Professor Keawe'aimoku Kaholokula is Chair of Native Hawaiian Health in the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He is a National Institutes of Health funded investigator whose community-based participatory research (CBPR) involves developing sustainable community-placed health promotion programs to achieve cardiometabolic health equity for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. His research examines how biological, behavioral, and psychosocial factors interplay to affect their risk for, and treatment of, diabetes and heart disease.
Among his various studies of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, he has examined the effects of depression on cigarette smoking and diabetes management; of racism on physiological stress indices, hypertension, and psychological distress; of acculturation on the risk for depression and diabetes. He is also a member of Halemua o Kūali‘i, a Hawaiian cultural group dedicated to the revitalization of traditional values and practices to build leaders in our Hawaiian communities.
Ka Pouhana: Indigenous Leadership and Health Promotion
Strong indigenous leadership has been the foundation of our adaptability, resiliency, and prosperity in the past, and it remains so for our future as Indigenous Peoples. As an example of our resiliency is the doubling of indigenous populations in the Pacific and elsewhere by 2016, which provides opportunities for advancing our indigenous aspirations. Building the next generation of indigenous leaders so we continue to flourish is an imperative to fully realize Mauli Ola (optimal health and wellbeing). In Hawai'i and elsewhere, there are many examples of effective indigenous leadership in the areas of cultural revitalization, cultural-based public and private education, economic development, and health promotion. There are many lessons to be learned from these examples to include 1) the pathways for indigenous leaders, 2) the values, paradigms, and strategies they employ, and 3) the attributes they possess to organize and advance their agenda. In exploring these lessons, an 11-year community-academic partnership called PILI 'Ohana will be used as a case example of indigenous leadership in the area of community development aimed at health promotion.