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News & Updates

Hā Kūpuna Welcomes:

We are pleased to inform you that Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee‐At‐Large S. Haunani Apoliona, MSW, has joined our Joint Advisory Council (JAC) as a board member. Welcome! For more information on Trustee Apoliona, please go to:‐apoliona‐msw.

We are happy to that Ms. Kealoha Takahashi, Executive, Kauai Office of Elderly Affairs, and Ms. Elizabeth Meahl, Director of Elderly Services, Kumu Kahi, ALU LIKE, are our new Chair and Vice Chair of the HK JAC.

Hā Kūpuna Congratulates:

Advisory Council Member and Lunalilo Home Administrator Dr. J. Kūhiō Asam, who was recently honored by the University of Hawai`i Foundation for Outstanding Alumni. More information on Dr. Asam’s community contributions can be found at:

Hā Kūpuna Announces:

We are pleased to inform you that two of our faculty have recently been honored.

Dr. Noreen Mokuau, Dean and Professor, has been selected two received two awards: the NASW‐Hawaii Chapter Outstanding Social Worker and the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce O`O award. More information on the O`O award and Dr. Mokuau’s contributions can be found at:

Dr. Colette Browne, Professor, has been awarded the Robert W. Clopton Distinguished Community Service Award by the University of Hawai`i at Manoa Chancellor’s Office. More information on Dr. Browne’s accomplishments can be found at:

We are also pleased to announce that we have three new publications. The first is: Addressing the unique challenges facing kanaka maoli living in the continental U.S., published in Kamehameha School’s Hu`ili Journal Press.
Below is the abstract:

Nā Kūpuna, Native Hawaiian elders, are recognized as major sources of wisdom and knowledge in the Native Hawaiian community. Yet, due to many factors, including Western acculturation and historical trauma, nā kūpuna suffer serious health and social disparities. Although over 36% of nā kūpuna reside outside of Hawai`i, almost no data are available on their well‐being. Kūpuna, caretakers, and key informants in Hawai`i and Los Angeles were interviewed, and the Census 2000 and 2010 Public Use Microdata Samples were analyzed to determine the particular challenges facing kūpuna outside of Hawai`i. Kūpuna in the continental United States had a better socioeconomic status than those in Hawai`i, but they had much less access to cultural activities and less family support. Several communities in the continental US have formed cultural and civic groups to provide this support.

The second is: Research on indigenous elders: From positivistic to decolonizing methodologies, published in The Gerontologist.
Below is the abstract:

Although indigenous peoples have lower life expectancies than the social majority populations in their countries, increasing numbers of indigenous people are living into old age. Research on indigenous elders is informed by a number of research traditions. Researchers have mined existing data sets to compare characteristics of indigenous populations with non‐indigenous groups, and these findings have revealed significant disparities experienced by indigenous elders. Some investigators have attempted to validate standardized research tools for use in indigenous populations. Findings from these studies have furthered our knowledge about indigenous elders and have highlighted the ways in which tools may need to be adapted to better fit indigenous views of the constructs being measured. Qualitative approaches are popular, as they allow indigenous elders to tell their stories and challenge non‐indigenous investigators to acknowledge values and worldviews different from their own. Recently, efforts have extended to participatory and decolonizing research methods, which aim to empower indigenous elders as researchers. Research approaches are discussed in light of the negative experiences many indigenous peoples have had with Eurocentric research. Acknowledgment of historical trauma, life‐course perspectives, phenomenology, and critical gerontology should frame future research with, rather than on, indigenous elders.

The third is: Listening to the voices of nā kūpuna and `ohana caregivers: Discussions on aging, health, and care preferences, published in Journal of Cross‐Cultural Gerontology.
Below is the abstract

Native Hawaiians, the indigenous people of Hawai`i, are affected by varying social and health disparities that result in high prevalence of chronic disease, early onset of disability, and shorter life expectancy compared to other ethnic groups in Hawai`i. Six listening meetings were conducted, involving 41 community‐dwelling kūpuna (Native Hawaiian elders) and 'ohana (family) caregivers to investigate health and care preferences that offer the potential for improving well‐being in later life for Native Hawaiian elders. As background, we provide three explanatory perspectives and theories‐life course perspective, minority stress theory, and historical trauma‐that guided the design of this study and provided the study's context. A number of overarching themes and subthemes were identified, some of which point to universal concerns with age and caregiving (such as challenges and costs associated with growing old and caregiving) and others that are culturally specific (such as influence of culture and social stressors, including discrimination, on health needs and care preferences). Results give further support to the urgency of affordable, accessible, and acceptable programs and policies that can respond to the growing health and care needs of native elders and family caregivers.

New Facts Sheets summarizing the content of these articles will be available soon on our webpage.

Hā Kūpuna Sends a Mahalo to:

Mr. Mark Forman, Administrator with the HMSA Foundation, and their Board for supporting Hā Kūpuna’s dissemination efforts with Improving Nā Kūpuna Health: A Dissemination Model Translating Research to Practice in Native Hawaiian Communities.

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