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July 2020 Publication

Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work

Social Work ∙ Public Health ∙ Center on Aging

University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

Aloha from the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work

Social Work, Public Health, and the Center on Aging stand steadfast in the commitment to social justice and health equity. The work that we have always prioritized has greater urgency given the confluence of two perilous events – the brutal killing of Black Americans and COVID 19. The persistent evidence of racism and other forms of oppression in the U.S., and forecasts of COVID 19 as one of the worst global pandemics in modern history underscores the call for alliance and action.

Our call to action is in educational excellence that builds a cadre of professionals who are leaders with a deep understanding of humanity and who hold the knowledge and skills that will lead to transformational change in social justice and health equity. With a belief in the Hawaiian notion of kākou (we, collective), our work is framed within a Hawaiian place of learning with explicit attention to community engagement and global partnerships. There is a Hawaiian saying that is often used in prayers and speaks to the calling forth of mana (spiritual power) from the east, west, north, south. It is a saying that I offer now to fortify and strengthen us for the critical work that lies ahead. I invite you to join us.

Mai ka hoʻokuʻi a ka hālāwai.

ʻŌlelo Noʻeau #2059

Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work
University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
Gartley Hall
2340 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI 96822

Noreen Mokuau, DSW
Dean and Barbara Cox-Anthony Endowed Co-Chair in Aging

Michael C. DeMattos, MSW
Chair, Department of Social Work

Tetine Sentell, PhD
Chair/Director, Office of Public Health Studies

Margaret Perkinson, PhD
Director, Center on Aging

Theresa Kreif, MSW, LSW
Assistant to the Dean


Claire Asam, PhD
Trustee Chair, Lili‘uokalani Trust

Susie Chun Oakland
Hawaii State Senator, Retired

Claire K. Hughes, DrPH
Health Advocate

Laura Lucas Thompson
Community Volunteer

Janis Reischmann, MSW, MBA
Executive Director, Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation

Sharlene Tsuda
Vice President, Community Development,The Queen’s Health Systems

Caroline Ward Oda, PhD
Renowned Educator

Kenneth Yeung, MSW
President of Prince of Peace

Myron “Pinky” B. Thompson

The namesake of the School, Myron “Pinky” B. Thompson earned his MSW from the University of Hawai`i in 1953. He was a visionary who worked on behalf of all the people of Hawai`i but was especially renowned for his efforts to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian culture.

He served as the Executive Director of the Queen Lili`uokalani Children’s Centers, Trustee of the Bishop Estate and co-founded and was president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. He helped establish key organizations such as ALU LIKE, Inc., and Papa Ola Lōkahi.

Throughout his life, he sought guidance through the wisdom and knowledge of his ancestors to pioneer modern day initiatives that would help ensure the future of Native Hawaiians and all people of Hawai`i. The UH Board of Regents approved the naming of the School after him on September 19, 2008.


To achieve social justice and health equity for the people of Hawai‘i and citizens in a changing world.

Hawaiian Place of Learning

The Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work strives to build a kauhale (village) that fosters educational excellence that is grounded in cultural competency with a focus on research, instruction and service.


The Office of Public Health Studies host the only specialization in the United States dedicated to Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Health.

Ke A`o Mau:

This signature interdisciplinary course, taught by kumu loea, is organized around principles and practices that support cultural competency in work with Native Hawaiians.


Aims to achieve health and wellness among Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Filipinos, and others who experience health disparities by supporting team-science and community engaged research. Funded by NIH/NIMHD.

Hā Kūpuna:

National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders explores health and resilience of Native Hawaiian elders. Funded by the US Administration on Aging.

Hawai`i Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (HADI):

HADI’s statewide, culturally tailored “best practices” dementia programs include interdisciplinary memory clinics, memory care navigation, Savvy Caregiver, Dementia Friends, plus training in dementia early detection and support. Funded by the US Administration for Community Living.

Mele Aloha

Ākea ka moana nui
Hoʻolālani ʻia o ʻIwikuamoʻo
E pūlama i mōhala nā pua
A kū i ka māna
E kupu a liko aʻe
E ulu a ola mau
A kau i ka puaaneane
E ola mau Ka Lāhui!

The immense ocean of Kanaloa
Aligned is ʻIwikuamoʻo
Cherish them so they may blossom
Fed by the elder, the younger retains the knowledge
Bud forth and grow
Increase and thrive
To live a full life
Long live the Nation!

As namesake for the School, Pinky is a teacher for all who enter our kauhale. A mele aloha (song of aloha) written by social work alumni Brandee Aukai and Kelly Anne Beppu was gifted to the School to honor Pinky’s life and his dedication to teaching and learning.

