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North Hawaii Community Hospital’s Kaheleaulani Awarded OHA Grant

North Hawaii Community Hospital’s (NHCH) newly named Kaheleaulani, a Native Hawaiian Health Program, was recently awarded a grant of $241,000 from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). The purpose of this grant is to begin a Native Hawaiian health disparities initiative called The Ho’omalule Project, which addresses obesity and physical health Improvements in Native Hawaiians.

NHCH held a public blessing and open house of Kaheleaulani, a Native Hawaiian Health Program, on Friday, August 31st at 9:00 a.m. “NHCH’s Kaheleaulani, a Native Hawaiian Health Program, helps meet the needs of Native Hawaiians which make up nearly 30 percent of the community NHCH serves,” says Ken Wood, President and CEO of NHCH.

“We are excited to partner with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in addressing these important issues of obesity and diabetes,” says Bill Brown, CEO of NHCH. The Ho’omalule Project supports qualified participants in reducing their body weight by 10% or more over a 12 month period by empowering Native Hawaiians to be proactive in their overall health and well-being. In accordance with NHCH’s mission to improve the health status of North Hawai‘i, Kaheleaulani’s mission is to improve the health status of Native Hawaiian ‘ohana by providing culturally-appropriate, high-quality medical and behavioral health services for all Native Hawaiian ‘ohana, to clearly identify Native Hawaiian health disparities particular to North Hawai‘I, and to formulate a plan of action with the goal of rectifying those disparities.

“Over the last year, we have identified a high rate of Native Hawaiians in North Hawaii who are currently at risk of chronic disease due to diabetes or obesity,” says Dr. Claren Ku’ulei Kealoha-Beaudet, Clinical Psychologist and Kaheleaulani Behavioral Services Director. “Funding support from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs makes the Ho’omalule Project possible, providing Native Hawaiian ‘ohana a comprehensive program with the highest quality, culturally informed medical, behavioral and psychosocial change interventions. “NHCH looks forward to helping our Native Hawaiian communities and their families with health services that will provide the kokua they need,” says Bill Brown. “Our team includes behavioral health specialists, medical providers and patient care coordinators, who work together with Ho’omalule Project participants to develop an intensive exercise, nutrition, and health program unique to each person,” says Dr. Claren Kealoha-Beaudet. “We will empower Native Hawaiians to be proactive in their overall health and well-being by offering supportive opportunities and community connections to maintain weight loss, including nutrition planning and preparation, fitness and movement planning, as well as coaching, behavioral change therapy sessions, huaka’i (cultural excursions) and program incentives, such as gift certificates and food baskets specially prepared for program participants.

“Kaheleaulani understands and embraces a culturally-appropriate healthcare approach for Native Hawaiians and takes into account traditional Hawaiian healing principles that differ significantly from those of Western medicine,” says Dr. Claren Kealoha-Beaudet. “We envision a vibrant, inter-dependent Native Hawaiian community based on cultural values with individuals achieving their optimal spiritual, mental and physical potential.”

Kaheleaulani, formerly known as the Native Hawaiian Health Clinic, opened in September 2011. During the past year, NHCH renovated its facilities to better accommodate this program. NHCH recently held a blessing of Kaheleaulani to mark its new name and space. “The name Kaheleaulani honors Lucy Davis Henriques’ wishes as stated in her will executed in 1932 to establish a medical facility to care for the families of Waimea,” says Dr. Claren Kealoha-Beaudet. Kaheleaulani was most likely a name within Lucy Henriques’ family.

Kaheleaulani is seeking qualified patients to participate in The Ho’omalule Project. Participants must reside in NHCH’s service area and be identified by their medical doctor or community provider as being in crisis or at risk of chronic disease due to diabetes or obesity. Kaheleaulani is also currently accepting patients with a target population of Native Hawaiians age 13 and older, non-Hawaiians who are married to a Native Hawaiian or are a life partner of a Native Hawaiian, non-Hawaiians who are widowed and whose spouse was a Native Hawaiian, and non-Hawaiians who are divorced or separated from a Native Hawaiian and have Native Hawaiian children. Kaheleaulani is located in North Hawaii Community Hospital at 67-1125 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, HI 96743. For more information about Kaheleaulani, The Ho’omalule Project or to make an appointment, please call 808-881-4843.

NHCH Background: North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) is a rural 33-bed acute care hospital located in Kamuela, on Hawai‘i Island. Non-profit and locally governed, the hospital opened in May 1996 and cares for Hawai‘i Island residents and visitors. NHCH offers an extensive set of hospital services that are centered on patient needs, creating a healing experience for the whole person – mind, body and spirit.