The Board of Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has awarded $500,000 to the Department of Native Hawaiian Health (DNNH) at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

Over a two year period, the grant is expected to help up to 500 Native Hawaiians on O’ahu, Maui, Moloka’i and Hawai’i Island counter health risks associated with obesity, through the medical schoolʻs successful “Partnerships to Improve Lifestyle Interventions” (PILI) ‘Ohana Program.

PILI ʻOhana is a partnership between academic researchers at the medical school and 10 community-based organizations throughout the State. The goal is to combine community wisdom with scientific expertise to create an effective environment for people to learn how to make healthier food choices and increase their activity.

Pili is a Hawaiian word which can mean ‘close relationship’ and ‘ohana means ‘family or relative’–giving additional meaning to the lifestyle intervention’s name. “PILI ‘Ohana exemplifies the collaboration which will strengthen relationships between and within the communities we serve, as well as among our PILI ‘Ohana partners,” said Dr. Keaweʻaimoku Kaholokula, Chair of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Dr. Kaholokula is pictured in the second row, right, helping to hold a ceremonial check presented at OHA’s headquarters.  The half million dollar grant to the DNHH was part of  a total of $1.8 million OHA presented in November to five groups who work to improve the health, education and economic self-sufficiency of Native Hawaiians.

“These programs are directly aligned with OHA’s strategies for improving conditions among Native Hawaiians,” said OHA Chairperson Colette Machado. “We look forward to seeing the positive results from the role these programs are playing in helping Native Hawaiians not only increase their economic self-sufficiency, but improve their education as well as health.”

About OHA

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is a unique, independent state agency established through the Hawai‘i State Constitution and statutes to advocate for the betterment of conditions of all Native Hawaiians, with a Board of Trustees elected by the voters of Hawai‘i. OHA is guided by a vision and mission to ensure the perpetuation of the culture, to protect the entitlements of Native Hawaiians, and to build a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation. For more information, visit www.oha.org.

Photo courtesy the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.