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Hawaii State Senator Rosalyn Baker Named Top Influencer in Aging

Next Avenue, public media’s first and only digital publication dedicated to covering issues for people 50 and older, has named State Senator Rosalyn Baker (Dist. 6 – South and West Maui) as one of the top 50 Influencers in Aging.

Senator Rosalyn Baker

Senator Baker was recognized for her advocacy in the area of caregiving by leading the effort to pass a bill that establishes the Kupuna Caregivers Program, the nation’s first benefit program to help an employed family caregiver stay in the workforce while ensuring the loved one has additional supports to age in place. The Kupuna Care and Caregivers programs are especially designed for families for whom assisted living facilities or nursing homes are too expensive. The bill was signed into law on July 6, 2017.

The third annual list of top 50 Influencers in Aging includes advocates, researchers, thought leaders, innovators, writer and experts at the forefront of changing how we age and think about aging.

“I’ve spent my political career advocating for those who are most vulnerable in our community, so I’m honored to be recognized for my work in an area that I’m passionate about – our seniors,” said Sen. Baker. “The Kupuna Caregivers Program is a team effort between government, community and the public, and acknowledges the critical need to help our State’s elderly maintain their dignity and quality of life in their golden years while ensuring family caregivers can stay in the workforce and not jeopardize their own retirement benefits.”

Individuals are honored from each of the five areas that Next Avenue covers: Health & Well-Being, Caregiving, Money & Security, Work & Purpose and Living & Learning.

“Next Avenue is proud to honor these 50 people who are transforming aging in a time when this work is especially crucial,” said Next Avenue Editorial & Content Director Shayla Stern. “More than 100 million Americans are over age 50 now, and as life expectancy increases, it is imperative that policies, housing, science, technology and culture all evolve to better serve our population. These honorees on our list of Influencers in Aging are on the leading edge of this revolution.”

For a complete list of honorees and further information about Next Avenue’s 2017 Influencers in Aging, please visit: nextavenue.org/influencers.

Hawaii Department of Health Issues Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC Notice to Begin Sales of Medical Cannabis to Registered Patients

The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) has issued a formal notice to proceed to Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC today after the dispensary completed laboratory testing requirements and passed its final onsite inspection. Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC is the third licensed medical cannabis dispensary in the state (and the second on Maui) to receive approval to begin sales of medical cannabis to registered patients and their caregivers.

The rigorous dispensary approval processes to open and begin selling medical cannabis are based on the requirements of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes Chapter 329D and Hawai‘i Administrative Rules Chapter 11-850. Dispensaries are required to comply with all state and county, health, safety, and sanitation regulations, and are subject to unannounced inspections by DOH.

Registered patients and their caregivers may purchase up to four ounces of medical cannabis during a 15-consecutive day period and purchase a maximum of eight ounces over a 30 consecutive day period. All use of medical cannabis must be on private property and may not be used in a car while on the road, at work, at the beach, on hiking trails, or in any other public space. It is illegal to use or possess medical cannabis on any federally owned property such as military installations and national parks. When bringing medical cannabis home after purchasing it from a dispensary, the medical cannabis must be in a sealed container and not visible to the public.

There are eight licensed dispensaries in Hawai‘i. There are three on O‘ahu: Aloha Green Holdings Inc.; Mānoa Botanicals LLC dba Noa Botanicals; and TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu. There are two in Hawai‘i County: Hawaiian Ethos LLC and Lau Ola LLC. The two Maui dispensaries include Maui Wellness Group, LLC dba Maui Grown Therapies; and Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC. The one dispensary located on Kaua‘i is Green Aloha, Ltd. These dispensaries are now at different stages of development by the licensees, and at varying stages of the approval process.

415 Dairy Road

The licensed retail center for Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC is at 415 Dairy Road in Kahului on Maui.

More information on the Medical Cannabis Dispensary Program is available at www.health.hawaii.gov/medicalcannabis/.

Stop Flu at School Clinic Information Now Available – Free Flu Shots Available

The list of schools participating in this year’s school-located flu vaccination program, Stop Flu at School, is available on the Hawaii Department of Health’s (DOH) website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/about-us/programs/stop-flu-at-school/. DOH will hold flu vaccination clinics in 167 public schools statewide from Nov. 1 through Dec. 21, 2017.

