Native Hawaiian Health and Drug Prevention in Rural Hawai`i

Lead Investigators

Susana Helm, PhD, Associate Professor Scott Okamoto, PhD, Affiliate Faculty
  • Principal Investigator – Puni Ke Ola
  • Consortium PI – Ho`ouna Pono
  • Principal Investigator – Ho`ouna Pono
  • Associate Professor of Social Work, Hawaii Pacific University
  • Research Faculty, UH Cancer Center

Community Partners – Puni Ke Ola
Substance use represents a significant health disparity among indigenous and minority populations in the U.S., including in Hawai`i. This is particularly problematic in rural communities where health promotion and prevention resources are limited. In addition, the majority of Hawaiians reside in rural areas of the State of Hawai`i. Furthermore, Native Hawaiian youth tend to have early substance use onset and higher use rates relative to their non-Hawaiian peers. Therefore the goal of this program of research is to develop culturally grounded substance use prevention with Native Hawaiian youth and communities. The Ho`ouna Pono project (PI Okamoto) is a school-based intervention targeting middle school aged youth. The Puni Ke Ola project (PI Helm) is a community-based intervention using the culture-as-intervention philosophy for substance use prevention among adolescents

Funding Sources

Puni Ke Ola Ho`ouna Pono
  • State Department of Health, Alcohol & Drug Abuse Division
  • NIH, National Institute of Minority Health & Health Disparities, U54MD008149, RTRN Small Grant Award
  • NIH, National Institute of Minority Health & Health Disparities, G12 MD007601, BRIDGES Pilot Project Award
  • Society for Community Research & Action
  • University of Hawai`i – SEED Diversity & Equity Initiative
  • Queens Research Fund
  • NIH, NIDA, 1R34DA046735-01A1
  • NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse, R01 DA037836-01
  • NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse, R34 DA031306
  • NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse, K01 DA019884

