VIDEO: LAU OLA CLINIC, partnerships in the community celebrated with Native Hawaiian Health Anniversary

Go inside the John A. Burns School of Medicine’s Lau Ola Clinic, operated by the Department of Native Hawaiian Health, and learn how the department has worked within Hawai`i’s Native Hawaiian communities to improve health among Native Hawaiians.

Our report is by the University of Hawai`i System Media Production Office.

If you don’t have time to watch the video now, continue reading the script below:

“So let’s feel where you are having some pain down your back, down here?”

This is a patient being treated at the Lau Ola Clinic in Honolulu, which was just an idea ten years ago.

Dr. Dee-Ann Leialoha Carpenter – Lau Ola Clinic Physician, JABSOM Graduate “And so the vision was to really care for Native Hawaiians.”

That vision is being carried out everyday thanks to the Department of Native Hawaiian Health, which established the primary care clinic. The department is part of the University of Hawaiʻi’s John A. Burns School of Medicine and celebrated its 10th anniversary.


It wasn’t just a celebration. Officials also delivered a report to their stakeholders on the department’s progress and successes.

Dr. J. Keaweʻaimoku Kaholokula – Chair, JABSOM Dept. of Native Hawaiian Health
“I think because of our existence, we’ve been able to work more closely with our Hawaiian communities, as well as our Pacific Islander communities, in developing community based and community led health promotion programs, in a way of addressing overweight and obesity and diabetes, heart disease.”

The Department of Native Hawaiian Health also teaches medical students, like these, to honor and work with the cultural traditions of their patients. And established a research center focused on Native Hawaiian health problems.

Dr. Kaholokula
“And I think it is making more of a bigger impact on peoples lives, because it is being translated into real world solutions rather than some publication in some scientific journal.”


Hula is a prime example.

Dr. Kaholokula:
“I believe we are among the first to ever scientifically examine the role that hula, our ancient Hawaiian dance, can play in helping people be healthier.”

Looking towards the future, the department wants to encourage more Hawaiʻi students to pursue a career in medicine by developing a stronger pipeline to local elementary, middle and high schools.

Dr. Kaholokula:
“Another thing we want to do is develop more community based health promotion programs. Really go up stream and not focus on disease management and focus on disease prevention.”

The department’s supporters and partners are key to previous and future successes because of their collaboration and funding. From the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, to Hawaiian homestead organizations, to The Queen’s Health Care System which gave five million dollars to start the department ten years ago.

Dr. Kaholokula”
“They continue to fund a lot of our programs like Imi Hoʻōla. They have been our biggest supporters.”

All have made the cultural education, research, outreach programs and the Lau Ola Clinic possible. Efforts critical to the entire state, not just Native Hawaiians.

Dr. Dee-Ann Leialoha Carpenter – Lau Ola Clinic Physician, JABSOM Graduate “When you can improve the health of Native Hawaiians, you actually improve the health of everyone in Hawaiʻi. Because if you can take care of the people who are doing the worst, then all you are doing is raising the bar for everyone else.”

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