To sign up for the free flu shots available to their children, parents or guardians should complete and sign provided consent forms, and return them to schools by the deadline, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017.

Information packets and vaccination consent forms will be distributed to parents through participating schools in early October. A fillable, electronic version of the consent form can be found online at https://vaxonlinereg.doh.hawaii.gov, and non-English translations of the consent form packet are available at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/about-us/programs/stop-flu-at-school/.

This marks the eleventh year of the Stop Flu at School program. Since 2007, nearly 600,000 flu vaccinations have been administered at more than 300 public, private, and charter schools statewide through this voluntary program. The annual program, which provides flu vaccinations to school-age children at no cost to Hawaii families, is supported by federal funds and private contributions, resulting in a massive statewide coordination effort involving volunteers and local partnerships. Program costs have previously totaled approximately $2 million per year.

This year, the department anticipates vaccinating 35,000 public school students through the program. Flu vaccination of students at school is an effective strategy for reducing the spread of influenza in our communities and protecting those at risk of serious illness.

For more information about Stop Flu at School, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/about-us/programs/stop-flu-at-school/ or call Aloha United Way’s information and referral service at 2-1-1.

Baby in Puna Catches Rat Lungworm Disease – Hawaii Department of Health Confirms 17th Case of Rat Lungworm Disease in Hawaii for 2017

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed an additional case of rat lungworm disease in an infant from the Puna District of Hawaii Island. This is the tenth laboratory-confirmed case of rat lungworm disease contracted on Hawaii Island this year, bringing the statewide total to 17 cases in 2017. After a detailed investigation, DOH learned the infant became infected likely after accidentally consuming a slug or snail.

“Kane’s slowly getting better but it will take time. He had RAT LUNGWORM for 9 DAYS & i took him to his doctor, urgent care & hilo medical center MULTIPLE TIMES before they finally listened to me & did a blood sample on him. Can you imagine if my baby would have died from this? & Me knowing that i did my best to tell doctors to check his blood because in my gut i could feel that it wasn’t the flu or him teething. I hope you guys feel real dumb for ignoring my instincts, i am glad that i was firm because the ER wanted to SEND US HOME AGAIN WITHOUT A BLOOD SAMPLE, but i refused to let that happen a 2nd time around. Any ways, i am grateful that he is a fighter & i am positive that he will make a full recovery.” Santini N Dylan Tauanuu

“This is an extremely unfortunate incident, with the infant currently hospitalized and receiving care,” said Aaron Ueno, Hawaii Island District Health Officer. “While the department is unable to provide specific information on this individual case, we can take this time to remind parents and caregivers about the importance of preventing infants and young children from putting slugs, snails, or other items in their mouths. We know that slugs, snails, and rats in all counties carry the parasite that can cause rat lungworm disease, so watching over young children is especially important.”

He added, “The Hawaii Island District Health Office is making a concerted effort to reach parents and caregivers of infants and young children by providing education and resources about rat lungworm disease prevention to our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Early Intervention Services clients and our partners, including pediatricians and other healthcare providers.”

DOH recommends all parents and caregivers of infants and young children take extra precautions, including:

  • Watch infants, toddlers, and children carefully while they are playing and make sure they are not picking up slugs, snails, or other objects from the ground and putting those into their mouths.
  • Help children properly wash their hands after playing and/or on the ground using running water and soap.
  • When consuming food and drinks, close and seal containers when not in use to prevent slugs and snails from crawling inside, especially when left on or near the ground.

The public is urged to take the following precautions to prevent rat lungworm disease:

  • Carefully inspect, wash, and store produce in sealed containers, regardless of whether it came from a local retailer, farmer’s market, or backyard garden.
  • All fruits and vegetables should be washed and rubbed under running water, especially leafy greens, to remove any tiny slugs or snails.
  • Controlling snail, slug, and rat populations is one of the most important steps in fighting the spread of rat lungworm disease. Eliminate slugs, snails, and rats around properties, and especially around home gardens.
  • Farmers as well as food handlers and processors should increase diligence in controlling slugs, snails, and rats on the farm.

Rat lungworm disease (angiostrongyliasis) is contracted when a person becomes infected with the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis. This happens when a person accidentally consumes raw or undercooked infected slugs, snails, freshwater shrimp, land crabs or frogs. The most common symptoms include severe headaches and neck stiffness, but symptoms may vary widely among cases. The most serious cases experience neurological problems, pain, and severe disability.

More information about the signs and symptoms of rat lungworm disease may be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/rat-lungworm-angiostrongyliasis/ and https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2017/01/RLD-rackcard-version1_06152017.pdf. The first in a series of public service announcements about rat lungworm disease prevention is posted on the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s website at http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/rat-lungworm-information/.

Free Medicare Basics Seminar

Helping the community stay informed about the “what,” “when,” and “how” of Medicare is important to the members of Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU) and on Saturday, October 7, 9:30am – 11:30am the credit union will present a free Medicare 101 seminar. Held at HCFCU’s Kaloko facility in the John Y. Iwane Credit Union Center Training Room (73-5611 Olowalu St., Kailua Kona), this informative seminar is free to the public but with limited seating.

Please register by contacting 808-930-7700 or marketing@hicommfcu.com. The seminar is for educational and informational purposes only. No plan specific benefits or details will be shared.

“We want to help our members with essential Medicare information so that they’re as prepared as possible when they’re ready to enroll,” said HCFCU President and CEO Tricia Buskirk.

Peter Amelotte, Health Benefits Manager with Aloha Insurance Services, Inc. will answer such questions as:

  • How old do I have to be to enroll in Medicare?
  • What are my Medicare health plan options?
  • Can I have other insurance and still have Medicare?
  • What’s the difference between Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B?
  • Is prescription drug coverage required?

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit credit union owned by its over 39,000 member/owners with branches in Honokaa, Kailua-Kona, Kaloko, Kealakekua and Kohala. In addition to complete checking and savings services, the credit union offers credit cards, auto, mortgage, construction, small business, educational and personal loans; online and mobile banking; investment services; youth programs, and supports numerous Hawaii Islandprograms and events. Membership in HCFCU is open to all Hawaii Island residents. For more information visit www.hicommfcu.com.

Class of 2021 to Recite Pharmacist Oath at UH Hilo White Coat Ceremony

Eighty-two student pharmacists will hear words of inspiration from the president of one of Hawaiʻi’s few remaining independent pharmacies at this year’s University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) White Coat Ceremony on October 8 in the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center. The event, which takes place from 2-4 p.m., is open to the public.

Kimberly Mikami Svetin, the third president in the 82-year history of family-run Moloka`i Drugs, will be the keynote speaker. Svetin will give the student pharmacists her view of “how to get the most out of life.” She also plans to talk about how the pharmacy staff at Hawaiʻi’s oldest independent pharmacy focuses on the community and how that benefits their personal and professional lives.

The ceremony, where new student pharmacists recite the Oath of a Pharmacist, signifies a rite of passage for individuals entering their first year in the professional program. Students will be cloaked with a white coat symbolizing their student status and the values of the profession.

Three pharmacy residents who are continuing their training with DKICP faculty on Kaua`i and O`ahu, as well as a new Ph.D. student at DKICP, also will take part in the ceremony.

Ka Haka ʻUla O Ke`elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language will perform the mele ho`okipa, or welcoming chant, Ua Ao Hawaiʻi.

The students will also be addressed by UH Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai and DKICP Dean Carolyn Ma.

The event is sponsored exclusively by Walgreens. Erin Samura, Pharmacy Manager from Hilo, will speak on behalf of Walgreens.

Nine Awarded Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship

Papa Ola Lōkahi is pleased to announce that nine scholars in diverse medical and allied health training programs have been awarded the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship.

Click to enlarge

“The students in this 2017-2018 cohort are stellar scholars and committed to serving the needs of our medically underserved communities,” asserted Keaulana Holt, director of the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program (NHHSP), which is administered by Papa Ola Lōkahi. “I’m proud of each one.”

Three awardees are studying to be physicians, one a dentist, one a masters level social worker, and one public health worker. Three are in nursing programs at three different local schools at three different levels.

Six are in school in Hawai’i; and three are in accredited programs on the continental United States.

NHHSP scholars may attend any accredited program at any college or university in the United States. Eventually, they’re called home to Hawai’i to fulfill their service obligation.

