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The Hawaiʻi Medical Service Association (HMSA) donated $1 million to establish the HMSA Distinguished Endowed Professorship in Health Economics at the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) in UH Mānoa’s College of Social Sciences. The endowment will support UHERO’s research in the area of health economics.

“This is a key part of a larger health policy initiative at the College of Social Sciences focused on improving the health care of Hawaiʻi’s people and economy,” said Dean Denise Eby Konan, professor of economics and UHERO research fellow. “This endowment will enable the university to attract and retain the highest-caliber health economics faculty and advance research in the area of health economics. We’re grateful to HMSA for recognizing the critical importance of health care to Hawaiʻi’s economy.”

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham has worked closely with HMSA President and CEO Mark M. Mugiishi, M.D., F.A.C.S., on Hawaiʻi’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years.

"UHERO has been a key player in our economic development recovery efforts as we emerge from the damaging effects of COVID-19 across the state,” said Mugiishi. "HMSA remains committed to creating a healthier Hawaiʻi, especially in our efforts to improve the overall economic health in our local community.”

image of Carl Bonham
Carl Bonham

“We have a common vision of a future where shared data, research and analysis drive policy to improve the lives of Hawaiʻi’s people,” said Bonham. “We already have several projects underway that will benefit from a close collaboration with HMSA, including the development of a new linked housing and health database, and a new longitudinal health survey in Hawaiʻi. Both efforts are designed to study systemic health disparities exacerbated by COVID-19 and inform the design and execution of public health programs in Hawaiʻi.”

HMSA and its philanthropic arm, the HMSA Foundation, have a long history of giving to major health care initiatives at UH. In 2021, the HMSA Foundation gave $6 million in support of various initiatives at the John A. Burns School of Medicine and Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing.

“HMSA’s support over the years has been crucial to the work being done at the University of Hawaiʻi,” said Tim Dolan, CEO of UH Foundation and UH vice president of advancement. “This gift builds upon HMSA’s support and strengthens UHERO’s research in such an important sector. Mahalo to HMSA and Dr. Mugiishi for recognizing UHERO’s role in advancing Hawaiʻi’s economic health.”

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The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.

HMSA is the most experienced health plan in the state, covering more than half of Hawaiʻi’s population. As a recognized leader, we embrace our responsibility to strengthen the health and well-being of our community. Headquartered on Oʻahu with centers and offices statewide to serve our members, HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit

The University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization conducts rigorous, independent economic research on issues that are both central to Hawaiʻi and globally relevant. Our research is widely distributed to inform public- and private-sector decision-making in Hawaiʻi. For more information, visit

The College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is changing the game. It’s expanding opportunities for students to explore different cultures and worldviews, and working with students and faculty to solve the most pressing issues facing the world today. The unified goal: To create the next generation of global game changers who address fundamental questions about human behavior and improve the human condition by transforming science into social action. For more information, visit

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa serves approximately 20,000 students pursuing more than 225 different degrees. Coming from every Hawaiian island, every state in the nation, and more than 100 countries, UH Mānoa students thrive in an enriching environment for the global exchange of ideas. For more information,visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter