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Nine awarded Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship

September 26, 2017 - 6:48am

NORTH HAWAII — Papa Ola Lokahi announced Sept. 19 nine scholars in diverse medical and allied health training programs throughout the state that have received the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship. Two of the recipients live in North Hawaii: Gaylyn Mattos from Hawi and Luana Kealealani from Waimea.

“The students in this 2017-18 cohort are scholars and committed to serving the needs of our medically underserved communities,” asserted Keaulana Holt, director of the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program, which is administered by Papa Ola Lokkahi. “I’m proud of each one.”

Three awardees are studying to be physicians, one a dentist, one a masters level social worker and one public health worker. Three are in nursing programs at three different local schools at three different levels. Six are in school in Hawaii; and three are in accredited programs on the mainland. Mattos is a first-year student at Hawaii Community College and Keakealani attends University of Southern California.

NHHSP scholars may attend any accredited program at any college or university in the United States. Eventually, they’re called home to Hawaii to fulfill their service obligation.

The objective of the NHHSP is to address access to health care by developing a Hawaiian health work force committed to serving the unique needs of Hawaiian communities. Once licensure is complete, these scholars will work full-time in medically underserved areas in Hawaii for a minimum of two or maximum of four years, relative to the length of scholarship support.

Since 1991, more than 275 awards have been made in 20 different primary and behavioral health care disciplines. More than 200 have already been placed into the workforce on six islands impacting the well-being of the communities they serve. Of those who have fulfilled their service obligations, nearly 90 percent have continued to serve medically underserved areas and populations in Hawaii.

More significantly, NHHSP scholars have risen to positions of leadership, impacting change in health perspectives, policy, promising practices and emerging technologies among their patients colleagues and the communities they serve.

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