The objective of the NHHSP is to address access to health care by developing a Hawaiian health work force committed to serving the unique needs of Hawaiian communities. Once licensure is complete, these scholars will work full-time in medically under-served areas in Hawai’i for two (minimum) to four (maximum) years, relative to the length of scholarship support.

Since 1991, more than 275 awards have been made in 20 different primary and behavioral health care disciplines. More than 200 have already been placed into the workforce on six islands impacting the well-being of the communities they serve. Of those who have fulfilled their service obligations, nearly 90% have continued to serve medically underserved areas and populations in Hawai’i.

More significantly, NHHSP scholars have risen to positions of leadership, impacting change in health perspectives, policy, promising practices, and emerging technologies among their patients, colleagues and the communities they serve. They are the role models for other Kānaka Maoli who aspire to be of service in a healing profession.

Visit www.nhhsp.org for more information about the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program.

Hawaii Attorney General Seeks Documents From Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors

Hawaii has joined a bipartisan coalition of states seeking documents and information today from manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids. This is part of a multistate investigation into the nationwide opioid epidemic. This information will let state attorneys general evaluate whether manufacturers and distributors engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids. 41 state attorneys general are participating in the multistate investigations.

In Hawaii and across the country, opioids – both prescribed and illicit – are a main driver of drug overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015 including 169 in Hawaii. Opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.

Attorney General Chin said, “Under Governor David Ige’s leadership, my office and the state health department are determined to educate the public here and enforce laws to prevent the spread of opioid abuse in Hawaii.”

The attorneys general served investigative subpoenas for documents and information – also known as Civil Investigative Demands – on Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities, as well as a supplemental Civil Investigative Demand on Purdue Pharma. The attorneys general also sent information demand letters to opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson requesting documents about their opioid distribution business.

Informational Meetings on Rat Lungworm Disease Revised Scheduled Around Oahu

A series of three informational meetings on rat lungworm disease (RLWD) has been scheduled on Oahu this month. The meetings are being coordinated by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).

The meetings have been scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 @ Waimanalo Elementary/Intermediate School Cafeteria, 41-1330 Kalanianaole Hwy., 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • *REVISED LOCATION: Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017 @ Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC), 94-340 Kunia Rd., 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • *REVISED LOCATION: Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 @ Kahuku High School Cafeteria, 56-490 Kamehameha Hwy., 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Farmers, home gardeners and interested individuals are encouraged to attend.  Agricultural and health officials will make brief presentations and provide information on how to reduce the risk of RLWD and other foodborne illnesses, especially on farms and in gardens.

Those with a Hawaii State Department of Agriculture Pesticide License will be able to obtain 2.0 HDOA Agricultural Pesticide Applicator CEUs for attending the entire presentation.

RLWD is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by a parasitic nematode called Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which may be carried by rodents, snails, slugs and other animals including freshwater shrimp, land crabs and frogs. Humans can acquire the infection by eating raw or undercooked snails, slugs or other animals infected with the parasite.

The DOH reports that in 2017, there have been 16 laboratory-confirmed cases of RLWD statewide:

  • Hawaii Island: nine cases
  • Maui: six cases
  • Oahu: one case
  • Kauai: no cases

The average number of cases per year statewide typically range from two to 11.

More information on RLWD may be found at:

Clarification – Cash Will Be Accepted at Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

This was shared w/ Governor Ige’s followers on Facebook yesterday.

I received the following Press Release from Richard Ha this afternoon clarifying the shared Facebook post that Governor Ige shared from Civil Beat yesterday:

HONOLULU – Hawaiʻi Educational Association for Licensed Therapeutic Healthcare (HEALTH) has long been involved in seeking banking options for Hawaiʻi’s nascent medical cannabis dispensaries. We deeply appreciate the leadership and creativity demonstrated by Governor David Ige and Hawaiʻi Financial institutions Commissioner Iris Ikeda that culminated in yesterday’s announcement that the state had secured a banking solution for its legal cannabis industry.

Partner Colorado Credit Union’s Safe Harbor Private Banking Program is a pioneering program that takes on the regulatory burden required for our industry to be in compliance with federal guidelines so that state-licensed cannabis dispensaries can access banking services. Because these services are unavailable in Hawaiʻi, we are grateful that Colorado has stepped up to help.

