Native Hawaiian families in Waimānalo are making a change for healthier lifestyles, connecting the culture of generations to the science of aquaponics. They are participants in MALAMA—Mini Ahupua‘a for Lifestyle And Mea‘ai through Aquaponics—a program created collaboratively with the Waimānalo community and faculty at UH Mānoa’s Office of Public Health Studies and College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
These Waimānalo residents learn to build and maintain closed, sustainable systems for hydroponic plants and farmed fish in their backyards, growing their own healthy food. Entire families, including grandparents and children, participate in classes to encourage healthier practices as a family tradition.
The program is so transformative, demand for classes exceeds its capacity, spreading into communities outside Waimānalo. Preliminary findings suggest that families have increased their consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish as a result of participating in the program. They also report that their sense of family and community connectedness has grown stronger through the program. In response, thanks to financial assistance from The Queen’s Health Systems Native Hawaiian Health Program, MALAMA is developing instructional manuals and videos to train and empower communities in Maui, Molokaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island.
The support from Queen’s continues its history of empowering Native Hawaiian students and the broader community. In the past year, it has also provided funding for Kapi‘olani Community College’s Community Health Worker program, which trains students to connect disadvantaged populations with healthcare resources, such as health education, care coordination, and access to services, improving the quality of their health and their lives.
Queen’s continues to support ‘Imi Hoʻōla in the John A. Burns School of Medicine’s Department of Native Hawaiian Health. ‘Imi Hoʻōla’s highly capable students from underrepresented backgrounds, upon completion of a 12-month post-baccalaureate program, matriculate directly into medical school.
Through Queenʻs scholarship and program support of ʻIKE AO PONO at UH Mānoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, 460 Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Native American nurses completed nursing degrees contributing to Hawaiʻiʻs workforce diversity. These native nurses are now serving as frontline health professionals supporting communities throughout Hawai′i during the COVID-19 crisis.
Other UH programs that have benefitted from support from Queen’s are the Translational Health Science Simulation Center at UH Mānoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, UH West O‘ahu’s ʻIke Mauli Ola nursing pathway, and Kapi‘olani CC’s Allied Health Program.