National Center on Indigenous Hawaiian Behavioral Health

Native Hawaiian Mental Health Research Development Program (NHMHRDP)
Principal Investigator: Naleen Andrade, M.D.

Led by a small group of Native Hawaiians within the University of Hawaii’s Department of Psychiatry, the NHMHRDP was established in 1990 with federal funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The mission: To create a cadre of mental health researchers, whose scientific investigations result in effective, culturally appropriate prevention, intervention and clinical treatment strategies, which improve the mental health status of Native Hawaiians to the highest level possible.

Four overall research goals have been, and continue to be pursued by the research and staff members of the NHMHRDP:

  1. Determine the rates of mental disorders among Native Hawaiians within the general population of Hawaii
  2. Establish a comprehensive database from which researchers can identify and study the effects of psychological, social and cultural factors which underpin the genesis and alleviation of mental illness among Native Hawaiians.
  3. Determine the patterns of help seeking behaviors by Native Hawaiians to use traditional western and alternative native healing practices and the effects of these healing practices on mental illness.
  4. Establish a Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Minority Mental Health Research Center to support a cadre of experts at UH to study the causes, prevention, and treatment of mental illness among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

To meet our mission and attain our goals, the researchers and staff of the NHMHRDP have developed and pursued three strategies: 1) create a model to achieve academic diversity; 2) establish psychiatric epidemiology as the core research approach; and 3) build the research infrastructure and expertise, within the Department of Psychiatry, to establish a nationally recognized minority mental health research center.


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