The CanPay debit payment application is an alternative to cash payments that will be a welcome option for patients and dispensaries alike. Unlike a credit or debit card, payment will be instantly transferred from the patient’s existing bank account to the dispensary’s account in Colorado to facilitate a cashless purchase.

We recognize that the success of Hawaiʻi’s medical cannabis dispensary program is directly linked to the ability of patients to have safe access to cannabis products to help manage their medical conditions. As employers, we also want to ensure our employees enjoy a safe work environment. These options take us in the right direction at the right time.

Hawaiʻi’s aspiration to have a predominantly “cashless system” for all medical cannabis dispensaries is admirable. However, it is important to clarify that progress toward this goal will take considerable time. We will work with all stakeholders to successfully implement the proposed system. Patients who choose not to participate in a program that requires checking account transfers will still be able to make cash purchases in all Hawaiʻi-Licensed Medical Cannabis Dispensaries. Qualified patient access and compassion are two key tenets to any successful medical program.

North Hawaii Community Hospital Welcomes New Orthopedic Surgeon

North Hawai’i Community Hospital is pleased to announce that Dr. Darrin Kuczynski, board certified orthopedic surgeon, has joined the team at North Hawai’i Health & Wellness.

Dr. Darrin Kuczynski

Dr. Darrin Kuczynski received his medical degree from Northeastern Ohio Medical University and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Summa Health Systems in Akron, Ohio. In addition, he completed a fellowship in sports medicine/arthroscopy at the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Kuczynski is certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons and is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Dr. Kuczynski has 20 years of private practice experience in general orthopedics and sports medicine including shoulder and knee repair and reconstruction at Union Hospital in Ohio, before joining North Hawai’i Health & Wellness.

To make an appointment with Dr. Kuczynski or any other North Hawai’i Health & Wellness provider, please call 887-CARE.

HPA Receives 2017 Healthy School Award

Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA) was one of three schools selected nationally to receive a 2017 Healthy School Award from The Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI), in partnership with School Planning and Management and College Planning and Management magazines.

Hawaii Preparatory Academy uses dry steam vapor for cleaning and disinfecting.

An expert panel selected winners based on submitted applications, interviews, and a strong commitment to facility health and practical steps. Health factors assessed included indoor air quality, chemical exposure, water quality, sound levels, lighting, cleaning and disinfecting, sanitizing and food service, integrated pest management, and ergonomics (musculoskeletal, strains, slips/falls).

“We’re very pleased to be recognized for our efforts to achieve environmental excellence and to make our school environment better and safer for everyone,” said Robert McKendry, head of school.

Hawaii Preparatory received the Healthy Facilities Advocate award “for its mission to promote healthful, place-based learning on a site with access to 80 percent of the world’s ecosystems.” HPA was commended for:

  • Monitoring the indoor environment using devices that detect carbon dioxide, temperature, and sound levels.
  • Making standing desks and anti-fatigue mats available to employees.
  • Using dry steam vapor for cleaning and disinfecting, and a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner, having reduced annual spending on chemical cleaners by about $4,000.
  • Using low-toxicity plant-based intervention to control insects.

The school’s Energy Lab achieved Living Building Challenge certification by the International Living Building Institute (ILBI) in 2011 and also received Platinum-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Schools 2.0 certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2010. In 2012, HPA also was one of a select group of schools throughout the state of Hawaii to receive the Green Ribbon Schools (GRS) award from the U.S. Department of Education.

Other 2017 Healthy School Award winners were Aurora Public Schools in Aurora, Colorado, and Elk Grove USD (EGUSD) in Elk Grove, California. Winners were announced in the July/August 2017 issues of School Planning and Management and College Planning and Management magazines.

Winning schools will be featured in a webinar on November 2, Thirty Days to Healthy Schools at Lower Cost[webspm.com/articles/2017/07/01/healthy-facilities.aspx?m=1]. The webinar will focus on how healthy schools promote learning, savings, and attendance-based funding, and how any school can develop a framework for a healthy facility and budget within 30 days.
For more information, visit http://www.healthyfacilitiesinstitute.com.