Peer Reviewed Publications

  1. 1. 2019 Helm S, Hishinuma E, Okamoto SK, Chin SK, Silva A. The relationship between ethnocultural identity measures and youth substance use among a school-based sample. A focus on Native Hawaiian youth. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 10(3), 206-217. DOI: 10.1037/aap0000157 (Special Issue: Culturally Responsive Prevention Research for NHOPI).
  2. 2. 2019 Okamoto SK, Kulis SS, Helm S, Chin SK, Hata J, Hata E, Lee A. An efficacy trial of the Ho`ouna Pono drug prevention curriculum. An evaluation of a culturally grounded substance abuse prevention program for rural Native Hawaiian youth. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 10(3), 239-248. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/aap0000164 (NHOPI Special Issue).
  3. 3. 2019 Okamoto SK, Helm S, Chin SK, Hata J, Hata E, Okamura K. The Implementation of a Culturally Grounded, School‐Based, Drug Prevention Curriculum in Rural Hawai‘i. Journal of Community Psychology, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22222
  4. 4. 2019 Helm S, Okamoto SK. Gendered perceptions of drug offers as a context for aggression and violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 34(11), 2292-2312. (online first 2016) DOI: 10.1177/0886260516660301.
  5. 5. 2019 Yang KI, Chung-Do JJ, … Helm S…Okamoto SK et al (11th of 18 coauthors). Advancing community-based participatory research in Hawai`i. Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Public Health, 19(3), 83-88. ISSN 2165-8218.
  6. 6. 2018 Okamoto SK, Helm S, Ostrowski LK, Flood L. The validation of a school-based, culturally grounded drug prevention curriculum for rural Hawaiian youth. Health Promotion Practice, 19(3), 369-376. DOI: 10.1177/1524839917704210.
  7. 7. 2017 Helm S, Davis K, Haumana. Challenges and lessons learned in implementing a community-academic partnership for drug prevention in a Native Hawaiian community. Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal, 36(2), 101-106 (invited for special issue).
  8. 8. 2017 Helm S & Davis K. Puni Ke Ola. Drug prevention in rural Hawaiian communities. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 8(2), 1-6. https://www.gjcpp.org/pdfs/SB4-HelmDavis_Final.pdf
  9. 9. 2016 Okamoto SK, Kulis S, Helm S, Lauricella M, Valdez JK. An evaluation of the Ho`ouna Pono curriculum: A pilot study of culturally grounded substance abuse prevention for rural Native Hawaiian youth. The Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 27(2), 815-833. DOI: 10.1353/hpu.2016.0061
  10. 10. 2016 Bills K, Okamoto SK, Helm S. The role of relational harmony in the use of drug refusal strategies of rural Native Hawaiian youth. The Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 25(3), 208-226. DOI:10.1080/15313204.2016.1146190
  11. 11. 2016 Lauricella M, Valdez JK, Okamoto SK, Helm S, Zaremba C. Culturally grounded prevention for minority youth populations: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Primary Prevention, 37(1), 11-32, doi: 10.1007/s10935-015-0414-3.
  12. 12. 2015 Helm S, Lee W, Hanakahi V, Gleason K, McCarthy K, Haumana. Using photovoice with youth to develop a drug prevention program in a rural Hawaiian community. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 22(1), 1-26. doi: 10.5820/aian.2201.2015.1. PMCID: PMC4401743.
  13. 13. 2014 Helm S, Okamoto SK, Kaliades A, Giroux D. Drug offers as a context for aggression and violence perpetration and victimization. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 13(1), 39-57. DOI: 10.1080/15332640.2013.853015.
  14. 14. 2014 Okamoto SK, Helm S, Pel S, McClain L, Hill AP, Hayashida KKP. Developing evidence-based culturally grounded Drug prevention interventions for indigenous youth populations. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 41(1), 8-19 (online first 12/2012).
  15. 15. 2014 Okamoto SK, Kulis S, Helm S, Giroux D, Edwards C. The social contexts of drug offers and their relationship to drug use of rural Hawaiian youths. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 23(4), 242-252. DOI:10.1080/1067828X.2013.786937.
  16. 16. 2014 Okamoto SK, Pel S, Helm S, Valdez J. Gender differences in the use of drug resistance strategies. An analysis of rural Asian/Pacific Islander youth. Health Promotion Practice, 15(4), 568-574. DOI:10.1177/1524839913507927 [NIHMSID: NIHMS524603].
  17. 17. 2013 Zaha R, Helm S, Baker C, Hayes D. Intimate partner violence and substance use among Hawai‘i youth. An analysis of recent data from the Hawai‘i Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Substance Use & Misuse, 48(1-2), 11-20. DOI: 10.3109/10826084.2012.720334.
  18. 18. 2013 Helm S, Okamoto SK. Developing the Ho`ouna Pono substance use prevention curriculum. Collaborating with Hawaiian youth and communities. Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Public Health, 72(2), 66-69. PMC3585502.
  19. 19. 2013 Okamoto SK, Helm S, McClain LL, Hill AP, Hayashida JKP. Gender differences in preferred drug resistance strategies of rural Native Hawaiian youth, Affilia, 28(2), 140-152. DOI: 10.1177/0886109913485704.
  20. 20. 2012 Okamoto SK, Helm S, Kulis S, Delp J, Dinson A.. Drug resistance strategies of rural Hawaiian youth as a function of drug offerers and substances: A community stakeholder analysis. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 23(3), 1239-1252.
  21. 21. 2012 Okamoto SK, Helm S, McClain L, Dinson A. The development of videos in culturally grounded drug prevention for rural Native Hawaiian youth. Journal of Primary Prevention, 33(4), 259-269. DOI 10.1007/s10935-012-0281-0.
  22. 22. 2011 Okamoto SK, Helm S, Delp J, Stone K, Dinson A, Stetkiewicz J. A community stakeholder analysis of drug resistance strategies of rural Native Hawaiian youth. Journal of Primary Prevention, 32(3-4), 185-193; DOI 10.1007/s10935-011-0247-7.
  23. 23. 2011 Okamoto SK, Helm S, Giroux D, Kaliades A. “I no like get caught using drugs”: Explanations for refusal as a drug resistance strategy for rural Native Hawaiian youth. Journal of Cultural Diversity and Ethnicity in Social Work, 20(2), 150-166, doi: 10.1080/15313204.2011.570131.
  24. 24. 2010 Okamoto SK, Helm S, Giroux D, Kaliades A, Kawano KN, Kulis S. A typology and analysis of drug resistance strategies of rural Native Hawaiian youth. Journal of Primary Prevention, 31(5-6), 311-319. DOI 10.1007/s10935-010-0222-8.
  25. 25. 2010 Okamoto SK, Helm S, Poa-Kekuawela K, Nebre L, Chin CIH. Exploring culturally specific drug resistance strategies of Hawaiian youth in rural communities. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, 54(1), 56-75. [PMCID: PMC2922754].
  26. 26. 2010 Okamoto SK, Kulis S, Helm S, Edwards C, & Giroux D. Gender differences in drug offers of rural Hawaiian youth: A mixed methods analysis. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 25(3) 291-306.
  27. 27. 2010 Okamoto SK, Helm S, Giroux D, Edwards C, & Kulis S. The development and initial validation of the Hawaiian Youth Drug Offers Survey (HYDOS). Ethnicity & Health, 15(1), 73-92.
  28. 28. 2009 Poa-Kekuawela K, Okamoto SK, Helm S, Nebre L, & Chin CIH. ‘A‘ole drugs! Cultural practices and drug resistance of rural Hawaiian youth. Journal of Ethnic Identity & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 18(3), 242-258. [NIHMSID: NIHMS124013].
  29. 29. 2009 Okamoto SK, Helm S, Poa-Kekuawela K, Nebre L, Chin CIH. Community risk and resiliency factors related to drug use of rural Native Hawaiian youth. An Exploratory Study. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 8(2), 163-177. [NIHMSID: NIHMS119307].
  30. 30. 2008 Helm S, Okamoto SK, Medeiros H, Chin CIH, Kawano K, Poa-Kekuawela K, Nebre L, Sele FP. Participatory Drug Prevention Research in Rural Hawai`i with Native Hawaiian Middle School Students. Progress in Community Health Partnerships, 2(4), 307-313. [PMCID: PMC2729072].
  31. 31. 2008 Rehuher D, Hiramatsu T, Helm S. Nationally endorsed evidence-based youth drug prevention. A critique with implications for practice-based contextually relevant prevention in Hawai`i. Hawaii Journal of Public Health, 1(1), 52-61. (now Hawai`i Journal of Health & Social Welfare).

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