2018 Project Highlights


ʻĀina and Ola are Connected


Sponsored by the HMSA Foundation, the study from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and MA‘O Organic Farms will collect data to capture the relationship between ‘āina (land/environment) and ola (health/life) within social networks from individuals living in Wai‘anae. This information includes demographics, health, behaviors and social networks. We invite you to be co-researchers in our community study to help us better understand how changes in health, such as blood sugar control, weight loss or gut microbiome composition might be modified by MA‘O’s community-based program focused on restoring our connection to ‘āina. Your participation is greatly needed to help our community reduce the risk of chronic diseases. 

We ask for your kokua, which will take approximately 50 minutes of your time. Your participation is voluntary. The study includes a 90-question survey (30 minutes), some health measurements (15 minutes), and a take-home stool collection kit (5 minutes). Should you decide to enroll, you will receive up to $40 for your participation: $15 for your participation Today after completion of the online questionnaire and $25 after completion of the health measures and stool sample. You will also be eligible for a follow-up study, where you may receive up to another $40 for participating. The password to access the survey this month is HAWAII


ʻĀina Pono - Farm to School


The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is increasing local food in student meals as well as connecting our keiki (children) with the ‘āina (land) through their food, using products from the local agricultural community.

The effort to include more local ingredients in student meals is made possible with the help of local farmers across the state of Hawaii. HIDOE has also established community partnerships and continues to receive support from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH), The Kohala Center, Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, Ulupono Initiative, the Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui, Dorrance Family Foundation, Hawaii Appleseed, Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation (HFBF) and HMSA, to name a few.

The original Farm to School Initiative was spearheaded by the Lieutenant Governor's Office in 2015, after Senate Bill 376 was signed into law as Act 218. A pilot program followed in the Kohala Complex Area on Hawaii Island through a partnership with HIDOE, HDOA and The Kohala Center. The kitchen located at Kohala High serves about 600 meals a day to its students, as well as Kohala Elementary and Kohala Intermediate schools. It also serves as a cooking and education lab, while providing needed data on costs and waste to inform scaling the program in other regions.

The program's goal is to address the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for Hawaii public schools. The program also aims to systematically increase state purchasing of local food for student meals. The video above provides an overview of the effort.


Virtual Dental Home in Hawaiʻi


Hawaii is borrowing proven, best practices from other states to make dental care more accessible for those who may not be able to easily go a dentist office to receive care. Using technology, Hawaii families can participate in a virtual dental visit from sites that are closer to their home or workplace and at convenient times. The virtual dental home project, now entering its third and final year, is based on the success of a six-year demonstration project in California, which involved 11 communities and nearly 50 sites, and treated more than 3,400 patients. This teledentistry project is part of the Hawaii Department of Health’s strategic plan to increase the use of telehealth in the state to improve access to care. The California project has demonstrated the use of telehealth-connected oral health teams can reach people who traditionally do not receive dental care to deliver proven and effective prevention strategies. This program is now being replicated in Colorado and Oregon. Hawaii is one of the pioneering states to adopt the program, which is ideal for the neighbor islands since the majority of dental resources are concentrated on Oahu. The virtual dental home uses  

technology to connect dental hygienists with patients at convenient community locations such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC) centers, preschools, and schools with dentists who are in dental offices and clinics. A dental hygienist uses portable imaging equipment and an internet-based dental record system to capture and upload patient information to a dentist who examines the patient virtually by securely reviewing the records and x-rays for a diagnosis and treatment plan. In addition to xrays, a hygienist also collects photographs, charts of dental findings, and dental and medical histories for electronic records. At the direction of the dentist, the dental hygienist completes preventive procedures at the community site and refers patients to dental offices for procedures that require treatment by a dentist. Since most of the care is provided in a community setting, this frees up a dentist to take care of more advanced oral health conditions in the dentist office. An important component of the virtual dental home system is education for patients, parents, and caregivers by a dental hygienist who is at the community site on a regular basis.