Coast Guard, Navy Coordinate Medevac for Man on Cruise Ship Off Maui

A 72-year-old man arrived safely to Maui Wednesday, after being medevaced 170 miles offshore.

A Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter aircrew from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, arrived on scene at 3:55, safely hoisted the man aboard and delivered him to awaiting emergency medical services at Kahului Medical Center in Maui.

“This case illustrates the importance of our partnership with the Navy”, said Lt. Duane Zitta, command duty officer, Coast Guard Joint Response Coordination Center Honolulu. “In the remote Pacific, long-range capable search and rescue assets are vital to getting people to a higher level of medical care as quickly and safely as possible.”

JRCC personnel in Honolulu received notification at 5:18 p.m. Tuesday from the master of the cruise ship Radiance of the Seas, of a passenger aboard suffering from symptoms of abdominal distress.

Watchstanders at JRCC contacted the duty flight surgeon who recommended the man be seen by a general surgeon within 24 hours. Watchstanders at JRCC then coordinated with HSM-37 to conduct the rescue.

Seniors 55+ Invited to Akamai Living Fairs in Hilo and Kona

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to invite seniors 55 years and older to attend this year’s Akamai Living Fairs, to be held in Hilo and Kona.

These free events will feature health screenings, seminars, vendors, entertainment and door prizes.  The Akamai Living Fairs are co-sponsored by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation’s Elderly Activities Division and HMSA.

  • Hilo: Edith Kanakaʻole Multipurpose Stadium on Friday, October 20, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Kailua-Kona: West Hawaiʻi Civic Center on Friday, November 3, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

For more information, please call Margaret Yafuso at 966-5801.

Second Annual Zumbathon Benefitting West Hawaii Child & Family Service

More than a dozen Zumba instructors from around the island are joining in support of the West Hawaii Child & Family Service (WHC&FS) to help promote Domestic Violence Awareness, particularly towards children. “Shine the Light” Zumbathon, presented for the second year in a row by Dance 4 Action (local Zumba instructors Ronnie Claveran, Alex Mitchell, Renee Morinaka, and Rod Watai), will be held at the Kona Imin Center (76-5876 Hawaii 180, Old Government Road, Holualoa). It’s 6-9pm on Saturday, September 30th and tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door with net proceeds going to WHC&FS.“We want to let those who feel that they’re alone know that we stand beside them,” the Dance 4 Action ladies said. “Last year we raised more than $3,500 and over 130 people got a great dance workout while supporting our friends and family who need a safe and comfortable shelter when fleeing domestic violence. We hope to double those numbers this year!”

DJ EzE (Eric Ching) will keep the dance fitness party rocking with his spectacular sounds and lights. Guests should wear comfortable fitness clothing, and bring water and a towel. Each ticket includes an entry for prize giveaways.
Domestic Abuse Shelters are temporary shelters offering women and children up to 90 days of a safe haven when fleeing from domestic violence. The shelter offers basic needs (food, clothing etc.), counseling support and services for children. During this temporary stay, they learn dynamics of domestic violence and how to develop a safety plan.

For tickets and more information visit www.shinethelightzumbathon.eventbrite.com. Monetary donations also accepted online. Individuals or businesses interested in donating to the prize giveaway may email Dance4Action@gmail.com.

Hawai‘i Unveils First Cashless Payment System for Medical Cannabis

Gov. David Ige and state Financial Institutions Commissioner Iris Ikeda announced a “banking solution” that allows Hawai‘i’s medical cannabis dispensaries to access financial services and use a cashless payment system.

The solution makes Hawai‘i the first in the nation to have a cashless dispensary system.

The state has secured the services of Colorado-based Safe Harbor Private Banking that will provide limited and temporary financial services for Hawai‘i’s cannabis dispensaries. CanPay, a debit payment mobile application, will process sales transactions at retail dispensaries. Hawaii’s eight dispensary license holders have agreed to implement cashless operations by October 1, 2017.Financial services are currently unavailable in Hawai‘i because cannabis remains a federally prohibited substance.

“This new cashless system enables the state to focus on patient, public and product safety while we allow commerce to take place. This solution makes sense. It makes dispensary finances transparent and it makes it easier and safer for dispensaries to serve their patients and pay their employees and vendors,” said Gov. Ige.