Global Social Justice

The Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work is committed to globally engaged research and education. Our students and faculty collaborate with international professional institutions and organizations engaged in epidemiology, gerontology, health literacy, health behavior, health services, social welfare, mental health, child welfare and health economics.

Research, Teaching, and Field Internship with Colleagues and Partners (selected)


  • Ewha Womans University
  • Soongsil University, Graduate School of Social Welfare
  • Catholic University of Korea Graduate School of Public Health
  • Korea University Department of Public Health Sciences
  • Research Institute of Science for the Better Living of the Elderly


  • Tokyo University
  • Juntendo University-Department of Public Health
  • Kyorin University-Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies
  • Doshisha University
  • Okinawa International University
  • Kwansei Gakuin University
  • Yamaguchi Prefectural University
  • Saitama Prefectural University
  • Shinnyo-En Foundation

Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong Polytechnic University


  • China Medical University Taiwan
  • National Yang-Ming University
  • Taipei Medical University
  • Taipei Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare


  • Peking University Health Sciences Center
  • National Health and Family Planning Commission
  • Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine


  • University of Guam, College of Health Sciences
  • Guam-Micronesian AHEC
  • Pacific Islands Health Officer Association
  • Republic of Palau Ministry of Health-Bureau of Public Health
  • Kwajalein and Ebeye City, Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • University of Melbourne, Australia
  • University of Wollongong, Australia
  • Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

Southeast Asia

  • Ministry of Public Health, Thailand
  • Respati University, Indonesia

North America

  • Laval University, Canada
  • Queens University, Canada
  • Trent University, Canada
  • Universite de Montreal, Canada
  • University of Toronto, Canada
  • Instituto Nacional de Geriatria, Mexico

South America

  • Universidad de Caldas, Colombia
  • Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte,


  • Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Brazil
  • Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredi, Peru


  • University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • National Institute of Public Health, Albania


  • Ifakara Health Research and Development Center, Tanzania

Joint Educational Programs (3+2) in Public Health

  • Fudan University
  • Nanchang University
  • Wuhan University

The Adolescence and Motherhood Research (AMOR) project, supported by the Fogarty International Center and the Fulbright Specialist program, builds upon academic partnerships between Public Health and colleagues in Brazil and Canada.

Bias Against Micronesians Funded by the National Institute of Justice, this study examined the relationship between experiencing bias or discrimination and adapting to a new home in Hawai’i.

The Health Financing Transition project built new theoretical and empirical insights into health financing and is used by the World Health Organization and World Bank in national health system planning.

Hawai‘i-China International Exchange Program provides public health education globally while preparing future leaders through connections with several leading schools of public health in  China.

Prince of Peace Children’s Home, Tianjin, China is funded by US based Prince of Peace Foundation and managed by World Vision International. Students spend eight weeks engaged in a service-learning project.

Field School. Working with international colleagues, Center on Aging faculty established an interdisciplinary, graduate-level field school in Guatemala and continue to advise on global aging components.


Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work MSW Program is ranked by US News and World Report in the top 20% of programs.

Faculty and Staff

  • 61 Faculty
  • 38 Staff
  • 27 Lecturers
  • 196 Adjunct Field Instructors
  • 33 Graduate Assistants


  • 30% of student body are Native Hawaiian
  • 610 Total Students
  • 163 Social Work BSW
  • 189 Social Work MSW/PhD
  • 165 Public Health BA
  • 93 Public Health MPH/MS/PhD

MBTSSW Degree Offerings

Social Work

  • Bachelor of Social Work – Campus and Online Options
  • Master of Social Work – Campus and Online Options
    • Specialization
      • Child and Family
      • Behavioral Mental Health
      • Gerontology
      • Health
  • PhD in Social Welfare

Public Health

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Master of Public Health
    • Specialization
      • Epidemiology
      • Health Policy and Management
      • Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Health
      • Social and Behavioral Health Sciences
  • Master of Science
  • PhD in Public Health
  • PhD in Epidemiology

Center on Aging

  • Undergraduate Certificate on Aging

Research Funding and Community Impact

    • $8,577,785
  • Field Internships
    • MBT SSW students contribute 109,510 hours each year to community organizations throughout Hawai’i
    • Which is an estimated contribution of $2,628,750 in labor
    • At over 175 Community Organizations

Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Gartley Hall
2430 Campus Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96822

Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work –

Department of Social Work –

Office of Public Health Studies –

Center on Aging –

University of Hawai‘i Foundation –

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