In brief

HMSA donates $5M to improve future doctors

In July 2020, the University of Hawaii at Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) welcomed 77 first-year medical students into its new curricular initiative, the Learning Community program. The anticipated positive impact of this pioneering medical education on health care delivery has resulted in the HMSA Foundation adding to its initial support of the program, donating $5 million to establish the HMSA Learning Innovations Endowment to support innovative medical education.


The Learning Innovations Center within the Office of Medical Education at JABSOM will continue to evolve medical training to meet the changing needs of Hawaii’s health care system. The center will be named the HMSA Learning Innovations Center in recognition of HMSA’s contribution and commitment.

No-interest microloans available for Hawaii food producers

Food producers and small businesses in Hawaii seeking financial support now have a local ally to help them secure no-interest microloans through one of the world’s leading crowdfunding platforms.

The Kohala Center, an independent nonprofit based on Hawaii Island, was recently designated by Kiva as the regional Kiva Hub for the Hawaiian Islands.

Kiva is the world’s first and largest peer-to-peer online lending program that provides 0% interest business loans through crowdfunding.

With a longstanding interest in improving food security in Hawai‘i through rural and cooperative business development, The Kohala Center is uniquely motivated to provide assistance to Hawaii’s agricultural and value-added food producers, providing no-cost consulting to more than 200 local entrepreneurs annually.

Interested small businesses and food producers are encouraged to start an application at or contact The Kohala Center at 808-887-6411 or Prospective lenders can learn more and get started at

Hawaiian Telcom and employees donated more than $1.4M in 2020

Hawaiian Telcom and its employees donated $1.4 million to local nonprofit organizations last year. The amount represents corporate and in-kind contributions and sponsorships as well as employee donations.

Donation highlights include:

• $1.1 million for airing 66,000 public service announcements from nonprofit organizations and government agencies on Hawaiian Telcom TV as part of the Business Spotlight campaign to support local organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Nearly $160,000 to nonprofits and organizations providing COVID-19 relief services and programs statewide including the gifting of Hawaii Restaurant Cards for distribution.

• Nearly $110,000 to Aloha United Way and island-affiliate chapters and the state Department of Education to support hot meals when public schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as part of annual employee giving campaign.

“Hawaii is much more than a place where we do business, it’s where our employees and customers live and work, and it’s always been important to us to help strengthen and support our local communities, especially during times of need,” said Ani Menon, director – Government and Community Affairs. “We’re proud to continue our long tradition of supporting the state we serve, providing substantial support to non-profits and organizations that are leading the charge on much-needed COVID-19 relief services and programs. We look forward to continue serving and supporting our communities in the new year.”

In addition, employees logged more than 1,160 hours participating in virtual and remote volunteer opportunities that included mentoring students and young professionals, sewing masks, donating blood, and assisting with food and meal distribution.

Hawaiian Electric employees win EPRI

Seven Hawaiian Electric employees have been selected to receive the prestigious Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) 2020 Technology Transfer Awards in the Power Delivery &Utilization and Generation Technology sectors. The honor recognizes their leadership and innovation on collaborative research and technology projects that produced significant results.

“These awards are ultimately about results that provide meaningful benefits to the energy industry and the public, while helping make electricity more reliable, efficient, safe, affordable, and environmentally responsible,” said Colton Ching, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of planning and technology. “We couldn’t be prouder of our employees and their exceptional contributions to advancing clean energy technologies and initiatives.”

The winners and awards are:

• Henry Lee, director of system operation, Troy Uyehara, superintendent of operating planning, and Michelle Sakata, operations engineer, for Advanced Tools and Methods for Integrating Renewables and DER. Lee, Uyehara, Sakata, and the System Operation team applied and tested EPRI tools to more efficiently integrate renewable and distributed energy resources on to the electric grid while maintaining reliability of Hawaiian Electric’s generation supply.

• Jimmy Yao, manager of electrification of transportation, for Electric Vehicle and Infrastructure Modeling for Deployment Programs. Yao was part of a collaborative team of eight utilities from 13 states that investigated incentives – such as free parking, HOV lane access and green electricity – for advancing future electric vehicle adoption across different customer demographics and segments.

• Alan Hirayama, principle distribution planning engineer, and Alan Lee, senior distribution planning engineer, for Probabilistic Hosting Capability. The duo incorporated time-based probabilistic analysis capability for the growth of distributed energy resources across Hawaiian Electric’s five-island service territory.


• Karin Kimura, director of environmental division, for Accurate Assessment of NO2 (Nitrogen dioxide) and NOx (Nitrogen oxide) at Fossil Fuel Power Plants. Kimura’s research/analysis improved understanding of in-stack ratios of NO2 and NOX to better assist generating units in meeting air quality standards and achieving permitting of the units.

EPRI is an independent nonprofit that conducts research, development and demonstration projects for the benefit of the public in the U.S. and internationally. The annual EPRI Technology Transfer Awards spotlight the value of collaborative research to the electricity sector and customers, and recognize the leaders and innovators who have applied EPRI research to produce significant results.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email