While determining a banking solution, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Division of Financial Institutions focused on safety—for patients, employees, dispensaries, as well as the wider community. The department sought a cashless solution to address concerns about increased crimes committed against cash-based operations.

“This solution for the dispensaries to conduct banking services in an entirely cashless method would directly address many concerns we have and problems encountered by the dispensaries,” said Iris Ikeda, Hawai‘i Financial Institutions Commissioner. “This will establish a safe environment for medical cannabis-using patients and businesses to operate. It is our hope that a Hawai‘i-based financial institution opens accounts in the future. For now, we are appreciative of the mainland credit union for stepping in,” added Ikeda.

Hawai‘i’s cashless system will allow cannabis dispensaries to use traditional financial services to legally conduct financial transactions. In addition, dispensaries will be capable of setting up direct deposit for employee payroll, collect and remit taxes, and make payments to vendors.

All transactions will be transparent, as purchases at retail dispensaries occur through the mobile application and other transactions would be recorded by the financial institution.

Maui Wellness Group, LLC dba Maui Grown Therapies and Aloha Green LLC, the state’s two operational dispensaries, have opened accounts with the mainland credit union and have begun using the mobile debit payment application. The remaining six dispensaries are now at different stages of development and varying stages of the approval process.

More information on the Medical Cannabis Registry Program and the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the banking solution can be found at https://cca.hawaii.gov/dfi/files/2017/09/MCD-FAQs.pdf.

Department of Health’s Choose Health Now Campaign Launches in 7-Eleven Hawaii Stores Statewide

Today, the Department of Health (DOH) launched its Choose Healthy Now campaign in all 7-Eleven Hawaii locations throughout the state. As the department’s newest partner in the campaign, 7-Eleven is increasing consumer access to healthier foods and beverages and highlighting these better choices in some of the most visible areas of their 64 stores.

First Lady Dawn Ige honored 7-Eleven for their participation in the state’s campaign at a press event held at their Moanalua location, followed by a taste test of the healthy items that are offered in 7-Eleven Hawaii stores. Among the food items tested was a new creation, “Mrs. Ige’s Chicken Cilantro Sandwich,” which will be available for sale to customers later this year as part of the Choose Healthy Now campaign.

“We are honored and excited to be part of an initiative that provides our customers with an easy and quick way to make healthy food choices,” said Greg Hanna, President and CEO of 7-Eleven Hawaii. “The Department of Health provided the expertise to make all the changes needed to highlight healthier options for our customers. We encourage other businesses to join us.”

Through Choose Healthy Now, 7-Eleven customers will be able to easily identify and select foods and beverages that meet nutrition guidelines set by the Department of Health. Customers are prompted to choose these healthier snack and drink items through signage and point-of-decision prompts, which enable the customer to make a quick but informed decision. Product placement and price incentive strategies are also used to encourage the selection of healthier items.

“The state’s new partnership with 7-Eleven will make a huge impact on peoples’ ability to make fast, easy, healthy snack choices,” said Lola Irvin, Chief of the DOH Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion Division. “With the addition of 7-Eleven’s important commitment to health, Choose Healthy Now can now be found in grocery and convenience stores, hospitals, cafeterias, and snack shops at more than 145 locations statewide!”

The Department of Health has also produced new Choose Healthy Now television commercials that began airing today; these ads encourage customers to look for snacks and drinks labeled Choose Healthy Now, and ask other stores and retail locations to join in the effort. Aloha Island Mart and KTA are also partners in the campaign since 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Poor nutrition contributes to obesity and chronic disease. More than half of adults in Hawaii are overweight or obese (57.2 percent); similarly, over 50 percent (58.5 percent) have been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. Annual direct healthcare costs for obesity among adults in Hawaii has been estimated at $470 million and an additional $770 million for diabetes. These numbers are expected to continue to rise in conjunction with national rates.

Programs like the state’s Choose Healthy Now campaign are effective at increasing access and availability of healthier foods and beverages. “The time to address obesity and chronic disease is now,” said Director of Health Virginia Pressler. “Partnering with retail locations allows us to reach Hawaii residents where they make their everyday food choices.”

