective or mild cognitive impairment, to assess changes in balance, fall-related confidence and fall risk before and after 12 weeks of regular Hula practice. We will also be assessing the acceptability and fit of the current intervention for use in improving balance.

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