Choose Healthy Now first began as a partnership between the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Ho‘opono Vending Program. It launched in May 2014 with six snack shops in state and federal government buildings on Oahu. Today, more than 145 retail locations across the state are promoting Choose Healthy Now.

Visit ChooseHealthyNowHawaii.com to view the full list of participating stores, watch the commercials, and download print materials for use in retail locations, snack shops, or other venues that sell food.

Annual Stop Flu and Schools Vaccination Program Limited to Selected Public Schools Statewide

The state’s annual school-located vaccination program, Stop Flu at School, will be offered to all elementary and intermediate public schools in Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii Counties later this year. On Oahu, the program will be made available to selected public schools. Stop Flu at School, which provides free flu shots to students in kindergarten through eighth grade, will no longer be offered in private schools.Information packets and vaccination consent forms will be distributed to families in participating schools in early October. Vaccination clinics are scheduled to begin November 1.

“We recognize that many families relied on the Stop Flu at School program as a free and convenient way to vaccinate their children, so scaling back the program’s offerings was not a decision taken lightly,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “After careful consideration, we understood it was critical to prioritize eligible schools based on students with the greatest need for assistance, which allowed us to maximize the benefit to the public while utilizing the limited funds and resources available.”

The program will be offered to approximately 90 Oahu public schools which in previous years had at least 40 percent of their student enrollment participating in the Department of Education’s Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program. All neighbor island public schools will be eligible to participate in this year’s program as access to healthcare in those counties can often be a challenge.

“Parents of students attending schools no longer eligible for the Stop Flu at School program are encouraged to have their child vaccinated by their healthcare provider,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “As an additional resource, pharmacies are now able to provide flu vaccine to children ages 11 through 17 with a prescription from their healthcare provider.”

In addition to vaccination for everyone ages 6 months and older, DOH recommends other flu prevention strategies, which include staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands frequently. For more information about the flu, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/influenza-flu/.

The Stop Flu at School program is a continuing partnership between the Departments of Health and Education, and is made possible by the support of school administrators, health care providers, the American Academy of Pediatrics Hawaii Chapter, health insurers, and federal partners. For more information about Stop Flu at School, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/about-us/programs/stop-flu-at-school/.

Confirmed Case of Mumps at Konawaena High School


The cases of mumps in Hawaii continues to climb.  The Department of Health has not been listing many of the recent cases, but today a case was confirmed here at a high school on the Big Island of Hawaii:

Aloha Konawaena Families,

We wanted to inform you that we do have a confirmed case of mumps on our campus. We have taken all the necessary steps to address this issue.

Today, all students received a pink letter with more information about mumps. Please ask your child about this letter. Those students who may have been in close contact with the student with mumps will receive an additional letter in the mail. All those students who need to be excluded from school have already been notified by phone.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Diane Spencer, Vice Principal

Hospice of Hilo to Host safeTALK Suicide Prevention Training

Hospice of Hilo will be hosting a safeTALK Suicide Prevention Training sponsored by the State of Hawaii Department of Health, on Saturday, September 30 from noon-4:00pm at the organization’s Community Building located at 1011 Waiānuenue Avenue, Hilo.

This half-day workshop will prepare participants to recognize and support a person with thoughts of suicide. Attendees will become safeTALK-trained suicide alert helpers, which will allow them to move beyond the common tendency to dismiss or avoid talking about suicide. This training will provide instruction in how to properly connect a person with thoughts of suicide to first aid and intervention caregivers. A certified safeTALK instructor along with the support of Hospice Spiritual Counselor, Rebekah Bernard, will facilitate the workshop.

Suicide was the most common cause of fatal injuries among Hawaii residents over the 5-year period 2010-2014, accounting for over one-quarter (908, or 26%) of all fatal injuries, according to State of Hawaii Department of Health data. Suicide was also the leading cause of injury-related death for most age groups — all but the very young and the very old out-pacing car crashes, homicide, unintentional poisoning and drowning. Health data estimates one person dies by suicide in Hawaii every two days.

The training is free, however pre-registration and sign up are mandatory. Please RSVP no later than Thursday, September 28th by calling Volunteer Manager, Jeanette Mochida at (808) 969-1733 or by emailing jeanettem@hospiceofhilo.org